Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Wind in the Willows: Washerwoman Toad Color Illustration Process

In a few months, IDW will be releasing my illustrated edition of the Kenneth Grahame classic Wind in the Willows. The book will be Grahame's original text, with over 70 illustrations by me.

For this week's blogpost, I'm going to share the process of one of the color illustrations from Chapter 8: Toad's Adventures:





"...she proceeded to 'hook-and-eye' him into the cotton print gown, arranged the shawl with a professional fold, and tied the strings of the rusty bonnet under his chin."

It was very hard to narrow down all the moments in the book to choose to illustrate. Having only 20 color pieces, I had to narrow down eight chapters to have 2, while four of the chapters would have only 1. Here Toad, after landing himself in jail (or 'gaol') befriends the Gaoler's Daughter (a friend to all animals) and she helps him escape by disguising him as a washerwoman (her aunt).

I drew the two characters on separate sheets of copy paper and had my niece Emma pose was the Gaoler's Daughter to help me with the pose and angle (I don't tend to draw humans very often, after all)




I then scanned those pencil sketches and in photoshop, composited them into a layout that told the story. I tinted the girl and Toad different colors so I could see where one of them ended and the other began. Instead of drawing the jail cell, I just re-used the sketch I had from an earlier illustration in the book re-sized and mirrored it (if you look closely you can see Toad slumped against the wall from the original sketch). Here I also digitally added some lighting notes for myself for the floor and walls inking.


The digitally composited sketch was then printed out at-size (about 11" x 14") and then taped to the back of a sheet of 300 series Strathmore Bristol. On a light box I was able to see through the bristol's surface to the printout so I could ink on the bristol using the sketch as a guide. For pens, I used Copic Multiliners (the 0.7 & 0.3 nibs). Here I have an in-process photo I took with my phone back when I was inking this piece.


The labor on this piece was 1) getting the inks for the Gaoler's Daughter right...one slight line out of place and she looks bad, and 2) stippling all the background slowly, making sure to build up those tones the way I want them, because whiting out in a way that doesn't look like a mistake can be an even harder trick.

The majority of the shading for the characters I decided to leave for the colors to do rather than over-render their skin with ink.




The coloring process was as I've detailed it out on my past color blogposts. The first step was to block out all the color areas (Toad's Skin, The Gaoler's Daughter's skin, the clothes, the stonework, etc.) and then render the image using Dodge & Burn tools with a textured brush (these allow me to highlight and shade while adding a pebbled texture).

Here you can see the completed color image as it will appear in the book along with 19 other color illustrations and 50 B&W.





Wind in the Willows from IDW and is available to pre-order on Amazon.com:



For all my other Willows Process Posts:





2017 Appearances: 
C2E2: April 21-23
Heroes Con: Jun. 16-18
San Diego Comic Con: July 19-23
Baltimore Comic Con: Sept. 22-24

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Re-Run Square Format

With nine years of blogposts, I will continue to Re-Run past posts for the new fans or folks who may have missed a post the first time around.

Part of the reasoning is also that for various reasons (The health of my Mother, convention travel, behind on deadlines, and projects I'm not able to share yet) I see the need to revisit an old post once a month or so.
You can also go back and see any past posts using the Blog index: http://davidpetersen.blogspot.com/2013/12/blog-index.html)

This week:
Square Format Comics


"Why is Mouse Guard square?" is one of the questions I'm asked most often. The blogpost below goes into my path to making Mouse Guard square and why I like it for Mouse Guard better than the traditional tall format:

Full Square Format Comics Post:
http://davidpetersen.blogspot.com/2009/11/square-format-when-mouse-guard-first.html





2017 Appearances: 
C2E2: April 21-23
Heroes Con: Jun. 16-18
San Diego Comic Con: July 19-23
Baltimore Comic Con: Sept. 22-24

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Mouse Guard Model Video: Coin Horde Column

For the cover of Legends of the Guard #4 Volume 2, I built an architectural model of a moorish style column. With the fan excitement over the video of Adam Savage talking to me about my models on Tested.com I wanted to do some videos where I talk about a specific model, how I built it, what the materials were, and why I built it in the first place.

Below you can watch as I explain how this one model became an entire room for a Legends of the Guard cover:








For a Full Blogpost on the art process for the cover of Legends of the Guard Vol.2 #4:  




2017 Appearances: 
C2E2: April 21-23
Heroes Con: Jun. 16-18
San Diego Comic Con: July 19-23
Baltimore Comic Con: Sept. 22-24

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Paper Model Mice

Mouse Guard fans can print out and assemble their own papercraft Guardmice! These kits, designed by David Petersen, are available for FREE here:

http://www.mouseguard.net/downloads/crafts/

Below you can find a video David broadcast live a few weeks ago as he demonstrates assembling the Lieam kit (and adds in a few tips, tricks, & techniques). Followed by images with links to the 10 specific Mouse Guard characters available for FREE download. 


Lieam Demonstration Video

Saxon Demonstration Video



Mouse Guard models:













2017 Appearances: 
C2E2: April 21-23
Heroes Con: Jun. 16-18
San Diego Comic Con: July 19-23
Baltimore Comic Con: Sept. 22-24

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Legends of the Guard Cover Stories Video 3

Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard covers aren't just wrap-around images meant to imply mouse-legends...no, I write a Legend for each cover (including the variants) and include it for the fans to read in each publication. To celebrate the release of a Legends of the Guard Volumes 1-3 Box Set, I've recorded narration for some of my favorites:


Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard Cover Legends 3



The Legends of the Guard Box Set
 is available from Your local comic or book shop and Amazon.com


For process blogposts on the 3 covers in the video:







2017 Appearances: 
C2E2: April 21-23
Heroes Con: Jun. 16-18
San Diego Comic Con: July 19-23
Baltimore Comic Con: Sept. 22-24
New York Comic Con: Oct. 5-8

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Power of the Dark Crystal #1 Variant Cover Process

Archaia will be publishing a new Dark Crystal series: "The Power of the Dark Crystal". Adapted from a screenplay by the same name, this is a sequel story to the film The Dark Crystal. As a big fan of Henson and that original movie, Archaia editors Cameron Chittock & Sierra Hahn asked me to do a variant cover for issue 1.


In this blogpost I go through my process for creating the cover art you see to the left.



Pencil sketches:
I was given a packet of reference material for the new series from Henson, which included new characters and a new species. I tried my hand at the two new main characters, but opted to only depict one of them in my cover, using the remaining space for the crystal itself and a menacing Skeksis.

I drew these on copy paper, and with the Skeksis, I got out of control having not planned a composition but just free drawing. I had to tape a few sheets of extra paper together to extend the drawing in the directions I was going. The main Gelfling character was sketched out considerably smaller and is based on some work by Brian Froud included in the reference packet. (I couldn't find my loose sketch of the crystal & surroundings when I was putting this blogpost together).

Layout/Composition:
I scanned the sketches above (and the now missing Crystal sketch) into Photoshop and worked up a composition for the cover. Each drawing was tinted a different color to help define the characters. This layout is a bit different for me because it's less of a scene and more of a montage-collage.

Because this stage had to meet with the approval of both Archaia & Henson, I also painted in the basic color concept and added a Froud celestial design pattern in to fill up some of the background. I sent this .jpg over to my editors to wait for approval before proceeding.


Inks:
The layout was approved with no changes (and very quickly) so I started inking the piece. First, I printed out my composite layout at the art-size (about 10" x 15") and then taped it to the back of a sheet of Strathmore bristol. On a light pad, I'm able to see through the bristol to the printout and use it as a guide while I ink. This saves me a later step of erasing pencil or having to digitally edit out blue-line pencil. I used Copic Multiliners to ink with (the 0.2, 0.3, & 0.7 nibs)

Below you can see some in-process photos I took to share with one of my editors as I worked:




Color Flats:
Once the inks were completed, I scanned the art into photoshop and prepared the file for coloring. At first this means adjusting the levels so that the blacks are true black and the whites are true whites while eliminating stray midtone greys. Then I lay in flat color behind the linework layer establishing the areas of color (the Skeksis' skin, the armor, the crystal, the Gelfling's armor & clothes, etc.) I also establish the color-holds. These are areas where I don't want my inked linework to be black, but to be a color. The background pattern is the most obvious one of these, but I also held the linework of the crystal, the Gelfling's freckles, & the glow of the pit below the crystal.



Final Colors:
The last step is to render all the colors adding light, shadow and texture. I mainly use the dodge and burn tools in Photoshop to do this while using a stock textured brush. I also make lots of slight color adjustments as I work, using the free-hand lasso tool with a feather on it to make subtle color shifts for rosey noses, glowing light sources that would affect color shifts, etc.

The final cover art sans-logo can be see to the right. And follow @Archaia on Twitter for updates about this new Dark Crystal series.



2017 Appearances: 
C2E2: April 21-23
Heroes Con: Jun. 16-18
San Diego Comic Con: July 19-23
Baltimore Comic Con: Sept. 22-24

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Toned Paper Commissions

In August I posted a batch of my Toned paper Commissions from Heroes & SDCC. Today I'm sharing all the rest of the toned pieces I did for Boston, Baltimore, & NYCC. I plan to keep doing these at conventions in 2017.

Lieam

A Wizarding Mouse

A Rough Guardmouse

Big from Perhapanauts

Choopie from Perhapanauts

Hogwarts Invitation

Rathraq from Rumble 

Thai Artist Mouse

Jester Mouse

Killer Robot

Pilot from Farscape

Dog in a suit

Dog in a suit 

Guardmouse

Healer/Apothecary Mouse

Old Guardmouse

A Fox in Armor

Shere Khan

An Ancestor of Mr. Toad's

Saxon

A Guardmouse

Dog in clothes

Hoggle from the Labyrinth

An Otter as Sherlock Holmes

A Guardmouse

A Mouse Blacksmith

Plague Doctor Mouse

Locke & Key Mouse

A Guardmouse



2017 Appearances: 
C2E2: April 21-23
Heroes Con: Jun. 16-18
San Diego Comic Con: July 19-23
Baltimore Comic Con: Sept. 22-24


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