You may recall me mentioning that in January my comic strip BUNNY VERSUS MONKEY begins in the new UK children's comic The Phoenix (which you can check out/subscribe to HERE [link]
). I was real excited to be involved, and BVM itself has a very special place in my heart (as to why, perhaps one day we can share) so I wanted to get it absolutely right. The story revolves around a woodland, and the trouble caused when a monkey crash-lands in the middle of it. Soon every animal in the woods is taking sides, and some rather remarkable weapons come into play.
That's the concept. The animals are cute, the fights exciting and the humour silly (or that's the plan AMIRIGHT?). But with BVM I have an opportunity to do something a little bit special, to make the woods as much a part of the story as the characters. I wanted the woods to look beautiful, and to ebb and flow through the seasons AS THE COMIC DOES. So if you're reading a Bunny Versus Monkey comic in february, the woods will look far colder then they would in a summer strip. The woods are as much the animals' homes as their battlegrounds, and provides really unlimited room for variety and change.
This idea really excited me, though I knew I was a little limited. My backgrounds are hardly very detailed, I tend to begrudge having to draw them, so I needed to force myself to work on that. I looked through all the backgrounds that inspired me, in particular many of the Disney backgrounds as mentioned in the previous post (though of course, there are a wealth of other talented studios who produced beautiful woodlands, Ghibli being perhaps the best example), and found as much reference as I could. Now, obviously I can't just paint to these levels, it's too highly-skilled and if anything wouldn't fit in with my rather more simplistic style. I just wanted to absorb.
So I set to work on eight scenes to get myself in practice. Each scene shows a different side of the woods, and one of the characters playing around in it. They served to get me into the right mindset and really convey an important part of Bunny Versus Monkey, something I haven't consciously worked on before. It's about the feel of the place I'm asking you to step into, the unspoken atmosphere.
I'll be posting up a new scene every day until The Phoenix launch date on January 7th. They are all a little rough round the edges, they were never intended to be finished art, just glorified sketches. Today's was the first I did, showing our main hero Bunny in reflective mood.
Tomorrow, I'll post up Monkey. Thanks for looking!