Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Goose 5x7" Print Process

For 2017 I'll be introducing a lot of new 5"x7" matted prints to my convention appearances and in my online store. Fans have been enjoying the Saxon, Gwendolyn, Sadie, and Kenzie prints in the same format, so in addition to adding more guardmouse characters for 2017, I'm also adding more animals/scenes.

In this post, I'll be sharing the process of creating the goose and mouse artwork to the left from concept to finished colors.

I started with being inspired by the geese Mark Buckingham illustrated in his Legends of the Guard story ("The Gosling and the Ghost" in Vol. 3). I'd seen a goose piece Mark had done as part of a Fables promotion and asked him if he'd feature a goose in his Legends of the Guard story. The image of this gaggle from his page 1 of that story stuck with me, especially the hats. And in an effort to want to embrace and take advantage of all the great concepts contributors have added to the Mouse Guard world in the pages of Legends of the Guard, I set out to draw my own clothed goose.

I drew a goose wearing a hat with scarf and armor on a sheet of copy paper. On another sheet, I also drew a mouse in a basket. After scanning them both, adding a stock photo of some blueberries, and assembling them all in Photoshop, I had this composition for my print ready. Orange line is a pre-set template I've made for this size of print so that it will float in the mat nicely...though, I'm not working at actual size, I'm working larger, but the proportions are right so that when the final version is printed to scale, everything will fit inside the mat.

I printed out the photoshop assembled layout and taped it to the back of a sheet of Strathmore 300 series bristol and inked on a lightpad. I use a Huion lightpad that allows me to see the printout through the surface of the bristol. This means that on the surface of the bristol will only be my inks, no pencil lines to erase (though sometimes, I do tighten up the pencils a bit as I work if the layout sketch is too loose). For pens I used Copic Multiliners, the 0.7 & 0.3 nibs.

Once the inks are scanned, I start the process of flatting the piece for color. This means laying in flat color (no concerts with shading or texture) to establish that areas like the goose's feathers will be a different color than his hat or scarf, of the mouse, etc.

Once the flat colors are in I start rendering each area using the dodge and burn tools (lighten and darken) with a textured brush. I also added some color holds (areas where I want the inkwork to appear as a color rather than a black line) on the background lines, and the eye of the peacock feather.

Here again is the finished colored artwork. This print and many more will be available at any of my convention appearances this year was well as in my online store.

For process posts on previous prints:

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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