Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Quietus Revisit

For the second episode of THE PLOTMASTERS PROJECT, Jesse Glenn & I revisited one of his characters: QUIETUS.

To the left you can see my finished new piece for the QUIETUS episode of THE PLOTMASTERS PROJECT, and below I'll break down who the character was, and how I created this updated image for the podcast.

Let's start off with the original character. To the right you can see Jesse's early 90's high-school drawings of her. Quietus was a espionage type hero who's father made a pact with a demon which also included an arrangement of marriage for her. All of this dark muddling gave Quietus untested and vague--yet immensely powerful magic.

Jesse said her key design feature was drawing 'scribble hair'.

For my update drawing for the podcast I was challenged. I not only rarely draw ladies, especially sexy ladies, but even in my youth, I'd never drawn Quietus. I used some photo  reference for the pose (a yoga model doing a sorcerer pose?) and then tried to keep the basic design of flat-black bodysuit, red accents, metal bangles & bracelets, and curly scribble hair to make Merida from BRAVE jealous.

I ran out of room on the copy paper I was sketching on and had to tape another sheet on to get the full body in.

With the sketch penciled, I taped a copy of it (one I'd darkened & resized on the photo copier) to the back of a sheet of Strathmore 300 series bristol. Using a lightpad to see the sketch I used Copic multiliners to ink the piece. I inked Quietus on one side and then removed the sketch and inked 'vague magic' effects on the back side (using the lightpad to register the hands and body)

After the inks were finished I scanned both sides (mirroring the magic effects so they registered with Quietus) and started flatting the piece in Photoshop. The colors were established for me mostly by Jesse's original design. The magic (seen here as a separate semi-translucent layer). With the areas all established with flat colors, I could start the rendering and effects to get to the final piece.

Here again is the finished piece. All of the rendering was done using the dodge and burn tools and a textured brush in Photoshop. I toyed around with the color of the magic...shifting it from yellow to green to blue to red and back again. This was the version I was happiest with and I added in Jesse's symbol for the character with a little name typography to fill the composition in a bit better.

It was an interesting challenge to redraw not only someone else's character, but one who is all the things I try to avoid drawing normally. But, as we go forward with more Plotmasters Project episodes, I'm sure I will be pushed out of my comfort zone again...

You can watch the QUIETUS episode of 

And follow us on Facebook & Twitter

2017 Appearances: 
Rose City Comic Con (at the BOOM! Booth) Sept. 8-10
Baltimore Comic Con: Sept. 22-24

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Mouse Guard Model Video: Puppet Theater

For my 2012 Free Comic Book Day story "The Tale of Baldwin the Brave (included in the short story collection Baldwin the Brave and Other Tales), I built a model of the puppet theater and a mouse marionette.

I made a video where I talk about these models, how I built them, what the materials were, and why I built them in the first place. Below you can watch as I explain how having the models helped frame scenes and block where the puppet mice should stand in them:


I also recorded a video of the story narrated by me:

2017 Appearances: 
Baltimore Comic Con: Sept. 22-24

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Mouse Guard Fan Art

I love that fans are excited enough about Mouse Guard, Legends of the Guard, or the Mouse Guard RPG (and their player-characters) to lend their talents to creating Mouse Guard Fan Artwork! I share this work from time to time on the blog, so here is a fresh batch of work sent directly to me, or pointed out to me online by other fans.

Alexander Schafer

Alexander Schafer

Alison Pinto

Alison Pinto

AMS (?)

Delicut Cakes


Elio Finnocchiaro

Evan Dickson

Gwendolyn (her flowers on the right)

Chris Lopez's tattoo

Ines Korth

Jessica Shibley


Saxon, Lieam, & Kenzie as humans by skoolar


Ewa "truskawka" Onisk

'Putrid Cheese'

Chris Richard

2017 Appearances: 
Baltimore Comic Con: Sept. 22-24

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Mouse Guard Alphabet Book

The Mouse Guard Alphabet Book will be released in September. This is the last week to have your local comic shop pre-order it for you (Diamond Code: MAY171234)

This 64 page book is the ABCs, through the lens of the world of Mouse Guard, featuring alphabetic poems by me and gorgeously illustrated paintings by Serena Malyon.

For this blogpost I run through the choice for Serena to illustrate the book, and several of the letters' illustrations & poems:

My wife Julia is the person responsible for getting this project's ball rolling. But something she and I both realized was that I had too much on my plate with conventions and working on the next Mouse Guard book: The Weasel War of 1149, that I couldn't be the one to illustrate the ABC book.

Serena was the perfect choice. I'd discovered her work from Mike Mignola who saw her at an Illustration Master Class session. With this being the first full Mouse Guard book with no art of mine, I made this decision to hire Serena carefully.

Two pieces of Serena's especially spoke to me: a map & a triptych of witch sisters. I'd use these two examples as the basis for describing what the visual language of the Mouse Guard ABC book should be. We also looked at certain reference of my books for motifs, character & architecture designs, as well as color palates & themes.

We talked over Skype about a few Alphabet themed books we wanted to model by Edmund Dulac & William Nicholson, but also stylization like what Serena was already doing in her work as well as being inspired by Mary Blair, Eyvind Earle, Arts & Crafts era printmaking & quilts.

We wanted this book to feel in-world, that this is the book that the mice in cities from Barkstone to Burl would use to teach their youngfurs their letters and important lessons.

The letters in the Mouse Guard Alphabet Book represent characters and locations from Mouse Guard, but also animals, trades, and conceptual life-lessons. I wrote four-line-stanza poems for each letter's subject. Below are the pages for the letters A, M, N, & U: 

The Mouse Guard Alphabet Book will be available in-stores in September. And can be PRE-ORDERED through your local comic or book store using the Diamond code: MAY171234

2017 Appearances: 
Baltimore Comic Con: Sept. 22-24

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