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A journey to frolic with the panda kindergarten, walk the Great Wall,  visit ancient places, make art, and write stories.
Thank you for supporting my journey to frolic with the panda kindergarten, walk the Great Wall,  visit ancient places, make art, and write stories. You are da bears!
Thank you for supporting my journey to frolic with the panda kindergarten, walk the Great Wall, visit ancient places, make art, and write stories. You are da bears!
95 backers pledged $8,524 to help bring this project to life.

About

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A Panda-tastic Journey

$8,524

95

YET MORE New Rewards! (see below and in update)

When it comes right down to it, I blame James Fallows...

It's his fault that I became obsessed by pandas. He wrote this article while he was reporting from China, and the pictures of multiple panda cubs playing and cavorting with their keepers caused something in my brain to shake loose, and nothing has been the same since then.

Now, I want to go see pandas in the fur, in the mountains of China, traveling with a small group of people, whom I have come to know through our mutual love of pandas.

Ever since my pandapiphany, (thank you, Mr. Fallows) I've been drawing pandas.  I write and draw panda satire cartoons at The Panda Chronicles, otherwise known as Your Brain on Pandas and have published 7 collections of the cartoons since 2012.  In 2014, I finished a three + year project and published Pandamorphosis with your help right here on Kickstarter. I'm now working on a graphic novel, a mystery full of art and pandas.

Diana and Velia having lunch with some friends
Diana and Velia having lunch with some friends

I met my fellow panda trekkers through the annual panda convention that has been held for the last 8 years at the San Diego Zoo (except for this past year when it took place in Atlanta.)

We started talking almost two years ago...wouldn't it be great...we should go...let's do it! And before I knew it, I had agreed to join seven friends for what could very well be the trip of a lifetime. Pandas!!!!!

Cami on the Great Wall with The Emperor Pew (not a real panda)
Cami on the Great Wall with The Emperor Pew (not a real panda)

 But as you might know, besides drawing panda cartoons, I'm a printmaker and painter of oil and egg tempera paintings. My first project on Kickstarter was created so I could attend an egg tempera workshop held in Cortona, Italy in 2012. I created a series of hand drawn and hand printed lithographs, that were the core of my project rewards.

Hand colored original lithograph, created during trip to Italy in 2012
Hand colored original lithograph, created during trip to Italy in 2012

 Every trip I've taken to a foreign country has resulted in being able to create a new, exciting body of work. Here's what I anticipate resulting from this expedition to China to visit the panda ranches*

(*Technically, they are the research and breeding centers in the Sichuan province of China, whose dedicated staff works to bring pandas back from the brink of extinction.)

1. From sketches I do on site, along with photographs I take, I will create a new series of hand printed/colored lithographs.
2. Also from sketches and photographs, I will work on new paintings, which will make the bulk of a show in late 2018.
3. Since I have recently added creating graphic novels to my repertoire, I'd like to start work on a travel journal in graphic memoir form, of my journey into panda satire, with the story of whatever happens on this trip as the focal point of the book.

But besides getting inspiration and material to make art and comics...

1. I'll get to volunteer to work with pandas. While mostly this will probably be scooping panda poo, I have reason to believe I may get to play with a panda toddler or two.
2. I'll get to spend time with my friends who hail from all around the country (well, from all around the world, really) that are part of this band of panda aficionados.
3. I'll visit a part of the world where I've never been and meet more of the international panda community.
4. I'll get to meet the people who run Pandas International, an organization that raises funds for, and awareness about pandas. I've been a supporter of PI almost since the beginning of my panda journey, and have made many connections with my readers because of them.
5. I get to reconnect with the folks from PDX Wildlife another non profit that does research to learn more about pandas, and how they can help keep them from going extinct. I may get to do some volunteer work with them while we are there.

If there are other things you'd like to see as rewards, (like signed copies of my earlier books or original cartoon drawings) please let me know! I'll add them to the list of rewards!

Here's what I'll be spending:

$997 Airfare from Seattle to Beijing, returning from Shanghai
$2940 Cost of ground tour, including flights within China.
$300 (approximately) pre-flight hotel and airport shuttle in Seattle
$400 meals and incidentals in China
$400-600 entrance to panda centers and volunteer fees
$1000 cost of reward fulfillment and shipping (approximately)
$600 (approximately) Kickstarter and credit card fees

Stretch Goals and New Rewards!

Stretch goal #1 Goal reached! (okay! okay! I'll get the shot!) Huzzah!

$7000: While hepatitis A shots are not required to go to China, they are recommended by our friends at PDX Wildlife. If I reach $7000 in funding, I swear I will get a Hep A shot to stay healthy on my trip. I have art to make when I get home!

Stretch Goal #2

$9000: Weather can be squirrelly in the mountainous Sichuan region of China, and good, light weight rain gear would be an awesome thing to have. If I reach $9000 in funding, I can get some high quality packable rain gear to take with me. At this level, EVERYONE who pledged $17 or more will get a Panda-Trekker badge to sew on whatever they want! (originally not included in all rewards)

Stretch Goal #3

$12000: As airlines get more and more careful about what kind of art materials you can pack, paint in tubes are O-U-T! Funding at the $12000 level will allow me to buy a set of high quality Daniel Smith Watercolor sticks, which is the same quality as their excellent watercolor in tubes. They are pricey little buggers, at $10 per color. The Panda trekker badges will all get upgraded to 100% embroidered instead of 75%. Way cooler! I can buy extra panda trekker badges to bring as presents to the keepers and guides we interact with at the panda bases.

Stretch goal #4

$15000: well, now we are getting into panda adoption territory. While one of our group generously included my name as well as several others in adopting panda Zhen Zhen (of San Diego Zoo fame) reaching this level would allow me to adopt my OWN panda (and then I would have to decorate her room at home and pay for college) AND Take my fellow panda trekkers out for a fancy dinner!…Well, that may happen anyway, but stay tuned!

New rewards and add-ons!

Now that we are heading into the last 5 days of the campaign, I thought perhaps I would trot out a few very special rewards. The details will be in the update which will be coming forthwith, but here are the images of the new rewards!

Outtake #1 from The Pandyland Mysteries: The Case of the Picturesque Panda
Outtake #1 from The Pandyland Mysteries: The Case of the Picturesque Panda

 

Outtake #2 from The Pandyland Mysteries: The Case of the Picturesque Panda
Outtake #2 from The Pandyland Mysteries: The Case of the Picturesque Panda

 

Character studies from The Pandyland Mysteries: The Case of the Picturesque Panda
Character studies from The Pandyland Mysteries: The Case of the Picturesque Panda

I thought it was time to add on another small reward. This can be a stand alone reward (see reward list) or as an add on to any other reward at The Panda Trekker Bag Level or above. This is the "Yoga for Pandas" cartoon, printed as a mini 8" x 10" poster. So many people have asked for this as a poster over the years, so here it is! I've added a red border because it wanted to be there.

The Cuppycake Salutation! Yoga for Pandas
The Cuppycake Salutation! Yoga for Pandas

To add it to another reward, add $20 to your amount pledged (click on manage my pledge or whatever it's called) add $20 to the amount, and it will ship with your other reward(s) Then send me a message via the Kickstarter message thingie to let me know you want Yoga for Pandas! I'll make a note of it and include it when I ship your other rewards.

To select as a stand alone reward, just select it! I can probably figure it out from there!

I just added three original cartoons to the rewards. See the new rewards on the right hand column! Several people also asked about getting more than one lithograph, but less than six, OR adding a lithograph to the original painting reward.

To add one or more lithographs to an existing reward of other original art (Lithograph, painting, or original cartoon):
1)  Send me a message through the private message function, telling me what you'd like to add.
2) Add $49 for 1 additional lithograph; Add $92 for 2 additional lithographs.

3) Click on the "Manage my Pledge" button to change the amount of your pledge to reflect the additional items.

The original cartoon images are posted in an update which will appear shortly.

You may remember the panda primer on Kickstarter:

Bob, Mehitabel, and the panda kindergarten explain how Kickstarter works.
Bob, Mehitabel, and the panda kindergarten explain how Kickstarter works.

 My logo for the trip, which will appear on the embroidered patches and canvas tote bag:

The official logo for our trip!
The official logo for our trip!

 I hope you will join in the panda fun and support this project!

Risks and challenges

The listed rewards are things that are within my power to create and get to you in a reasonable time frame. I thought about adding my as yet not even started graphic memoir as a reward, but since I can't even begin to know when it will be finished, (let alone started!) I decided that was too much uncertainty for a Kickstarter project.

Chinese visa received!

World travel with groups of people can be very...um...interesting and challenging. Hopefully there will be no bloodshed, and we will all still be speaking to one another when the trip is over. Of course, going off from the rest of the group and sketching can be a valuable tool when traveling in a group!

While my graphic novel is still in process, my work methods make room for working on multiple projects during the same time period. As a full time artist, I have no pesky day job to suck up my time.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Almost as good as being there!

    I can't stash you all in my luggage, but you can follow the trip and preparations on a private page on my blog! Plus an embarrassingly grateful thank you email.

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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $17 or more About $17

    Panda Trekker Badge of Honor

    Fly your panda satire flag with this embroidered patch, designed by yours truly!
    Plus, you can follow the trip and preparations on a private page on my blog! Also an embarrassingly grateful thank you email.

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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $23 or more About $23

    Early Bird Panda Trekker Bag

    Be quick on the draw and get this cool bag for a little less!
    You will be the envy of everyone in line at the grocery store when you present your black canvas bag with my Panda trekker logo!
    But wait, there's more! you also get the embroidered patch (because you know you want that too), access to the private trip blog and a gushingly grateful thank you email.

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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $26 or more About $26

    Yoga for Pandas Mini Poster

    Yoga for Pandas (The cuppycake salute) seems to be everyone's favorite cartoon! Maybe because we wish that eating a cuppycake would have the same benefits as doing an hour of yoga, or maybe because this is how most of us look when doing yoga. The mini poster is a discreet 8"x10" and suitable for your office cubicle! These will ship sooner than original art as a stand alone reward, but at the same time as original art, if you are getting that as well. You can add additional copies for $20 each, all shipped to same address.

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $28 or more About $28

    Panda Trekker logo canvas tote bag

    You will be the envy of everyone in line at the grocery store when you present your black canvas bag with my Panda trekker logo!
    But wait, there's more! you also get the embroidered patch (because you know you want that too), access to the private trip blog and a gushingly grateful thank you email.

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $39 or more About $39

    Early special! Hand colored Lithograph

    Those who remember my first campaign, will remember the hand pulled lithos I created as a result of my Italian art trip. Approximately 5" x7" I will produce a series of hand pulled and colored prints on my return from china, from photos and sketches done on site. You'll also have access to the trip blog page.

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    Limited 11 backers
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $49 or more About $49

    Hand Colored Lithograph

    Same as the early special, for those who were not quite quick enough on the keyboard!
    Those who remember my first campaign, will remember the hand pulled lithos I created as a result of my Italian art trip. Approximately 5" x7" I will produce a series of hand pulled and colored prints on my return from china, from photos and sketches done on site. You'll also have access to the trip blog page.

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    Limited 9 backers
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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $78 or more About $78

    I can't make up my mind!

    Get everything described so far: A hand colored lithograph, the canvas bag, the panda trekkers badge, blog access and a very schmoopy thank you email.

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    Limited 21 backers
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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $325 or more About $325

    Set of 6 Lithos

    A set of 6 different hand pulled, hand colored lithographs that I will complete on my return from China. Work will be created based on sketches and photos made while traveling in China.like those done after the Italian art trip. Approximately size 5" x7", the prints will be in an archival folder. You'll also have access to the trip blog page, AND you'll also get the bag and patch. Whee!

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    Pledge $375 or more About $375

    Character study: Pandyland Mysteries

    An original watercolor, done as a sample illustration for my work-in-progress, The Pandyland Mysteries: The Case of the Picturesque Panda. Approximately 10" x 14" in a simple frame. This unique work was done as a sample of the style and characters that will be in the book. And since you know you want them, you also get the tote bag with Panda-Trekker Logo and the embroidered bag.

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    Reward no longer available 1 backer
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  11. Select this reward

    Pledge $475 or more About $475

    An original painting TBD later

    8x10 oil painting on paper, mounted on a linen board and simply framed. These paintings will be created on my return from photographs and sketches done on site. When I have completed these paintings, I will notify backers from this level and give you your choice, on a first come, first serve basis.

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  12. Select this reward

    Pledge $550 or more About $550

    New Level Original Painting

    8x10 oil painting on paper, mounted on a linen board and simply framed. These paintings will be created on my return from photographs and sketches done on site. When I have completed these paintings, I will notify backers from this level and give you your choice, on a first come, first serve basis.

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  13. Select this reward

    Pledge $575 or more About $575

    Original Cartoon #1

    Where Pinky goes, international incidents are sure to follow! In the cartoon that ran on May 11, 2016, the Toronto Twinkies returned home, and Bubba's plan to stow away was foiled! Own this original cartoon, simply framed and shipped anywhere in the world.

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    Pledge $575 or more About $575

    Original Cartoon #2

    Bubba was so happy that he had cubs his own age to play with when the Toronto Twinkies came to town, with the ...um...help of Pinky. This cartoon ran on May 8th, 2016. Simply framed and shipped anywhere in the world.

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    Pledge $575 or more About $575

    Original Cartoon #3

    The Toronto Twinkies are discovered in Pinky's room. Daddee is putty in Pinky's paws, but not so mommee Mei. This cartoon ran May 4 (May the Forth be with you) 2016. Simply framed and shipped anywhere in the world.

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    Pledge $580 or more About $580

    Outtake #1 From The Pandyland Mysteries

    An original watercolor, done as a sample illustration for my work-in-progress, The Pandyland Mysteries: The Case of the Picturesque Panda. Approximately 9" x 12" in a simple frame. This unique work is similar to, but not exactly the same as the one that will appear in the book. (changing the shape of the book required me to re-do this image.) And since you know you want them, you also get the tote bag with Panda-Trekker Logo and the embroidered bag.

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    Pledge $640 or more About $640

    Outtake #2 from The Pandyland Mysteries

    An original watercolor, done as a sample illustration for my work-in-progress, The Pandyland Mysteries: The Case of the Picturesque Panda. Approximately 10"x 14" in a simple frame. This unique work is similar to, but not exactly the same as the one that will appear in the book. (changing the other animal sitting at the counter required me to re-do this image.) And since you know you want them, you also get the tote bag with Panda-Trekker Logo and the embroidered bag.

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Funding period

- (16 days)