Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Ivonne - 8th of the Black Axe Wielders

For a new 10 piece print set, I illustrated all of the past wielders of the Black Axe from Bardrick to Celanawe. I'd shown and listed the wielders in the Black Axe book--but they were only ever visualized as embroidery details on the Adana Tapestry––and I wanted to give them a more solid design existence. The set of ten 4.75" x 4.75" prints is available for sale in my online store and comes in a vellum envelope:


To the left you can see the finished art for the Ivonne, Eighth of the Black Axes print in the set. Below I'm going to go through the process to create the art.

The Adana Tapestry image of Ivonne is pretty plain--just a brown mouse with a red cloak--no other clothing or decorative cues. So, for this piece I took some liberties to make her more interesting with details like a tartan cloak and clothing embroidery and scars. I drew her on copy paper with the idea that she's standing on a dead weasel, though I drew that weasel (as well as the axe) separately on different sheets of paper. In Photoshop I merged all three drawings as well as a runic number '8'. Tinting them each a different color helped me see which line belonged to which drawing so I could easily clean them up and scale everything appropriately.

I printed out the above layout when I was happy with the arrangement and taped that printout to the back of a sheet of Strathmore 300 series bristol. On my Huion Lightpad I'm able to see through the bristol to the the printout to use it as a guide to ink from. I ink with Copic Multiliner SP pens, and I used the 0.7 & 0.3 nibs for this piece.

Besides my normal desire for interesting line weights and textures, the only trick here was to leave a gap around the tartan plain pattern on her cloak from the contour lines of the form & wrinkles.

Color Flats:

When the inks were done, I scanned the art and brought it back into Photoshop to start the coloring process. This is the step where I 'm basically just filling in each area with flat color. I made the cloak red, but with a gold plain pattern, and then used a grey-green for her main clothing palette. In this step I also establish the color holds, areas where I want the ink work to be a color other than black. Here I pushed all the background flower lines back, added the above mentioned plaid & embroidery, her scars, and the numeral '8'.

Final Colors:

The final colors were rendered by using the dodge and burn tools in Photoshop (and a textured brush) to add shadows, highlights, and textures. I select areas and play with the color balance to shift colors in some areas.

The entire 10 piece print set is available in my online store: https://mouseguard.bigcartel.com/product/wielders-of-the-black-axe-print-set

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