A 2012 calendar featuring drawings of what some of San Francisco's landmarks might look like if they were people. Help me print this!
Update, 12 October: OH WOW, people! I can't believe this hit the goal with six days to spare! Thank you all so much! For anyone who comes by and was thinking of pledging, the option is still there until 5:04 PM on 17 October. If you want the lower calendar price and no shipping charges, or if any of the rewards tickle your fancy, they're still available through Kickstarter until Monday afternoon. Any money raised over the $3000 will go toward expediting printing/shipping turnaround time, so you can get your stuff faster, and toward making the print run larger (if there is demand).
I can hope this odd portmanteau caught a few of your eyes and caused you to click through! The gist of this project is San Francisco and anthropomorphism. These are my interpretations of what many of San Francisco's major landmarks would look like (and act like) if they were humans. Anthropomorphism as an artistic and literary device goes waaay back, so why not extend it to some of the structures and icons whose personalities contribute so much to the character of the larger City?
Thanks to Burrito Justice for coining the term and then letting me run with it.
Why San Francisco, then?
Because I'm madly and hopelessly in love with the place, and I know I'm not the only one. Even those who are not so infatuated as I am have to admit it's a pretty darn picturesque city.
Ok, wording aside, what is this project?
It's a 2012 calendar featuring drawings of personified landmarks in their setting within the cityscape. It's kind of a send-up of those calendars of pretty pictures of famous landmarks that you see in every gift shop in any city: that kind of scenery, but replacing the actual landmark with a human character based on that landmark. Since this is a San Francisco calendar specifically, in addition to including all the standard US holidays, it will also have key dates in the City's history included in the day grid itself.
The final print size will be 8.5x11 inch pages - 11x17 once it's unfolded. The prints will be in full color on glossy paper, with a glossy cardstock cover. They'll be bound with a staple and have a hole punched in the top for ease in hanging. They will not be individually shrink-wrapped, because that's not green at all, and this is San Francisco.
If I pledge to this project, where does the money go?
The vast majority of the money I'm asking for goes to printing fees. I'm going for a professional-looking calendar, not the template-with-home-photos look. My initial plan is to do a print run of 500 copies. If funding is wildly successful and demand looks higher than I anticipate, any money over the initial $3000 will go to printing more copies.
As for the rest of the money, some will go to shipping calendars and incentives to backers, or shipping calendars to brick-and-mortar stores for distribution. Some will go to production of the pledge incentives. Some will also go toward art supplies, since full-color marker drawings can burn through a lot of ink. The last bit will go toward fees charged by Kickstarter and Amazon for successful projects.
If the project does not reach the funding goal, you will not pay a cent, no matter how much you may have pledged.
I draw a lot of personifications (not just San Francisco landmarks), so by now, I've come up with a pretty set way of designing them.
FEATURES AND BUILD
Where possible, I try to incorporate shapes and details from the structure into the personification. I try to work these things into the facial features, build, and clothing design alike. This is maybe best explained by examples: Golden Gate's hairline mimics the curvature of a suspension bridge's cables, Coit Tower's eyebrows and eyes are arch-shaped to match the actual tower's windows, Alcatraz has a craggy nose because he's made of craggy rock, and the Palace of Fine Arts looks like one of the classical Greek statues incorporated into the facade.
I try to keep the body types and heights of the characters explainable by their structural types as well. The cable cars are going to be shorter and stockier than the skyscrapers! A building with more curves in its design will make a curvier character than a building that's all angles.
I base the colors of these personifications' hair, skin, and clothes on the colors of the actual structure or landscape. For structures, that's mostly the color of the building material or the paint; for landforms, the colors come from the rocks and plant life. I do take the liberty to add a bit more pinks/skin tones than just being literal, since these are meant to be landmark-<i>people</i>; if I gave Golden Gate or the Painted Ladies skin tones that were their exact paint colors, they'd look like ReBoot characters instead of humans, and many of the white/pale grey structures would look like vampires if I went that literal. Transamerica Pyramid may sparkle in the sunlight, but she's no vampire.
I try to use as many of the same markers as possible to color the character as I would use to color a picture of the landmark/landform itself.
None of my personifications are meant to be members of specific races or nationalities (other than, well, American, since this is San Francisco). I really do go off of architectural/geological shapes and colors, not a preconceived notion of a specific type of human.
I'll be the first to admit I'm no clothing designer, and that I don't even follow fashion. That surely informs why so many of my characters have fairly basic shapes to their clothes. For a lot of buildings with fairly simple clean lines, though, that suggests a plainer shape to me, and puts the focus more on the patterns and colors of the structure.
For the structures with very distinctive shapes, I try to make the shape of the clothes match. Transamerica's triangular white dress with pointy shoulders and Sutro's very loud trench coat are prime examples here.
I don't always match clothing style with the style of the era that the architecture represents, usually for the sake of clarity. In the case of the bridges, dressing them in all the layers people wore in the 1930s would interfere with the patterns of their towers. In the case of Transamerica, the shape is more important than the era. But if I can make it work, I will: Victorian clothes still allow me to represent Ferry Building's shape and clock tower and cap very well, and Victorian colors and details in clothes are very conducive to representing the Painted Ladies' Victorian architecture. The cable cars' clothes are based on circa 1900 cable car conductor uniforms, since they allow me to fit the right colors and patterns in, and since the cable cars are definitely a uniformed bunch. The windows on the Alcatraz structure worked well to make the stripes on an Alcatraz prisoner uniform.
http://%3Ca%20href= The bridges of Portland, Oregon (all sorts of different bridge types)
http://mitya.deviantart.com/art/Know-Your-Faults-152959778 The geologic faults of California (all sorts of different rock colors and patterns)
Why /wouldn't/ Pier 39 be a sea lion?
And if you've spent time around Bernal Heights, you are surely aware of the large number of dogs.
While water in liquid and in vapor form is a major characteristic of San Francisco, I don't strictly consider the fog or the waves to be landmarks, at least not in the same way that large structures and landforms can be. They're too dynamic and transient.
That said, because the waves and the fog are awesome on Twitter, their personifications will be featured on the credits page of the calendar.
There are only twelve months in the year. I have far more than twelve personified San Francisco landmark characters, so I had to cull it down. I decided to go with the ones most likely to turn up in a regular photogenic landmarks calendar, since I'm treating this as a sendup of those. Believe me, I would've loved to include the likes of Lotta's Fountain or the Call Building/Central Tower or Dolores Park, but I opted for the most instantly recognizable to visitors-who-are-not-locals.
If this is very successful for 2012, the 2013 version may include more schtick between landmarks, and a few that are more of the known-to-locals, confusing-to-visitors type.
I actually started drawing personifications of San Francisco landmarks before I noticed any of them on Twitter. My first of these drawings (the two bridges) was in March of 2010, and the first tweeting landmarks I noticed (@KarlTheFog and @SFBayBridge) didn't come to my attention until August of 2010. While the antics between the landmarks on Twitter have definitely informed some of the comics I've drawn, given my tendencies to personify things I like, I probably would have ended up drawing many of these characters even without the tweeting landmarks phenomenon.
But I probably will mention them on the acknowledgments page, for the comics inspirations, and for being so entertaining and so in line with what I do anyway.
It's marker. Specifically, I use Copic markers, which come from Japan and are quite expensive, but are totally worth it. They're refillable, and they blend amazingly. I'm rather bad at actual watercolors, so I like having markers that can be mistaken for watercolor all the more.
Your account will not be charged any earlier than 17 October. Even then, it will only be charged if the $3000 goal is met. Pledging now just gets you on the list as a backer, but if this comes in at, say, $2998, you won't lose a cent. (I'll be pretty sad if it ends at $2998, though.)
The Painted Ladies, Alcatraz, F-Market historic streetcars, the Ferry Building, the Golden Gate Bridge, City Hall, Sutro Tower, cable cars (both Powell and California), Coit Tower, the Palace of Fine Arts, the Bay Bridge, and the Transamerica Pyramid. In that order.
If this project gets funded, I plan on selling the calendars for $16, plus shipping. It's cheaper here on Kickstarter! Pledging at the $15 level gets you a calendar, postcards, and there's no shipping charge, plus it helps ensure that this will be printed at all.
The calendars are here! They're $16 plus shipping, and you can order them online here: http://www.seismogenic.net/san-franthropomorphism-2012/
They're also available at several locations in San Francisco: the Cable Car Museum (Mason and Washington), the Market Street Railway Museum (Embarcadero and Don Chee), Mission Comics and Art (20th and Valencia), Serendipity (18th and Valencia), and Red Hill Books (Cortland and Bennington). I'll update this list as more get placed!