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Starting with a blank page is terrifying! This book alleviates that fear by starting you with a partial drawing. You just fill it in.

When asked what was the most frightening thing he ever encountered, Ernest Hemingway answered: "A blank sheet of paper."  Most artists, designers, writers, and students could agree.  I've talked to a lot of artists, and we all seem to have a recurring pattern.  I buy a new fresh sketchbook and agonize over starting it.  I get a couple of pages in, and run out of ideas.  I draw a few more pages and get bored.  Then I abandon the book for a couple of weeks while I ponder ideas.  Eventually, I do a couple of bad drawings and give up altogether.  Now I'm cursed with a half-full sketchbook that I'm slightly embarrassed to show to anyone.

This sketchbook is designed to alleviate all of that anxiety.  I've filled the book with just the beginnings of drawings, leaving lots of room for interpretation and creativity.  Each page has something new on it, but it's up to you to fill in the blanks.  Artist's block has no place in this book.

As an art teacher, I see the intimidation of the great white abyss every day.  Kids come to my class straight from math and science, with their left brain on full blast.  They spend their day analyzing, memorizing, and calculating.  Before I can get the kids to create, I have to turn on their right brain.  So the first thing they do is complete one of these drawings.  It's a good way to get the creative juices flowing, without forcing things.  If I give students a blank page, they spend four minutes staring at it and saying "I don't know what to draw."  But with these drawings, the ideas start pouring out immediately.  Not only that, but in a class 30 different students, I get 30 completely different drawings.  So I know the possibilities are virtually limitless.

This book will be printed on 80# white paper (or heavier if possible), so you can draw aggressively with a variety of media, and not worry about bleeding.  The rounded corners will keep the pages from getting beat up and dog-eared, especially while traveling.  It's great for carrying around for a quick drawing on the go, or stash it between the couch cushions and pull it out when the mood strikes.  If you would like more than one, so you can keep one at work and one at home, or have drawing contests with your loved ones, or spread the joy through gift-giving, the process is simple.  Just multiply your pledge by the number of books you want, and send me a message to make sure I know what it is you need.  Or, if you're feeling extra special, you can opt for the "buy 4 get one free" reward level.  It's a great deal!

For 12-year-olds who get stuck in a rut, drawing the same thing over and over, this book is a tool to dig them out.  For grown-ups who draw all the time, this could be a fun and energizing activity, and could boost your creativity, or refresh your enthusiasm.  For adults who haven't drawn in a while, this is a perfect way to get back into it.  Personally, as an art teacher who draws every day, I still get excited about filling in these pages.

Whether you spend four minutes per page, or forty, you can be proud of what you do in this book.  You can draw only in lines, or you can shade, color, or collage.  Use pen and ink, colored pencil, crayon, markers, or lipstick.  It's up to you!

Just look at a couple of before and after shots!

Are you nervous about the fact that you haven't taken an art class in a decade or more?  Don't worry!  I've thrown in several mini art lessons to refresh you!  Proper proportions of the human face will help you draw realistic people.  A lesson in one-point perspective will bring back what you already know about vanishing points.  Follow that up with a lesson on two-point perspective to further hone your skills as a draftsman.  I firmly believe in drawing from observation, so I've included a couple of grid drawings, which will help you slow down and draw exactly what you see. Also included are lessons on shading, including crosshatching, stippling, and scribbling.  They will help you free up your hand and mind, and try new things.

Every single drawing in this book has been tested on 150+ people, and I know they work.  Kids as young as 11 have turned out drawings that they are proud of and can't wait to show off.  Draw with confidence, and know that people will beg you to flip through this book!

Where does the money go?  If this project reaches its goal, most of the money will go to printing the finest, highest-quality product possible.  The cover of the paperback version will be embossed linen.  The hardcover version will have a silver foil logo on the cover, and a ribbon bookmark built-in to the binding.  Let's face it: the point of most business is to maximize profit, and quality will suffer.  But this project (and from what I see, most Kickstarter projects) isn't about profit for me.  It's about getting these books out to the people, so more folks can enjoy the art and get inspired.  I've already got a full-time job AND a successful side business.  So I'm not doing this book to get rich.  Most of the money for this project just goes right back into the project.  I hope to make enough money to cover all of the expenses of printing and shipping, keep my Diet Coke stocked up while I'm packing things, and I may have to buy a better scanner.  I've already invested quite a bit into this project, because I believe in it and I want to see it succeed.  Hopefully by now, you would like to see it succeed as well.

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

I've already talked at length with a local printer, and am very satisfied with what I've seen from them. I don't expect to see any problems from them. My two biggest worries are either not enough sales or too many sales. If I don't sell enough books, then the project doesn't happen. This wouldn't present any major difficulties besides heartache. If I sell too many, then it just becomes a volume-of-packing-and-shipping issue. I still don't think that would be too bad. I've got lots of people who can help me ship things out on time.

As for production of the book, I don't see any issues arising. I've already drawn out all of the pages. I just need to scan them and convert them to a PDF, and get them to the printer.

I've been fairly successful running a website and delivering things on time for several years, so this is nothing out-of-the-ordinary for me. But I normally ship larger sculptures that require a lot of packing and padding. These books will be far more numerous but less padding, so I think it will even out to business as usual.

FAQ

  • I'm doing all of the drawings at approximately 8" x 5", but the printing and binding may add a little bit to that. Or I may find that the book is easier to make at some nominal size that optimizes the efficiency of the process. But for now, let's say 8" x 5".

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  • Right now, I've got at least 100 pages of content. I may get excited and put in more, or I might have the printers throw in a handful of blank pages, in case you are inspired to draw something from scratch. You can be certain that you will get 100 or more pages of actual content.

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  • Absolutely! If you are a teacher of any subject, and you want to use pages from this book as exercises in your classroom, you have my blessing! This whole book originated as classroom exercises, and many of these pictures can be scaled down to 1/4 page, so with a little creative cutting and pasting, you could get 4 drawings on one page, and get the kids to spend 4-6 minutes filling each one in. I like to put 4 of the same picture on one page and cut them into quarters, so the kids can work small and fast. They love sharing their drawings with each other, too!

    By all means, use these pictures in your class, and feel free to send me examples of your best student work!

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  • I had originally planned on only shipping within the US, and offering free shipping. But after the project launched, I decided it wouldn't be fair to the rest of the world. So I added the option of overseas shipping to many of the reward levels.

    If you see an option to add $5 for international shipping, then I will ship it to you. No worries! I want people all over the world to enjoy this book. Let's do it.

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  • Pledge $10 or more
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    "Paul the Pig" zine - One of my sixth grade classes helped me write the story of Paul the Pig. He's not just a pig, though. He's an attorney! His adventure is short, but quite exciting. This zine has eight pages, including the front and back covers. It was hand-written and illustrated, then colored. For $10, I will send you a limited edition signed and numbered copy. Only ten copies will ever be sold! This low low price includes shipping! (US ONLY, please.)

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    "Bob the Frog" zine - One of my sixth grade classes helped me write the story of Bob the Frog. He might be the only frog in history to become a licensed plumber. Follow along as Bob finds himself in the middle of a plumbing mishap, and see how he fights back! This zine has eight pages, including the front and back covers. It was hand-written and illustrated, then colored. For $10, I will send you a limited edition signed and numbered copy. Only ten copies will ever be sold! This low low price includes shipping! (US ONLY, please.)

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    4 backers Limited (26 left of 30)

    Limited Edition Hand-Drawn page, as-scanned for inclusion in the book. At this reward level, I will pick a random page from the stack of hand-drawn pages that were scanned for the book. It's drawn on plain copy paper. This is NOT a copy of a page in the book. It's the actual drawing that was scanned in and became a page in my book. This low low price INCLUDES shipping! (US ONLY, please.)

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    235 backers

    Paperback Version - This version comes with the full content of the book, on 80# white paper, and full-sized. The paperback obviously comes with a soft cover (white linen), and typical glued binding. The cover will be embossed with the Heartless Machine logo. This version, like all paperbacks, will not open flat, which may cramp your drawing style. If you're worried about drawing deep in the crevasse of the spine, you may want to got the Premium Hardcover version, which is further down the page. This low low price INCLUDES shipping! (US ONLY, please.)

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    639 backers

    Premium Hardcover Version - This version comes with the full content of the book, on 80# white paper, and full-sized. The cover will be as close as I can get to the standard Moleskine style, black, with rounded corners. It will also feature a silver foil Heartless Machine logo on the front, and a ribbon bookmark built in to the spine, so you'll never worry about losing your place. This low low price INCLUDES shipping! (US ONLY, please.)

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    Limited Edition (Signed and Numbered) Premium Hardcover Version - This version comes with the full content of the book, on 80# white paper, and full-sized. The cover will be as close as I can get to the standard Moleskine style, black, with rounded corners. It will also feature a silver foil Heartless Machine logo on the front, and a ribbon bookmark built in to the spine, so you'll never worry about losing your place. This is the same book as the $25 reward, but will be signed and numbered on the inside. Numbers will be in order of backers, and limited at 100. This low low price INCLUDES shipping! (US ONLY, please.)

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    130 backers

    A SET of FIVE of the Premium Hardcover Version. This is just like the $25 level, but consider it a "buy four, get one free". This is great for people who want to give some as gifts, or for families who all like to draw, as Kickstarter typically does not allow people to buy more than one item. The pages are so open to interpretation, you could have five different people work on the same page, and come out with five totally different drawings! This will be the only chance to purchase more than one book. This low low price INCLUDES shipping! (US ONLY, please.)

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    Limited Edition Hand-Drawn (then completed and hand-colored or shaded) page. At this reward level, I will pick a random page from the stack of hand-drawn pages that were scanned for the book, complete the drawing into something interesting, then shade it or color it. It's drawn on plain copy paper. This is NOT a copy of a page in the book. It's the actual drawing that was scanned in and became a page in my book, then completed by me. It's a one-of-a-kind original work of art. This low low price INCLUDES shipping! (US ONLY, please.)

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    A book with one page completed, colored/shaded inside before shipping. This is the same book as the $25 Premium Hardcover version, but before I ship it, I will fill in one of the pages to create a one-of-a-kind finished drawing. It will be either full-color or full-value, and your drawing will NOT be the same as other drawings in other books. You will get a unique work of art to get you inspired to fill in the rest of the book. Or stash it away as a collector's item. After all, this reward is limited at 10 only. This low low price INCLUDES shipping! (US ONLY, please.)

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    Prototype - This is truly a rare item. In order to show this idea to lots of people, and have a prop to use in the video, I had to create a prototype. I bought a Moleskine sketchbook, and HAND-DREW every page. When people in the video are holding the book, they are holding this ACTUAL book. And it is the same exact item in any photos on this page. There are many things in the prototype that will not be in the final print version, and many things that are in the final print version that will NOT be in the prototype. It is not intended to be a finished and accurate representation of the book, but is a pretty good rough draft. Each page is drawn in ink, by hand, to approximate the look and feel of the finished piece. Whether you wish to fill the book with your own drawings, or keep this as its own work of art, this will be the rarest reward in this kickstarter campaign. Once it's gone, that's it.

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Funding period

- (30 days)