Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Draw The Extinct

This Friday, on New Years Day (Jan. 1st 2021 4-8pm east) I'll be streaming over on my Twitch channel: twitch.tv/davidpetersen with a new monthly community draw event called #DrawTheExtinct. We'll be doing it on the theme of drawing made-up animals based on a 2001-ish print I did. On the first Friday of each month I'll provide some reference and inspiration prompts as well as a name for our fictional beastie. I'll be awarding some prizes to a few standouts of the drawings you fans do (and submit either through the discord or on social media using #DrawTheExtinct).

The first Extinct Creature up is "The Brockball Bruin"

See you in a few days at the start of the New Year, and be ready to draw!

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

2020 Twitch Holiday Party Stream

 Tomorrow I'll be hosting a Holiday Party on Twitch from my livingroom! Come join me from 4-8 as I'll be chatting with you all and inviting you to come on the stream with me!

There will be two ways to join the stream to chat with me, share a holiday message, or share memories of your favorite Christmases. 

 Jump into the Google Hangout link I've created and have your camera and mic on. I'll be bringing guests one at a time onto the stream.

Here is the link for the Google Meeting room:

If you're camera shy, but would still like to come onto the stream, Join the stream via my Discord by joining the server using this link:

In the Discord channel you will see a voice channel--that's where I'll have you click to join the stream.

Hope to see you all tomorrow for my last stream of the year––and where I'll also be giving away some prizes!

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Mouse Guard Movie VFX Artists Video

 Back in August as part of ONLINECON on my Twitch channel I invited 5 of the VFX/Concept artists: Aleksey Pollak, Darek Zabrocki, Didier Konnings, David Masson, & Hristo Chukov, who worked on the (now canceled) Mouse Guard movie. Instead of using that time to lament the cancelation, I wanted to celebrate the wonderful creative work in developing Mouse Guard as a feature film property. Below you can watch the video show and tell where they share their work and experiences.


Direct Link to YouTube: https://youtu.be/jVOXNVsE8-M

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Plotmasters R-Wars

The latest episode of The Plotmasters Project went up on the site today. It was an episode Jesse and I recorded LIVE on my Twitch stream for ONLINECON titled: R-WARS! To the left you can see my finished art for my Plotmasters update of the idea. Below in this blogpost I'll show a few steps of the process as well as a better look at the individual character re-designs.

If you haven't seen the episode, I've posted the video at the bottom of the blogpost, or you can link to it directly on YouTube here: https://youtu.be/d-qAckOx1mE

The origins of R-Wars were from our mutual friend Mike Davis (real life Rand)--he'd wanted to create a Star Wars/Wing Commander style comic. We share a lot of the old and embarrassing artwork in the episode, but here for quick reference is my mid-90's versions of the core group: (Clockwise from top) J-Man, Zubelflex, Sal, & Davis (or Mike or Hiro depending on what incarnation of the project this was) 

At some point, I'd decided to keep the name R-Wars and make the 'R' stand for 'Resalvage' and theme their space exploits to be about fighting over scrap ships & debris.

The thrust behind the design choices for my Plotmasters update were to think of the characters as they would be built by the Jim Henson company as fantasy puppet characters. Lots of textures, wrinkles, layered costumes––and a variety of character shapes ranging from what would be mouth/hand puppets, to human performers with animatronic masks, to walk around full-body characters. To the left you can see my pencil drawings that lead to my final character designs.

The next step was to ink those characters. Because I wanted to have each character isolated for a nice vignette, I inked them all separately––with the plan to assemble them digitally into a group shot when they were all finished.

I inked these on a Huion light pad with printouts of my pencils taped to the back of some Strathmore 300 series bristol. I inked these all live on my twitch stream with Copic Multiliner SP pens.

Below, in the final rendered color images, I'll go into some character design choices for each one:

Let's start with the only human in the crew. At different points in the history of drawing R-Wars characters (1991-2006), I'd drawn mike as a kid, teen, and adult. For this re-design I thought making him young, but not a child was the right way to go. To help with reinforcing his youth I made sure some of the gear (belt & gloves) were too large for him--like Gully in Battle Chasers or Jarek from Tellos). I also wanted to emulate the feel of a young Luke Skywalker looking out at the twin suns of Tatooine––and perhaps I got a little too close to those aesthetics with the hair and clothing (but I tried to play with the color to shift back away from that particular pre-Jedi). Davis is the pilot of their vessel, a homage to my pal Mike Davis who came up with the original R-Wars characters  and always wanted to be a pilot.

The original version of him was Mike's homage to the Kilrathi from Wing Commander, and Jesse Glenn and I always drew him like a taller version of a cat from Cats Trio, but with no nose. For my update I decided to use the posture of a full-body walkaround puppet (like Big Bird, Bear in the Big Blue House, or Earl Sinclair). I also decided to give the character a role––he'd never been fleshed out as to what his character contributed. I made him the captain of the ship, and so I gave him some classic ship captain trappings with a more uniform like coat (like Captain Gloval from Robotech), a turtleneck tunic, and a pipe.

Zube was always meant to be a bit of a Han Solo character––perhaps a little more lighthearted though...so I just leaned hard into that design archetype. Most of the update was about making his original costume more interesting (giving the long vest some trim (which was based on the lining of a trench coat I wore in high school), quilting his shirt, and defining his boots). In fact, the pose is the same as a promo photo Harrison Ford took as Han back in 1977. Zube didn't have a definitive crew role, but I always described him as a crack-shot furball––so he's been given the task of security.

Sal's name came from 'Salamander' and he was always the mechanic of the crew. For my redesign I kept his basic silhouette & proportions, but played up the alien species aspect with scales, gils, and eye-stalks. The pouch bandolier is completely an homage to Chewbacca's. If R-Wars was being developed as a live action project, I'd see Sal as a hand puppet who was occasionally a little person in costume for walking sequences.

DOC (formerly CAP):
This character started out as Cap Tranfo (a character I made up when I was 13)––and not at all a part of R-Wars. But over the years, I incorporated him in. For his original incarnation he's a scientist who becomes part of the intergalactic space police after a few years of space salvaging. He had metal buckets that he'd sometimes have over his hands or legs that could transform into various tools (jet engines, saws, grappling hooks, etc.)  For the update, I changed his transforming buckets into an augmented mech gauntlet. It allows him to move heavy scrap, but also a precision for any medical treatments. Because I'd given Jaeman the new role of Captain, it seemed odd to keep this character's name as Cap...so I changed it to Doc as a nod to his new science role as the medic.

Over the years of drawing the R-Wars characters, neither Jesse or I had ever drawn their ship. And since I design structures better in 3D with my hands, I made a model of a space freighter that had something very much like a shipping container/garbage truck aesthetic to the area that salvaged parts are stored. The model is amost entirely made of shipboard (the backs of bristol pads) with some rigid tubes, cardscock, and thin dowels in for details.

In the inked illustration of the ship, io get rid of the silliness pardoy-like name of 'R-Wars' as a title, I decided that the ship would have a call sign R.WOR. That way it still had some connection to the old, while bringing it firmly into new territory that could be developed for real. 

Here again is the final art of all the characters and the R.WOR composited together into a single poster-like image.

The Plotmasters Project Episode: R-Wars:
Direct link to YouTube: https://youtu.be/d-qAckOx1mE

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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