- Update #1: Funded! What I'd like to give back.
- Update #2: Sample pages from the PDF.
- Update #3: The finished card design:
Just the facts, ma'am
Right to the point: I want to design and print a deck of 69 large (3.5"x5.75"), full-color cards, each featuring an illustration from the Dictionnaire Infernal. I'd also like to create a supplementary PDF for the deck, with all 69 card images and extended information about each. If you're already familiar with the images I'm talking about, you can scroll down to the "accountability" section to see what this project would entail.
It's my hope that people will want this deck and PDF for all sorts of reasons. I mean, sure, there's the beautiful art -- but I'm aiming to create something that's useful for more than just looking at, too. I'm building a resource of art and information, for people that want inspiration for creating, or divination, or planning a gaming campaign. They might even be useful flash cards for Demonology 101. The beauty of it is that I get to restore something old, create something new, and then hear about all the wonderful things you can think of to do with it once it's released into the world.
Here's where I get excited about history and process
“There is no exquisite beauty without some strangeness in the proportion.”
If you look up Jacques Auguste Simon Collin de Plancy's Dictionnaire Infernal on Wikipedia (and many other sites on the web that have cut and pasted from Wikipedia), you'll see that "perhaps the most famous is the edition of 1863, in which sixty-nine illustrations were added to the book."
That's not entirely accurate: there were really more than 500 illustrations added to that edition that weren't in the original 1818 copy. The French National Library have digitized the entire book (at a not-so-great resolution, in black and white instead of grayscale, but still) so you can see them all, if you like. But, in my opinion, the most interesting of those images are the 69 engravings (mostly of demons, but there's a couple of unnamed witches, too) signed by L.B. (Luis Breton). Those are the images Wikipedia is talking about, and that you may have seen reproduced in other books and websites.
It's no wonder that those are the engravings that get all the attention: they're lovely, and they're strange. They're probably lovely because they're so strange. These demons aren't pretty men and sexy ladies with batwings and horns pasted on, they're creatures with exaggerated, not-human proportions, or animal heads and limbs. So, when I got my hands on a copy of the book, I too wanted to pull out those 69 images and print a collection of some sort. And, because the images are over a century old and in the public domain, I can.
Now, the images in the original book aren't very big. I don't mean scanned resolution in this case -- I mean the actual printed images are only a couple of inches square. Any larger reproductions you've seen have probably been redrawn (with varying degrees of detail), as there's only so much you can scale an image up (especially engravings) before the line weights start to look off. I don't want to redraw these images -- I think they're lovely at the intended scale, with incredible detail. What I want to do is restore the images -- clean up the bits of dust and dripped ink, bring out the shadows and highlights -- and then create design elements to bring everything together, incorporate the names of the demons, and add additional details and information.
When I'm done, I'll have created a beautiful deck of 69 cards, one demon per, and a supplemental book that expands the tiny paragraph of information into something a bit more detailed.
I hope this is where you come in.
I'm looking at a fair bit of work, here, between the restoration of the images, design of the cards, and research for the book. And it's work that I love to do (and often get paid for), so I'm certainly not lacking the skills or enthusiasm. What I need is enough people saying "yes, this is something we want" to help pay for the time that's money and the print production costs for the finished cards.
Accountability (what exactly are you paying for?)
- There are 69 original images that need hours of work, each, to be print-ready. And a lot of that work is just "oh, what's this weird spot, that needs to go" -- but there's also level adjustment to bring out the shadows and highlights of the engravings, fixing broken lines, and then printing out the images to check the proofs and go back in for a second pass.
- Then, when I've got nice, crisp, clear images, there's designing the card fronts and backs. That's the graphic elements/ornaments, text layout, choosing quotes and information that works with each design (and fits in the allotted space)... and then printing out the images to check the proofs and go back in for a second pass. I'm going to leave that last bit off on the rest of these points, but you can assume that every step is going to have quality assurance.
- The cards go off to the printers. I want good quality, glossy, rounded corner, professional-looking cards. All the design in the world doesn't make a bit of difference if the finished project isn't on quality paper.
- But that's not all! A short line of text on each card is great for design and mnemonic purposes, but there's so much more information available out there, just waiting to be bundled together. So, each card will be placed on its own page in a PDF file, and accompanied by extended descriptions, so I can go into more detail. These pages will be laid out like a physical book, edited and numbered with a linked table of contents for accessibility.
- I'm generally a bit wary of stretch goals, as they're often a bit vague to start. That said, if this project is wildly successful, I would love to keep going with the work I will have already done: there's the possibility of turning all of the images and information into a website, amending the PDF to create a physical book, perhaps even incorporating the images into other, larger posters and prints.
To sum up: at the very least, you'll get to come along with me as I put together something pretty. I'll be posting updates with pictures and rants (probably more than a few rants, because let's be honest -- there's always gremlins when you're designing something new) as I go along, and I tend to get very chatty when I'm talking about design or research. I can't promise you'll find out anything you didn't already know (especially any fellow designers out there), but it should be fun. If you pledge a bit more, you'll be helping me offset the costs for print and shipping, as well as my time and energy (and coffee).
And thank you!
Your time is as valuable as mine, so thank you for taking the time to stop by, for reading all of this, and for considering my project.
- (30 days)