Tuesday, August 30, 2011


From the Vault: Cats Trio:
In the past I have mentioned friends Jesse Glenn & Mike Davis who I started drawing comics with in middle school. These guys were and are like my brothers. We developed so many concepts in just a few years, that it would take us our lives to develop and publish just the good ones. Freshman year of high school, Mike had a comic idea called Cats that was then handed off to me. I narrowed down the characters to just three distinct personalities (based on us and a mutual friend Nick) and renamed the idea "Cats Trio". Not long after I offered it to Jesse, who could draw better than me. Jesse added his own character, a raccon named Max that he had made using the Turtles RPG on a Boy Scout Camping Trip we were on together.

The entire concept was a blatant TMNT homage. We all loved the Turtles and wanted to do our own spin on it: a lab doing animal bio-resarch mutating animals into more anthropomorphic beings for military work has a massive explosion. Two of the subjects: a raccoon & a mountain lion escape through the side of the blown out building. The effects of the explosion also mutate 3 stray cats in the alley outside the building. The cats, naive and playful, meet the raccoon and find they have a common enemy, the mountain lion named Claw. They train together and are fighting & on the run from their foe all while trying to remain hidden from human eyes Below are the 11 unfinished pages Jesse drew back in 1990-91 (which he recently uncovered in a box).

Unfortunately, we never got past those 11 pages...but the idea didn't die. At various points in high school Jesse and I would hand the idea back and forth me writing, him drawing or me drawing and him writing...even breaking Max out into his own prequel book.

As high school ended, I wanted to give Cats another shot on my own. I redid & honed down some of the original pages into a single page with the idea of taking over the art duties, but I never got past this single page & pinup.

In college I did two Beatles cover spoof images: Help & Let It Be.

A few other times in college (1995-2000) Jesse and I had aspirations of bringing back the comic that brought us working together (cats was one of at least 20 projects we conceived, wrote, drew, and played with). Jesse, influenced by a re-watching of Robotech, did some fun redesigns. This was followed by a massive rewrite session where we looked over the first Cats story ideas and honed them into a four issue outline with two other story arcs planned. I wrote the first issue, but no pages were ever produced, and this would be the last big push we had together to make Cats Trio into a comic

The cats would creep into the margins of my notebooks, on scrap paper, on notepads at work, etc. While I think I knew the TMNT ripoff would never work as a real comic project, it was a part of my history with three good friends. It was a constatnt thread running through our own adventures together, and drawing them or redesigning the characters was similar to calling the real friends just to say "hello".

Post graduation, I was living in an apartment where three stray cats kept hiding under cars in the parking lot that were warm. They especially liked getting up on the wheels under the fenders of my 1974 VW Beetle. I decided to do a Cats Trio concept piece as though the characters were really animals, there was no mutation( just some human-like intellect) while being hunted in a rural area by a mountain lion. I like the idea, and feel it has better legs of becoming a real project than the original incarnation ever did, but by removing the anthro-angle, it removed a lot of what felt magical about it in nostalgia terms.

The most recent finished image I did of the Cats Trio was about 8 years ago as a "Happy New Year" to Jesse, Mike, & Nick.

However, after Jesse uncovered the original comic and I pawed through the folder with the rest of this artwork (and more) I have a feeling I'll take another stab of doing some Cats Trio artwork just for fun. I hope to get Jesse Glenn to do some as well and we will both share it here. Nothing like saying "hello" to these old friends again.

I did a Mike Cat character wash a while back and just got around to splashing some digital color on it.

Fan Art:
Marc Lehner sent these to me via a friend of his at the Baltimore Comic Con. They are mice from the campaign he is playing of the Mouse Guard RPG. I like that in both the drawings there is a sense of history: "The Brothers of Pebblebrook" sounds as though these two already have a reputation for themselves & the architectural details on the other piece suggests an aesthetic all it's own. Thanks Marc!

Upcoming Appearances:
New York Comic Con: Oct. 13-16
London Super Con: Feb 25-26
Emerald City: March 30-April 1
Boston Comic Con: April 21-22

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Following Cerebus:
Back in 2007 I was asked by Dave Sim to do an interview for his magazine Following Cerebus. In the process of the interview by correspondence Dave also asked if I'd like to do a Cerebus/Mouse Guard jam cover. Well after several years, the issue has been released (available here) and I can share the process of the cover art (which I now cringe at in terms of inking & coloring crudeness)

Dave sent over the inks for his piece. The idea he had was to have Cerebus waking up to find guardmice climbing on him. I told Dave to ink his piece in fully, that instead of jaming on the layout, just to finish his own drawing and inks, so the styles would only look different between the characters, not from the top to bottom of the image.

I drew & inked my mice on a sheet of bristol on the lighbox with a printout of Dave's inks behind it. That way I was able to match up the contact points where Saxon's sword is touching Cerebus' nose, the mouse feet touch Cerebus' belly etc. It also allowed me to get the shadows to fall in the right spots on the fence and Cerebus himself.

I merged the inked pieces together in photoshop and edited out the inkwork where the two pieces overlapped. Then I colored the piece. The colors look a bit over-saturated and over textured to my eye now, but I do remember at the time wanting to do less texture on Cerebus than the mice to push the idea of two different artistic styles coming together.

As a side note, as one of my donations to the silent auction at Detroit Fanfare this fall, I will be donating the original inks to my part of the jam cover as well as a signed copy of the issue it appears on.

Fan Art:
Fellow Michigander and all around cool artist Jeremy Treece did this Mouse Guard piece as part of his u-stream commission drive. The artwork is on chipboard (think the backs of notepads, sketchbooks, and kids puzzleboxes) and because of the toned surface he was able to use white and black to great effect. Thanks Jeremy

Upcoming Appearances:
New York Comic Con: Oct. 13-16

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Colored on Ustream:
I have been coloring various artwork & gifts on Ustream recently (I notify fans of the next ustream via Twitter to this viewing link: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/davidpetersen) Here is the most recent batch.

Happy Birthday Tough Pigs!:
The Muppet Fan-Site Tough Pigs is celebrating it's 10th anniversary online. They asked various artists who have contributed to the site & Muppet comics to do an image to showcase in their gallery for the occasion. This Kermit piece is a modified piece because I couldn't squeeze in a new piece before their deadline. Thanks Tough Pigs for the news & info and for always being kind to my Muppet themed projects!

Fan Art:
Miniatures model sculptor Kyla Richards did this AMAZING set of Mouse Guard Winter miniatures and sent me a hand painted set! The minis are not available for purchase, but someday I hope to do a tabletop miniatures game with Kyla & Luke Crane...

Upcoming Appearances:
Baltimore Comic Con: Aug. 20-21
New York Comic Con: Oct. 13-16

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Amazing Skottie Young & I did an art trade at the Cherry Capital Con a few months ago. He added to my Harry Potter art collection, and I did this piece of Ludo from Labyrinth. I had some fun throwing color on it after Skottie got me a scan. Thanks again Skottie!

Online 2011 Sketchbook Orders:
Wednesday Julia and I will be accepting online orders for the 2011 Sketchbook (24 pages, full color, signed & numbered to 400 copies). $20 + shipping ($5 US, $10 International) To order, email a request to ericebon (at) hotmail (dot) com. with the number of copies and the shipping address. We will email you back a paypal invoice to complete the purchase.

Fan Art:
Morgan Bilicki writes: "My friends and I LOVE your art-work, and we all decided to paint the picture of Liam on a rock from the Fall Volume of Mouse Guard. Here's our pictures! :D"
Thanks Morgan!

Upcoming Appearances:
Baltimore Comic Con: Aug. 20-21
New York Comic Con: Oct. 13-16

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Legends of the Guard's Eisner:
Little over a week ago, Legends of the Guard won the 2011 Eisner for Best Anthology! I'm really proud of this book, and it's all thanks to the contributors who worked on the book. I set out to do an anthology in which the contributors had as much freedom as possible. I chose those storytellers for good reason, I liked their work and I could trust them to do something amazing if not tethered too much editorially.

So a huge thank you an congratulations to the following artists and storytellers. Not only would we have not won the Eisner without them, but also without whom the book itself wouldn't have been possible. (names link to their sites, interview links to their interviews about working on Legends):

Paul Morrissey & I are already working with contributors for Legends of the guard volume 2 (set to start in 2012) such as: Jim McCann & Janet Lee, Kenneth Rockafort, Bill Willingham, Nick Tapalansky & Alex Eckman Lawn, Eric Canete, & Stan Sakai!!

Upcoming Appearances:
Baltimore Comic Con: Aug. 20-21
New York Comic Con: Oct. 13-16

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