Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Past Commissions

With new readers & new fans coming to the blog each week, I wanted to share a bunch of my inked 7" x 7" commissions from the past few years. Some of these I've shared before, others I may not have. For those ready to ask, here's the way I handle commissions: I do not have an open list and no not take commission requests by e-mail. I do inked commissions like these in conjunction with conventions only. In the week before a convention, I open up a list in my online store for pickup at the convention.

Bastian the Hunter
Battle Corgis
Frontier Explorer Mice

The Witch from Brave

Cartographer Mouse

Conrad Drinking

Cursed Pirate Girl & Pook

A Royal Ferret Couple

Mouse Naturalist puzzling together a pile of bones

An anthropomorphic Fox in armor

Gonzo & Camilla piece in homage to the Greg Land Birds of Prey #8 cover
Fall 1152 Cover Homage

The Half-Blood Prince, Padfoot, & the Boy Who Lived set against the backdrop of the Maurauder's Map

Mouse Harvest festival

Isabel, a snail,  & lilies of the valley

Israel: Lockhaven Blacksmith


Mouse Knitter

Mouse Library Research

Michelangelo vs Mousers

Mouse, Bat, & Bee

A female spiritualist mouse & a bunny

Axe vs Owl

Mice smoking Pipes

Mouse Portrait painter

Rand & Dandelions

A mouse wedding at a mouse-sized St. Margaret's Chapel in Edinburgh Scotland

Sienna & Bellflowers

Mouse Family on a snail

Stuff of Legend

The Swedish Chef

Tag from Jeremy Bastian's Cursed Pirate Girl


Threshold of Adventure

Apothecary Mouse

Lieam with a flute

2014 Appearances:
MSU Comics Forum: February 22
C2E2: April 25-27
Comicpalooza: May 23-25
Heroes Con: June 20-22
San Diego Comic Con: July 23-27
Boston Comic Con: August 8-10
NY Comic Con: Oct. 9-12

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Little Nemo in Slumberland page process

The folks at Locust Moon Comics are putting together a anthology tribute book of Little Nemo in Slumberland called Little Nemo: Dream Another Dream. It's got an incedible list of contributors and they were also kind enough to invite me to join. I felt honored to be asked to do something to tribute the work of Windsor McKay. He attended Michigan Normal School, which later became my alma matter: Eastern Michigan University. Each contributor was asked to do a single page, with the last panel being the traditional gag of Nemo awaking in the real world (usually his bedroom) Here is the process for my page (which is rather large at 16" x 21"!)

I knew for my story I wanted to include animals, and including mice (real looking mice, not Mouse Guard mice) was a given. I wanted to include other characters besides Nemo, like the princess, Flip, the Jungle Imp, and King Morpheus. But beyond that I had nothing. Until I was telling my nieces a silly story that was supposed to be dreamlike where I was chased by sheep with grasshoppers riding on their backs, who wielded slingshots...and that became the starting point of the story for the page that morphed into what you see here. The pencils were all done over the course of several pages in my sketchbooks. Characters and backgrounds (even in the same panel) may have been drawn separately but assembled in Photoshop in this grid template where I also added a stock Nemo logo and all of my text with a font I liked.

Because of the size, I printed each one of those panels out on it's own sheet of paper and taped them all back together and then onto the back of my 16" x 21" sheet of Strathmore 300 series bristol. On a lightbox I was able to see through the bristol and ink the page using my printed out pencils as a guide. I tried to leave a lot of open space and play with pattern more than texture, but as this was supposed to be a David Petersen Nemo and not just me trying to copy Windsor McKay, I added enough of my stippling and linework so that it felt very much like something I would have done. Even though I was working very large, I still opted to use a smaller Copic Multiliner that I normally use. While the page is lager, there are more panels than usual, and this page isn't getting reduced for printing...Locust Moon is publishing this book at the monster size of 16" x 21"!

The last step was to scan the inked piece (in 2 parts) and then color the whole thing. The coloring techniques I used were similar to all the other pieces I do, where I flat in base colors and them shade and highlight them suing the burn and dodge tools in Photoshop. Because I wanted to have a hybrid of coloring styles though (between the original Nemo strips and my work) I didn't render the piece as deeply as I normally would have leaving a lot of the colors more flat that usual. I added some paper texture and a faint halftone screen to get the piece to feel more in the right printing period for a Little Nemo story.

This book is going to be fantastic and is scheduled to be available in early 2014.

*6-23-14 UPDATE* The book is currently being Kickstarted HERE

2014 Appearances:
MSU Comics Forum: February 22
Emerald City Comic Con: March 28-30
C2E2: April 25-27
Motor City Comic Con: May 16-18
Comicpalooza: May 23-25
Phoenix Comic Con: June 5-8
Heroes Con: June 20-22
San Diego Comic Con: July 23-27
Boston Comic Con: August 8-10
Baltimore Comic Con: Sept. 5-7
NY Comic Con: Oct. 9-12

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The June Alley Inn Model

The Legends of the Guard Volume 2 Hardcover was released in-stores last week, and it occured to me, that I'd never done a proper blogpost of the model of the June Alley Inn. So, at long last, here is a proper tour of the model and my thoughts on it.

I built this model before starting the first volume back in '09 when starting work on the first Legends series. 

Since all of my pages were going to occur in a tavern, and I wanted to have a clear idea of what this tavern looked like. I also wanted to establish areas of the tavern that would be easily recognizable, that way, when I was introducing 12 new mice, the reader may be able to help tell them apart not only by their clothes and fur color, but also by where in the tavern they were sitting. 

As is my normal custom for designing locations, I work best when building them by hand from scraps of chipboard, cardboard, basswood, and other misc stuff in the studio. I started with the staircase and the bar in the center of the tavern space and built out from there tying to be somewhat symmetrical with regard to the placement of beams and doors.

The model is modular. Each wall is free-standing and the floor splits in two with the bar-top and staircase going on one side. This was for several reasons, one it's easier to move and store, but mainly because it's more useful to study and photograph if I can remove walls and get in there at mouse-eye-level.

The benches and tables were made out of very thin basswood (used for doll house flooring & paneling) and bristol board. The seating was a key aspect to the purpose of the model. I had to arrange the furniture in a way that made room for all the guests, made sense in the environment, and left me with interesting "camera" angles when drawing a lot of panels of talking mice. For both Legends series, I made a master seating plan for where each mouse was sitting

Details about how the tavern operated came to me as I built the model. The kitchen would be in the rear, and I gave it two doors so June wouldn't need to walk all the way around the bar when brining customers stew or bread.  There was a vacant space under one of the stairwells I thought perfect for firewood storage. another vacancy under the stairs, but behind the bar became cellar stair entry. And to decorate the walls of the tavern I could "hide" the covers from the series as paintings/prints.

For Legends of the Guard Volume 2, I had thought about showing (either in my tavern pages, the epilogue, or just in the extras) the 2nd floor of the June Alley Inn. I made a model which sat on top of the existing model, was also modular in 2 pieces (mainly for transport & storage) and worked with the existing exterior elevation I'd drawn of the Inn. Once I had the floors in and the stairway cut out, I placed popsicle sticks down as temporary walls until I found a floorplan I liked.

The large room (back of the photo, but front of the inn) was to be June & Alistair's chambers, while some of the other rooms were to be private & communal guest rooms. Ultimately, the plan for including a second floor in Volume 2 was scrapped...but who knows...there may be a Volume 3....

2014 Appearances:
MSU Comics Forum: February 22
C2E2: April 25-27
Comicpalooza: May 23-25
Heroes Con: June 20-22
San Diego Comic Con: July 23-27
Boston Comic Con: August 8-10
NY Comic Con: Oct. 9-12

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