Every year since 2012 I've been creating a new Mouse Guard bookplate as a special item for fans. The idea is that, with these signed by me, even if you can't bring me your physical copy of a Mouse Guard book, this bookplate can be glued in making your copy signed.
I'll be releasing this year's new bookplate in my online store in April when I'm hosting my during the #ONLINECON event on my Twitch channel. Currently you can buy several bookplates from past years (and see blogposts for those bookplates at the bottom of this post). For this Blogpost I wanted to share the process for creating the art for the bookplate this year.
I had a false start with this year's bookplate. I originally planned to emulate the look of an etching for the art, but after deciding that it didn't work reduced to bookplate size, I opted for it to be an upcoming 8" x 8" print.
You can read more about that piece and the see the process I used to create it here: https://davidpetersen.blogspot.com/2022/02/baldwin-brave-faux-etching.html)
So when I started over, I went with a stained glass look for the art. Using a painting of Gwendolyn (inspired by the concept art for the now-canceled Mouse Guard movie) I designed a stained glass window by drawing overtop a printout of that painting on a lightpad and a clean sheet of copy paper. In photosop I tinted out all the areas that would be replicating painted glass (opposed to the black lead-lines). I used Photoshops line tools to make the frame border, and typed in a mash up of two quotes from my books: Guardmice, Let this stone always stand for safety and prosperity. Let it be your conviction, your pride, and your home. We fight for and defend all that is ours.'
When I liked the above layout, I printed it out and taped it to the back of a sheet of Strathmore 300 series bristol. On my Huion Lightpad I was able to see through the bristol surface to the printed design and use it as a guide to ink the lead lines. Having done actual stained glass before really helped in understanding where all those lines should and shouldn't go––that each shape of glass formed by the lead is something that could be cut and shaped traditionally.
The softer bits, made to look like pained glass, were done with a HB pencil.
I then scanned my ink/pencil hybrid art into Photoshop and started flatting in the color and tinting the pencils to match or compliment those colors.
Most of the color choices were made from the original Gwendolyn painting from that 2019 Heroes Con, but I did have to make subtle adjustments and choices for the border elements. The orange and blue compliments with the yellow corners seemed to time the palate for the whole piece back together.
I then rendered the color layers with the Dodge and Burn tools in Photoshop using a textured brush. I tinted individual pieces of glass in the same color families differently from one another, and I added a slight blur/shadow layer around all the lead lines. The last step was to digitally paint in all the solder joints. Overall, I'm very pleased with the results.
I hope you enjoy this new bookplate when it's released in April...and below you can look back at the past bookplates and the blogposts about them: