Back again with more awesome facts about the world of Mouse Guard, David Petersen really went all out and came up with some real gems. Every Mouse Guard fan worth his weight in cheese should read this.
11: While the series is all digitally colored (with a mouse fittingly), I painted the first two covers in watercolor. The first because I had self-published a version of that issue and while the interiors were black and white, the cover was color, so I painted it. When Archaia picked up the series, I painted that second cover as well, mostly out of wanting the covers to be similar. However, I did scan in my inks first and do a quick color sample in Photoshop to test and set my palette. When I did that again for the third cover, I realized I had done more than half the work of coloring just in my test. With the digital colors on the interiors being well received, I opted to do digital colors for all the covers from that point on.
12: The original art for Mouse Guard pages is 12″ x 12″ (with two-page spreads being 12″ x 24″). However, there is one page, the first I drew, that was 14″ x 14″. I drew it at that size because I had pads of 14″ x 17″ bristol board. I quickly changed the page size to 12″ x 12″ after I had to scan the 14″ x 14″ page in four parts on my scanner.
13: Jeremy Bastian and his pinup for issue six of Fall 1152 helped me sort out the storytelling issues I was having with that issue. He and I went to lunch where he handed over the pinup, and I complained about how the issue wasn’t going well and I may need to rewrite it. Over lunch, we addressed a few of the issues and found solutions in his pinup: bees (as a way to turn away the members of Midnight’s army outside the gates of Lockhaven), the portrait (a way for Saxon, Kenzie, and Celanawe to sneak right in to Gwendolyn’s office, and the sword with the leaf hilt and guard (Lieam’s escape from binding and weapon for the final battle scene).
14: The June Alley Inn in Barkstone in was inspired by an anagram of my wife’s first and middle name: julia lynn= jun ally in. The Inn keep, June, is therefore Julia’s mouse, who wears her favorite color: blue, and does something Julia is a master at: welcoming people into her home, serving them amazing food and drink and, making them feel as welcome as family. Because of Julia being June, I left it to her to decide which mouse’s story wins the storytelling contest in Legends of the Guard.
15: The line “It Matters Not What You Fight But What You Fight For” came to me out of the blue as I was writing and reminded me of how Stan Lee said, “With great power comes great responsibility” came to him suddenly and without thinking. I saw Stan in the elevator at the San Diego Comic Con and told him about my line and he replied, “Oh! That’s a good one!” I have since realized the motto can be interpreted as “ends justify the means” so instead of avoiding that fact, I pointed it out in a conversation between Celanawe and Lieam in Winter 1152.
16: Saxon’s cloak ties together in front as an homage to the front of a Boy Scout neckerchief. I was a Scout for seven years and earned the rank of Life Scout.
17: Originally, the predatory threat in Winter was set to be a pair of hawks. Mark Smylie (publisher at the time) and my wife Julia both felt it should be an owl and persuaded me enough that I changed it to the one owl. Its eye getting wounded and blodshoot was for two reasons: 1) I though the red eye made him even more of a creepy villain; and 2) so the reader knows when it returns in issue three, it’s the same owl from before and not just a random one.
18: Before Mouse Guard was a comic, and only my friends knew of the concept, storylines and characters, I would run short, system-less Mouse Guard Roleplaying adventures for them. The characters Quiggly, Midnight and Abigail were all player characters from that time. While none of the RPG characters acted like the characters do in the Fall and Winter stories, I liked the idea of adding the nod to those players in the canon stories.
19: in Winter issue one, I wanted to take the reader to a new mouse town and show a different aesthetic and architecture (something I hope to do with many of the settlements over time). The concept for the look of Sprucetuck was “what if Brian Froud designed the Ewok Villiage inside a tree?” I designed the glass windows in that city (meant to be the medieval science hub of the territories) to reflect a love of beauty, but also geometry, math and subtlety.
20: Lieam’s name is spelled that way not because I found some old, cool Galic version of the name Liam, but because I’m an idiot and can’t spell, it ended up in my notes and sketches with the added “e.” By the time I started to publish Mouse Guard, I knew it was wrong, but had grown so used to it, I decided to keep it.
Read Part One: Here.