Most of us have been there at some point. Sitting in a meeting, or on hold with the cable company, or listening to a conference call that has gone on past the point of being productive. As the brain starts to wander, the hands reach for a stack of yellow sticky notes. What a fantastic format! Small, square, disposable, and with a sticky strip on the back. In mere moments, a silly drawing or message appears, and can be immediately displayed on the wall, inside a book, on the edge of the computer monitor, or on the back of a friend's jacket as he sneaks by.
If you saw my first two Kickstarter projects, you already know I'm a teacher, as well as an artist. I'm one of those people who needs to keep his hands busy in order to stay focused, so I take a pack of Post-it® Notes with me every time I attend a meeting at the school. I've probably drawn hundreds of sticky note cartoons. Ducks, robots, giraffes, appliances, starfish, stereos, fire hydrants, and a few people. So I've already got an ongoing love affair with the ubiquitous yellow square.
As the new school year begins, I need a project to work on. It will be used to demonstrate to my students some very important aspects of art. I can show them commitment to a large-scale project that spans months of work. They will see me working daily, and understand the importance of regular, frequent, and rigorous practice. The students will (hopefully) see the effect of that practice, in the form of improved quality or evolving style. I will show them how an artist can make a living through hard work, determination, and commitment, and watch the project go from conception to completion, all over the course of one school year. I can also use examples from this project in lessons on composition, portrait drawing, pencil shading, crosshatching, etc.
So, in the interest of improving art education, inspiring young artists, pushing myself to practice, and bringing hand-made art to the masses... I've decided to begin a huge undertaking. I will draw hundreds of portraits on Post-it® Notes and compile them into one book. The final page count will depend on how many backers send me photos, but ideally, they would number in the hundreds.
Each portrait will be hand-drawn (by me) on a 3” x 3” Super Sticky Post-It® Note of my choosing. I like to use pencil, ink, marker, color pencil, chalk, and paint. But not all on the same drawing. Your portrait will be drawn using whichever materials I feel are most appropriate for the image. You can see from the drawings I've already completed, there is a range of media and style. Unfortunately, I am not able to take requests for materials or colors. Sorry!
The book will be a collection of hand-drawn portraits (originally on sticky notes), in varying styles and color. While I would like to make the book 3” square, just like the drawings, I think the printing process will require a small border around the images. So I am left with two options: Make the book more like 3.25” square, or lose part of every drawing to edge bleed and trimming. I'm looking at going with the former. So hopefully the book will be 3.35” square, with full color gloss pages. The drawings will be as close to actual size as possible, and one portrait will be on each page. Since the book is so small, I will have to use a special binding method that will allow the pages to open fully. Normal binding might prevent the book from opening flat, and we would not be able to see the part of the drawing closest to the spine. I want to be able to see the entire image on every page... So we are left with a very expensive method for binding. The more backers buy a portrait, the more pages will go in the book. I'd like to have more than 250 images, but 200 will be the minimum.
I'll be working with the same local printing company that produced The Heartless Machine Guide To Drawing, and 99 Ways to Die: a Coloring Book for Adults. They make fantastic books, right here in Austin TX, and they consistently provide me with the service and quality I need. I DO NOT have books made in China. My products are always made in the USA.
The binding is very important to me. I always strive for quality. So with this book, it came down to two options. There's a cheap way to do it, and a quality way to do it. Look at the difference:
On the left, you will see a cheaply bound book, meant for mass-distribution. Notice how the spine is fully glued, and the damage sustained when opening the book. See how the spine of the book is already falling apart, and I haven't even read the book! This will not do. When I am done reading it, I will put the book on the shelf, and the ugly spine creases will be all I see!
On the right, there is an extra step to binding this book. The cover is glued separately, so the flexing of the pages and spine do not crease the cover. It's so much better! When I put this book back on the shelf (and I might not), the spine will look brand new. This is the quality I provide to my backers!
SEPTEMBER- After the Kickstarter deadline, I will send out a survey to those who pledged for a hand-drawn portrait. The survey will include information about how to submit your image. As the images come in, I will begin drawing.
JANUARY- If I end up with 400 portraits (that's a lot!), and I draw 100 portraits each month (that's totally possible), I will finish drawing by the end of January.
FEBRUARY- Scanning, cropping, color correcting, rotating, converting to PDF, and compiling for the printer.
MARCH- Submit the files to the printer.
APRIL- It's quite possible to have the books ready for shipping in April.
I've decided to give myself plenty of room in the timeline, though. So I've scheduled the rewards to be delivered by July, just to be safe. I prefer to be months ahead of schedule vs the opposite, and you can see in my previous two Kickstarter projects, everything went out at least on time, if not early. Besides not wanting to let down my backers, it's also very important to me that my students see this project completed. I'm very motivated to stay ahead of schedule.
Part of the point of this project is to show a wide variety of people and expressions in a constrained format. To that end, I am requesting that you do not send photos of children, pets, or the deceased. I am only interested in photos of consenting adults. That means you, not some guy off the street. You will need to confirm that the person in the photo is either you, or a consenting adult, and that you are allowing me to publish the drawing as part of my book.
It will be the backers' responsibility to contribute a well-lit and clearly defined photo for inclusion in this project, so please do your part! If you send me a bad photo, you can't expect a good drawing. If you don't send a photo at all, I will have nothing to draw.
You don't have to make a funny face, but these little portraits are a lot more fun if you do.
If you would like to see more examples, you can check my website, twitter, tumblr, and Facebook.
Post-it® is a registered trademark of 3M. This project was originally not endorsed, supported, condoned, sponsored, or otherwise approved by 3M or anyone representing them. However, since the inception of this project, I have found the people at 3M and Post-it® Brand to be extremely generous and cooperative. I want to make it clear that this is an independent project, and you should not assume that it is an actual Post-it® product.
3M retains all rights to the trademark. I make no claims!
Risks and challenges
This is my third Kickstarter project, and my fourth book. So we shouldn't run into any crazy problems.
I'll be relying on the backers to send high-quality well-lit photos to me in a timely manner. If backers don't send the photos, or if they are unusable, then we have fewer drawings to go in the book. This will be the first time I am relying on the backers to contribute to this scale, and that makes me a little nervous. But as long as the backers send the photos, we'll be on track.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (28 days)