WHO WE ARE: Michael Thoenes, creator of DrawingTeachers.com collaborating with Scott Stewart, creator of the Me & Jessie D. DVD. We're teaching kids to draw by creating a new drawing lesson book and drawing lesson videos based on the characters and objects from the swampy cartoon world of Me & Jessie D.
THE PROJECT: "60 Swampy Cartoon Things to Draw"
Drawing is a great boredom buster and a rewarding skill to develop. "60 Swampy Cartoon Things to Draw" is a full-color paperback book of 60 step-by-step drawing lessons designed to train and inspire young artists with lessons to draw characters and cartoon things based on the art of the award-winning Me & Jessie D. cartoon. A set of drawing instruction videos will be produced to compliment the lessons in the book.
I was fortunate to lead the team of artists that created the Me & Jessie D. cartoon. After the completion of the cartoon, I worked with a second team of artists to create DrawingTeachers.com. The website offers over 200 drawing lessons and lesson videos to help kids learn to draw and be creative.
It's time for DrawingTeachers.com to release it's first art lesson book. The characters and objects created for Me & Jessie D. are a great fit for the site's audience of aspiring young artists and I'm are excited to feature the art and model designs created for the original animation production.
The book project includes step-by-step lessons for 14 cartoon character, 7 cartoon musical
instruments, 30 cartoon objects, 3 cartoon bayou signs, 5 cartoon vehicles and 1 cartoon swamp map!
We believe that everyone should have access to some of of the drawing lessons. Therefore, 15 lessons will be made available for free access on the DrawingTeachers.com website along with recognition of the Kickstarter backers pledging $10 or more. The completed e-book and book will be made available for purchase on the website and through other distribution channels.
Here's The Book's Working Cover.
WHERE WE ARE AT SO FAR:
Lesson subjects have been selected from the cartoon production files. I tracked down all the original source files in the 3D animation packages, Lightwave and Maya, and generated renders for the lesson topics which can be seen in more detail at the link above. A lesson template has been designed along with three sample lesson pages you can download and check out. Click below.
I plan to execute 5 to 6 lesson a week for the next 10 to 12 weeks completing the drawing lessons, layout and video lessons by the end of April. Lesson testing will be carried out along the way by a proofing/testing team of kids. After the Quality Check and review process, we will be ready to send to the book to publish via Amazon's CreateSpace. Copies will be verified, ordered, autographed and shipped along with other great rewards to our backers by the end of May 2013. Having already produced many drawing lessons over the past couple of years, I am confident in this schedule.
Depending on your backer level, you may receive:
Postcard and Kickstarter exclusive downloads
Pre-release PDF sample book - First 15 lessons
PDF of the book with your backer credits in the book and on website.
The Me & Jessie D. DVD - A great companion for the drawing lesson book.
60 video lesson on DVD - MP4 format on multiple DVD ROM set. I draw the lessons from the book with narration.
HOW WILL THE FUNDS BE USED?
Reward Fulfillment: Printing costs of the books and the Me & Jessie D. DVD's to fulfill backer rewards.
Shipping: Receiving and then re-package and ship the rewards.
Office Supplies, Art Supplies and Digital Media: Art papers and art media for Michael and the lesson testers. DVD media, cases and additional Hard Drives for Data backup. Pre-production printing costs.
Publishing: ISBN fees, proofing, sample prints for verification, quality checker, tech support costs.
Commissions and Fees: Kickstarter Commissions and the Amazon payments Fees.
WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING ABOUT ME AND JESSIE D.
As a parent, I fully recommend this DVD for clean, fun entertainment! My family delights in following Boo, Jessie, and the gang in their adventures across the bayou, and laughing at their silly antics. My three-year old daughter especially enjoys learning about the real life alligators and fish that are featured throughout the show! We are eagerly anticipating the next episode! ~ Cheri
This video is fantastic for kids. The characters are engaging and interesting with Boo being our favorite. The lesson on being yourself seems to resonate with our children. Thanks for creating this soon to be classic animation. ~Dave
Outstanding family/educational video. I have watched it many times with my 7 year old son and we both love it. It is not a video that you watch once and put away. We have watched it at least 20 times. I hope there are more videos like this available. ~ Casey
WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING ABOUT DRAWINGTEACHERS.COM ART LESSONS
DrawingTeachers.com is one of the best website I have come across. Its simplified and pretty, done in natural way. Visuals are pretty impressive. In any case nice job. - Saurabh
I did it and it was beautiful I cannot wait to tell my friends about this! ~ Temitayo
These lessons are awesome and when they teach u its really easy easier than an art teacher teaching u. ~ Tiara
I really like this I have never drawn before and I find that just learning how to is fun and it is relaxing. ~ Linda
Thank you! Finally I found a place that can teach me how to draw... ~ Phebester
WOW! This was the best instructions ever. Thank you so much. ~ Debbie
Risks and challenges
The biggest challenge faced by Scott and I over the course or creating the Me & Jessie D. DVD and now the 60 Swampy things to draw has been funding the marketing and promotion of the DVD and related products. The video production's completion coincided with the beginning of the "Great Recession" which resulted in the loss of the projects funding for marketing and production of additional episodes essentially putting the shows progress on hold..
It was at this time I turned my attention to building DrawingTeachers.com to continue sharing my enthusiasm for art with kids and also in part to see if a larger grass-roots audience could be developed where great projects such as Me & Jessie D. could be promoted to a larger audience. DrawingTeachers.com has grown steadily over the past two years and is ready for its next big step to fulfilling this goal. Kickstarting the drawing book launches the opportunity to both expand the DrawingTeachers.com website and provides a renewed grass-roots effort to tell the world about Me & Jessie D. Your support of this campaign is a vote of confidence for these goals and makes it possible to set aside other opportunities in order to focus on the completion of this project.
My experiences have taught me that regardless of the merits of a product, without proper promotion and exposure the effort is wasted. The risk we face now is that this renewed effort to reach an audience for Me & Jessie D. through the drawing book will fail commercially and will not result in the growth of DrawingTeachers.com and the Me & Jessie D. brand.
There are some risks and challenges associate specifically with the production of drawing lesson book and videos.
1. Completing the book and videos in the allotted time.
2. Computer hardware failure.
3. Problems with the printing & cost overruns.
To overcome these challenges I have done my homework, I've budgeted, I plan to back up my content daily to external hard drives.
I already have many drawing lessons under my belt along with years experience as an artist so I am highly confident I can get this done in the time allotted although it will hard at times.
Fortunately, neither Scott nor I are quitters. So with your support and the determination expressed by the character Boo in Me & Jessie D. we earnestly believe that together "We can do this, just you wait and see!"
Video Lesson Super Pack:
You'll receive the Book & DVD Fun Pack above plus all 60 step by step lessons in narrated video format on DVD ROM by Michael. (MP4 video format) Plus all the other credits and goodies.
Super Supporter Pack:
Acknowledgement in the front of the book, a personal letter of thanks, the Video Lesson Super Pack plus 5 extra Me & Jessie D. DVDs to give away. Plus all the other credits and goodies.
Original Art - Swamp King Supporter Pack: Get an 8.5 x 11 Original drawing in color of a character or object of your choice from the book. Acknowledgement in the front of the book, a personal letter of thanks, the Video Lesson Super Pack, 10 extra Me & Jessie D. DVDs to give away. Plus all the other credits and goodies.