Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Nightwatch Gazebo

Early next year I plan to release a new Mouse Guard sketchbook titled "Aline Together". The majority of that material is inked commissions I did during last year's ONLINECON event. But to round out the sketchbook sometimes I need to generate some material of my own both to fill up pages and to add certain tone or subject for a thematic through line for the work in the book

To the left you can see one of those pieces finished and colored ready for a page in that sketchbook––and in this blogpost I'll break down the process to get there.

The idea for this piece came from a photo shared on a Twitter account that shares abandoned architecture. The photo is from the gardens of Quinta da Regaleira in Portugal. I altered the proportions to me a it a bit more squat and compact. After I drew the architecture on a lightpad using the photo as a guide, I drew separately two Guardmice on a night's watch. In Photoshop I combined the elements and added a digital moon and some bat silhouettes.

I inked the piece with a printout of the above layout taped to the back of a sheet of Strathmore 300 series bristol. On my Huion lightpad I can see through the bristol down to the pencils and use them as a guide while I ink. 

I used Copic Multiliner SP pens (the 0.7 & 0.3 nibs) to ink this as I streamed on Twitch, answering fans questions as I worked.

When the inks were finished, I started the color flatting (the first step of digital coloring where you establish all the color spaces with flat color). I also added all my color holds at this stage. Color holds are areas where I want the ink lines to be a color other than black, like the background trees, the moon, the bat silhouettes, the stars, and the flames.

I'm finding that I rarely do piece with cool blues, so for this night watch I purposely went into that color range--though some of the choices are desaturated or warm enough, nitpickers would say I still didn't get there.

Below you can see the final colors all rendered withe the Dodge and Burn tools and ready for inclusion in the sketchbook I'll release next year.

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