Funded! This project was successfully funded on November 17, 2011.

Update #15

New Studio Log

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Hello, Friends!

I've been in hermit mode recently, but wanted to let you know that I am documenting my daily progress via an online Studio Log, which you can see here:

http://www.illuminatedorigin.com/The_Illuminated_Origin_of_Species/Studio_Log.html

In addition to making my way through the last Kickstarter rewards, I have been busy designing and redesigning the first section of the manuscript. If all goes well, you will see the entire first section on Darwin Day, February 12, 2013, but I hope to show you glimpses of a few of the pages before then.


Update #14

April Update

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Hello, Kickstarters!

I'm back online! The Illuminated Origin of Species website is active again, and I've updated the project timeline and the Books of Kell's Shop.

In December, those who donated at the $10 level received a commemorative post card in a hand-calligraphed envelope.

Contributors at the $30 level received these boxed cards, which are still available in the Books of Kell’s Shop.

All who donated on Kickstarter at the $60 level received one of five signed and numbered framed prints. Prints are still available on the Books of Kell's Shop at www.illuminatedorigin.com.

Over the next 2-3 weeks I will be finishing up the Miniature Book of Illuminated Beetles. The book will have ten accordion-fold pages with eight illuminated beetles, which I will hand-embellish with iridescent watercolors and 23K shell gold using a size 20/0 brush. Ten of the twelve copies of the miniature book will go to Kickstarter backers who pledged at the $300 level. One copy will go to the Miniature Book Society, and the last remaining copy of the first edition will be for sale in the Books of Kell’s Shop as soon as the edition is completed.

Almost all of the beetles appearing as prints and illustrations in the miniature book have been “adopted” by supporters of the project who wish to see a particular beetle featured in the opening pages of The Illuminated Origin of Species manuscript. Each donor at the $250 level gets to choose a beetle for me to include in the table of contents, and will receive an 8 x 10 ORIGINAL painting of the same beetle. Original paintings of adopted beetles will be shipped to donors between now and the end of June. There is still time to Adopt-a-Beetle, receive an original painting, and have your name of the name of a loved one acknowledged in a special section of the manuscript. Click here for details.

Also, between now and the end of June I hope to finish the illuminated letters and title pages for those who donated $90 and $600 respectively.

All of the art I’m doing in response to this fundraising campaign is helping to move the project forward. I am absolutely certain that the quality of the manuscript will be better for it. Not only is all of this work for the Kickstarter campaign helping me fine tune the details of my illustrations, but the proceeds have allowed me to afford the time, materials, and space to take the very first careful steps toward making this book a reality. 

Thanks to you, I was able to purchase all of the paper I will need to create the entire book. This 8-inch-high stack of 22x30-inch hot press watercolor paper represents the projected size of the completed manuscript.

Please see the timeline page on the project website to check my progress, and visit the Facebook Page for updates.

Thank you once again for your patience and enthusiasm. 

All my best,


Update #13

Post Darwin Day Post

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This update is long overdue. I was hoping to be able to show you the first six pages today, but life made sure that would not happen. Without going into all kinds of details, I can say that I haven't made as much progress as I had hoped by this time, but the project is still going ahead, and I am more enthusiastic than ever about the the artistic vision that is unfolding. Because of the support and encouragement I have received since November, I am more committed than ever to making this my life's work. Here is a list of things I accomplished toward the project since November:

-Designed an intricate frontispiece to go opposite the title page--I'm currently seeking advice from a science advisor to help me finalize the details on this.

-Designed and researched material for the Dedication Page

-Finalized the Table of Contents design

-Worked with a science advisor to lay out enough characters of genetic code to form the top and bottom borders of the entire 300-page book

-Addressed envelopes and mailed 29 postcards to the $10 backers

-Packaged and shipped about 100 boxes of cards for the $30 backers

-Framed and shipped 31 beetle prints for the $60 backers, and will have additional choices for the others ready to ship in March

-Worked on a stationery design for the letters I will write to the $90 backers. This process led to the design of the dedication page for the book. I hope to have the letters completed by summer.

-Collected, posed, and photographed all 14 adopted beetles, made sketches and line drawings of each, created what I call a "color map" for each beetle, and am now in the process of doing color sketches and full-size paintings for the $250 backers

-Worked on the structural design for the miniature book of illuminated beetles and will have these ready to ship to the $300 backers in the summer

-Finalized the Title Page design and will begin creating and shipping the reproductions to the $600 backers this summer

-Attended two presentations by Richard Dawkins in the Phoenix Metro area

-Purchased a supply of gold leaf, brushes, paint, and other miscellaneous tools and materials I will need to complete the first 30 pages

-Purchased a few excellent reference books on various related topics, such as beetles, fossils, mapmaking, evolutionary biology, and manuscript illumination

-Purchased all of the paper needed for the entire book

I had a few minor setbacks. The paper arrived damaged, so I had to return it for a replacement. I received the new shipment a couple of weeks ago. I will post photos of what 300 pages looks like soon. Also, my computer crashed just after I made some major design changes that I hadn't had the chance to back up. I was without my computer for about 2 weeks, and am still trying to recover. One casualty was the blog at www.illuminatedorigin.com. I have been unable to post new blogs, and at this point if I make any changes to the website I will lose the entries I have already made. I'm currently working with a tech expert to recover the website and move my blog to Wordpress. I can't even post photos here, because Kickstarter only lets me post links to photos that have been uploaded to another website. Ugh! 

I want to extend my sincere appreciation for your continued patience. This IS happening, and I am more anxious than anyone to see the first section of the book completed. I plan to do major updates on or around the solstices and equinoxes. If you wish to check in with me at any time, please don't hesitate to contact me. Look for more studio photos on the Facebook page soon.

Happy belated Darwin Day!

Kelly


Update #12

Shipping Day!

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Exciting news! The greeting cards are boxed, packaged, and ready to ship today! Backers who chose to receive cards should see them within the next week. International orders are going out today as well, but may take a bit longer. I appreciate your patience! We have extras, so please visit the Books of Kell's Shop if you would like to place an order!

Boxed set includes 8 blank greeting cards (6.25in X 6.25in), 8 white envelopes (6.5in X 6.5in), and 8 gold foil seals.

“There is grandeur in this view of life”
Blank inside, 6.5” x 6.5” envelopes included
Original calligraphic design by Kelly Houle

The full quote by Charles Darwin is printed on the back:

“There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.”

                        —Charles Darwin, On the Origin of Species, 1859

Front:

Back:


Update #11

Success!

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Thank you once again to all who supported The Illuminated Origin of Species through Kickstarter. I am grateful for every pledge and all of the messages I've received. This will be a truly amazing adventure in bookmaking, and I can't wait to get the first pages finished!

I am sending out backer surveys this week, and will begin mailing the first rewards very soon. Until then, please be sure to find The Illuminated Origin of Species on Facebook, bookmark www.illuminatedorigin.com, and subscribe to my blog to be sure you don't miss any updates on my progress.

The Books of Kell's Shop is now open! You can still buy cards, prints, and original art to support the Illuminated Origin of Species. You will be able to "Adopt-A-Beetle" until the table of contents pages are completed. This means if you donate $250, you get to choose a beetle for me to include in the table of contents, AND you receive an 8x10 ORIGINAL painting of your beetle! Please visit the Books of Kell's Shop for details.

All my best,


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  • Pledge $10 or more
    You selected

    29 backers

    For a $10 contribution you will receive a beautiful Illuminated Origin of Species post card mailed to you in a translucent vellum envelope hand-addressed in calligraphy by me. In addition, if you choose, your name will be written in a special section of the actual illuminated manuscript where I acknowledge all contributors to the project.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $30 or more
    You selected

    30 backers

    For each $30 pledge you will receive a boxed set of 8 greeting cards embossed in gold with my original calligraphic design that combines Darwin's tree of life with the phrase "Life is what we make of it." Envelopes are included.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $30 or more
    You selected

    45 backers

    For a $30 pledge you will receive a boxed set of 8 gold foil embossed greeting cards with the phrase "There is grandeur in this view of life." This original calligraphic design combines Darwin's tree of life sketch with a phrase from the famous last paragraph of "On the Origin of Species." Envelopes are included.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $60 or more
    You selected

    28 backers

    For every $60 contribution you will receive a limited edition, 3x5-inch, signed giclee print of one of the actual beetles that will appear in the opening pages of the Illuminated Origin of Species. These prints are hand-embellished with iridescent watercolors and 23-karat gold, and will arrive in a 5x7-inch shadowbox frame. There will be a choice of 5 different beetles. Donate more than once and collect them all!

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $90 or more
    You selected

    5 backers All gone!

    For $90 you will receive a one-page, personalized thank-you letter addressed to you, your family, or organization, handwritten by me in calligraphy, and illuminated with iridescent watercolors and 23-karat gold. Your letter will be written on high-quality Fabriano paper made in Italy and will be suitable for framing.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $250 or more
    You selected

    10 backers All gone!

    Adopt-A-Beetle! For a $250 donation you will receive an ORIGINAL, signed, hand-illuminated 8x10 color painting of your favorite beetle, and a life size version will be included, subject to approval, in the opening pages of The Illuminated Origin of Species. Do you own the rights to a great beetle photo? I will turn it into an illuminated painting for you, and a life-size miniature version for the manuscript. You maintain all rights to your photo, I maintain all rights to the painted image. If you don't have a photo of the beetle you would like to sponsor, I will paint it from an actual specimen. Your contribution will be acknowledged in a special section of the manuscript.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $250 or more
    You selected

    1 backer Limited (9 left of 10)

    Adopt-A-Beetle! For a $250 donation you will receive an ORIGINAL, signed, hand-illuminated 8x10 color painting of your favorite beetle, and a life size version will be included, subject to approval, in the opening pages of The Illuminated Origin of Species. Do you own the rights to a great beetle photo? I will turn it into an illuminated painting for you, and a life-size miniature version for the manuscript. You maintain all rights to your photo, I maintain all rights to the painted image. If you don't have a photo of the beetle you would like to sponsor, I will paint it from an actual specimen. Your contribution will be acknowledged in a special section of the manuscript.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $300 or more
    You selected

    9 backers Limited (1 left of 10)

    For a $300 pledge you will receive a handmade miniature book of shiny, painted beetles! The miniature beetle book will be an 8-page accordion in a 2x3-inch matchbox cover. The beetles will be giclee printed onto watercolor paper and hand-embellished with iridescent watercolors and 23-karat gold. This is a limited edition of 12 signed and numbered copies. The first backer to pledge at this level or the $3000 level will receive copy #1/12.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $600 or more
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    5 backers All gone!

    For $600 you will receive a full-size, 22x30-inch hand-painted, handwritten, hand-gilded title page of The Illuminated Origin of Species. THIS IS NOT A PRINT. I will create this piece from start to finish using the same process used make the title page of the original manuscript. No other page of the Illuminated Origin will be made available as an original. Each one of these will be slightly different, but all will have the Illuminated Origin of Species title block in raised 23-karat gold. This piece will be signed.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $2,000 or more
    You selected

    1 backer All gone!

    For $2000, you will receive ALL of the rewards listed above, including the Title Page and Miniature Book, PLUS you will receive the original calligraphic art created for the greeting card design "Life is what we make of it," OR "There is grandeur in theis view of life" featuring Darwin's tree of life. This one-of-a-kind original work of art is made of 23-karat gold on 300-lb Fabriano Artistico paper, and is signed and beautifully framed to 16x16 inches. Your name will be written in a special section of the Illuminated Origin of Species as a founding donor.

    Estimated delivery:
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