Zōsan (象さん) Little Elephant a letterpress/audiobook + more!
I'm raising funds to get the book produced several different ways:
- A softcover, offset press print
- A handbound, hard case letterpress print edition.
- An audiobook version.
Everyone who contributes at $10 and higher will receive an electronic version of the book.
There are nineteen black and white illustrations accompanying a sixteen page book. It's mostly done —meaning on it's n-teenth draft and I'm pretty happy with it.
Alternatively, you can get individual prints (letter press or giclee) from the book.
FREE SAMPLES - color for your imagination!
Writing Sample: Chapter 1: the Whistler
Music Sample: Zosan in the Field
Music Sample: Zōsan climbing the mountain
Artwork sample: if you're thinking about a print!
How it started
This is Eliot, my little elephant. He's four now, but when he was two he was an Elephant for Halloween, and for the longest time, made trumpet noises like one. The inspiration for this book came from him and from the Japanese Folk Song "Zōsan". I decided I wanted to make a book out of it.
I scribbled the whole idea in my sketch book, and forgot about it. I found it later and wanted to actually pursue creating it… so I started obsessing about elephants.
It started as simply one illustration per stanza of the song. After I completed those sketches and nearly finished the final drawings, a friend made me realize that there was a story in my head already, so I wrote and wrote and wrote until the idea was out.
Then I spent several months editing, shaping the story and culling the words. I had forgotten how much I liked to write! Now it had evolved from drawings and a song into a full narrative.
It's a story about finding yourself, pushing past your fears, and just doing — even in the face of doubt. It's about taking the time to really recognize the beauty that's already all around you, respecting others and enjoying life. I got my best review from John who read the part of Little Zō: "It's a good story. I like it!"
I hope you will too.
Where am I now in the process?
I've completed 98% of the illustrations. I'm still not perfectly happy with a couple of them, and I need to finish the calligraphy for the cover. I am still working on the audiobook — recording the voice acting parts (performed by myself, my wife and others), then I plan on adding music and sound effects wherever it make sense.
You can help get this printed beautifully.
I like artifacts. I keep all sorts of printed material that I find, little trinkets and interesting mechanical things. As much as my head is in the digital medium on a daily basis I still have an affinity towards physical books & real paper. I also read a lot to my two sons and would much rather have a book in my hand than a tablet.
So when I thought about how I'd want to see this made, I immediately went to offset printing. Why not digital? I hear some of you ask. It's cheaper, you can get it on demand, glossy everything!
Digital v. Offset
I get that digital has its advantages. But when I was working as a publication manager for a non-profit, I remember the day when the printer switched from offset to digital. I could immediately tell the difference—and I didn't like it.
I would much prefer this book to be ink in the paper, with plates and things that are handled by hand. There are artifacts throughout the whole process.
Then there is letterpress. Letterpress is tactile, subtle, and elegant, with the plates making a noticeable impression in the paper. You can see and feel the difference. Plus, each letterpress impression is hand pulled by an artisan. Then the signatures are hand bound and glued and sewn together. Paper is archival, beautiful in and of itself. The whole work is piece of art.
I wanted this book to be something truly special that my Little Elephant could keep forever.
I've been talking with two printers in Portland for months now working this out. Once funds are raised, I'll pay them and we can start actually making it. I worked out some of the details of how to setup the books, but I left that to after it gets funded.
The funding goes towards the production of the photopolymer plates for the letterpress version, and the setup and labor (binding, printing) of both printed versions. Your funds also help drive the development of the audiobook (there are lots of free sound effects, but some really good ones are not free!)
As you might imagine, Letterpress work doesn't come cheap, nor is Offset as cheap as using a digital laser press. But for the reasons I mentioned above, I think it's worth every penny.
So I hope you'll find that the story resonates with you, or for someone you know, and that you'll enjoy what I've created. I'll be sharing bits and piece of the progress on the official site zosanzosan.com and via Facebook.
But the bottom line is, I can’t do this without you. Your support will help me bring this project to life. Thanks from Eliot, Marcel and myself to everyone!
Risks and challenges
If funded, the rest of the work begins:
• I'll work with the printers to set up the artwork and text for both books.
• I'll make any tweaks necessary for the signatures of the letterpress vs. the offset books.
• I'll finalize all illustrations, the book cover, and typesetting.
• I'll make sure that everything will work technically (are line weights heavy enough? Is there too much ink coverage?)
• I'll continue editing, composing, mastering the Audiobook version.
I've been talking with them for a while now, but being an artistic process things can change. This whole thing started as a book of illustrations set to a song, and it morphed into a full blown story with audiobook. So the process of getting the letterpress prints made, the books bound are all unique and slightly unpredictable. But I'll certainly do my best to not hold up production with nit picky decisions, and I really doubt the outside parties I've lined up will hold anything up.
Being that fulfillment is handled solely by me, it's also possible there could be delays in getting everything out to everyone. I have a day job, so all of this happens after I go home, at night, on weekends.
However, I spent a few year dealing with multiple parties and logistics running a literary magazine publication program for several years — that experience will be handy for this!
I'll be shipping everything Priority Mail, because it has a decent flat rate and has package tracking included. For the letterpress books, I'm adding insurance since they're unique pieces. Should something go wrong, we'll work it out. Only the limited run of letterpress books would be a real issue (I can't just turn around and make another one instantly).Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)