Thursday, April 21, 2011

Coloring - and Eisner Stuff!

Apologies for the delay in posting this one up - I try to get one up every other weekend, but this specific weekend/week combination has been especially hectic. So, without further ado!

As I mentioned a while ago, Sean Rubin and I did a story that appeared in Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard. Our story, "Potential", centered around a lone guard trying to stop a bear from attacking a small settlement near the edge of the Territories. Being able to contribute to David Petersen's incredible world was a tremendous honor in and of itself, but I was completely unprepared for the events that followed, such as signing copies of the hardcover at New York ComicCon, seeing the collection on the New York Times Best Seller List, and being able to meet and correspond with several of the other creators (all absolutely brilliant people). And now Legends of the Guard Volume 1 has been nominated for the "Best Anthology" Eisner Award! David himself picked up a nomination for his cover work on the Legends series - and those were some incredible covers!

Rachel and I are, as always, continuing work on Beyond the Western Deep as well! During this crucial phase of development, Rachel is experimenting with various color techniques to try and match the tone of the story and the concept, as well as not being too time-consuming to generate.

The images below are process pieces of various coloring experiments - neither of which are entirely representative of our "final" direction, but were important steps in trying to weed out problem areas in the various styles. Things like the emphasis on white colors in the top-left and an overall subdued emphasis on the center character have also been addressed in more recent color passes.

The coloring shown here has already been rendered mostly moot by follow-up color passes as Rachel tweaks and experiments with the palette, style, and overall detail. Hopefully by the time the next blog comes up, I'll be able to share a more finalized look at the colors of Beyond the Western Deep.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Progress Report

We're cranking on the page layouts for the webcomic, trying to get a good backlog of pages in the bag before we get to the eventual online posting. These initial days of production are also fairly important in determining how often the comic will be updated when it hits. One thing Rachel and I are adamant about is making sure that when we say the comic will hit, it hits like clockwork.
Ink test for an in-progress panel (click to enlarge)
Given the nature of the comic, we're planning on dropping one completed page per update when we do finally get our backlog in the right shape and a website up and running. How long it will take between pages is still TBD based on the next couple weeks of work, but we're confident that once we get a few pages done, we'll have a good idea of what to expect down the line - as these early pages are some of the most complex in the comic and will give us a good estimate for the whole "sketch, iterate, finalize, ink, color, post" process.

In addition to the in-progress inked panel above, another concept pic from Rachel of a Felis soldier:

As you might recall from a few posts ago, the Felis armor needed some type of layering in order to make it more visually interesting. To fix this, Rachel removed the red and gold cloth sleeves and instead brought that out to the top layer as a tunic, along with adding the red shawl. The Felis soldiers don't appear in the comic until a ways into the story, but we're both pretty happy with this design.