Help me complete illustrations for The Stolen Child Tarot, and produce the 78 card deck inspired by the Yeats poem.
In a nutshell:
Make a pledge - Get a Deck - Employ an Artist!
The goal of this campaign is to complete the 50+ images needed to expand The Stolen Child Tarot into a complete 78 card tarot deck, create a companion guide ebook and produce an independent print run of decks comparable in price and quality to current commercial decks.
**As little as a $5 pledge gets you a copy of the companion E-book!**
The Looooonger Story:
The Stolen Child Tarot is a project conceived by illustrator Monica Knighton (me!) and was inspired by the William Butler Yeats poem of the same name. The key inspiration came from the refrain:
“Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.”
Initially, the deck began on a smaller scale, as a Major Arcana deck to be produced as a limited edition artist portfolio. A previous Kickstarter project accomplished this goal, even allowing extra funding for upgrades in paper and a unique woodgrain and leaf paper portfolio. You can visit the original funded campaign here:
I was completely blown away by the response to the artwork for this project! Lots of people have asked me about expanding the deck, and lots and lots of people on message boards, forums, etc have said they love the art, but they want/need a full deck at the price of the commercial ones out there.
...But here's the rub...
Publishers don't pay an advance on tarot art. The other tarots I've done, Tarot of the Dead, published by Llewellyn and the art for The Healing Tarot, coming out this year with Schiffer was all produced on spec. What's spec? It means you make the art and then you get paid months, even years later, if there's enough in royalties.
...Or as I like to put it, if you want to live, you'll need a time machine to buy your groceries.
To give you an idea of the upfront workload, if it takes you about a week to research, rough, pencil and paint a card, you can multiply that times 80 (78 cards + titles/cardback) and then there's the guidebook... um, let's just say it's A LOT of work to do on spec!
A little more on that later...
Currently, with the Major Arcana complete, what remains to expand this deck into a full tarot are the 50+ remaining Minor Arcana cards, and 4-5 new paintings for the card back design, title cards and box design – all of which I hope to complete in the same quality and detail as the Majors – and the writing and formatting of an expanded guide book.
What would the Minors look like?
Very much like the Majors! As with the original images, this deck is still a return to nature with no man made objects included and many traditional symbols re-envisioned with natural objects. I've provided some samples of completed Minors in the video and some inks below.
The suits would be:
Oak (Pentacles) represented by the acorn
Zephyrs (Swords) represented by the feather blown on the wind
Brine (Cups) represented by the shells
Flame (Wands) represented by the tongues of fire
I also have some conceptual themes that would cross suits of the Minors, for example, the two's will explore balance in nature by featuring animals that have become extinct.
Unlike the Major arcana edition, each image will include titles and numbers on the standard tall tarot-size coated stock with rounded corners.
The final product would be a full 78 card deck and 2 title cards in a matching tuck box and a downloadable PDF guide book that includes thumbnails of each card for easy identification. I've researched printers and found a reputable one whose product I feel is equal in quality to the decks produced by commercial publishers.
What will the funds cover?
- Printing the decks and boxes
- Delivery freight (to me)
- other Rewards production
- Shipping supplies
- Postage for delivering rewards
- Fees to Kickstarter and Amazon payments processing
- Living expenses while I produce the art
Does the funding goal seem like a lot? I won't lie – it feels like a moonshot to me... But the budget is also pared down to the minimum. And honestly, I don't have the resources to do this project on spec.
This project is truly a test to see if there's audience out there for this work and a chance for you to employ an artist! (At fast food wages I might add!) I want this to be my job for 2013. Will you hire me?
March – November 2013: complete artwork and rough draft of guide
December 2013: pre press work/prepare images for printer
January 2014: deliver images and proof approval
Feb -March 2014: complete ebook guide while decks are at printers
March 2014: schedule completion party and begin shipping rewards.
This campaign will cover a 2000 deck print run, and ALL of those decks will need to be spoken for in order for the project to hit it's goal. What does that mean? It means if you want one, you need to support the campaign!
In addition to completed copies of the deck, I'm offering a lot of one of kind and unique rewards for this project too! I'm in the process of designing a laser cut 2-3 inch lapel pin with imagery from the deck and text from the poem -- This will only be available through the campaign! There's also an opportunity to place your own totem animal within the deck and many pieces of original art available. On a budget? The ebook will have all images from the deck and expanded meanings and interpretation notes!
And now, on to the FAQ!
What is Kickstarter? How does this work?
Kickstarter is an "all or nothing" funding platform -- if a project doesn't reach its goal before the campaign ends, no money changes hands. The payment goes through Amazon and your card does not get charged until the campaign reaches its funding deadline. (March 16th.)
If you pledge, during the campaign you can edit that pledge at any time - increase it, decrease it, cancel it. It's very flexible.
There are all sorts of different pledge levels where you can receive different rewards - so you can think of it as a sort of pre-sale, however if the funding goal isn't met, just as no money changes hands, no rewards are sent.
If you don't reach your goal, will you make the deck anyway?
Short answer? No.
The object of this campaign is to see if there's enough interest to bring a complete Stolen Child Tarot into the world. I wish I could say that I have some extra resource that would allow me to do it anyway, or do it in my free time, but I don't. My first priority is to do whatever work I can to pay the bills. As an artist, I have a lot of different ideas I'd like to develop, so I feel testing ideas on Kickstarter is a good way to make an informed choice of where to put my energy. Um, so that's my roundabout way of saying, nope, if the goal isn't met, I'll need to move on to another project.
Do you have stretch goals in mind?
I would love to increase the print run! Right now the goal covers just production for Kickstarter rewards. We would need to raise $3000 beyond the current goal to increase the print run, which would allow me to offer the deck at shows, in my etsy shop, and some other online outlets.
How cool are these wooden pins?
Pretty dang cool. Seriously, you will hear your coats fighting in the closet over whose lapel it goes on. They will be made by my friends at Ink It Labs.
Did I miss something? Please, drop me a line and I'll add it to the FAQ!
Thank you so much for viewing my project, supporting my art and helping to spread the word!
Check out below to see some of the art and pledge rewards!
Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
This would be my third Kickstarter campaign and my third tarot deck to illustrate, so I feel like I have a solid handle on some key things:
How to research/create a functional budget that covers everything with no surprises.
How to deliver rewards on time.
What my illustration work flow is for me to predict a realistic time frame and goal to create quality work.
What my writing/graphic design work flow is to prep artwork for the printer and create the guide book.
However, on a project of this scale, there will be things that are outside of my control. On the previous campaign, I was able to use a local printer, which meant I had local phone numbers and addresses to keep tabs on what happened once the artwork was going to press. While the printer I have researched for this has a good reputation and was even used for a successful and timely delivered Kickstarter card project before (yep, the Regretsy Tarot - - please don't judge me...) delays can and do happen in large scale printing and long distance shipping. Sort of like turbulence on a flight. I can't prevent the unknown, but I can promise to do due diligence in delivering my materials to the printer and to keep backers well informed of what's happening every step of the way - even during the long limbo of waiting for the cards return.
If you have misgivings or were put off by another campaign, I hope you'll consider my track record, or maybe read some of the comments on my other campaigns, or on the Stolen Child's Facebook fan page. I am extremely grateful to the people with the faith to put money up front for creative projects and the resource/access Kickstarter provides artists to reach a receptive audience, and I take my commitments on here very seriously.
All the cards will be fully illustrated with narrative images, just like the Majors!
Um, probably not. To keep the amount of money I need to raise as low as possible, the print run is 2000. This is enough to cover rewards and a small number of extras for special cases (like if someone asks to add a second deck to a reward that includes only one).
On the campaign for the Major Arcana, I tried to have a single reward tier for original art and then have galleries of the work where people could claim their pieces on a first come, first serve basis. Since the project wasn't that big, it mostly worked fine, but the hiccups that did come up – well, they'd probably be a lot more complicated if I tried that again on this scale!
Instead, I'm offering a selection of the completed Majors as rewards, and also the option of claiming a space in line to pick from the completed minors when ALL of the artwork is complete. I figure with about 50 images in that pot, having second or third choice still gives plenty of options. If no one pledges at some of the higher choice levels - congrats! - the other pledgers just got bumped up! ;)
To keep things rolling I'm asking pledgers not to take longer than a week to decide on their piece. (Please understand that there will probably be some pieces I select for my portfolio. I'll label them.)
You bet! You'll just want to add $22 to your pledge amount to cover it and be sure to message me too so I can make a note of it. :)
March 16th is when you'll be charged. :)
When you pledge, you pay money at the end of the pledge campaign and *only* if the funding goal is met. The idea is to provide artists with the financial resources they need to carry out the project, and people who pledge understand they'll be waiting and seeing the project progress before they receive their reward.
If you were to pledge $24 to receive a deck as a reward, your pledge would be recorded and Amazon/Kickstarter would charge you March 16th 2013 only if the funding goal is met. If enough people don't pledge, no one gets charged, no rewards change hands and the project ends. :( Kickstarter sets it up this way so an artist isn't responsible to deliver a project without adequate financial support. If the funding goal is met, the artist starts work and keeps everyone informed step by step with Backer Updates. (look for the tab above on the front page of the project--I've already added several!)
As the project reaches conclusion, the artist sends an info survey thru Kickstarter to get all the info needed to deliver rewards -- shipping addresses, etc -- and (yay!!) rewards are delivered to backers!! The circle of life is complete!!
Many projects on Kickstarter ask only for production funds. Maybe they've already done all the artwork and only need to print and ship, or maybe they tell you 'we'll pay the artist if we receive money over the funding amount.' Or maybe they have their own funds outside of Kickstarter.
I've self published a deck before, The Tarot of the Dead, so I'm experienced with forming a detailed budget. The amount I'm asking for includes about 14K for my living expenses during the production year. Having that money will allow me to keep my efficiency apartment and work as an illustrator on the project. No profit, no frills. I think less than minimum wage is a pretty good deal for the amount of work involved.
The rest of the money goes to printing, production and delivery of the deck and rewards - based on Tarot of the Dead and the Majors edition of Stolen Child, I've created an efficient and detailed budget of necessities to produce a quality product without surprises.