In February 2017, Kyle Steiner looked to the sky and saw a little balloon floating away. He thought to himself, I wonder where that will land if it pops? This idea later turned into Patched. Go behind the scenes to learn how Patched went from an idea Kyle had in Downtown Bozeman to a story that is being enjoyed all over the world...
An Idea High In the Sky
Kyle Steiner was in the midst of recording the radio theater production for The Legend of the Squiger when the idea for Patched came floating into his imagination. On his lunch break, Kyle was walking into a sandwich shop in Downtown Bozeman when a little balloon high in the sky caught his eye. "I remember thinking, Wouldn't it be fun to see all of the adventures that balloon has been on?" said Steiner. "The entire lunch consisted of me thinking of how I could tell a story about a balloon that pops, gets brought back to life, goes on an adventure, and then floats off again until it runs out of air, pops again, repeat." For months, Kyle continued to think on how this story could be possible. He spent hours inside of his favorite coffee shop in Bozeman, Wild Joe's, imagining how this story could be brought to life...
From Idea to Execution
For months, Kyle wrapped his imagination around this idea of a balloon that pops, gets patched up and brought back to life. After The Legend of the Squiger was released in September 2017, Kyle's mind was free to have this idea fully float around in his head. "The idea went from this balloon popping multiple times, getting patched up multiple times, adventuring with its new owner multiple times until I realized that there would be way too many story arcs in one book for that to work," Kyle remembers. "I was on vacation in Edinburgh, Scotland when it hit me, 'If the first book works, I'll revisit the balloon going on multiple adventures...maybe throughout multiple books.'"
Now that he had a solid path storyline mapped out, he was ready to execute. On August 30th, 2017, Kyle came up with the title of his newest story: Patched. He was ready to execute.
Before Kyle even began writing, it was important to him that the main character, the balloon named Patch, was designed exactly how he was envisioning him. "We went back and forth for about a month trying to figure out how this character would look. I knew he had to be blue, so we first started exploring the different shades of blue. Then we experimented with how this character could be lit and how his 'skin' would change in different lighting. From there, we then dialed in what colors his patches would be. It was very important to me that we got this right," Kyle recalls. After weeks of back and forth with the story's artist, Kyle then struggled with figuring out how Patch would convey emotion. "This was the toughest part of it all. The story has so many different types of emotions throughout, and to have this balloon displaying the emotions that weren't explicitly written was not easy." Once the team figured this out, Patch was officially brought to life outside of Kyle's imagination. "I think what most people don't realize is how hard it is to get just one single element of an idea to come to life. Sure, there's an entire story we're dealing with here, but about a quarter of the production time was spent getting Patch right."