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Every single U.S. vice president with an octopus on his head — an illustrated book featuring portraits and stories about all 48 veeps.
Every single U.S. vice president with an octopus on his head — an illustrated book featuring portraits and stories about all 48 veeps.
Every single U.S. vice president with an octopus on his head — an illustrated book featuring portraits and stories about all 48 veeps.
245 backers pledged $15,137 to help bring this project to life.

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The Veeptopus Book: 48 Vice Presidents & Octopuses

$15,137

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$12,500 Stretch Goal!

Wow! Thanks everyone for your contribution. I hit my funding goal way faster than I thought I would. 

My $9500 goal was the price for a quality hard cover book, but without a lot of frills. You know, those the cool little features that can turn a book into a work of art onto itself. Little touches that just make you want to show a book to everyone. 

For $12,500, I'll be able to make the book I really want to make. Instead of a standard smooth matte finish, the book cover can now have a cloth-like texture along with an image embossed into the book. Instead of the inner cover being a standard white, we can add a cool tentacle-themed pattern.  It will be an amazing, elegant book. 

If we unlock this $12,500 stretch goal, then EVERYONE will get this new fancy version of the book.

+++++++++

I’m Jonathan Crow. I’ve been selling portraits of vice presidents with octopuses on their heads since 2014. Now I'm turning to you for help. I want to take all the portraits and turn them into one beautifully designed book. 

If you're a fan of American history, cool art, tentacles or just generally weird stuff, I think you're really going to dig this book.

An earlier version of the Veeptopus book. The one I'm proposing for this campaign will look even cooler.
An earlier version of the Veeptopus book. The one I'm proposing for this campaign will look even cooler.

The Book (Short Version):

Here's what you'll get:

  • 47 portraits of America's current and former vice presidents with octopuses + one of whoever wins this election.
  • Facts and historically accurate stories about each veep
  • An introduction and a reading list by Aaron Mannes, a noted expert on the vice presidency, .
  • Designed by talented, professional graphic designer Joan Lau, who did the graphics for (500) Days of Summer, Beautiful Creatures and the TV series A to Z.
  • A sturdy hard cover — and page numbers for your convenience.
This book will teach you something about every vice president — even Charles W. Fairbanks
This book will teach you something about every vice president — even Charles W. Fairbanks

The Book (Slightly Longer Version):

Since I started selling my prints on Etsy, I have been amazed by the response. My work has appeared in Boingboing, i09, Buzzfeed and Huffington Post.

Last year, I took it one step further: I published a very limited run of the book. Like, 20 copies

So I painstakingly researched biographical facts about every VP and then had those facts vetted by scholar on the vice presidency Aaron Mannes. He not only wrote an introduction to the book but also came up with a great reading list, too.

And then I managed to get Joan Lau to design the thing. She's an outstanding designer, having done all the graphics for the movie (500) Days of Summer, Beautiful Creatures. She even had a hand in the opening titles for Mad Men. She’s also my wife, so I have that going for me. She made the book look terrific.

I was blown away by the response: I sold out in 24 hours.

Joe Biden owns a 1967 Corvette.
Joe Biden owns a 1967 Corvette.

That experience taught me a lot, particularly that a) publishing books, especially well-produced ones, is really expensive; and b) publishing large numbers of books is much more cost effective.

That’s why I need your help.

This time around, I want to redesign the book, give it a solid hard cover —and, of course, include the next vice president – either Tim Kaine or Mike Pence.

I also want to publish a much bigger run. The larger the run, the cheaper each book is to produce. I'm really excited about this campaign. Much like vice president Spiro Agnew, this book is going to look gorgeous.

So if you enjoy peculiar art, the oddball history of the executive branch, cephalopods and/or Joe Biden, then please consider helping out.

Why I Became Obsessed With Vice Presidents 

Blame Walter Mondale. 

My obsession with vice presidents started when I was 5 and flipping through a copy of Newsweek. Mondale was standing sheepishly behind Jimmy Carter on the cover. “What does a vice president do?” I asked my mom. “Go to funerals, mostly,” she said. This seemed impossible. How could the No. 2 guy in America just go to funerals? 

Walter Mondale is to blame for this.
Walter Mondale is to blame for this.
 

The Constitution, it turns out, is surprisingly vague on the veep’s actual responsibilities. 

Vice President Charles Dawes, a man of great ambition and ability — he won a Nobel Peace Prize and wrote a No. 1 pop hit — summed up the job like this: “I can do only two things here [in the Senate]. One of them is to sit up here on this rostrum and listen to you birds talk without the ability to reply. The other is to look at the newspapers every morning to see how the president’s health is.” 

A few veeps, through ambition, talent and a lot of luck, ascended to the top job. Most moldered in obscurity. They are the bronze medal winners of history. 

Vice presidents, in short, struggle to make sense of a poorly defined role, all the while waiting for death. It’s a bit like life itself.

There have been 47 vice presidents so far. Many of them had amazing facial hair.
There have been 47 vice presidents so far. Many of them had amazing facial hair.

Decades after I first learned about Walter Mondale, a friend of mine invited me to participate in “From Dusk ’Til Drawn,” a fundraiser for the Museum of Contemporary Art in Santa Barbara, California, that entailed drawing for 24 hours straight. At that point in my life — i.e., before children — sleep deprivation was actually something of a novelty. It sounded insane. I was in. The last thing I wanted, however, was to be casting about at 4 in the morning for an idea of what to draw. So I decided to do portraits of all 47 American vice presidents. With octopuses.

That night, I blasted through 22 veeps. Later I completed the series and then, noticing a pretty stark difference in quality between my Adams and my Biden, I redrew everything again. And again. And again until I was happy with all of them. 

When I started this whole thing, I didn’t know much about individual vice presidents such as Schuyler Colfax, Levi P. Morton and Hannibal Hamlin. But as I drew, I learned. And there are so many weird and wonderful facts. For example: 

  • Aaron Burr was the first of two vice presidents to shoot someone. 
  • Henry Wilson suffered a fatal stroke in a bathtub in the basement of the Capitol. Yes, there used to be bathtubs in the Capitol. 
  • Theodore Roosevelt tamed a wild badger, which he named Josiah. 
  • LBJ had a pretty amazing nickname for his genitals. 
  • Nelson Rockefeller literally went out with a bang. 

I found these stories to be fascinating snapshots of both the men themselves and the country they served. And I want to share them with you. Each portrait in the book will be accompanied by funny, strange and occasionally sad tales about each veep. 

LBJ liked showing off "Jumbo."
LBJ liked showing off "Jumbo."

Octopuses

Octopuses are the smartest invertebrates out there. They can open jars, squeeze into narrow holes and even use tools. And if you put a typewriter in front of them, they can produce a script that makes a bit more sense than the last Adam Sandler movie. 

As hats, though, they're lacking: They’re uncomfortable, they cause stains and they tend to make you look silly. 

In other words, they are the perfect headwear for a job as absurd, awkward and public as being a vice president.

FDR had three veeps. All of them will be included in the book!
FDR had three veeps. All of them will be included in the book!

Budget

I’m asking for $9,500. It’s a lot of money, but it’s what I’ll need to break even on this whole endeavor. Printing and shipping the book will cost between $6000-$6500. A small amount of the remaining money will go to fun stuff like printing posters. And the rest will go to less fun things like padded envelopes, postage and credit card fees. 

Reward Descriptions 

The Book: The centerpiece of the campaign is the book. It'll be a beautifully designed, sturdy hardcover. And the more money I raise, the more deluxe the book will get. 

The T-Shirt: Wear Veeptopus on your chest with this white-on-black image of an octopus cuddling a large V. 

Cool in a pirate-y sort of way...
Cool in a pirate-y sort of way...

 

Poster: KICKSTARTER EXCLUSIVE: I’m excited about this one. All 48 vice presidents on a single 18x24 archival-quality poster. Impress your friends. Wow potential romantic partners. This poster will be sold nowhere but Kickstarter.

Every vice president with an octopus on his head on one poster. We'll even add the guy who wins this fall's election!
Every vice president with an octopus on his head on one poster. We'll even add the guy who wins this fall's election!

Credit: Get your name in the thank credits of the book. Let the world know just how awesome you are. 

Octopus-Bedecked Portrait: I will draw an original portrait in ink and watercolor of you or a loved one with an octopus on your head. 

Original Art: I will draw a 9x12 inch picture of (almost) anything for you in ink and watercolor. There will be some limits: no Nazi propaganda, porn, Nazi propaganda porn, etc.

For example, you could ask me to draw President William Howard Taft riding a badger.
For example, you could ask me to draw President William Howard Taft riding a badger.

Dinner: I will take you and a guest to one of my favorite restaurants in either the Bay Area or Los Angeles. (Includes dinner; does not include travel.) Perhaps we can order the calamari. 

Schedule 

The book is 95% done. The text, pictures and design will be complete before the end of the Kickstarter campaign. The only thing I’ll have to wait on is the U.S. election, so I’ll know which VP candidate to include. 

I'll start all portraits and original artwork, in the order received, once the Kickstarter campaign ends. I will contact you to work out details.  

Risks and challenges

The world is a strange, chaotic place fraught with risk and peril. A sinkhole could open up beneath my studio and swallow me up. A lunatic with a weed whacker could strike me down at the local Orange Julius. Robots could develop sentience between now and the election and enslave us all. Who knows?

That said, this project is low-risk as these things go. As noted above, this project is 90% finished. The pictures are done. The design is largely complete, as is the text.

One thing that could delay the project is if the election turns into a 2000-style debacle that drags on month after painful month. Hopefully, this won’t happen. 2016 has been one weird year, however, so anything's possible.?

Soon after the newest vice president is officially elected, I will send the files to the printers. It will take somewhere between six to 10 weeks to get the book from the publishers and then another week or so (depending on demand) for either a fulfillment service or little ol’ me to get the books out to all of you.

I’m hoping that you will get your book no later than Inauguration Day, 2017. That said, my likely printer is located abroad, so there could be delays with shipping and customs.

Also, if you move to a new address in between the time we collect your information and when we ship your book, please leave a forwarding address with your local post office. Thank you for your support!

I'll add FAQs below as they come up.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    THANK YOU!

    You'll get a big thanks from me and a shout-out on the Veeptopus website.

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    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    DIGITAL

    Digital copy + shout-out

    You'll get a handy PDF of the book to peruse at your leisure on your tablet or laptop.

    And you'll get a shout-out on the website.

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    POSTER

    A poster (see below) designed exclusively for this Kickstarter campaign! All 48 vice presidents on a single 18x24 archival-quality poster.

    Includes:
    • Poster
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    T SHIRT

    A way cool T-shirt. Great for your craft beer meetings or yoga class.

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    • T-Shirt
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    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    THE BOOK + DIGITAL

    That’s right. You’ll get a physical copy of this beautifully designed, full-color book and get a digital copy too. And a shout-out.

    Includes:
    • Book
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    Pledge $60 or more About $60

    POSTER + BOOK

    Along with the book, you’ll get a poster (see below) designed exclusively for this Kickstarter campaign! All 48 vice presidents on a single 18x24 archival-quality poster.

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    • Book
    • Poster
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    Pledge $60 or more About $60

    T-SHIRT + BOOK

    Along with the book, you’ll get a way cool T-shirt!

    Includes:
    • Book
    • T-Shirt
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    Pledge $65 or more About $65

    TWO BOOKS

    That’s right: two books for you and that special someone at a discounted price.

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    • Book
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    Pledge $85 or more About $85

    TWO BOOKS + POSTER

    Two books and a poster for you and that special someone.

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    Pledge $85 or more About $85

    T-SHIRT + POSTER + BOOK

    Get a beautiful hard book, a poster and a way cool t-shirt!

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    Pledge $85 or more About $85

    TWO BOOKS + T-SHIRT

    Two books and a t-shirt for you and that special someone.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    THE BACKER

    Get your name in the credits of the book! Let your friends see just how cool you are.

    You’ll also get:

    Includes:
    • Book
    • Poster
    • Credit in Thank You section
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    Pledge $120 or more About $120

    THE BACKER PLUS

    Get your name in the credits of the book! Let your friends see just how cool you are plus a T-shirt! And a poster!

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    • Book
    • Credit in Thank You section
    • Poster
    • T-Shirt
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    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    THE VEEP

    I will draw a picture of you with an octopus on your head in ink and watercolor.

    You’ll also get your name in the Veeptopus book credits, a physical and digital copy of the book and a poster.

    Shipping included.

    Includes:
    • Book
    • Poster
    • Credit in Thank You section
    • Original Portrait with Octopus
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    Pledge $325 or more About $325

    THE VEEP PLUS

    I will draw a picture of you with an octopus on your head in ink and watercolor. And you get two books.

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    • Poster
    • T-Shirt
    • Original Portrait with Octopus
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    Pledge $750 or more About $750

    THE COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF

    I will draw you a picture of anything. Think of the power.

    You’ll also get your name in the Veeptopus book credits, a physical and digital copy of the book and a poster.

    Shipping included.

    Includes:
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    • An Original Drawing of Anything
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    Pledge $2,500 or more About $2,500

    THE MEGA DONOR

    Let's get dinner, on me, with you and a guest at one of my favorite spots in either the Bay Area or Los Angeles. (Does not include travel.)

    You’ll also receive an original commission from me, get your name in the Veeptopus book credits, a physical and digital copy of the book and a poster.

    Shipping included.

    Includes:
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    • Poster
    • An Original Drawing of Anything
    • Dinner on me
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Funding period

- (36 days)