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That's Not My Epic Modernist Poem: Book One of T S Eliot's The Waste Land. Words and pictures for babies and bigger people both!
That's Not My Epic Modernist Poem: Book One of T S Eliot's The Waste Land. Words and pictures for babies and bigger people both!
93 backers pledged £3,337 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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Hello! It's April, but it's not a cruel month at all this year. It's an awesome month! Why? Because this April you can back my book The Waste Land for Babies. 

It's early May now, but you can still - just about - back The Waste Land for Babies.

I created The Waste Land For Babies as a first-Christmas gift for my friends' baby. He's a pretty cool baby, and I thought he might appreciate a bit of modernity in his bright, shiny post-modern life.

Lots of people seemed interested in getting their hands on a copy, so I'm doing this kickstarter project to see if I can get it properly printed.

The money raised will go towards having the pictures professionally scanned (the versions I have now were done on an office scanner - they're a bit dull and the colours aren't quite right), getting the books printed, packaged, and posted out, and printing some really good quality prints of the paintings. And buying a new bottle of ink. I'll be updating here as we roll, but you can follow along on Twitter if you want even more updates about this project, and the other things I'm painting.

The rewards

I love painting postcards! They start from anywhere - a splash of colour, an image in my head, a scribble of my pen - and they can end up anywhere.They can reflect things I'm thinking about for a bigger more focused picture, or disappear off on a tangent of their own.

Last summer I was off wandering Europe, and a friend challenged me to send a postcard from every city; here are (some of) the results
Last summer I was off wandering Europe, and a friend challenged me to send a postcard from every city; here are (some of) the results
And here's my mobile studio last summer; this was on a train travelling through Greece
And here's my mobile studio last summer; this was on a train travelling through Greece
In my studio there are lots of postcards waiting for homes right now
In my studio there are lots of postcards waiting for homes right now

You might end up with an abstract pattern. You might end up with the skeleton of a mythical beast. You might end up with some cheerful cat-faces, or a detailed study of a window or door. There might be gilt embellishments. There might be huge bright colours, or it might be almost monochrome. 

I'll get cracking on the postcards as soon as the kickstarter ends. I'll address it to you (or a person of your choosing) and pop it in the post to you wherever you are in the world; you won't need to wait for the rest of the rewards to be ready. I would love to paint you a postcard!

The Waste Land For Babies 
Book One: The Burial Of The Dead

The Waste Land For Babies will be printed in a 20cm square hardback book, with good paperstock and a beautiful cover. All of the illustrations will be professionally scanned before printing. And if you would like (I'll check with you first!) I'll sign your book to you or a name of your choice. (T S Eliot's signature might be harder to obtain.) If I raise more than than my goal the extra money will go towards making the books even lusher and brighter and bigger.

Inside the book, there are ten watercolour illustrations (you can see some of them here on this page, and I'll update this later with more), and ten hand-lettered pages of words to match - and there'll be a couple of surprise illustrations, too.

The first and last pages of the original edition of The Waste Land for Babies. That version was produced in a Christmas Eve flurry of grumpy old laminator & grumpy new printer, scissors & glue, string & very helpful cats. Our version will be so much nicer
The first and last pages of the original edition of The Waste Land for Babies. That version was produced in a Christmas Eve flurry of grumpy old laminator & grumpy new printer, scissors & glue, string & very helpful cats. Our version will be so much nicer

If you choose this, I'll contact you to see if you'd like to suggest a subject or theme for these postcards, or if you'd rather leave it up to me. You'll get a pack of five hand-painted postcards to either mail to your favourite people or to keep for yourself. They'll be prettily packaged up, and I'll pop these in with the book when it's ready to go.

A new reward! Feeling brave and curious? If you choose this reward you'll get the book, a hand painted thank you postcard, and something exciting, amazing and completely original to hang on your wall. (Depending on the reward level you choose, you might be getting a set of postcards as well.) 

Your piece of art will be a surprise! It might be a watercolour, oil, or something else entirely. It will be something that I'm pleased with, and happy to send on its way into the wider world. It will be suitable to hang on a wall. And it will be a one-off, not a print.

I'd hate to send you something you'll hate, so I'll check whether you want cheerful or gloomy, abstract or cutesy once this kickstarter finishes, and match you with something I think you'll love. And if after all that you end up hating it we can figure out a replacement. 

The prints from this book will be professionally produced on proper archival-quality 300gsm-ish paper. They'll be at least 10x14", and will contain both the image and the hand-letterd text below it. Each print will be signed and numbered. They'll be carefully packaged and posted out to you with your copy of the book.

Choose this, and you get to hang an original painting from TWLFB on your walls. The illustrations are painted on 300gsm Aquarelle Arches HP paper, and the painted area is approx. 10 x 10 inches (they all vary a bit). If I have more than one backer at this level I'll give first choice to the first person signed up. I'll also include the hand-lettered text that corresponds to that page, and you can display them together if you like.

Want a painting done just for you? This reward gets you just that! I'll take some suggestions from you; colours, mood, maybe a theme, and work something up from that. I'll share my workings with you as I go, and adapt to your feedback if that's what you want. If you'd rather a surprise, that's ok too!

I've already started working on Book Two: A Game Of Chess, and if you choose this you'll get a finished painting from that series, at least three watercolour sketches as I work out where I'm going with it, and a copy of all my sketchbook pages that mention that work. You'll be able to see my workings from start to finish! I'll package it all up for you in a customised portfolio. 

Once I have the whole of the book worked up a little, I'll contact all backers to let them choose their picture (again on a first-backer-first-choice basis), and you'll be able to switch to any other unclaimed one once I'm done, if you want to.

It doesn't even need to be modernist! If you choose this, I will paint at least five paintings, with baby-book text, inspired by a poem of your choosing. I'll discuss the progress and choices with you, and include you at every stage in the process. If you're in or around London we can meet for coffees, or if you're further afield we can collaborate over the internet. The finished paintings are yours.

This reward is a little bit scary for me. What if you love a poem I hate? What if I create art you hate? But I'm sure we can work out any problems between us. It's a challenge, and my pens and paintbrushes love a challenge. I love a lot of poetry. And I paint best when I have something tricky to complete.

A bit of background

So, what do you know about The Waste Land? 

I know I love it! I discovered it first as an impressionable thirteen-year-old, and have loved it ever since, and a little more every year. It's one of my favourite poems. What I've tried to do here is to splash onto paper some of what I see when I read it. And doing this project has given me an even better understanding of the whole thing. It's been stuck in my head for months now - I keep making detours to cycle 'up the hill, and down King William Street' when I'm in that part of town.

And what do you know about painting?

Umm, some? I dropped out of art school (to go and study literature instead), but I've been painting on and off ever since - much more on than off, recently.

And about publishing baby books (that are possibly not really for babies)?

This is my learning experience? But I have done my research, and I know that I can do it with your support!

Risks and challenges

I've never printed a book before, so that's a challenge - but I've done a lot of research and gotten lots of quotes, and I think I'll be ok. The hard part - all the painting - is done and just waiting to be properly scanned. I've identified a good local scanning company to do the scanning. Plus, I've given myself lots of time to get everything done.

If this goes amazingly well, I might end up painting, writing and posting a lot of postcards. If this happens and I can't get them all posted out before the deadline I'll be in touch to let you know, and again to warn you when your postcard's almost ready to go.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge £5 or more About $8

    THANK YOU! A hand-painted postcard thanking you for your support will be popped in the post shortly after this Kickstarter ends.

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    Pledge £20 or more About $30

    JUST THE BOOK: A fresh shiny copy of The Waste Land For Babies: The Burial Of The Dead signed (if you like) and delivered to your door.

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    Pledge £24 or more About $36

    BOOK AND THANK YOU: A signed copy of The Waste Land For Babies, PLUS a hand-painted postcard thanking you for your support, sent out soon after this Kickstarter ends.

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    Pledge £45 or more About $68

    POSTCARDS EVERYWHERE! A signed copy of The Waste Land For Babies, a hand-painted postcard mailed out thanking you for your support, PLUS a pack of five postcards painted just for you to a theme of your choice.

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    Pledge £45 or more About $68

    MYSTERY ART! Choose this, and you'll get something amazing, exciting and original to hang on your wall, along with a hand-painted thank you postcard and a lovely hardback, clothbound copy of The Waste Land For Babies.

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    Pledge £50 or more About $75

    MYSTERY ART! Choose this, and you'll get something amazing, exciting and original to hang on your wall, along with a hand-painted thank you postcard and a lovely hardback, clothbound copy of The Waste Land For Babies.

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge £55 or more About $83

    WASTE LAND ON YOUR WALL: A signed copy of The Waste Land For Babies, a hand-painted postcard mailed out thanking you for your support, PLUS a signed fine art Giclée print of an illustration of your choosing.

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    Pledge £55 or more About $83

    MYSTERY ART! Choose this, and you'll get something amazing, exciting and original to hang on your wall, along with a hand-painted thank you postcard and a lovely hardback, clothbound copy of The Waste Land For Babies.

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    Pledge £55 or more About $83

    MYSTERY ART! Choose this, and you'll get something amazing, exciting and original to hang on your wall, along with a hand-painted thank you postcard and a lovely hardback, clothbound copy of The Waste Land For Babies.

    This has a later delivery date than most of the rewards - I might have a lot of painting to do! But will do my best to get everything shipped to you earlier.

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    Pledge £65 or more About $98

    MYSTERY ART, with added POSTCARDS! Choose this, and you'll get something amazing, exciting and original to hang on your wall, along with a hand-painted thank you postcard, a set of five unique postcards to do what you want with, and a lovely hardback, clothbound copy of The Waste Land For Babies.

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    Pledge £70 or more About $106

    MYSTERY ART, with added POSTCARDS! Choose this, and you'll get something amazing, exciting and original to hang on your wall, along with a hand-painted thank you postcard, a set of five unique postcards to do what you want with, and a lovely hardback, clothbound copy of The Waste Land For Babies.

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  12. Select this reward

    Pledge £80 or more About $121

    THE WASTE LAND ON YOUR WALLS: A signed copy of The Waste Land For Babies, a hand-painted postcard mailed out thanking you for your support, plus TWO signed fine art Giclée print of illustrations of your choosing.

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    Pledge £100 or more About $151

    THE WASTE LAND ON YOUR WALLS: A signed copy of The Waste Land For Babies, a hand-painted postcard mailed out thanking you for your support, plus THREE signed fine art Giclée print of illustrations of your choosing.

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  14. Select this reward

    Pledge £250 or more About $377

    THE COMPLETE WASTE LAND ON YOUR WALLS: A signed copy of The Waste Land For Babies, a hand-painted postcard mailed out thanking you for your support, plus TEN signed fine art Giclée prints.

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    Pledge £275 or more About $415

    ORIGINAL WASTE LANDS: A signed book, a hand-painted thank-you postcard, plus one of the original watercolour paintings from the book.

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  16. Select this reward

    Pledge £300 or more About $452

    ART JUST FOR YOU: A signed book, a hand-painted thank-you postcard, plus a watercolour painted just for you, to a theme or idea of your choosing.

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    Pledge £500 or more About $754

    A GAME OF CHESS: A signed copy of The Waste Land For Babies, a thank you postcard PLUS one of the original paintings from Book Two, along with at least three preparatory sketches for that work, and copies of my sketchbook pages relating to it - all packaged up together in a customised portfolio.

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  18. Select this reward

    Pledge £3,000 or more About $4,525

    YOUR EPIC MODERNIST POEM: A signed copy of The Waste Land For Babies, a thank you postcard PLUS you choose a poem, and I will illustrate it for you and summarise it in couplets. There'll be a minimum of five illustrations, and you can be involved in the planning and painting and word-writing process.

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Funding period

- (29 days)