I wanted to share two things with all of you. The first is that there are new name-a-character tiers on the campaign page!
Two is an email that MONSTER ELEMENTARY artist Lee-Roy Lahey wrote to his friends and family in the hopes that they would contribute to our Kickstarter. Not only did it warm my heart when I read it, it also reminded me why artists do what they do. I was deeply moved to see that Lee-Roy's passion for this project equals my own. As a writer, it is incredibly validating to see your artists get this invested in your project. Please share his letter with your friends and family. If they are even moved just a fraction of the amount that I am, we will see a major wealth of new backers!
Dear Friends and Family,
I want to share with you something I'm working on. It's an all-ages comic book called Monster Elementary. I'm working with writer/creator Nick Doan and a number of other artists to make a 90-page full-color book of short stories centered around a cast of kids — who also happen to be monsters. There's a vampire boy, werewolf boy, frankenstein girl, mummy boy, and a lagoon monster girl, all of them trying to adapt to life at a regular human mortal Elementary School after their special monster school is shut down by the FBI. Each Monster Elementary story is being drawn by a different artist. My story, Demon Boy, is 12 pages long and has some of the most fun comedy and action I've had the opportunity of working with.
When Nick first approached me to illustrate one of his Monster Elementary stories, I was reluctant, because he couldn't promise to pay me for my time. But when I read his scripts, I found a rare synergy. I was free to adapt his characters to my own style, the content of the material was good, and that content was a great match for my style and sensibilities. It also didn't hurt that Nick was already an established writer in comics and has more experience in the business of comics than I do. I eventually agreed to complete one page of finished art for Nick to take to publishers, along with sample pages from other artists, to measure the publishers' interest. What we've since learned is that the comics industry at large is not really looking for new all-ages titles to publish. Like many entertainment industries (film, music), the gatekeepers seem to want to limit their risk by mainly rehashing old material and attempting to recreate the hits of the past. Meanwhile, independent artists are utilizing the resources given to us by the internet to reach our market directly, be fan-funded, and retain creative control of what we produce.
So now we are asking our fans for support. We've launched a campaign on Kickstarter.com. If we meet our funding goal, all of the artists will be paid to complete the book which we will then self-publish! For a pledge of $25, you can pre-order a copy of the 90-page full-color book. It's called a "pledge" because the way Kickstarter works is you will not be charged until we can reach our goal amount — and we can't give you the product we are promising for your pledge unless we reach that goal. Nick has bundled in all kinds of rewards — T-shirts, additional prints, original artwork, name a character in the book, have your name listed on the thank you page of the book, or even be listed as an Executive Producer. Kickstarter also allows you to pledge any amount without specifying a reward, or choose your favorite reward and pledge anything over the amount for that reward. The system is flexible.
Please visit http://monsterelementary.com to see the Kickstarter.com page for our campaign. You can watch a video of Nick and I struggling to speak eloquently about this project and pleading for your support. If you click on the green "Back This Project" button you will be taken to a page where you can enter a pledge amount and choose from a list of rewards. Thanks for your time and consideration. I'll leave you with a few images of an additional page in progress on Demon Boy, which I'm completing to get a head-start should we get funded, to show my commitment to the project, and get some more art in front of people's eyes.
I sincerely hope that we can meet our goal, so that I can finish this fun story!
Lee-Roy Stephen Lahey
Here I am "penciling" the page. After designing the page and roughing in the drawings, I redraw for clarification before inking.
When the penciling is done, I finalize the panel borders and add in my lettering and balloons.
Then I ink the drawings. All of this is done on the computer using a Cintiq tablet and stylus, with Photoshop and Sketchbook Pro software.
This final image shows just a section, but the page is fully inked and ready for color (also done in Photoshop). Then I will have ten other pages to complete in this story! I hope you enjoyed these images. I look forward to sharing the completed story with you, should we meet our Kickstarter goal.