[PROCESS] del Mundo / Huddleston Prints
Mike del Mundo and Mike Huddleston reveal the secrets behind two of the Prints from the Year 2 rewards set.
Last week, we wrapped up [REWARDS] Days, a two week cavalcade of announcements and reveals about this year’s upcoming subscriber rewards (you can recap all of them right here). We ended with one last announcement- we’re extending the deadline to qualify for these rewards through THIS Friday, June 30! So don’t miss your chance:
This week, we’ll be going in-depth on the new rewards, with behind the scenes looks and even more reveals-
Last week we unveiled a Deluxe Print Set from Mike del Mundo & Mike Huddleston and showed off the first two pieces from each of them. Today we’re going to hear from Mike and Mike about each piece, the thought process behind designing each location, and more.
Members of THE CIRCLE will get all SIX prints, each signed by its respective artist, as part of their Year 2 subscriber rewards. Annual Subscribers will receive TWO of the prints – one from del Mundo, one from Huddleston – chosen at random. Any remaining prints will be made available via EMPORIA in extremely limited quantities. (NOTE: Prints for Annual Subscribers will not be signed.)
If you want the complete set, the only way to guarantee that is to:
Before we hear from Mike & Mike, a heads up that this post is full of images. We strongly advise using the Substack app to read it, as email providers sometimes limit images. You can also click through to read it via the web.
Let’s start with Mike del Mundo, who espouses the virtues of asking questions…
Mike del Mundo: When I got the description of this Fishing Village built on top of a Giant Turtle, I knew exactly what I was gonna do for it. I didn’t do too much variations, actually what you see here is a refined version of the very first sketch. When I work on concepts I kinda get lost in different designs, but for this one I had my eyes set on doing a giant snapping turtle with hints of different weird accents to give it that otherworldly feel, so I stuck with that vision. I wanted to keep that main shape, that massive head that looks like its neck can’t support it. Once I had that silhouette solid, I had fun with it, one idea on top of another.
How I came up with the ideas is a lesson in questions and answers. The practice of asking questions lures in a ton of answers. Like how would this work? How did these villagers build on top of a giant turtle without it noticing. So I was thinking maybe the turtle is blind and can only feel them from its shell. So, voila, to begin with, we have a blind turtle.
Why is the turtle blind? Maybe it spends most of its time underwater and like a snapping turtle uses a lure-type tongue to get its food. So I was thinking this turtle wouldn’t need to move much if the food comes to him. His visuals wouldn’t be as important. But maybe it moves every so often if there is a fish drought. Thus, the necessity for the villagers to build quick and without much thought or planning – almost like a constant work in progress. So the houses are awkwardly shaped, less even angles and sometimes even looking unbalanced. The houses would be built from found materials like pieces from a crashed spaceship and bamboo for the skeleton.
So why did the villagers decide to build on a giant turtle? It had to do something with fish, right? I thought, maybe they saw that they can also partake in the massive buffet of fish when the turtle feeds with its giant lure.
I also thought, how would these villagers build on top of a shell? Would it be mountainous, would the shell already have an existing kind of plain to build on? What I thought would be cool is that its shell would be made of giant coral-like structures that they could easily use as the foundation and structure of their village. So you’ll notice the different colored coral or tree trunk things interweaving through the village.
Another thought, this turtle would need to come up for air once in a while. Since it’s lazy, I don’t see it fully extending its neck so I thought, give it a long elephant-type trunk, just like its tongue. It can extend and allows the turtle to use the least energy possible to breathe.
So yeah, sometimes asking a lot of questions, especially when designing places, helps a lot and lures in much plentiful fish.
On to the next one! Hope you enjoyed!
Now let’s hear from Mike Huddleston about his piece, featuring Templo Sangon, and how he was able to add ideas while feeling things out at the design stage, and then refine them in conversation with the 3W3M team.
Mike Huddleston: One of the things I enjoy the most about designing for 3W/3M is that sometimes I get to be involved early in the story process where I can help solve problems, or add new ideas that make their way into the final story, and that was the case with Templo Sangon.
The brief for the temple described it as a holy place that housed three schools: something like Speed, Strength, and Silence, and that it was located high in the mountains – and that was pretty much it.
For some reason (it doesn't always happen) I immediately had an idea of one way we could go with this place.
Here were my initial notes:
The temple: for some reason I'm wanting each part to be made of different materials, and to kind of go backward from what you would expect.
The bottom layer – Speed – is jagged sharp shapes in glass, maybe even transparent.
The middle layer – Strength – is an impossibly large stone that a more traditional looking temple has been carved into, sitting, cradled into the glass structure
The top layer – Silence – is floating, hidden mostly by clouds. What you can see is part of a large metallic sphere with a single knotted rope hanging below for entry.
Thankfully the idea landed and an impromptu brainstorm session started:
3W/3M: Only concern about stacking might be logistical – if I was chosen for Silence, for instance, I wouldn't want to have to go through Speed and Strength to get to my school. But maybe the floating platform takes me there?
MH: I guess I was thinking the rock could just transport the applicant to the entry of their appropriate temple? Except for Silence. The Silence rock takes you to the top of the Strength temple and you have to climb your way up to the floating Silence temple.
3W/3M: Yep, love that. Maybe each one has a small challenge like that. Pretty funny to get through that huge test then be unable to climb the rope haha.
MH: I thought one possibility with the Silence climb is that there are birds that attack at the slightest noise?
And with that, we had a concept and a design. I knew up front that this was one of the locations we wanted to make a print out of, so now I just had to get painting.
Since it seemed there was so much involved in just getting inside this place, my first thought was to do it almost as a mini comic with three panels walking us through a hero selecting his school.
I pivoted away from that idea and thought I could really capture the gist of everything in one image. With directional elements and some color coding, hopefully it's clear that the guy on the platform with the monk fought his way through the guards, is headed toward the fortress, and is being presented with a choice that directly relates to the fortress somehow.
I don't have a lot to add to the work in the progress images. I feel like I'm still learning a lot about this style of concept painting so it's kind of a mad scramble of mistakes and U- turns before I land on anything I'm happy with.
In the end I was really happy with the concept and I'm excited for us to tell stories that will explore the place more.
Thanks as always to Mike & Mike for sharing their approach and the thinking behind designing this concept universe.
If you want to make sure you get these prints and more, you should:
Subscribe to 3 Worlds / 3 Moons today and get:
Community Events like Live-Draws and Creator Interviews.
Special Offers and Discounts for EMPORIA, our new web store.
Annual Subscribers will receive the [MAPS] Graphic Novel Sourcebook in Softcover Format.
Annual Subscribers will also receive two 11 x 17 collector prints, one by Mike del Mundo and one by Mike Huddleston.
Or join at or upgrade to THE CIRCLE, our premium membership tier, to get so much more:
A Limited, Deluxe Hardcover Edition of the [MAPS] Graphic Novel Sourcebook, signed by Jonathan Hickman, Mike del Mundo, and Mike Huddleston.
A collection of SIX gorgeous, signed 11 x 17 prints- 3 from Mike del Mundo and 3 from Mike Huddleston.
THE VALLARS Preview Edition – a 48-page prestige comic printed at European dimensions, and featuring the first chapters of our inaugural ongoing series, signed by artist Jason Howard.
ACADEMY Sunday Edition – a 12-page Collector’s Item printed on glorious newsprint at 11 x 17 and featuring the first 24 installments of our weekly Sunday serial, signed by artist Steve Epting.
THE COMPASS – an immaculately crafted and unique collector’s item designed by Sasha E Head.
THE THIRTEEN QUESTIONS – an immersive experience- live right now for CIRCLE members.
A prestige, metal and gold embossed CIRCLE membership card you can use to unlock rewards at in-person events.
We’ll have more Prints, more [MAPS], and more announcements headed your way soon.