Interview

David Petersen Interview - Motor City Comic Con 2014

I'm here at Motor City Comic Con 2014 with David Petersen with his Mouse Guard series. Amazing trip from starting with this book. How does it feel to have accomplished this many books?
It's awesome! I feel like I'm going slow. When you have to lug in all the books, they're heavy.
Yeah, there's 5 hard-covers - so that's a lot. Although two of those are Anthology books where I (Tom Sawyer-ed other people into doing the work). Three hard-cover books of my own. It's a lot of work. I'm proud. I started here (Motor City Comic Con) I released Mouse Guard nine years ago. So…coming to Motor City is sort of a little homecoming.

David Petersen Motor City Comic Con 2014
I have seen you here at Comic Con. That is what got me to want to read this book (pictured). I hear you are also an Eastern Alumnus.
I am. I graduated from Eastern in 2000.

I just graduated this past year. You met your wife at Eastern?
Yes. I met my wife at Eastern. She's a few years older than me. She was going back to school and she had scrapped her previous degree in special education and decided to try art as a degree program. And I was in the art program. Three years later (after graduation) we were married.

Wow! Does she help out with your artwork sometimes?
She is an amazing sounding board. She is the one who patiently reassures me. I can trust her opinion. The business side - she really does a lot of work. She schedules all my appearances.
She deals with the publisher. She takes a load off and I focus on the art. She's awesome! She is a big part of making Mouse Guard a success.

Kudos to her. Do you have any future books coming out?
We're going to do a collection of hard-cover of all the stories we've done so far plus two new ones. That should be coming out by the end of the year we hope, maybe the beginning of next year.

Then we're going to do another round of "Legends of the Guard." I'm using all that time to recharge my batteries and start outlining and thinking about the next big Mouse Guard.

I've already announced the title: "The Weasel War of 1149." It's going to be a big story. I'm a little nervous to start.

Do you have any advice you have for future comic artists?
There's a point where you have to stop thinking about it and just start doing it. If you wait until you're ready: “I want to wait until I'm drawing at the level I'm drawing at.” If you wait until you're ready you'll never be ready. You need to do all 24 (or 32) whatever. Do the whole first issue. You don't really see flaws in your work for some reason until it's bound into a book. You see all the things that aren't working. Your story doesn't flow right. You're lettering is too big, etc. Whatever your flaws are - you see all that come through. Then I would encourage you not to redo issue one again (unless you want it sooo bad). Every issue I start I try to make better than the last issue. I'm my own worst critiquer.

Last question from Realm of Gaming: What video games are you into in your free time - when not doing art?
Every so often I'll be playing Solitare before bed. I play something mind-numbingly dull. I'm not trying to stay awake, I'm trying to go to bed. I'm trying to get my brain to stop thinking.

My favorite digital game of all time is a 1982 alpha numeric adventure game called Moria. It wasn't officially Tolkien-sanctioned at all. It only uses characters on the keyboard. Your character is an at sign @. A dragon is either uppercase or lowercase D. Potions were exclamation points! You move you @ around the map. Every time you play it it's new. It is as simple as you can get graphics-wise but still fun.

Thank you so much for this interview!