Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Mouse Guard Model Video: Feather Knighting Room

Several years ago I made an 18" x 24" print called "Feather Knighting" with a mouse trading violence for wisdom. The background of the large print was to be a room full of references from past mouse guard stories, artifacts, story cues, and easter eggs. In this video below, I go over the reference model I made to help me get the geometrical perspective correct as I worked on the piece.






Direct link to watch on YouTube: https://youtu.be/RPCf0_igzMg


You can still purchase the Feather Knighting print here:
https://mouseguard.bigcartel.com/product/feather-knighting-18-x-24-offset-print

And read the full art process blogpost about the piece here:
http://davidpetersen.blogspot.com/2014/09/feather-knighting-print-art-process.html


2018 Appearances:
Heroes Con: June 15-17
San Diego Comic Con: July 18-22
Baltimore Comic Con: Sept. 28-30
New York Comic Con: Oct. 4-7

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Mott Community College

Back in February I returned to Mott Community College (where I started my degree) for a gallery exhibition of my work and to give a talk about my work & process. It was wonderful to share with the program that I started in and gave me so much. ‬The presentation elaborated on my creative process & the influence 2-D design & Printmaking courses had on me there.


Below is a video that shows not only the gallery exhibit, but also my talk and Q&A:








Photos from the day:

Presenting


The Gallery

The sheep's head I drew 20 years ago was still in the drawing room's still life props closet

This is the first etching press I ever used. After 20 years apart, I greeted it like an old friend



But the biggest highlight/emotional crescendo was Sam Morello, the professor who changed my life with his 2-D design class and introduced me to printmaking was front row for my presentation.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Recommendations of Comics by Genre

On Free Comic Book Day this year I tweeted:

Is there someone in your life who doesn't read comics? Use today as a way to show them how many types of styles, genres, tones, & age ranges of material there are in this medium. Comics are stories. And who doesn't like stories? 

This is an echo of a sentiment I used in my Keynote speech at last years Ringo Awards:
https://youtu.be/Zw75G5ykkM4
That there are already comics out there for every type of reader, no matter what type of story/tone/genre they already consume in other forms of media.

So, now that it's a few days after FCBD, you may be wondering what to put in front of your non-(or new)-comic reader's eyes to keep them interested. Below is a list of genres (and in the case of 'webcomics'--less about genre and more about methods to find & read the material) with suggestions for each mostly gleaned off of my own bookshelves. This is by no means some definitive list, but meant only to be personal examples I could use to illustrate how many types of books exist out there. Enjoy, I hope you find something for the newly initiated in your life as well as perhaps yourself.


Gotham Academy, Little Nemo, Amulet

Giant Days, I Hate Fairyland, Chew

Mouse Guard, Bone, Cursed Pirate Girl

Owly, Korgi, Little Robot

300, Usagi Yojimbo, Leauge of Extra Ordinary Gentlemen

Through the Woods, Hellboy, Locke & Key

Sin City, The Rocketeer, Blacksad

Maus, Bone Sharps, Cowboys, & Thunder Lizards,
Treasury of Victorian Murder

Oz, Tenty Thousand Leauges, Fafhrd & The Gray Mouser 

Blankets, Strangers in Paradise, Miki Falls

Runners, Space Dumplins, Southern Cross

Lackadaisy, Table Titans, Abominable Charles Christopher*
(All of these have content available for free, 
but also have collections printed as beautifully published books too)





2018 Appearances:
Heroes Con: June 15-17
San Diego Comic Con: July 18-22
Baltimore Comic Con: Sept. 28-30
New York Comic Con: Oct. 4-7

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Creator Commentary: Fall 1152 Issue/Chapter 4

I've made a Creator Commentary video for the fourth issue/chapter of Mouse Guard Fall 1152: The Dark Ghost.  For this issue and the remaining issues in Fall 1152, I’ll be doing the commentary as audio-only. But please feel free to follow along in your copy of the story in either issue form of from the hardcover as I talk about the behind the scenes details, art notes, and my head-space as I go page by page and panel by panel. Enjoy!



Direct YouTube Link:



2018 Appearances:
Heroes Con: June 15-17
San Diego Comic Con: July 18-22
Baltimore Comic Con: Sept. 28-30
New York Comic Con: Oct. 4-7

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

New Mouse Guard Tee!

A new Mouse Guard tee-shirt for 2018! I've taken the inkwork for The Black Axe Black and White Edition cover and used it for the tee-art. Celanawe, Em, Conrad, & King Luthebon are in black as the briar wreath is in dark slate blue. The art is printed on a Heather Indigo Gildan softstyle unisex tee.

Look for this shirt at my 2018 convention appearances as well as eventually in my online store. 





2018 Appearances:

Heroes Con: June 15-17
San Diego Comic Con: July 18-22
Baltimore Comic Con: Sept. 28-30
New York Comic Con: Oct. 4-7

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Conrad 5x7 Print Process

Conrad, the salty old peg-legged Guardmouse from Fall 1152 and The Black Axe, is the subject of a new 5X7 print (matted to 8" x 10") I'll be offering at conventions and in my online store. Conrad joins a portrait series that also includes: Saxon, Sadie, Gwendolyn, Kenzie, Rand, and Lieam.

To the left you can see the final artwork for the print, but below I walk through the process for creating this piece (which I also streamed LIVE several portions of on Twitch).




I started with a sketch of Conrad and a photo referenced location. The sketch is all in pencil on copy paper. I like to use copy paper because I don't feel precious about it, there is less at stake and so I'll feel more free to dig in to the drawing and worry less about mistakes. This isn't the final drawing and putting pencil on copy paper reinforces that in my head as I draw. I didn't put the XXX jug into the composition because I had the feeling I was going to move it around once I had everything in the size of the mat. The beach photo is one I took, setting the camera very low to get a mouse-eye-view at the beach in Ludington, Michigan.


I scanned the sketch into Photoshop and moved the jug into place. I also placed the photo behind it. Zooming in and shifting around, I was able to find a composition that I liked, where the horizon line felt right where the breaking wave had the most impact. I drew over the photo at this scale (printed out for reference) on copy paper on a light pad to define the shape of the breaking splash of the wave and the shape and placement of the rocks. Lining that drawing (tinted blue) with the Conrad sketch I had my final layout. Since the background photo was providing some color tone, I spotted in some flat colors for Conrad and the fish to help me visualize the finished piece as I worked.


A printed version of the above digital layout was taped to the back of a sheet of Strathmore 300 series bristol. On a light pad, I was able to see the printout as a guide and ink the lines confidently with Copic Multiliners (I think I only used the 0.7 nib here). Notice I didn't ink the water marks coming into contact with Conrad. That's in part to visually push the background back, but it's also so that on the next step my life is a bit easier...



That step is called 'flatting'. It's about establishing what areas are what colors, including the color holds (areas where I want the inkwork to be a color other than black).
There no worry about rendering here. Just flat color space. in this screenshot I've included my layer menu to show how I break down what colors go on what layers and where they fall in order above or below the inks layer (note the color holds are all above the inks and the image colors all are below).


I find that being able to click between layers to select what part of the piece you want to effect as you render is quicker than having the flats on one layer and using the magic-wand tool (a more common and popular method). To render this piece I used the dodge and burn tools in Photoshop and a stock textured brush.

To the right you can see the final results.
And you can purchase the matted print in my online store: http://mouseguard.bigcartel.com/product/conrad-matted-print





More of the 5x7" Mouse Guard character print process Blogposts:

Saxon Print: http://davidpetersen.blogspot.com/2015/04/5x7-saxon-print-process.html


Sadie Print: http://davidpetersen.blogspot.com/2016/04/sadie-5x7-print.html


Gwendolyn Print: http://davidpetersen.blogspot.com/2016/05/gwendolyn-print.html


Kenzie Print: http://davidpetersen.blogspot.com/2017/02/kenzie-5-x-7-print-process.html


Rand Print: http://davidpetersen.blogspot.com/2017/05/rand-5x7-print-process.html


Lieam Print: http://davidpetersen.blogspot.com/2017/07/lieam-5x7-print-process.html



2018 Appearances:

Heroes Con: June 15-17
San Diego Comic Con: July 18-22
Baltimore Comic Con: Sept. 28-30
New York Comic Con: Oct. 4-7

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Em of Appleloft 5x7 Print Process

Celanawe's distant kin, caller to action, and companion on the quest of the Black Axe (not to mention ancestor of Farrer, forger of the Black Axe itself) Em of Appleloft is the subject of a new 5X7 print (matted to 8" x 10") I'll be offering at conventions and in my online store. Em joins a portrait series that also includes: Saxon, Sadie, Gwendolyn, Kenzie, Rand, Lieam, and Conrad. To the left you can see the final artwork for the print, but below I walk through the process for creating this piece (which I also streamed LIVE several portions of on Twitch).




The first sketch of Em, I didn't care for so much (top left sketch). Nothing major was off, just lots of little somethings. On a lightbox, I redrew her, tweaking things as I went, adjusting her head angle and drape of her dress (bottom right). As she's from Appleloft, I decided to have her amongst the namesake fruit of that village. The stock photo reference was gathered (top right), cropped and amended, and then drawn onto copy paper on a light pad (bottom left).
Th emain motifs for Em was to make her wise and studious, carrying her notes and illuminations concerning the Black Axe history and lore while holding a feather quill to associate in her connection to birds.



The various drawings above were scanned in and assembled into a finished layout. The figure drawing scan is all tinted warm and the background cool. This helped me to make sense of the lines not only as I assembled this, but in the next step as I inked, helping me distinguish forms from one another. For similar reasons, I added in the color tones for the whole piece to help me start to solve any tangents or light on light or dark on dark areas that may not help the figure to separate from the background.


The above layout was printed out on copy paper and then taped to a back of a sheet of Strathmore 300 series bristol. On a light pad, I can see through the bristol to the printout and use it as a guide as I ink. For pens, I use Copic Multiliner SPs. The SP version has replaceable nibs and ink cartridges. I used the 0.7 nib for this exclusively I believe.

Knowing tone & value information from the layout, I was careful about where and how much texture I put into things like the leaves and branches.


When the inks were scanned, I flatted the colors in preparation for the final colors. This process is like a coloring book for professionals: 'stay inside the lines'. Here I'm putting in flat color where it belongs, establishing that her dress color is different than her hood or her fur, or her inner ear. I've also established some color-holds (areas where I want the ink lines as a color rather than black): her dress & sash pattern, the book cover details, and the spots on the apples.




The final step is the color rendering. I use the dodge and burn tools with a stock textured brush to do all the shading and highlighting. There are a few settings in Photoshop for dodge and burn to take note of for how I get the colors the way I want them, most importantly the 'range', which not only controls what values are effected the quickest/most by the tool, but also if it saturates or desaturates to get there.


To the right you can see the finished print for Em of Appleloft.
And you can purchase the print from my online store:
http://mouseguard.bigcartel.com/product/em-of-appleloft-matted-print-8x10






More of the 5x7" Mouse Guard character print process Blogposts:

Saxon Print: http://davidpetersen.blogspot.com/2015/04/5x7-saxon-print-process.html


Sadie Print: http://davidpetersen.blogspot.com/2016/04/sadie-5x7-print.html


Gwendolyn Print: http://davidpetersen.blogspot.com/2016/05/gwendolyn-print.html


Kenzie Print: http://davidpetersen.blogspot.com/2017/02/kenzie-5-x-7-print-process.html


Rand Print: http://davidpetersen.blogspot.com/2017/05/rand-5x7-print-process.html


Lieam Print: http://davidpetersen.blogspot.com/2017/07/lieam-5x7-print-process.html




2018 Appearances:
WonderCon: Mar. 23-25
C2E2: April 6-8
Heroes Con: June 15-17
San Diego Comic Con: July 18-22
Baltimore Comic Con: Sept. 28-30
New York Comic Con: Oct. 4-7

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Creator Commentary: Fall 1152 Issue/Chapter 3

I've made a Creator Commentary video for the third issue/chapter of Mouse Guard Fall 1152: Shadows Within.  For this issue and the remaining issues in Fall 1152, I’ll be doing the commentary as audio-only. But please feel free to follow along in your copy of the story in either issue form of from the hardcover as I talk about the behind the scenes details, art notes, and my head-space as I go page by page and panel by panel. Enjoy!



Direct YouTube Link:



2018 Appearances:
C2E2: April 6-8
Heroes Con: June 15-17
San Diego Comic Con: July 18-22
Baltimore Comic Con: Sept. 28-30
New York Comic Con: Oct. 4-7

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Mouse Guard Model Video: Sprucetuck

In Mouse Guard: Winter 1152 the mice first travel to the city of Sprucetuck, a hidden away vertical settlement inside of the trunk of a spruce tree. To help me design & draw the location for the comic, I built a model of cardboard & bristolboard...which unfortunately no longer exists....but...

Below you can watch  a video where I talk about this model:




Tuesday, March 20, 2018

2018 Mouse Guard Enamel Pins

New for 2018 I have created designs for seven (7!) new enamel Mouse Guard pins: Celanawe, Midnight, Piper, Gwendolyn, mouse skull & crossbones, a fall leaf, and a winter snowflake.
These pins will be released at conventions this year that BOOM! and I are attending. A few weeks after each pin is released at a convention, that pin will then be available in BOOM!s online store: https://shop.boom-studios.com/merchandise





A few of these will be making a debut at Wondercon this weekend...



2018 Appearances:
WonderCon: Mar. 23-25
C2E2: April 6-8
Heroes Con: June 15-17
San Diego Comic Con: July 18-22
Baltimore Comic Con: Sept. 28-30
New York Comic Con: Oct. 4-7

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

2018 Mouse Guard Bookplate Process

Since 2012 I've been creating a new signed Mouse Guard bookplate each year (at the bottom of the post you can see other past year's bookplates and links to blogposts about them). 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 have the bookplate at my 2018 conventions and in my online store. For this blogpost, I wanted to go through the process to create the bookplate image.




I try to emphasize process with each bookplate. In the past I've done or emulated wood-cut, stained glass, embroidery, mosaic, etc. This year I did a painted wood carving. First, my source of inspiration. I did a quick google image search for 'medieval art' just to get a wide variety and see what kind of imagery/technique spoke to me this year. I found this piece from a Book of Hours titled 'The Visitation'. I loved the pattern in the background, and how, even though this is on parchment, the black spaces between the grid squares looks like carved relief. This, and the idea of gilded halos was my jumping off point.



In Photoshop I recreated the grid pattern. Then I drew (on copy paper) a mouse with a hooded robe in profile. The sketch was scanned and added to the grid along with some digitally added circles, 7-pointed stars, and a photo of a lantern I thought would look good on the end of the mouse's staff. Because there is no holy religion in Mouse Guard, I couldn't have the halo around the mouse's head, but I could get the same feel by having it around the light-source of the lantern.




I printed out the digital composition on copy paper and taped it to a piece of cedar shake.

I had left over pieces of cedar shake from a crafts project from Christmas 2016 and almost threw out all the scraps last fall. Luckily, cedar has a nice color, grain, and is soft enough for my needs...but more on that in later steps.

To transfer the image onto the cedar, I coated the back with graphite (by scribbling over it with a soft-lead pencil).



Carefully tracing over the design on the front of the paper with a ball-point pen, I was able to get the image onto the cedar. Wherever I applied pressure from the pen as I traced, the graphite on the back of the paper left a mark on the cedar. This is the technique I've used for my Heroes Con large auction pieces when I have a detailed drawing I need transferred onto a large sheet of matboard.






The next step was to 'carve' the cedar. Remember I said cedar was soft enough for my needs? Well, it's soft enough a wood that I could draw into it with a black roller-ball pen and leave an indentation. Going over and over the same line made it deeper. It also made all the carved lines black, which helped for readability.

I did a few tests of how to apply the pressure on some of the scrap pieces of cedar I still had. Finding out if lighter pressure or harder pressure was a boon for going with or against the grain, how to get a wider line, and how to kill a few roller-ball pens in the process.



After an evening of what felt like artistic desk-graffiti, I had the entire image's linework carved into the cedar.

It took time and patience, and while the 'carving' was very easy compared to real wood carving (trust me, I know), I still had to nurse my hand and wrist for a few days following.

Last step at this stage was to very lightly sand the surface with a fine grit sand paper. The cedar was a bit rough to start with, but this also helped get rid of any splintery burrs that poped up in the 'carving'.

To color the piece, I used some copic markers and a metallic silver marker. For the lantern parts, I didn't have a gold pen (or paint) so I used a selection of acrylic bronze/copper tones I had in a drawer of miniature model paints.

I was getting nervous about the piece here, because if the colors were wrong, there was no way to undo the process...sanding deep enough to get the penetrated marker stain out would also start to obliterate the linework. In the end, I didn't hate the colors, but felt something was still off....



detail photo of the colored cedar


The last step was to take a good photo of the piece and digitally tweak it. Normally the tweaks are limited to resizing it, adjusting some levels, and adding in the elements for it to be a bookplate, but this time I did more. The colors were still off. So I also added in a transparent photo over the silver bits of gold leaf. 

Here is the finished bookplate which will be available at my 2018 convention appearances as well as in my online store






----------------------------
Past year's bookplates & process blogposts:



2012:



2013:


2014:


2015:


2016:

2017:




2018 Appearances:
Emerald City Comic Con: Mar. 1-4
WonderCon: Mar. 23-25
C2E2: April 6-8
Heroes Con: June 15-17
San Diego Comic Con: July 18-22
Baltimore Comic Con: Sept. 28-30
New York Comic Con: Oct. 4-7

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