Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Creator Commentary: Black Axe Hardcover Extras

I've made a Creator Commentary video for the Hardcover Extras for Mouse Guard: The Black Axe!  Please feel free to follow along in your copy of the story in either issue form of from the hardcover as I talk about the behind the scenes details, art notes, and my head-space as I go page by page. Enjoy!

Direct YouTube link: https://youtu.be/tMoa0yOF3DM

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Mouse Guard Mosaic Maker 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...though some of the include those ideas thematically.

This Mosaic Maker piece to the left is a finished piece for that collection. And below I'm going to go through the process steps to create the art.

For the collection I wanted to show a mouse making some kind of artwork––perhaps something large, like a fresco or a mosaic. I looked up a few Byzantine mosaic portraits and then was drawn back to the 2015 Mouse Guard mosaic I made for the 2015 Bookplate (http://davidpetersen.blogspot.com/2015/03/2015-bookplate-process.html). I decided to draw the mouse who is constructing it within the world of the Mouse Territories. I went back to a clean version of the mosaic design and on a lightpad drew it out in fragments.

I took my two pencil drawings show above (the partially completed mosaic in the arch and the mouse placing a piece) and scanned them into Photoshop to get some colors in there to make sense of those shapes as well as to get the piece in a nice square format for the sketchbook page. I ultimately cropped in a bit tighter than the original pencils and had to shift the ladder in closer to the edge of the arch so it still fit in the piece.

To ink the piece I printed out the above layout and taped it to the back of a sheet of 300 series Strathmore Bristol. On my lightpad, I was able to see through the surface of the bristol down to the printout to use as a guide to ink from. I used Copic Multiliner SP pens as I inked every little mosaic chip and double lined each wall-sketch mark.

Flat Colors:
With the inks done I scanned in the physical artwork back into Photoshop to start the coloring process. Here I painted in flat versions of all the colors––where those colors started and stopped, like a professional version of coloring-in-the-lines.

I also established a color hold over all the mosaic seam lines as well as the marks on the wall defining the pattern in the unfinished places.

Final Colors:
The last step was to render the final colors in Photoshop using the Dodge and Burn tools. Those tools are used to darken and lighten base colors to form shadows and highlights. Using a stock texture brush also helps add some life to the rendering.

The most time consuming part was adding little edge highlights on nearly every tile.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Plotmasters: HERO SQUAD

The newest episode of The Plotmasters Project went live today. It's an episode Jesse and I recorded LIVE on my Twitch stream during ONLINECON. (If you missed the episode, I've included it at the bottom of the post and a direct link here: https://youtu.be/hSCi6YumUaM

HERO SQUAD is a IP of Jesse's that is the subject of this latest episode. To the left you can see my finished Plotmasters update. And below in the blog, I'll share my process for creating it and my ideas along the way.

Here is some of Jesse's original art for Hero Squad from the late 80's or the earliest of 90's. The characters were based on two of his childhood stuffed animals: a bear named Timmy and a rabbit whose name has been lost to time as well as a comic-strip style flying hamster with a jetpack and a tall yellow hat.

Jesse and I talk more in the episode about the characters--but essentially, the bear and rabbit are not-so-great at the hero-ing gig, and the hamster is.

So, I started with a series of pencil drawings to create my Plotmatsers updated piece of the Hero Squad. I drew the bear and rabbit seprately in copy paper, and then used Photoshop to compose them into a composition I liked. On a lightpad, I put a new sheet of paper over each character to add in their array of hero-gear: a bear-trap, a toilet plunger, a shotgun, a tank sprayer, a butterfly net, dynamite, and a magnet on a fishing line. These accessories were inspired by the Disney short 'The Lonsome Ghosts' and from a scene in the Wizard of Oz. The Hamster was a smaller drawing I also digitally added in.

To do something a little different, I decided to ink the piece not using my usual Copic Multiliner pens, but rather some Pigma Brush pens. I wanted to have more of a cartoonist's life and energy about them--something you might see in a comic strip. On my lightpad I was able to see through a sheet of Strathmore 300 series bristol down to a printout of my composition as I inked. Unintentionally, I found that when I inked these more cartoony characters with a brush-pen I ended up with work that looks like it's paying homage to Skottie Young or Jake Parker...which was a lovely and unintentional happenstance. 

With the inks finished, I scanned them into Photoshop to color the final piece and add a title treatment as a background. Because I'd already inked these characters differently, I also opted to color them differently. Instead of rendering them with the dodge and burn tools like I normally color, I decided to just add 2 layers over my flat colors: one for shadows (set to multiply) and one for highlights (set to screen). I drew the shadows and highlights using my tablet (something I rarely use when digitally coloring).

The Plotmasters Project: Hero Squad

Direct link for YouTube:

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

OnlineCon Toned Commissions

I've nearly finished up all the toned paper commissions from the August 2020 #ONLINECON. In addition to having so many fans be able to get original artwork from me, I made sure to create a piece for each guest who came on my twitch stream and helped make the event a success. I streamed drawing almost every one of these on my Twitch Stream

A Mouse Herbalist

Usagi Yojimbo

Koba from Planet of the Apes

Art Nouveau Celanawe

Art Nouveau Owl 

B'dg (a squirrel Green Lantern)

Baby Yoda (aka 'The Child')

Abe Sapien

An Edwardian Otter

Mr. Badger

A Weasel Lord

Em of Appleloft



Saxon writing a love letter



A Mouse in jousting armor

Usagi Yojimbo fresh from battle

A Lizard puppet for guest James Wojtal Jr.

Furry Ackermonster for guest Gordon Smuder

K2-SO for guest Gary Whitta

Grahame the dragon for guest Tony DiTerlizzi

The Owlhen's Mouse for guest Meredith Salenger

The Crown of Shadows & a Sparrow for guest Gabriel Rodriguez

An Everquest Badger

The Cryptkeeper

A Mouse Archer in the snow

A Mouse Archeologist

Guardmouse Delvin for guest Mark Smylie

Celanawe with a ladybug

Mr. Toad

Skeletor mouse on a kitten

A Mouse Firefighter

A Cute Dragon for guest Annie Stegg-Gerard

A fierce Dragon for guest Justin Gerard

A Mouse Minstrel for guest Chris Schweizer


A Horse named Mano

A Mouse Puppeteer for guest Jamie Bressler

A Mouse Apothecary for guest Kishore Hari

A Thank you to Ronn Dech for taking Julia and I to see Hamilton on Broadway last year.

A Pudgy Horse for guest Jeremy Bastian

Thomas the Tiger from 1149 for guest Jesse Glenn

A Mouse Sculptor

Roger Rabbit

The Hulk

A Hamster as a Mongol Warrior

A Mouse from Shaleburrow for guest Johnny Fraser-Allen


A Badger holding a sack of Kennedy Potatoes

A Charming Dwarf for guest Luke Crane

Meowthra the cat as a Kaiju 

Bobo the cat as an Explorer

Sprocket the cat as a fashionably dressed lady

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