Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Mouse Guard Tote Bag

At New York Comic Con I'll be debuting a new Mouse Guard item: A Mouse Guard Tote-Bag! This is something Julia and I have toyed with offering for a while, especially since we sell hardcover books at conventions. And with NYCC just around the corner, I did new artwork especially for the tote. In this blogpost I'll go through the process of creating the artwork you see to the left.

The Tote will debut at NYCC, but I'll be selling it in my online store sometime after returning home (possibly not until after Baltimore Comic Con later this month).

When Julia and I decided on the model of the tote (a 12oz. Canvas Gusset Shopping Tote 10.5" x 14") I toyed with saving myself some work and reusing a Mouse Guard image from the past for this printing.

Of the pieces I tried, this older tee-shirt design (the 'Jorgen' tee) really spoke to me...but the design was too busy. It didn't read at a distance, and the sparrow the mouse is riding is practically lost.

So I set out to do a piece in this spirit. A guardmouse riding a bird...

I was going to draw a sparrow again, but decided after a google search to go with a bird that had a more specific silhouette and feather patterning. So, I drew the blue jay you see in the lower right of this image. With the help of some calibration marks and a light pad, I placed another sheet of paper over that drawing to work out the oak branch, bird armor and guardmouse. One last sheet of paper laid on top allowed me to tighten up details for the mouse (their sword, clothing & cloak clasp.

With those drawings each scanned separately, I could composite them together into a single image in Photoshop.
Each drawing was on a separate layer and tinted a different color to help me edit the composition together knowing where one drawing started and the other ended.

The backgound pattern was a circular design I found online and heavily edited away to just those floral-looking stars and a few radial dots and lines.

I printed out the digital composite above onto copy paper and then taped that to the back of a sheet of Strathmore 300 series bristol.

On my Huion light pad I was able to see through the surface of the bristol down to the printout to use as a guide as I inked with Copic Multiliners (the 0.7 nib mainly). I streamed as I inked this piece on my Twitch channel.

The Mouse Guard Tote bag will be available at NYCC and Baltimore and in my online store soon after those events.

2019 Appearances
New York Comic Con October 3-6
Baltimore Comic Con October 18-20
The Fantastic Workshop Nov. 13-18

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