I wanted to get some feedback about an idea.
Over the last few weeks I've featured a number of amazing tomes and grimoires from a variety of artists. Every time I make one of those posts I'm reminded that such tomes are probably the pinnacle of Lovecraftian propmaking. They're undeniably impressive, but the amount of work needed to create one is shocking. To make a truly convincing eldritch book requires a huge amount of custom artwork to make the pages look authentic, and that all has to be done before you can even begin to think about the binding process.
But what if the necessary high-quality artwork were free?
Well, not quite "free". It would have to be paid for initially, but after that it would be freely available to anyone under a Creative Commons license. Then you could re-use it and remix it anyway you wanted for the rest of time. Print it out and bind your own evil grimoire. Make decorative scrolls for games. Heck, just lift the graphics to make Halloween party invitations.
I've tentatively called this idea "The Open Source Necronomicon".
The basic idea is a to create a crowd-sourced funding project, either through Kickstarter or a similar venue, to pay a professional artist to produce at least 40 pages of art and text. Once completed the pages would be freely available as high-resolution (600 DPI) scans for anyone to use under an open Creative Commons license. Any individual elements from the pages, either calligraphy, art, or text, could be reused and remixed by anyone for any purpose. The only requirements would be that any derivatives be made available under the same free-to-use license and that the project and artist receive attribution.
Personally, I'd be in favor of producing a more fantasy-influenced version of the Necronomicon and not one of the canon print versions. I'd definitely want the artwork to be firmly grounded in the Mythos, but beyond that I think a version that isn't tied to a specific time period would be more flexible. That should help with funding, since the project would appeal to a wider audience outside the Lovecraftian faithful.
As to the actual amount of funding, I'm open to suggestions. Ideally the project would use a proven artist with a record of reliability, skill, and familiarity with the Mythos. Artists deserve to be paid well, particularly for such a massive undertaking, so I think $15,000 would be an absolute minimum. All of the money raised, minus any fees from the funding organization, would go directly to the artist.
Your thoughts and suggestions would be appreciated.