Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Mouse Guard 'Mortimer' Wanted Poster Process

Last year just before everything shut down to COVID, I created a print that was a wanted poster of a mouse named Mortimer. The idea was to lightly poke at Mickey after the Mouse Guard movie was canceled.

I did a very limited run of these, tea staining each one, and sold them at C2E2 in 2020 and the handful that I came home with through my online store. Well, I've reprinted them again (though this is the last batch I'll do) for ONLINECON, and in this week's blogpost I'll run through the process to create the art as well as the tea staining.

The idea started with an inside joke amongst family and friends who, like me, were still raw about the movie cancelation. I penciled out a drawing of a familiar looking black furred mouse with buttons, gloves, and pale face as an executioner with an axe (note the silhouette of the details on the top and bottom of the axe)

Someone in the group that I was texting the image to mentioned what a fun print it would make...and I thought it would be a fun in-world wanted poster.

So I used my pencil drawing as a guide to ink from

The inks though needed to look very specific. I wanted to have them seem like a block print--something the mice of the territories would be able to mass produce to share far and wide.

Even though my degree is in printmaking, I didn't want to carve a print block for it though, and I found a way with brush pen to replicate a convincing enough look of a woodblock print to satisfy myself.

Below is a timelapse video of me inking the piece on my Twitch stream

With the inked artwork done, I scanned it and worked up the type using a font. I then rasterized the text (meaning to make it into graphic pixels instead of editable type) so I could custom destress it so it too had imperfections like a woodblock print.

I had the posters laser printed at 9" x12" at a local print shop on a heavy stock paper.

Jeremy Bastian shared with me his tea staining instructions that he uses for all his Cursed Pirate Girl prints. And I cycled through a rotation of prints on a tray getting stained and brushed with tea while others that had already gone though that process baked in the oven at a low temperature.

This means that every print is unique in some way. Some are lighter, some darker, some splotchier, some with streaks, etc--no two are alike, and every one of them was stained by me.

After the prints come out of the oven, they are pretty warped. I stack heavy books on top of them for a few days to help flatten them out so they are easier for us to bag, board, and ship--and for you to frame or store.

Below again is one of the final Mortimer prints. This is the final run of them and I do not plan to print more. You can purchase any remaining prints here: mouseguard.bigcartel.com

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