My name is Tudor Dulhaz, and I'm a Romanian architect living in Brussels. Even though I am thirty-one years old, I still feel a strong connection with my childhood self. I still love games and children's books, and I have always loved to draw, but until three years ago, it was nothing more than a hobby. But then I had an idea. Why not write my very own children's book?!
For me, fairy tales and children's books have extraordinary and underestimated powers. They sweep you away on a journey, often to magical, far-away worlds. They hold up a mirror to these worlds, revealing characters and situations that are taken from real life. And they encourage you to grow and learn from the journey, reminding you above all else of the hidden magic of everyday things.
I have always dreamed of creating a story that would connect with people in the same way that those books connected with me. A story that captured the feeling of whimsy and wonder I had when I was a kid, but written with the maturity and emotional experience of my grown-up self. It took me three years to complete, but it is finally here.
This story is called The Island of Lost Things.
At its heart, The Island of Lost Things is a children's book, but I actually aimed to create a book that can be enjoyed by all ages. It is a quiet, reflective tale, punctuated by moments of beauty and surprise, and quite a bit of humour too. Short paragraphs of text and immersive, sprawling illustrations go hand in hand to tell the story. The illustrations are entirely hand-drawn, while the colours and the textures are added digitally.
The Island of Lost Things is a contemplative tale of solitude and melancholy. But more than that, it is an exhuberant coming-of-age story, a magical journey full of excitement and wonder. Ultimately, it speaks of friendship and family, of the importance of community and finding one’s place in the world.
My book tells the story of a boy who lives alone on a small island in the middle of a big ocean. This is, of course, The Island of Lost Things, where all the misplaced and overlooked objects wash up after every storm. The boy spends most of his time gathering these lost things, always coming up with marvelous new games to play. Through the sheer power of imagination, he becomes an explorer, a magician, even a superhero!
Life flows peacefully on the island, until one day everything changes. The boy then embarks on a transformative journey, in which he comes to gradually realize that there is much more than meets the eye to the tiny island he calls home.
For fear of spoiling too much of the plot, I will not reveal more at this time. Let's just say that there are quite a few surprises that the island has in store for the boy, and for the reader as well...
It is important for me to have careful control over every aspect of the book, from the story and the illustrations to the quality of the paper, which is why I decided to self-publish it. I have set up this crowdfunding campaign for two reasons:
- I do not have the financial means to make this project happen by myself
- I want to share the book with the global community and give people the opportunity to be a part of this process
If you're new to Kickstarter, here's how it works.
- I will have thirty days to put together the money I need to print the first, limited edition of the book.
- If you are interested in supporting my project, you can browse through the list on the right side of the screen and choose a reward level, as well as the shipping cost for your country.
- Kickstarter will then ask you to sign up and provide some information so that you can make a pledge. The pledge amount depends on the reward level, and is immediately added to the project's goal.
- Until the end of the campaign, you always have the possibility to change the amount of your pledge, as well as the reward level. If you would like a customized reward (for example, ten copies of the book), write me a message and I will let you know how you should proceed.
- If at the end of the thirty days I reach (or surpass) 100% of my goal, your credit card will be charged with the amount you pledged. If the project does not reach 100%, you won't be charged anything! So it really is all or nothing with Kickstarter.
- If my goal is reached, I will collect your shipping information and then all you will have left to do is wait patiently for your reward to arrive! I am going to do my very best to make sure that all the rewards are delivered in time for Christmas, so that you can share this book with your family and friends.
Depending on the amount you want to contribute to the project, I have set up a bunch of great rewards for you, including:
- The high-quality, 45-page pdf version of the book
- The high-quality, 25-page pdf booklet of alternate versions and outtakes from the book, with my personal comments on each illustration
- Signed / doodled copies of the limited first edition of the book in hardcover format (23,5 x 17,5 x 1,5 cm). The book consists of 39 double-page spreads, printed on high-quality, FSC-approved paper.
- A set of eight postcards of illustrations from the book (22,5 x 8,5 cm)
- Large framed prints of illustrations from the book (Illustration: 40,5 x 14,5 cm | Frame 54,5 x 28,5 cm). At the end of the campaign, I will send you a mail and ask you to choose one out of eight illustrations for your print.
- Custom-made digital illustrations based on the story, where you get to come up with one of the boy's adventures on the island!
- Original line art drawings for the book, specially selected by me for you.
And many more! Check out the different reward levels below.
Because of the incredible success of the project, I have decided to celebrate by adding some stretch goals. Check them out below!
You can check out other illustrations from the book, as well as my other illustration work, on:
You can also see a hi-res version of the presentation video here:
- my Youtube channel | youtu.be/75fXKYOZqys
If you have any other questions about the book or the reward levels, please don't hesitate to write me a message and I'll get back to you as soon as I can!
About 10 percent of the total amount will be the Kickstarter fee. The other 90 percent will cover the price for printing 500 hardcover copies of my book and 100 postcard sets, as well as a part of the shipping costs. Everything else (including framed prints and packaging) I will contribute for myself.
If my project achieves its goal, I would like to celebrate by organizing a small event in Brussels for all my contributers, where I can also distribute the rewards. The shipping costs will then contribute to the overall expenses for this event. And, if the funds will allow it, perhaps a similar event in Bucharest!
After all this is taken care of, a quarter of the profit will go to my very talented friends at Cloud Machine, who have helped me enormously by making the wonderful presentation video you see on this page. Whatever is left over I will use as an investment to set up my next project, a board game based on Greek mythology called Olympus Races! Stay tuned.
Risks and challenges
The Island of Lost Things is my very first illustration project, and it has pretty much been a continuous learning process. It took me three years and several versions before I found the right way of translating deeply personal experiences into a story that other people can connect with.
At the time of this writing, the story is nearly complete. The illustrations are all done, and I have most of the text in place, but I still have to rewrite some passages following some very valuable feedback from friends and professionals. Earlier this year I sent my book to WritersWorkshop, an organization that connects writers with editors who can provide much needed constructive criticism. My experience with WritersWorkshop was excellent. They were enthusiastic about my project and found the best possible match for my book, Mrs. Pippa Goodhart, whose observations and suggestions really helped me improve the book on all aspects. Thank you Mrs. Goodhart!
I would also like to thank all the friends and family who read the book and provided me with precious observations about the story and illustrations. You know who you are! Your support is invaluable and I am enormously grateful for all your help!
As with every project, it is impossible to foresee all the issues from the start, but I have done everything I could to ensure that the process will go smoothly. I wanted to have proper quality control over every aspect of this project, so I already have a good contact with a local printing house for the books and postcards, and with a small carpentry workshop for the frames. I have explored several possibilities for the shipping of the rewards, and have a pretty good idea about how to proceed if my project is funded.
My project ends on the 30th of September, and it will take around one month to put together what is necessary for the printing (receiving the money from Kickstarter, making some final adjustments to the book, adding names and drawings in the special thanks, getting an ISBN number, making lists of addresses to ship out the rewards...). I am estimating that the book will be ready for print in early November, so hopefully I will be able to ship all the rewards by December so that you can have them in your hands by Christmas.
Thank you for reading!
- (29 days)