Mr Coconut lives inside a coconut, In an igloo built from the fleshy white landscape. It is a lovely place to live, except for one thing – Mr Coconut doesn't know anyone. Not a soul.
He doesn't know anyone because he has never left the small area of the coconut around where he lives, never dared venture beyond the large mountains behind his igloo. (He is very afraid of getting lost.)
But one day he takes his compass and sets out across the white plain – and comes across another igloo just like his own...
The book began as a story that Chris made up for his own children, and was then forgotten about for months (then years). But when the two of us began working in the same studio (Red Rooster in Brighton, UK), Chris as a book designer and writer, and Catherine as an illustrator, children's author and puppet maker, we spent many enjoyable hours when we should have been doing paid work thinking about the books we wanted to make for ourselves, one of which was Mr Coconut.
At first the Mr Coconut book was going to be a straight-forward text-and-illustration affair, but for the first few months we could never quite make it work to our satisfaction that way. Here's some roughs of the original illustrations:
Progress was slow due to various interruptions (like having to earn money and go get a job), and also because we weren’t that thrilled with the way it was going, with the style and design. So in the meantime Catherine made a Mr Coconut puppet, mainly because she likes making puppets, rather than thinking he would end up in the book.
Then we heard about Kickstarter, and it seemed like a great way to publish the book ourselves, to be able to look after all aspects of the book in a way that we wanted. There was a slight problem when we discovered that we needed to make a Kickstarter video, and neither of us had any idea how to do this. But we borrowed some equipment, asked for advice, and had the idea of using the Mr Coconut puppet as part of the video. And in the process of filming we came up with all kinds of different ways to make backgrounds and props, and suddenly we had a new and much more interesting way of illustrating the book.
Here's how we constructed a sample page:
... and how the page looks when it is put together:
It's not quite a final page of the book – but it gives you an idea...
We'll be making a start on the rest of the illustrations whilst the Kickstarter campaign is ongoing – if you're interested you can follow our progress (and see all the updates so far) on the the Mr Coconut website, or on Mr Coconut's Facebook page. And if our campaign is successful there will be lots of updates as the book comes together...
The pledge money will pay for the props and materials for the creation of the other illustrations, and the printing and distribution. The first edition will be a 32-page paperback with an art-card cover.
Everyone who pledges will be credited on the thanks page in the back of the book (yes we don't mind if this runs into hundreds of names!). There’s also the opportunity to get hold of a pair of Mr Coconut’s own pants (laminated for hygiene purposes)…
Because we really like the way Kickstarter projects are visible and make the creative process open, we have tried to take this one step further: one of our other rewards is the opportunity to spend time with us whilst we're making the book (obviously this only works if you don't live too far from Brighton), to discuss what we've learned and how it could help with your own projects.
EXTRA LAST DAY REWARD: Original hand-stitched illustration of Mr Coconut, hand-crafted by Catherine. Like the one you'll see in Mr C's igloo when the book is finished. A circular picture to hang on your own wall, 22cm in diameter. See the picture below as an example of one Catherine made for another book. (Plus a copy of the book.)
Thanks for everyone's support...
Chris & Catherine
Chris' writing: redroosterbooks.wordpress.com
Chris' graphic design work: www.beachstone.co.uk
Catherine's website: www.catherinegrimaldi.co.uk
Catherine's Facebook page: www.facebook.com/catherine.grimaldi.14
Risks and challenges
We're not so worried about the design and production part of the book, as Chris does that kind of work already. The part we have less idea about is the amount of time it will take us to make all the props and do the photography and have the book printed. But we will post updates of how the project is going at all times.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)