The shaky start
I was in Pokhara, Nepal, on the 25th April 2015, as part of a year-long trip around Asia with my boyfriend, Pete. It's a date that I won’t forget now.
The 7.8 magnitude earthquake that day had life changing consequences for almost everybody living in Nepal, one of the poorest countries in the world. Images documenting the destruction of Kathmandu and villages near the epicentre quickly flew around the world. It's hard to describe the sensation of the actual quake, other than that some colossal force underground was really not happy. We barely slept the next few days, waking at every aftershock tremor to run outside, with a renewed fear about a further quake.
It was on the bus journey back to India, a week later, that I decided I wanted to use my expertise (I'm a graphic designer in the 'real world') to raise money for the long-term rebuild, having felt pretty useless while we were in the country. The idea of writing and illustrating a short story developed and came to life as I continued my diverted journey, influenced by Sri Lanka, India, Japan, South Korea, China and, of course, Nepal.
Initially I thought of it as a children's book, probably for age 8+, and I suppose it is; the story is not long or hard to read. But I think it has become more than that. It's great for anyone of any age who enjoys quirky tales and rhymes and interesting illustration, a great coffee table book.
The challenge to illustrate while travelling
It was tricky, they're not always two things that go together well. I can't tell you how many makeshift 'tables' I've used, how many floors I've leant on and how many bumps on trains or buses have been just a little bit annoying. But it's all added to the character...
I've used recycled printer paper from our lovely guest house owner in Allahabad, drawing pens from London and Tokyo, a calligraphy pen to write the story from Kawaguchiko by Mount Fuji. I've sketched on the back of maps and plane tickets, plus some beautiful Japanese fabric paper, and the illustration style has developed during my time in Sri Lanka and India, unknowingly it seems, for this purpose. So basically it's a melting pot, a mish mash, an amalgamation of experiences, all pasted together and I hope this is what makes it unique.
I definitely didn't expect the project to develop as far as it has. That's the beauty of it. I've enjoyed it so much and been so motivated by the cause that it's just continued to grow. And now somehow it's finished.
The next step
The design part of the project is finished; all the drawings are illustrated, the hand-written type is set and the pages are designed. The next step is to get it printed so that it can be enjoyed and make money for the people of Nepal who have a huge uphill struggle in front of them.
As I'm on a journey myself and the book has been influenced by so many parts of it, it seems only right that the printing should be part of that journey too. After South Korea, our next stop is China so I've been in touch with printers there and found one who's very keen to work on such a worthy project. It means that I should be able to be involved with the print process and oversee it as much as possible. Then they'll be shipped to the UK and we'll be onto the next exciting phase.
I just need an insert of funds to give the printer the go-ahead and kickstart this project. That's where you lovely people come in!
The book should be delivered to the UK by mid-October/November, just in time for Christmas gift shopping. Unfortunately this means we will miss donating money for the monsoon this year, but I'd rather do it right and provide money for the continuing rebuild into next year.
The other bits
As the project developed, it naturally presented opportunities to create other exciting things using the illustrations, which was really exciting! These are a couple of the things that will be offered as rewards.
For the top two rewards you can choose an original illustrations to own. Here are the choices (which give you a sneak peak too):
Risks and challenges
As I mentioned before I am a graphic designer by trade, so I have experience with all the challenges up until now.
I've been involved in organising the next phase and seen it happen, but have never been the sole point of contact for printers and shippers. I'm making sure that I ask hundreds of questions to fully understand the process but I'm sure there will be slight hiccups along the way. I'm also seeking advice from ex-colleagues who have first hand experience.
If anything happens that might influence the delivery date of the books I will of course let everybody know.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (42 days)