Thursday, May 28, 2009

Mouse Guard #6 In stores today!
The conclusion of Winter 1152 is available at your local comic shop today! In addition to wrapping the story, it includes the 2nd Mouse Guard Ballad (download will be available later this summer) as well as a pinup from Jane Irwin.

Original Artwork:
Pages: As usual, the original artwork for the issue is available now that the issue has been released. You can find available pages listed at the for sale section of the site. or just click here

Cover #6: This time I'm handling the cover differently. With past issues, I get inquires about the cover long before the issue is out and I'm having to tell people to wait and then offer it to the first person to e-mail me the day the issue hits stores. This time, I figured I'd put it on ebay and let that be the method of sorting out who gets it. The auction is located here.

Also in stores today:
Muppet Robin Hood #1 & Cursed Pirate Girl #1
In addition to doing a piece of work for each of these books (a cover and a pinup) I am a fan of each of the properties and really believe in them. So if you like Muppets and/or Nautical Faerie Tales, pick up these books!

Ink and Stein:
Reminder that this Saturday (5/30) is the first Ink and Stein gathering at Corner Brewery in Ypsilanti, MI. Ink and Stein is a social gathering for artists to work and share their ideas, techniques, and camaraderie with other artists in the area. We will meet at 7pm. If you are an artists and want to participate, bring your paper and pencil and we will see you there!

I know I hinted a while ago about an upcoming contest that could make some hard to find items available as prizes. I have not forgotten...I just had to straighten out the terms of the contest. I had something very elaborate planned, but in better judgement have scaled back the entry requirement/commitment. I'll post more about it in the next month or so.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Model building
In a previous post I talked about models I make and use for reference when drawing Mouse Guard. This post I wanted to go into a bit about model building.

My models can be very simple or very complex depending on my needs. If the model is only for quick reference of shapes as they appear in multiple angles of perspective, I can make something very rough and dirty. This example is the Cistern seen in Issue #5 of Winter 1152. Concentric circles in perspective gets to be a tedious job (drawing square planes for each mortar line). Instead, I just took an 8.5" x 11" sheet of paper and layed out mortar lines. I then taped the long edges together and have a tall cylinder with mortar lines that are always in perspective.

Another method is to use printed designs and paste them to flat surfaces. In this example, the Lockhaven Library, I needed to get the general perspective of the arches and shelves and also the complex design of the stained glass window (based on artwork by Jane Irwin!!). I made the arches in photoshop using a line tool and then added photographs of bookcases and bricks. This trick is really handy when doing a repeating design. you can make 1 section and then copy/paste as many times as you need.
Measuring is important here, you need the walls to be the same height so everything lines up in the end. I printed out each 'wall' and mounted them to scraps of matboard using rubber cement. I cut out the openings with an xacto blade and taped the 3 walls together. To add some strength and to remind me where the ceiling structure was, I cut one ceiling arch from cardboard and notched it to sit over the brick posts of the side walls.

This last model is one of the more complex I have made. Gwendolyn's office is a room of Lockhaven that I hope to draw for a long long long time. Even if Gwendolyn is not the matriarch and I'm doing stories years before or after her term, this room will remain rather unchanged, so it makes sense to have a more detailed model of the space. The walls are made the same way the library model was done (design in photoshop, print, paste, cut). The ceiling however, was much trickier.
I have to admit, I should have made this model a long time ago...I was now having to reference my artwork for the details. I found that when I drew one end of the room, the ceiling was flat with exposed beams. The other end had an elevated pitched ceiling filled with wooden trusses. Looking at the exterior of Lockhaven I was able to find an excuse for this being the case (the roof seen above the windows of Gwendolyn's office) and I merged the designs. The roof beams on the model are all made of double thick (glued together) chipboard (the backs of drawing pads). This model is helpful for all the details of this room: the portrait, the mantel, the scroll cubbys, the roof beams, the doorway, etc.

I am also a bit ashamed to say that this is only Gwendolyn's office V2.0 (I had a quick/dirty version from the Fall series). My plans for V3.0 will be more 'real' in the sense that I want the materials to look like themselves, so the model will be made of wood and drywall mud and stone details, etc.
I hope everyone enjoyed this model post. If you use home-made models as reference, post a link to your models in the comment section!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day:
I wanted to give a moment to say 'thank you' to my Mom. She was a good mother to me when I was a kid and continues to be a supportive, understanding, and positive parent to me now as an adult (a switch I think must be hard for a parent to make between parenting the young and parenting the adult).

It's said that as a parent, you parent each kid differently based on what they need. I was left very much to my own creativity and exploration as a kid. I was given a very long leash to be away from the house with only the expectation that I tell them what direction I was going and to call if that changed and to be home by supper. Julia kids that I'm lucky I'm still alive with all the places I went and things I did, but I think my parents let me discover me. There would be no Mouse Guard without the freedom I was given.

My Mom was very involved with me artistically as a kid. She would involve me in her various crafting projects and later became involved in my crafting projects. She sewed all of my Halloween costumes until I was old enough to be making my own from scratch. One of those, a Mickey Mouse, was one that I wanted to alter from the pattern. The Mickey was in formal dress and I wanted to be traditional red-shorts Mickey. She was sceptical at first, but between the two of us, we figured out how to use ready made items and alter the pattern to accommodate for our changes. It was only the first time we would sit up late in the dining room steering away from the printed pattern and directions. Each time going further and further away from what was expected.

I think some of that seat of the pants, figure-it-out-as-you-go stuff is what pushes me when I'm making my models for Mouse Guard. Sure there are printed model sets I can use that are made by gaming companies, but each time I make a model, I want to push further away from that expected-store-bought mentality until I'm making something uniquely 'me'.

So, Thanks Mom!!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Winter is done!

I have finished (a few days ago really) the Winter 1152 Hardcover extras (map, location guides, trades, pageantry, epilogue, etc.) I'm really happy with this book. Not to take anything away from Fall 1152, but I feel that many of the personal goals and improvements I wanted to make happened in Winter. It's frustrating to be done and not be able to instantly get the reader feedback, but I'll just have to be patient and wait like the rest of you. The release is set for July of this year...and don't forget to grab issue #6 on the stands later this month if you can't wait.

Snowy Valentine's Day:
Before I start the next Mouse Guard Arc, I have a few other projects I need to tackle. The first is the Children's book I'm doing for Harper Collins called Snowy Valentine's Day. The Dummy sketches were approved so I am doing final pencils and inks on the lightbox over printouts of my sketches/roughs. For some reason, inking this book seems to be more nerve-racking than an issue of Mouse Guard. The artwork is all due this month and I'm far away from getting finals to cross your fingers for me.

Recent work:
With the heavy deadlines of both Issue #6 of Winter and the Hardcover extras, I had to let these slide longer than I'd prefer to. Hope you enjoy.

Motor City Convention:
I'll be spending next weekend at the Motor City convention sitting between my friends Jeremy Bastian and Katie Cook (sorry I don't have table numbers yet..I don't get those 'till Friday) Julia and I offered to take 1 niece to a different convention until all three have been. Middle niece Kate is up first at this show, so I look forward to introducing her to this part of Uncle David's job.

As normal, I'll be signing, meeting fans and enjoying the show. Stop by and say hello!

Fan Art:
Action figure modifier Walter Harris sent me a link to poseable Mouse Guard action figure customs he made. The base figures are Ewoks and he details how he made them at his site
More Photos are also located there.

Thanks Walter!

Next time I'll do a post on model building construction

Monday, May 4, 2009

Free Comic Book Day
Thanks to everyone who came out to Free Comic Book Day at Detroit Comics in Ferndale, MI. I hope everyone who made it out enjoyed the free print I offered and that no matter where you were you supported your local shop(s) and the comics industry by spreading the word and attending the festivities. Detroit comics seemed to be getting some good business out of the event. It was cool to see parents bringing their kids to try out some comics. The artform won't survive unless new generations are introduced to it.

Ninja Turtles:
I was very happy to see that the first issue of Teenage Mutant Ninja turtles was reprinted for Free Comic Book Day. I have a reprint copy somewhere, but have lost track of it (and it doesn't have the original cover art like this reprint does) I was so excited that between sketches for fans, I took the time to draw a Ninja Turtle...which is how I started drawing comic stuff back when I was 11. Here is a colored version of that FCBD sketch.

Michigan-Area Artist's Event: Ink & Stein!
A group of us that met in the past to draw and bounce ideas off each other (Jeremy Bastian, Katie Cook, Nate Pride, etc.) have started a new club/event called Ink & Stein. The group will meet on the last Saturday of every month (May 30th being the 1st meeting) 7pm at the Corner Brewery in Ypsilanti, MI. All artists are welcome to come and draw and chat and drink. We have been asked by the Brewery to get a head count though (and to note it's 21 and older only) so if you plan to attend, email to let us know.

Fan Art:
This photo was sent in by a fan. In Pennsylvania along 220 there is a town called Lock Haven. I didn't know about Lock Haven, PA when I started Mouse Guard, the name was just a good one to mean 'safe place'. Now I'll be really amazed if someone finds a sign for Dorigift, Gilpledge, or Calogero!!

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