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A deluxe hardcover celebrating the art and career of Canada's premier illustrator of the Mad Men era.
A deluxe hardcover celebrating the art and career of Canada's premier illustrator of the Mad Men era.
A deluxe hardcover celebrating the art and career of Canada's premier illustrator of the Mad Men era.
361 backers pledged CA$ 35,902 to help bring this project to life.

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The Art of Will Davies

CA$ 35,902

361

The Art of Will Davies

The Art of Will Davies will be a full colour, hardcover art book featuring the work of this great Canadian illustrator. 

Original art - a sample done for Will's portfolio, c. mid-1950s
Original art - a sample done for Will's portfolio, c. mid-1950s

From the late-1940’s to the early 2000’s, Will Davies was a driving influence on Canadian illustration. We will spend the next three to four months seeking out and photographing as much of Will’s original art as possible. As well, we will work closely with the artist and his family to thoroughly and comprehensively document his life story.

Promotional piece, c. 1980s
Promotional piece, c. 1980s

 About Today's Inspiration and the Project

Today’s Inspiration began as a small mailing list in the early 2000’s. Founded by Leif Peng, the aim of the list was to share scans of art from the mid-20th century with a few friends with a common interest. But more than just a few friends shared this interest. After growing into a mailing list of over 1000 people, Leif started a blog where he would write about, and share stories from, the lives of dozens of illustrators of the mid-20th century. From Al Dorne to Al Parker, from Bernie Fuchs to Robert Fawcett, the blog consistently showcased the art and detailed the lives of influential mid-century artists for almost 10 years, gaining thousands of followers and generating over 1500 posts. 

From the TI blog series on Will Davies, 2006
From the TI blog series on Will Davies, 2006

In 2012, Leif evolved Today's Inspiration into an open community of illustration appreciators on Facebook. The Today’s Inspiration Facebook Group is an enthusiastic community of nearly 10,000 kindred spirits who share their passion for this era of illustration. The Art of Will Davies is the next phase in the evolution of Today’s Inspiration and a true testament to the spirit of what Leif originally set out to celebrate. The book will feature, in detail, every step along the path of Will’s career. From his early days in the 1950’s at Canada's premier art studio, TDF, to his long-running relationship with Harlequin Romance (a client for whom he painted over 500 book covers) Will was an enduring presence when superlative illustration was needed. He was equally renowned and adept in the areas of automotive, fashion, business and commerce, romance, sports and historical imagery, and his work could be found on advertising, in books and magazines, and on consumer packaging. 

1960s Chrysler brochure
1960s Chrysler brochure

The Art of Will Davies will feature updated chapters on Will’s career, and we will work extensively with Will, his family and his colleagues, researching his life and work. We are currently planning for the book to be 9x12”, 150 pages, full colour, hardcover with a dust jacket. The majority of the book will feature gorgeous, hi quality reproductions of Will’s original art, including full bleeds, double-page spreads and extreme close-ups. Each chapter will also be accompanied by stories and anecdotes from Will’s life.

Why Kickstarter?

We decided to utilize Kickstarter for this project for one main reason: you. More generally, the community of illustration enthusiasts around the world. We aren’t a giant, international book publisher, and we definitely can’t afford to print a million copies of a book to put in bookstores around the world, but we can reach out to the people this book matters to, and ask for your help to see this project through. To put it bluntly, this book needs to happen. We need to show Will Davies just how much his work has impacted so many people, and how it is continuing to influence and inspire people who are just discovering it now. 

One of Will's countless elegant life drawings
One of Will's countless elegant life drawings

Our efforts could result not only a beautiful book of art, but could create an invaluable resource for education in the largely unwritten history of Canadian illustration - and you are the only way we can make it happen. By backing our project, you’ll have a direct hand in helping us see this book through to the end. You’ll be right there with us as we collect Will’s originals, design the book, and finally have it printed. Most importantly, you’ll be helping us show Will Davies what an important figure in illustration history he is.

Budget

We are hoping to raise $27,000. The majority or this will go towards the cost of having the book printed. This will also help us cover the expenses related to the production of the book, as well as paying for our time to ensure we can devote the next three months entirely to the production of this book and get it to you by, at the latest, October.

The painting "Chinese Nude" which will appear on the poster reward for this campaign.
The painting "Chinese Nude" which will appear on the poster reward for this campaign.

Risks and challenges

This will be the the first book we've published. And while we are both experienced designers, there will undoubtably be challenges along the way that come with any first time endeavour. It is our first time dealing with a book printer and shipping products at this quantity, but we will have a lot of help and support from experienced friends and colleagues from various positions in the industry.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 1 or more About $0.80

    A pledge of any amount to the project. Your name will be printed in the book on our special thanks page, and you will be given exclusive access to the backer's updates throughout production of the book.

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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 15 or more About $12

    3 blank cards (4.13" x 5.82" / 105mm x 148mm) with envelopes, each featuring a unique Will Davies artwork. For sharing or framing. As well as your name on the special thanks page of the book and access to the backer's updates throughout production.

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    Pledge CA$ 20 or more About $16

    PDF copy of the book, DRM free. As well as your name on the special thanks page of the book and access to the backer's updates throughout production.

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    Pledge CA$ 35 or more About $28

    Small run poster of Will Davies' painting "Chinese Nude" (See campaign description for a picture of the art to be featured on the poster). As well as your name on the special thanks page of the book and access to the backer's updates throughout production.

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 50 or more About $40

    A copy of The Art of Will Davies book. Hardback with dust jacket, 160 full colour pages featuring high quality reproductions of Will Davies' original works spanning a 50 year career. As well as a PDF copy, your name on the special thanks page of the book and access to the backer's updates throughout production.

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    Pledge CA$ 60 or more About $48

    Cards and the book. You will receive a copy of The Art of Will Davies book. Hardback with dust jacket, 160 full colour pages featuring high quality reproductions of Will Davies' original works spanning a 50 year career. As well as 3 blank cards (4.13" x 5.82" / 105mm x 148mm) with envelopes, each featuring a unique Will Davies artwork, your name on the special thanks page of the book and access to the backer's updates throughout production.

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    Pledge CA$ 75 or more About $60

    Poster and the book. You will receive a copy of The Art of Will Davies book. Hardback with dust jacket, 160 full colour pages featuring high quality reproductions of Will Davies' original works spanning a 50 year career. As well as the small run poster of Will Davies' painting "Chinese Nude" (See campaign description for a picture of the art to be featured on the poster), a PDF copy of the book, your name on the special thanks page of the book and access to the backer's updates throughout production.

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    Pledge CA$ 80 or more About $64

    Cards, poster and book. You will receive a copy of The Art of Will Davies book. Hardback with dust jacket, 160 full colour pages featuring high quality reproductions of Will Davies' original works spanning a 50 year career. As well as the small run poster of Will Davies' painting "Chinese Nude" (See campaign description for a picture of the art to be featured on the poster), 3 blank cards (4.13" x 5.82" / 105mm x 148mm) with envelopes, each featuring a unique Will Davies artwork, your name on the special thanks page of the book and access to the backer's updates throughout production.

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    Pledge CA$ 250 or more About $201

    Limit of 10: Copy of the book, signed and numbered by the artist. With a limited edition, full colour, tipped-in plate featuring an exclusive illustration not available in the regular edition. As well as a PDF copy, your name on the special thanks page of the book and access to the backer's updates throughout production.

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    Pledge CA$ 500 or more About $401

    Original pencil sketch by Will Davies created during the course of his career. You will also receive a physical copy of The Art of Will Davies, a PDF copy of the book, your name on the special thanks page of the book and access to the backer's updates throughout production.

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    Pledge CA$ 1,200 or more About $964

    Original finished illustration by Will Davies. Signed by the artist. You will also receive a physical copy of The Art of Will Davies, a PDF copy of the book, your name on the special thanks page of the book and access to the backer's updates throughout production.

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Funding period

- (30 days)