So, a few weeks ago, I teased a project I was working on involving the floorplans of Blackbird Castle, and now it’s herrrrre! Click on the button above! Wander Blackbird Castle’s haunted halls! Poke your head into its secret chambers! Lose your head to a carnivorous piece of furniture! Come back headless and let me tell you about the process, because making this was a JOURNEY.
At first this project was just going to be a printable encyclopedia like the faerie encyclopedia of The Peculiar, but then I thought of doing a floorplan, because as we’ve established, I love floorplans, and then I thought maybe the floorplan should be interactive and clickable, and then I thought maybe I should become an alpine penguin herder because it would be easier than trying to learn programming language, and then I took a deep breath and realized I could enlist the help of others, and so I closed all my tabs on penguin herding, and got to work.
I found one person to make the digital art. I found another person to program everything. I found my mom and asked her to do spot art for 22 rooms, as well as the beautiful frame featuring five very important elements from Cinders and Sparrows, all of which she kindly agreed to do. And then I spent hours and hours compositing, learning how to photoshop, figuring out why cropping an image can make it blurry, writing the music, writing the descriptions of the rooms, ETCETERA. It took a lot longer than I’d thought, but I’m very proud of the results.
Here are a bunch of pictures of the process.
Initial sketches of spot art for Mom. ‘Discarded glove (creepy)’ is my favorite brief.
Mom’s initial interpretation of the spot art. Mom likes things cute and nice, and in Mom’s opinion, being a ghost is no excuse not to be cute and nice. We had to talk this one out.
The final product lookin’ all marvelous.
‘Sluicing rays of light,’ though. Very important. Also, is parquet spelled correctly? I’m never entirely sure.
Talking Marble Heads in the making.
An early draft of the buttons, before I decided they wouldn’t pop enough and would make the whole thing look a bit tew monochromatic.
And there you have it! I hope you enjoy clicking around, and I just want to say thanks again to Mom for all the great artwork (there’s more coming, ahhh! Character sketches, etc.), and also to the programmer, who was a breeze to work with.
- Cinders and Sparrows got its first review and it’s a starred review from Kirkus! Kirkus is considered one of the toughest of the trade reviewers, and a starred review is the best sort of review one can get, so I am consequently honored, and also very grateful that the reviewer liked it.
- If you like the cover as much as I do, the Balbusso Sisters, who illustrated it, are selling prints in their store. They have two up, including an exclusive colorized version of the frontispiece of the book, and I’m trying to convince myself to splurge and buy them, or at least the one of the cover because it would look great on my piano.
And that’s that! Only a little over a month until the book is out, ack. I’m excited.