Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Fan Art

A great joy as a creator is to see fans drawing, sculpting, panting, modeling, cosplaying, inking, and expressing themselves by making artwork of Mouse Guard characters from the books and moments from their RPG campaigns. And so to celebrate that, here is a whole post of amazing Fan Art

Aidan Cooley

Art of RMZ


Bamboo Bandit

Brian Hurtt & Matt Kindt

Byron Leboe

Cody Gramstad

David lo pu

Datlef Henke


Cosplay Kids at Laker Con in Michigan

Florian Buchgraber



Inchiostro e Radici

Iván García

Jessica Peters

Joe Pingleton

Jordi contreraS

Kimberli Johnson

kuro Bono


laurathebard (dot) official

Mx. Isabell Struble

Paul GribblesMiniatures

Salvatore Pellone



Stian Willums


Tom Gambino

Vinícius Ibrahim


Melvin Higgins

Sir Foxalot




Greg Jones Jr.


Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Mouse Guard Lanyard!

I've designed & produced a Mouse Guard Lanyard which will be for sale at Emerald City Comic Con  and available in my online store soon after we return home. 

It's a 1.5" wide sublimated ribbon lanyard with printing on the front and back side as well as a lobster claw style clasp for your badge/id.

This is an item Julia has wanted us to produce for some time, but I was always hesitant about, but after ECCC last year, I surrendered and started looking into the manufacturing options (Thanks here to Jim Demonakos & James Kim for their help).

Below are some of the process for creating the very thin and very long art.

I toyed around with a few different design ideas (a few of which I may revisit if sales on this are successful enough) and landed on something that featured many of the main characters as well as some Ivy and the Mouse Guard logo.

In playing with a layout, I dropped in some art from character paintings I did for SDCC last year and liked how they looked so I redrew them as crisp ink drawings. I also did new art to add in Celanawe and Gwendolyn (and I would have added in Rand too if he'd have fit). I inked the characters in two groups (even though Lieam overlaps Sadie) so that I could fit them easier on a sheet of bristol board and perhaps make the original art more sellable.
For the ivy, I needed a very long stretch of it. I inked everything twice as large as it would end up printing (that way I could ink it comfortably, but it wasn't so large that I'd loose detail in the reduction).

That meant I needed 51" of ivy 3" wide. So, I broke up the ivy into 3 segments that overlapped slightly that I could piece back together in Photoshop after scanning (you can see some registration & calibration marks in the margins). The inks for these were done on a sheet of 14" x 17" Strathmore bristol with Copic Multiliner SP pens.
After everything was scanned and assembled I had a very tall file to get ready for printing. I've separated it into two parts here for the sake of the blog to make it easier to see.

The characters colors were pretty well established from having draw and colored the same characters for years (though I always make micro adjustments to compensate for the colors surrounding those established colors). I also established color holds (areas where I want the ink lines to be a color other than black) on the ivy veins and Gwendolyn's dress.

I played with the ivy colors for a while too--there are lots of shades of green and I needed these to be a bit warmer and more subtle than most ivy you'd see in the wild.
The last step before sending them off to manufacturing was to render all the the color and finish the logo/emblem treatment.

I used the Dodge and Burn tools in Photoshop with a stock textured brush to add all the shadows and highlights. 

There was also a period of experimentation for how best to make sure the logo & emblem didn't get lost in the business of the ivy, but I'm happy with the final results.

As I said above, the lanyard will be available at Emerald City Comic Con at the end of this month and in my online store shortly after we return home.

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Foxglove Print Process

Each Year I create a new limited edition signed and numbered 11" x 11" print. The tradition started many years ago when Julia urged me to create a new print for a convention or event that was 'just pretty'. She thought that we had plenty of images of mice wielding swords and threatening snakes and owls––that the audience, especially women, appreciated when I just drew tender moments, or nature, or flowers.  I followed her advice, and for years now fans have proven her right by anticipating and purchasing the new square print I offer.

This year the piece is titled 'Foxglove'. Below I'll show the step-by-step of creating the art.

When scanning some old sketches for my Patreon rewards, I found a list on a previous 11x11 rough of flora to consider. On that list was Foxglove (and a few others I considered for this year). Then I did a pencil drawing of a mouse who would be among the foxglove blooms. She is based on the stained glass representation of the Matriarch Caylyn from the Matriarch Chamber from The Black Axe (Blogpost about the architectural model). 

I then used some photo reference of some foxglove blooms and drew a setting she'd fit in. These pencil drawings were scanned into Photoshop, tinted (to see them each more clearly), and then given a quick blocking of color for visual mass help.

When the layout was ready, I printed it out and taped it to the back of a sheet of Strathmore 300 series bristol. On my Huion A3 Lightpad I can see through the surface of the bristol down to the printout to use as a guide for inking. I used Copic Multiliner SP pens (The 0.7 nib mainly).

Lots of the inking was just about varying line weights on all the foxglove blooms and the draped fabrics. Then I wanted to limit texture to her clothing and not use it everywhere, so the difference in fabrics was evident. 

I inked almost all of this piece on my Twitch stream.

Once the inks were finished and scanned, I could start the coloring process. The first step to that is called 'flatting' which is where you paint in all the areas with flat colors only. It's about establishing easy to grab and re-isolate areas for the later step of rendering. Think of it as a professional version of digitally coloring in the lines.

Some of the color palette was dictated by the character's look in the stained glass window (though I got to elaborate on them here a bit). The colors of the foxglove were in a constant state of flux as I worked on this piece ranging from yellows to pinks to corals. You'll also notice I established some color holds at this step (areas where I want the linework to be a color other than black), like the spots in the foxglove, the embroidered details in her clothing and design on her tiara.

The last step was to render the colors using the dodge and burn tools in Photoshop with a stock texture brush. In the end, I also used a screen layer to lighten up certain areas in the background to push some depth of field and make the piece look less flat.

The print will be signed and numbered, available at ECCC this month and then in my online store afterwards. 
As this is the 13th year I've been doing these, here are the past year's 11x11 limited prints (many of which are available in a bundle in my online store) and links to blogposts for these pieces below

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