Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Saxon Kenzie & Rand on the mossy rocks

As part of the new illustrations for a 2024 Mouse Guard Calendar, I did this piece of Saxon, Kenzie, and Rand exploring some mossy rocks.

Like last year's calendar, this new one will feature half of the months featuring new-for-this-project artwork, while the other months feature existing favorite illustrations.

Below in this blogpost I'll walk through the process of creating the artwork 

I had 'rocks' written down on a list of calendar subject inspirations. So, I drew the original trio of Saxon, Kenzie, and Rand on some rocks. The rocks have swirl patterns carved into them to evoke a mood from some of the earliest Mouse Guard ink drawings: https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-uW64ncVFn1c/T0MSKkPsAGI/AAAAAAAAC8k/j59fnX6ee_4/s1600/Lieam.jpg

The drawings of the characters were done on copy paper, scanned into Photoshop, assembled with some quick digitally painted rocks (that I then printed out to do tighter pencil drawings over) and then assembled again.

I printed the above digitally assembled layout onto two sheets of legal sized paper (taping them together so the image was 11" x 11") and then taped them with painter's tape onto the bak of a sheet of Strathmore 300 series Bristol.

On my Huion Lightpapd I was able to see through the surface of the bristol down to the printout and use it as my 'pencils' as I worked. I used Copic Multiliner SP pens (the 0.3 & 0.7 nibs). 

I inked this piece on my Twitch Stream where I mostly focused and got lost in the textures of the rocks and moss. I then finished inked the characters off stream.

With the inks finished, I scanned them into Photoshop and started the coloring process. That first step is known as 'Flatting' and essentially is professional coloring-inside-the-lines. A lot of the color palette was established both by the cannon of what I know the characters look like, but also a bit from my layout stage. 

Here I also established color holds (areas where I want the ink lines to be a color other than black) on all of the grass

The final step was to render the piece. I used the Dodge and Burn tools in Photoshop while using a stock textured brush. I colored a great deal of this on my Twitch Stream as well.

As I said before, the colored image appears in the calendar for 2024

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