What And Who Is "Cats I Know"?
My name is Kaori Mitsushima and I'm a Japanese illustrator currently living in Prague, Czech Republic, since the summer of 2014. Prior to moving to Europe, I spent eight years in America, where I started drawing a series of "cat people" illustrations, entitled "Cats I Know." While drawing cat people began as something very personal, in 2012 I got my first commissions from clients in the US. Thanks to the positive feedback, I decided to share my "Cats I Know" illustrations with a wider audience in the form of a self-published calendar, which I did in 2013 and 2014.
［Informations in Japanese / 日本語ガイドはこちらでご覧ください］
In 2014, I was extremely grateful when I shipped the last copies of my Cats I Know calendar to customers around the world. I thought: "Yay! I sold all 140 copies!” But after calculating how many months the process took, which included first sketches, illustrations, scanning, retouching, printing, packaging, promoting, and shipping all the calendars, I realized I couldn’t do it again as a one woman show. As much as I loved seeing my calendars travel out into the world, my process simply wasn’t sustainable. In the end, I had failed to pay myself as an illustrator.
When I realized a successful Kickstarter campaign would allow me to promote my 2016 calendar, create an online community, and organize all my orders, I decided it was the best way to launch a new calendar. Furthermore, thanks to Kickstarter's "all-or-nothing" style, no one will be charged for a pledge towards my project unless it reaches its funding goal. While that is a risk, I have total faith in this project due to the joy my calendar has brought to my customers in the past.
Why The Funding Goal of $4000?
If my project is funded exactly for $4000, 5% will go to Kickstarter and 3% will go to process the payments. This will leave $3648. 50% of those funds will go to the printing costs, mailing supplies, and shipping costs; 20% will go to hiring paid interns for mailing rewards. 10% will go to hiring a silkscreen artist to create T-shirts, posters and tote bags. The last 20% will go to myself, as the paid illustrator on this project. Were this to happen, I consider this project a major success!
2016 Cats I Know Calendar
*All 12 images + cover will be updated during the campaign on "Updates" page.
Pledge $25 or more to receive 2016 Cats I Know Calendar (shipping included) to US & European addresses (add $5-$7 for the rest of the world) - The calendar and limited edition items only available through Kickstarter.
NOTE: The Calendar will ship in early December 2015 and the rewards will ship in February 2016.
- 7" x 11" (17.78cm x 27.94 cm) wall calendar
- Week begins on Monday
- Spiral binding
- 13 pages
- Will be printed on 100 lb uncoated white paper
Illustrations by Kaori Mitsushima / Design by Ko Ogura (Graffic Factor)
Selected Press on 2013 & 2014 Cats I Know Calendar
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Cats I Know Kickstarter Campaign Video Credit
- Directed by Mika Johnson
- Cinematography by Tuheena Singh
- Music: "Cats I Know" by Kumisolo
- Assistant Camera: Benjamin Innbjør Bargård / Priyanka Chhadwa
- Edited by Tuheena Singh & Benjamin Innbjør Bargård
- Special Thanks to Prague Film School Documentary Production Class Fall 2015, Hikaru Furuhashi, Nini and Koko
Last But Not Least, "Why Cats?"
People often ask me, "why do you like cats? why do you like to draw them?" Instead answering, I'll include two of my favorite quotes, on cats, by artists I admire along with a video of me talking about cats, shot in 2011.
“I love cats because I enjoy my home; and little by little, they become its visible soul.” - Jean Cocteau
"Cats. I can't stop myself from loving these melancholic beasts; and you're wrong to believe that cats can't learn tricks, they just think it's stupid to do so. Their clever and pouty faces, their perfectly aligned teeth, their distant but seductive gazes - cats are indescribable, I love them all." - Yukio Mishima, 1948
(Mishima's quote is translated from Japanese to English by Cats I Know, special thanks for Mika Johnson and Junichiro Ishii for their editorial help.)
Risks and challenges
While I have been working for many months on the images that will make up this coming year’s Cats I Know calendar, if I can’t reach my funding goal of $4000, I won’t be able to print this year’s calendar. However, because of my extremely positive experience with customer feedback in the past, this is a risk I’m willing to take.
The challenges of a project like mine are insuring print quality and the timely delivery of my calendars, so that they can reach my customers before the holiday season. Thankfully, I will be in America in November where I can work hands on with the same printer I’ve worked with on my last calendar. This will allow me to test print until everything is perfect and make sure all the calendars are printed on time. It will also give me time to begin the shipping process, which will include hiring interns to ship the stock to US customers. I will then return to Europe where the rest of the calendars will be printed in Germany, at a printer I’ve been communicating with. From Prague I will personally ship out the rest of my stock and prepare the rewards that I plan to ship out not long after the calendars.
*All original artwork at this page are copyrighted by Kaori Mitsushima. Do not reproduce anywhere without prior permission.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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