One note: I'm still tweaking the colors for the background in this one, so the heart shape may wind up looking *slightly* different - I think I want it to look a little more vibrant and warm.
The large, screen-printed, gallery-quality print will be a large copy of the cover of the book, which will look very similar to the following design. Again... I may tweak the heart in the background to look more vibrant and the text will be in a different, custom-made font based on my handwriting:
The post exploded, and suddenly Benny was everywhere. You all jumped in with me to make the post into a storybook nine months ago, and after many hurdles and slow going... while today will be sad for me, it also marks a milestone: the book is nearly finished!!!
Lucas is working on the last 4 images, including the cover. Alisa and her team at Well-Done Design (http://well-donedesign.com) are doing the layout, typesetting, and getting everything ready for printing.
Most importantly... I've set up the surveys for you to give me your most current information! There's a service called BackerKit which helps me work around the Kickstarter problem of only allowing one survey to be sent. Backerkit allows you to update your orders, your addresses, and any other information right up until the day we lock everything down for shipping!
If you have any trouble, please let me know immediately.
Thanks again for all your patience! I'm letting other people pre-order copies of the book if they missed the Kickstarter, but your names will hold a place of honor in the printed book as Benny's Better Angels – the first to support and the most kind and patient group I've known in my life.
Thank you so much!
over 2 years ago
– Thu, Jan 05, 2017 at 05:01:57 PM
Happy Holidays, everyone! I had really wanted to at least finish the PDF by now, but it just didn't happen. I still wanted to post at least a few of the images so you could share in the excitement and see how things are progressing.
So without further ado – and without too much explanation so that it can all stay fresh when the book comes out – here's a little sneak peek:
This is the opening image:
Here's the second:
Here's the 6th:
Here's the 7th:
And here's the 8th:
I particularly love this one because it captures the love and gratitude Benny and I shared.
I'll leave it at that for now. There are about 10 more images done already, with about 25 to go.
Thank you all. I can't express how grateful I am to you. This has all become an incredible gift, and I hope you are all blessed with such love and good fortune, too. It is truly amazing.
over 2 years ago
– Mon, Jan 02, 2017 at 01:54:50 PM
If you haven't seen yet, I'm working with the illustrator on the first set of images! I want the book to feel like a brand new thing when you get it, so I don't want to share *too* much, but I do want you to feel the excitement with me!
If you don't have a facebook account... Here is the first set of sketches! He sends them to me, we refine them, and then he does an ink version and colors each one in.
This was the first sketch he sent for the scene "Yesterday was weird. I couldn't get myself out of bed." I loved it as an image, but I felt like the story needed to start with Benny on his side, looking confused, like he really couldn't get out of bed. This is what he sent back:
We'll use this one, and tweak it a little more to make his expression a little more confused and his head a little more awkwardly placed... like he's surveying a body that won't cooperate.
We'll modify this one just a little to make his tail shorter and his face a little more square, but this will be very close to the second scene, "The guy I live with lifted me up. I tried to get my legs under me, but they wouldn't cooperate."
We'll make his face a little more square, and this will be the scene for, "He said, 'Don't worry, I gotcha buddy,' carried me downstairs, and out the front door. That was so nice of him."
We'll use this somewhere to show him trying to sit up, but feeling a little shaky.
This is a sketch Lucas did for the scene in the parking lot where Benny's legs are dragging behind him.
He added some scenery...
I used photoshop to compose a scene from several sketches. This one shows the condo complex in the back, to give the readers a reference when he comes back and the door suddenly seems like an impossible distance away. Lucas will render this into the final scene for, "I felt my paws dragging on the ground. 'How strange,' I thought."
This is the initial scene for, "By the time we reached the end of the parking lot, my head was spinning." We may use this, or we may make a new scene and use this for the part later in the story when he has collapsed in the park and is spinning into darkness...
This is the sketch for, "He reached down again, and ran his hands over me. That felt good."
This was his first sketch for, "He picked me up, and carried me home. I was still confused, and my head was light, but I was glad not to have to walk all the way back. It suddenly seemed like an impossible distance." I sent him photos of the actual condo, and asked him to make the building stretch off to the horizon, so the door looked really far away. He sent this:
I took several images and made this composite, which he'll use to draw the scene you'll see in the book:
This is one of my favorites so far, and we'll use this face and its proportions as a model for all the other faces in the story. This is for the scene, "I was so glad to lay down on my bed. My person petted me, saying, 'I gotcha covered, buddy. I gotcha.' I love the way that makes me feel. I know he does. He makes everything better."
This is another one that I really love. It's for the scene, "He felt my paws, and pulled up my lip. He said, 'Oh buddy, are you cold?' I was. My face was cold, my paws were cold."
This is where we are right now. I'm expecting the finished images back soon, at which point I'll lay out the text and he'll start on the next set of scenes. As we move forward, I'll make sure everything is in a format that we can send to you, and to the printer, as soon as all the scenes are done.
Book Delivery Update:
As we approach the holidays, I'm really trying to get the electronic version finished in time to send it to you all, but I don't see any way to get the physical books printed in time. I'm really sorry about that.
When I projected the August delivery date, I was thinking, "I have the story finished. All I have to do is get the art made." If I had known then what I know now, I would have projected a very different date of completion.
That said, we are quickly approaching the one year anniversary of Benny's weird day – January 28th. I have been shy about projecting specific dates for delivery since I was so far off on the first one, but my unflinching goal is to have these books in your hands by then, no matter what.
Thanks again for your support and your patience through all of this. It has been a really "weird year" – in what turned out to be a good way – and you have been a very large part of it!