Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Guardmouse in Hawk Nest

Before leaving for Lake Como Comic Art Festival I finished a few inked pieces that would be Mouse Guard inked original Artwork available for sale.

My idea was that these would also serve as pages for the next Mouse Guard sketchbook tentatively titled: 'Past Whereabouts'.

To the left you can see the finished colored piece for the sketchbook, but below I'll walk through the process of creating the artwork.
This piece started with the mouse drawing, a Guardmouse holding on to the edge of something, a high rock face, a tree trunk, or––as I ultimately drew in, a hawk's nest.

As I drew the mouse, I liked the plan that this was a younger patrolling Gwendolyn before her time as a Matrirch (though I forgot to add her normal skirting which would help identify her, but also makes sense not to wear when climbing harrowing heights.)

The pencil sketch was scanned into Photoshop so I could block in some color to help me see what areas where what textures. I also added in a photo of a halberd blade for reference.

The above layout was printed out and taped to the back of a Strathmore 300 series sheet of smooth bristol. On my Huion Lightpad I can see through the surface of the bristol and use the printout as a guide to ink from.

I used Copic Multiliner SP pens to do the linework, most of which was focused on giving the nest and branches texture and depth while leaving Gwendolyn relatively clean so she could be seen.

The original inks for this piece are available for sale in my online store:
After the inks were finished, I scanned them into Photoshop and started the coloring process. This first step is called 'flatting' because it's just about adding flat colors to all the various areas (her fur color, her cloak color, the sky, the branches, the nest, etc.) It's a professional version of coloring-in-the-lines. 

At this stage I also added a color hold (areas where I want the inkwork to be a color other than black) to the spots on the eggs. I also end up adding another one to act as a light corona in the final coloring stage)
The final color rendering was done using Photoshop's Dodge and Burn tools (to lighten and darken whatever color is present) and a stock textured brush. I did use the paint brush a bit to make my own blush gradient in the background, and I selected areas with the lasso tool and shifted color balance to give nest twigs different tones and Gwendolyn's nose  bit of pink.

As I said at the start, this will eventually be published in my next sketchbook which may be out at the end of this year or the start of next (depending on timing with getting enough pages done between projects AND convention schedules)

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