My last post was about 9 months ago – shameful really. But I have a good excuse, an NDA! In August I started talking to BOOM! Studios and David Petersen about working on a dream project: The Mouse Guard Alphabet book. Every letter has some meaning in the Mouse Guard world, and each word is accompanied by a poem by David Petersen and two illustrations by myself.
The job was unexpected and quite frankly, ideal. I’m a big fan of Mouse Guard – it was my first graphic novel and the art and story has continued to endear it to me for years. It was a lot of fun getting to research the Mouse Guard universe and come up with my own interpretations of it. David let me have a great deal of freedom with my style and character designs (non-canon characters), and I produced some of my all-time favourite paintings.
So I finished the paintings in January and now I’m free to talk about it. I can’t wait until I can share more of the art from the book. It comes out in September 2017.
It started me on a path to pursuing traditional media. For years I have been using watercolour to almost-finish my paintings, scanning them, and using Photoshop to colour correct, to paint details, to fix proportions. This is a very fast approach, but it leaves my original watercolour paintings looking tragic, not something I can sell. In doing the Mouse Guard paintings, I forced myself to finish the illustrations traditionally in a sense. Some are different from the print versions, but the original paintings still look good.
It was a gruelling effort. Due to the time constraints of the project, I was able to spend a maximum of 2 days on every painting, meaning that I was working faster and more polished than I ever had been before. In the end, I like the look of traditional more, and I love having originals that I can now sell or hang on my wall.
So when I participated in the Month of Love in February, I set out to create several fully-traditional paintings. Admittedly, I don’t enjoy making romantic art, so my paintings are interesting interpretations of the themes.
This is my submission for the 2017 Month of Love topic “Innocent”.
Titan – 5×7″, watercolour, gouache and gold ink.
This is my submission for the Month of Love topic “Metamorphasis”.
I wanted to transform the humble cow into a goliath. Gary now roams the countryside, feared and respected.
Covetous – 8×10″, watercolour and gouache
This is my submission for the Month of Love topic “Light”.
Inspired by Tolkien’s Smaug, a queen who covets wealth and power. She destroys everyone around her in her pursuit of riches. She sits surrounded by great castle halls, filled with gold, but she sits alone.
Currently I don’t have any projects going on – always a scary time. I’m going to do an interior scene for my children’s book portfolio and see where that leaves me. I promise I’ll post more often now.