Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Legends of the Guard characters revisited

To start on the 2018 sketchbook and to make sure my portfollio was stocked with original art for San Diego Comic Con, I had the idea of doing Mouse Guard pieces based on specific characters & stories from the guest contributors in Legends of the Guard. For those who don't know, Legends is a spinoff anthology series where guest artists write and illustrate tall tales, fables, and folklore set in the Mouse Guard world. The 3 volumes of Legends are now available in a nice boxed set.

Below I'll show a bit of the original artist's tale that I used as reference, and the inks and colors for my homage:

by Sean Rubin (a) & Alex Kain (w)

In Volume 1, Sean and Alex told a tale about a mouse named Eskel who visits Barkhamstead to stop a bear who has gotten too close to the town. To get the bear where he needs to perform the slaying, Eskel opens a locked canister filled with some special blend of herbs, pollens, etc that will lure the beast right below him.

For my version, I just wanted to focus on that moment where there is no turning back, where the elaborately decorated and sealed canister is opened, the contents blow to the wind, and the bear's arrival is imminent. 



The Mouse Generals
by Eric Canete

In Volume 2, Eric illustrated a story about three mice who, to be recognized as leaders, build and wear elaborate headdresses. Unfortunately, like in the Aesop story this is based on, the crowns become their undoing.

For my version, I copied the very pose Eric drew and the color palate Scott Keating painted. The designs for these mice are so wonderful, and I loved getting to translate each adornment and texture for this piece.



The Shade
by Jemma Salume

In Volume 2, Jemma did a Mouse Guard ghost story! Two Guardmice, Fila & Aaron, visit an uncharted town where a cursed tree's shadow transports those in the shade to a horrible place haunted by a ghost owl.

For my version, I redrew Aaron & Fila (I cribbed details from Jemma's initial character designs that were refined for the story) and studied a few owl skeleton photos for the ghost.



When Moles Around
by Charles Paul Wilson III

In Volume 2, C.P. Wilson III contributed a story about a mouse and a mole become unlikely friends, especially since burrowing moles would ruin the foundations of mouse dwellings. The mole ends up using this trait to foil the plans of a marauding group of mouse bandits & pillagers.

For my version, I drew a hero-shot of the Mouse and the Mole burrowing out to save the day.



Oleg the Wise
by Alex Sheikman

In Volume 1, Alex adapted a Russian folktale about a warrior/king who is told a prophecy that his mount will be the death of him. For the Legends version, Oleg gives up the weasel he rides due to this prediction (seemly wise as a weasel is a natural predator) only to be struck down years after the weasel is dead and buried visiting its grave.

For my version, I kept the color palate and layout of a banner in Oleg's castle (again expertly colored by Scott Keating) but with the armor designs of the 'real' Oleg



My hope is to do more of these Legends homages so that the bulk of the 2018 Mouse Guard Sketchbook is Legends of the Guard related. You can still order the 2016 & 2017 sketchbooks in my online store: https://mouseguard.bigcartel.com

2018 Appearances coming soon...

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