So, the whole reason why it's taken me so long to do any updates, any anything, was because I'd been working on this project for MONTHS. I started back in September! Nearly 400 hours dedicated to these things.
A bit of background: My friends and I have been playing D&D for a decade. We've played LOTS of different characters, changed who DM'ed, we've had people come and go from the group, but it's a hobby that we love and that we dedicate regular time to.
I wanted to commemorate this somehow. So after thinking on it a while, I realized I wanted to do portraits of all the characters we've played over the years. After a few minutes, I realized that there's no way I'd be able to do ALL of them, or I'd be drawing for a decade. So I resolved to do up to 4 per person for my current D&D groups. I wanted them each to have a copy of a book with everyone in it. And, because I'm fucking extra, I wanted to make the books from hand. I wanted to include maps for our biggest campaigns, inside jokes, and art from our giant homebrew setting. I also wanted to include the backgrounds and specs of some of the characters. I realized, with two conventions and life/work between September and Christmas, that I'd need to start THAT DAY. I tried to slyly get info from my friends on all of the the characters, but they knew something was up. SO, I made a GIANT spreadsheet with all of the info I wanted and had them fill it out. I started doing sketches of the characters to turn into digital images, and I began crafting a layout for the stat pages.
This project took me months. I was worried I wouldn't finish it at all. I worked as many hours as I could manage every day on it.
The number I ended up with was 64 pages, including:
1 hand-made map (graciously and beautifully made by one of my BFFs.)
3 mock book-covers
1 mock short romance
11 short stories about our adventures
1 waterfall drawing
7 hand-sewn text blocks
7 hand-made faux leather-bound book covers
7 book charms
Needless to say, I took on way more than I expected. I'm not great at digital art and I'm still a newbie, so the character portraits alone took me close to 4 hours a piece, not including my original sketches. I ran into multiple hiccups, especially with the printing. I couldn't do 2-sided glossy prints at home, and even if I could, they would take outrageously long to print. Also, I had to organize the pages specifically so they'd fit into 4 signatures when folded into a book. That took me multiple mock designs to get right, and more than an hour of confirming before printing to make sure that it was accurate. I had to take it to get professionally printed and that was a huge chunk of the total cost.
Actually binding the books was super fun, and something I may do again in the future. I hand-stitched each text block to attach to each cover. About halfway through making them, I decided to add custom end-pages and design them specifically for each of my friends. Those were also fun to make! Each book had it's own charm, and it's own end pages to differentiate whose was whose. The cover designs... didn't come out great unfortunately. I'm not sure what else I could have done, but the gold foil didn't really care for the faux leather.
I wish I had had more time to experiment, but funds and time ran short.
After everything, I gave them to all of my friends for our Yuletide gift exchange and they loved them!
I'll include a video below :)