Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Mouse Guard 'Puppet Theater' Process

I've released a new Mouse Guard sketchbook titled 'Dawn, Daye, & Dusk'. It can be found in my online store: https://mouseguard.bigcartel.com/ 

 I've created new pieces for almost the entire contents of the collection––mostly themed on trying to get certain lighting effects in to show time of day.

For this piece to the left, The time of day (and season) is being shown through a puppet show. Below I walk through the steps of creating this piece.

I started with a Mouse Guard puppeteer commission I did earlier this year. Instead of marionettes (mouse puppets I've drawn many times) I went with Punch and Judy style glove puppets. So I gathered more reference materials with Punch & Judy puppets, and a few different fold out puppet theaters. For the backdrop to change from night to day, I wad inspired by the moon plate on some clocks that show the phase of the moon.

I drew most of this piece in one go––the puppets and the stage. After I scanned my drawing into Photoshop, I did make some adjustments, moving the characters and elements around a bit until it was a better composition. I also added some digital elements for the pattern of the star-shaped details, the text at the top of the stage (referencing the Apple Kettle Puppet troupe mentioned in Baldwin the Brave and Legends of the Guard Vol.2), as well as the mouse-sun & moon faces that I took from a previous illustration.

After the above layout was finished, I printed it out on standard copy paper. That paper was then taped to the back of a sheet of Strathmore 300 series Bristol. On my Huion lightpad, I was able to see through the surface of the bristol and down to the layout to use as a guide as I inked. For the inking pens, I used a Copic Multiliner SP 0.7. I inked this piece live on my Twitch stream

Flat Colors: 
Once the inks were finished, I scanned them into Photoshop to begin the coloring process. The first step in digitally coloring a piece is to lay down flat colors––no rendering, no texture. It's a professional version of coloring within the lines. Establishing where every color starts and stops. Also at this stage, I added in all my color holds. These are areas where I want the ink lines to be a painted color other than black. I isolated and painted the linework of the time-of-day-and-season disk, the Apple Kettle type, the painted sword and scroll logo, and the painted features on the puppets.

Final colors:
I rendered the final colors using the Dodge and Burn tools in Photoshop. I do this all with a textured brush, while also making subtle adjustments to the tools options so that I can create muted and desaturated shadows and more vibrant highlights. The final piece is included in my latest Mouse Guard sketchbook collection: Dawn, Daye, and Dusk (available now in my online store)

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