Rand, the yellow cloaked shield-bearer will be more prominently featured in the upcoming Weasel War of 1149 series. I've been trying to offer up more of the 5" x 7" matted prints at conventions and in my online store. With a Saxon, Sadie, Gwendolyn, and Kenzie prints already available, I wanted to include that lesser know mouse of defense to the lineup. Even though Rand has barely been in the Mouse Guard series so-far, he has diehard fans who love him and tell me they already know he'll be their favorite. In today's blogpost I'll share the process for creating the image for this print.
Unlike many of my process posts, in this case I didn't have multiple drawings to merge together for my layout. I did one drawing of Rand with the background drawn right in there...on the some sheet of copy paper and everything! I've gotten in the habit of using dandelions as a visual cue/symbology for Rand. I don't know if I have specific cause for this, but it's cropped up with other drawings of him or places connected to him. All that was left to do after I scanned the pencils was to resize it to make sure it fit nicely inside the format for the print. I also added a quick digital circle to the dandelion puff-ball because I noticed my sketch was a bit oblong.
I printed out the above layout and taped it to the back of a sheet of Strathmore 300 series bristol. On a light pad (I really like the Huion brand of these) I can see through the surface of the Bristol and ink using the printout as my 'pencils' to guide me. I used Copic Multiliners (the 0.7 & 0.3 nibs). I opted to ink the edge of the puffball and the cascading seed-tufts very boldly and dark. In this inked stage, that means they look a bit odd, not fluffy and light. But I knew that I'd use a color hold when coloring it that would reverse that sensation.
After scanning in the inked piece (and adjusting the levels and cleaning up any dirt, dust, etc from the scan) the first step to coloring is Flatting in colors. This means, like any good coloring book user, you color spaces inside the lines. But when flatting, you don't need to worry at all about shading, lighting effects, or even if you are going to use the real colors (here I stuck close to what I knew the palate was for the final piece). Unlike some colorists, I like to use new Photoshop layers for new areas of color. This allows me to not have to 'cut in' precisely when I butt up against an area I've already colored.
After the areas of color are isolated by flat colors, I went in an rendered each part using the Dodge & Burn tools in Photoshop. I have my settings on Range: Highlights and 1% exposure most of the time and I use a textured brush. I tweaked color balances with leaves and subtle areas like Rand's nose. At this stage, I also played up all the color holds on the shield and puffs.
I broadcast LIVE on Facebook as I colored this piece. You can watch that video here:
Part 1: https://www.facebook.com/david.petersen.777/videos/10155727207764778/
Part 2: https://www.facebook.com/david.petersen.777/videos/10155727588574778/
The final 5" x 7" matted print will be available at my 2017 convention appearances and in my online store.
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
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