As I studied the manuscript for The Spooky Book, I realized that one of the most important elements was going to be the house. Both Zo Zo and Andrew live in the the same kind of house, and it turns up in one way or another in almost every picture in the book. I wanted it to have plenty of character, but seem real at the same time.
The first thing I did was to collect some reference material. My wife, my dog, and I spent one Saturday driving around taking pictures of every interesting house we could find. Luckily, there are plenty of them in our neighborhood.
I studied the photographs, selecting my favorite parts from each one. I took the porch from one house, a tower from another, and a window from a third.
In the computer I used a 3-D program to build my own model house. It took over a week, but it was worth it.
Once it was in the computer, I could view the house from any angle. I could see it as a bat would, flying high over the roof, or as a Zo Zo would, climbing the steps to knock on Andrew’s door.