This is a good thing, especially now that I've made some progress. It cracks me up to see how long ago I posted hopefully that "the website should be up this week!" Actually, it's nice to have waited. When my wonderful and extremely helpful roommate and I thought that we might have the site up before graduation, I was prepared to settle for images (two borders and one decoration) that didn't really make me that happy, knowing I could change them later and just wanting something up now. Back home, however, I realized that I can create the images I want.
One of my first ideas for the two vertical borders my site will have was to look for parchment-y or old paper-like designs. After all, it's a site for writing and medievalesque fantasy. I couldn't find any good images in that vein. Here, I was struck with inspiration while walking with my mom.
"Mom," I said. "I can make my own parchment design, and then photograph it or scan it or something! I can take some paper, and crumple it up and tea-dye it - you've done lots of things with paper. Do you know any special ways to get it to look old and parchment-y?"
"You could say 'Mom, can I have some of your parchment or old handmade paper?'" said Mom.
Oops, that's right, my parents are artists.
I decided to make an old-paper design for those borders; I'm going to try writing and drawing things on them that will make them look like a spell or a mage's notes. Then, perched on the corner of the paper, I decided to have a moth. I wanted to give the moth symbols on its wings which repeated in the paper, making it look magical, perhaps as if it were created by this spell. I decided to make the moth first.
This took days. My original plan was to use Photoshop on pictures of real moths (taken by people I know or, in a pinch, from free photos online). Then, I realized that I could have precisely what I wanted if I created my own moth . . . outside of Photoshop. This was what took so long.
I planned to make the moth larger than I needed and then shrink it down in photos, thus glossing over things which might make it obviously a fake. First, I made wing-shapes from construction paper and cut a body from furry fabric, which I trimmed down. Our living room has a large vase full of peacock feathers in one corner. Dad pointed out to me that each feather is made of hundreds of tiny feather-like pieces. Two of these became Mulligan's antennae - this is probably my favorite part of the moth. (His name is Mulligan because, in the card game Magic, that is what you call it when you scrap your hand and draw a new one. I scrapped Mulligan several times and restarted.) Then came the lengthy process of getting the wings as I wanted them. I used Mom's pastels and my shimmer eyeshadow to get color and a powdery look on the wings. I made a stencil, but it still took me several painstaking (yet messy) drafts to get the wings just right.
Dad helped me photograph Mulligan with the professional-level camera setup in his studio. Remember those big lights and silvery-umbrella things they had on school picture day? Dad has those. Mulligan may be the world's only fake moth to be so photographed.
The Photoshopping process still took a long time, largely because of the difficulty in removing the background around Mulligan. Now, though, it is finished. Tomorrow, I will start the borders!
The other big thing I did this week was to research audiobooks and the podcasting thereof. I found a wonderfully helpful website, Podiobooks.com. I also discovered two amazing - and really fun - websites for listening to people speaking English with different accents: the International Dialects of English Archive and the Speech Accent Archive. This will be helpful and important for my ability to read Dragons Over London, which contains dialogue in English from characters who are English, Irish, Scottish, Chinese, Japanese, Egyptian, and Finnish. I also began to read Dragons Over London aloud to myself, taking notes on the various voices I'll need to do.