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An adorable coming of age tale (and apocalyptic bloodbath) starring the Grim Reaper's daughter, told in a 64-page color picture book.

We made it!

STRETCH GOALS!

If I we get to this amount before it's over:

$14,500: I'll increase the book to 72 pages! I think there will be a map (a la Tolkein) and maybe some back story or extra story, and/or drawings "by" Belladonna herself! Even more book glory! 

$15,000: A second sticker, and another wallpaper so even the lower pledge levels feel the love.

I'll add more if this looks possible as the day goes on.

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Don't forget to check out add-ons below.

What it is:  

Death's Daughter and the Basket of Kittens is a subversive 64-page picture book starring the Grim Reaper's daughter, Belladonna, as a small child. It's going to be funny, dark, and cute.

Plot synopsis: Belladonna has a problem.  Everything she touches dies.  Childhood is rough.  Then, for her birthday, her father (AKA Death) gives her some death-absorbing kittens!  Things are great now! Then all Hell breaks loose.  Literally.

I invite you to come on board to experience with me, the thrill ride that is my life as a full-time artist - as the art is being finished, and during the excitement of making this off-the-wall book real with an actual print run. I'll update you LOTS.  Wanna see how amusing I can be?  Here's a link to my blog.  Or check out my "Delightful Kickstarter Updates" (tm).

Imagine Edward Gorey riding a rainbow unicorn after eating magic mushrooms.  I use spare and poetic language which understates what is happening in the pictures, adding to the humor of the story.  

The big-eyed kitten-filled cuteness, the affectionate portrayal of Death Incarnate, and the fact that it looks like (well, is) a picture book makes it all the more pernicious.  

Original artworks are being rendered in colored inks and acrylic gouache, with a touch of watercolor pencil and regular ol' acrylic paints when I'm feeling feisty. Covers are acrylic on canvas.

Here's a link to my website.  Lots of art there.

Not convinced yet?

Here are some pre-publication reviews: 

Death's Daughter and the Basket of Kittens is, hands down, the best coming of age story featuring apocalyptic kittens I have ever read. – Mark Twain 

This book appears to be the love child of Edward Gorey and a sparkly rainbow unicorn. Hoping there will be a stage adaptation! – Abraham Lincoln 

I shall view kittens the same… nevermore. – Edgar Allen Poe

For her birthday, her father gave her some death-absorbing kittens!
For her birthday, her father gave her some death-absorbing kittens!

More Goodies! Rewards Add-ons

How this works:

Choose the pledge level of the highest priced thing you would like. Increase your pledge level by the amount of the add–on you would like to add. I've got some great deals if you want multiples of an item - check 'em out!

After the Kickstarter is over, I will contact you to ask what you wanted for your extra contribution. (Please note that according to KickStarter's rules, I cannot sell you multiples of more than ten of any one item.)

+ $5 = 2 additional vinyl stickers

+ $5 = add a doodle to the signature in a book (2 books signed with doodles = $10, etc.)

+ $10 = extra personalized PhDs in Evil (actual paper, each degree can be personalized to a different person)

+ $10 = extra copies of exclusive archival print  (see "Update 5" to check out its fabulousness.)

+ $15 = Untimely Death Alphabet softcover – add to any mailed rewards package (Kickstarter special – retails for $20)

+ $10 = extra Untimely Death Alphabet softcovers (copies 2-10)

+ $15 = Death's Daughter and the Basket of Kittensfirst additional copy (on top of a rewards level which has the book)

+ $10 = Death's Daughter and the Basket of Kittensmore than one additional copy (up to 10 total by Kickstarter rules)

Project History:

Eight or nine years ago, one Sunday morning, I drew a picture of a little girl in a pink robe. "Why, hello!" I thought. Then, I wrote and illustrated the first version of the book over the next couple years. I've been obsessed with kittens (particularly in baskets) as an icon of goodness and cuteness since art school. The juxtaposition of kittens and the Grim Reaper adds a lot of humor to a macabre story.  And really, it's all about being funny.

Pestilence, Famine, Strife and Fluffy
Pestilence, Famine, Strife and Fluffy

Death's Daughter and the Basket of Kittens’ first iteration, involving an unfortunate trailer park massacre, was pitched to a select few lucky publishers in 2006, whose responses all got lost in the mail. I realized I had no idea how to find the right gatekeeper to getting published, so I took a few years off from working on my books to paint canvases and spend some quality time wearing blazers for The Man.

After reading a full shelf of quit-your-job porn, I actually quit my job and am now entirely at your service, ready to make books for you. Let me assure you, the trailer park issue has been resolved. Self-publishing is here. The internet is here. Kickstarter is here. You are here. Thank you for being here.  It’s a brave new world.

This will be the second book I self-publish (Untimely Death Alphabet was the first), and the first book I publish without a day job to impede progress and slow things to a scale of years instead of months. I'm so excited!

Town was closer than she remembered it.
Town was closer than she remembered it.

What makes me qualified to pull this off?

1. Self-published Untimely Death Alphabet , September 2012, through my company Fluffpocalypse, LLC, despite the handicap of a full-time job.

2. BFA in Illustration, Massachusetts College of Art, 2002

3. Two years working with local business organizations, including writing a 10-page business plan.  Fun times!  

4. Plus years of day jobbing as a graphic artist and an administrative assistant, to round out my skill sets.

Apocalypse sketch
Apocalypse sketch

What will I do with your money?

Maniacal laugh. 

Seriously, though.  I'm asking for a lot of money.  I've beaten up this budget to try to do things as frugally as possible, but still make them actually happen.  No matter how much I wish it, I know things don't materialize out of thin air.  You have to pay people to make stuff for you (like books!), and imaginary food only works for Peter Pan.

There are the expenses of a print run, shipping supplies, postage, and buying the actual prints and other deliverables that make your participation so fun. The original images won't fit on my scanner, and it's important the image capture look good (I work in old fashioned “paint”) so I found a great bulk deal on high-quality scanning, but that adds close to a thousand dollars to the project right there. 

Kickstarter is magical, but they (and Amazon Payments) have bills to pay, and their fees combined absorb about 10% of each pledge. 

And speaking of paying the bills... there is the small matter of prolonging the artist's frugal existence until she (I) can finish the art. I'd hoped to pay the Martha-continues-to-exist bills through selling videos of my butterfly circus, but the performers refuse to jump through rings of fire. So you see, your investment is critical in the making-realness of this spooky, funny, adorable book. (You're going to love it. Promise.) 

The book is written and every image is at least roughed out. Some of the images are 100% finished and ready to go! Others are drawn and need to be painted. Others need to be drawn up all fancy. I estimate that the artmaking, on top of regular updates for you (yaay!) and preparing all your other goodies beyond the book proper, will take about three months. The book layout, mailings, making other goodies, and dealing with the printer will likely take another month.  I will be eating a lot of beans to keep personal costs to a bare minimum, and I'm a bit of a slave driver of a boss, so I hope to exceed your expectations in both schedule and awesomeness.

Sketch/drawing for the dark time after Death has slacked off on his job.
Sketch/drawing for the dark time after Death has slacked off on his job.
Death took his daughter everywhere.  He had the most important job in the world.
Death took his daughter everywhere. He had the most important job in the world.

Here's a sample from my first book, Untimely Death Alphabet, in glorious black and white!

Letters A - D, Untimely Death Alphabet - copies of this awesomeness are part of some rewards!
Letters A - D, Untimely Death Alphabet - copies of this awesomeness are part of some rewards!

Questions? 

If you’re not sure how this whole Kickstarter thing works, check out their FAQ page

If you have ANY questions or suggestions about the project, please get in touch!  I can explain more about the budget, my ideas, or send you my favorite poem. Whatever you need to feel good supporting this project.  You can email me at martha @ marthahull.com.

Belladonna, just before the apocalypse.  Color sketch.
Belladonna, just before the apocalypse. Color sketch.

Parting thought:

If we don't make this book, who will?

Front Cover, Death's Daughter and the Basket of Kittens
Front Cover, Death's Daughter and the Basket of Kittens

 Thank you.

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

I have done my very best to estimate how long it will actually take to complete this project. I've price-shopped, and crunched lots of numbers to ensure that I'm only asking for what this project needs.

If this project is funded, it will be completed, and your rewards will come to your door. Worst case scenario: unforeseen forces beyond my control, such as production or shipping delays, could make getting your rewards to you take a bit longer than anticipated. I'll do my best to make sure everything is in place to ship quickly.

Also, I will keep you updated frequently throughout the progress of the project. Have no fear, no backer will be left behind.

FAQ

  • Yes. It is a lot of money. More than a lot of people on Kickstarter ask for a physical book reward.

    And if this Kickstarter thing works out, someday in the future, you'll be able to buy a book for less than $50. It's true. But you won't be the reason the book happened.

    And of course, if things don't happen here on ye olde Kickstarterie, I really don't know how many years into the future we're talking about for your chance to get a cheaper copy of Death's Daughter. You are not only investing in a book, you are really, really the reason the book is happening. I'm trying to cover more than printing expenses. There are around 50 color paintings still to make. Gasp. $50 doesn't really sound that steep for that amazing level of patronage, does it?

    Please see Update #8 for a tasty, illustrated pie chart explaining where the money will go in more detail. Please do. I had fun drawing it for you.

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  • Pledge $1 or more
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    7 backers

    STARVING ARTIST - Because you love deadly kittens. You are now part of this exciting party! You are in on ALL the unicorn-sparkly updates! Woo Hoo!

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    10 backers

    DEADLY YOUR DESKTOP - A pack of three gothic and adorable computer wallpapers/backgrounds. Plus evil love.

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    18 backers

    UNTIMELY DIGITAL DEATH - PDF of Martha Hull's first book, "Untimely Death Alphabet" + digital pack of three wallpapers + evil love.

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    4 backers

    CERTIFICATE IN DOOM STUDIES – A print-quality PDF of a Certificate of Completion in Doom Studies, with a blank for your name. Perfect for your law office or childcare center. Plus, a PDF of Untimely Death Alphabet + digital pack of three wallpapers + evil love.

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    25 backers

    ALL THE DIGITAL GOODIES - 2 digital books, plus! - PDFs of both "DEATH'S DAUGHTER AND THE BASKET OF KITTENS" + “Untimely Death Alphabet” + certificate in Doom Studies + 3 wallpapers + evil, maniacal love.

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    5 backers

    STUFF IN THE MAIL! - All the digital goodies, plus a stunning apocalyptic vinyl sticker! Amaze your friends! Love also included.

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    3 backers

    PhD... IN EVIL - Get your terminal degree! You will receive a beautiful, printed PERSONALIZED illustrated DIPLOMA from Fluffpocalypse University certifying your PhD in Evil + sticker + all the digital goodies + stinky cheese love.

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    30 backers

    IT'S A BOOK! - A signed Real Deal softcover copy of DEATH'S DAUGHTER AND THE BASKET OF KITTENS. Plus you will be featured in a list of PATRONS in the book + PhD in Evil + sticker + all the digital goodies. That's a lot of evil love, but you're awesome, and you deserve it!

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    22 backers Limited (78 left of 100)

    BOOK ON STEROIDS - "It's a Book!" PLUS... the book is signed with a little DOODLE! Evil, maniacal, apocalyptic love to you!

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    6 backers

    TREE-POCALYPSE - “It's a Book,” now with even more book! Both Martha Hull soft cover books in glorious paper, signed, in real three-dimensional form. Also: you will be featured as a PATRON in "Death's Daughter" + PhD in Evil + sticker + all the digital goodies + and I will sacrifice a bowl of popcorn in your name. Have I told you lately that I love you?

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    5 backers Limited (495 left of 500)

    TASTE THE EVIL RAINBOW - Add a Kickstarter exclusive signed archival 8” x 10” swanky giclée print to a signed softcover Death's Daughter book + PhD in Evil + the sticker of your dreams + all the digital goodies. But wait, there's more! You will be listed in the book as a BENEFICENT BENEFACTOR. Because you are the flames beneath my wings.

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    6 backers

    EVIL RAINBOW OD – Everything in Taste the Evil Rainbow PLUS a softcover copy of Untimely Death Alphabet. That's a print plus both books plus... (see above.) What a deal! Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?

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    17 backers Limited (83 left of 100)

    SH*T GETS REAL - (Early Bird Special!) Get a HANDMADE original, hand-colored art linoleum print BOOKMARK + a signed softcover Death's Daughter book + BENEFICENT BENEFACTOR listing in the book + exclusive archival print + PhD in Evil + a super sticker + all the digital goodies too! Plus L.O.V.E.

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    8 backers Limited (92 left of 100)

    YOU WANNA PIECE OF ME? - Everything in “Taste the Evil Rainbow” PLUS an original hand-selected SKETCHBOOK PAGE from my personal archive! Signed, of course. And I'm hiding under your porch because I love you.

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    3 backers Limited (27 left of 30)

    OWN A PIECE OF HISTORY - REVISED and BETTER! An original ARTWORK from the BOOK - Death's Daughter and the Basket of Kittens! (artist's choice) Plus softcover DD book + ALSO Untimely Death Alphabet book (NOW ADDED) + handmade original art print bookmark + archival 8" x 10" art print + PhD in Evil + rad sticker + all the digital goodies (So you don't have to scroll back up, that's PDFs of: Doom Studies Certificate + Untimely Death Alphabet + Death's Daughter. Also wallpapers.) And you will be listed as a BENEFICENT BENEFACTOR in the book, and you will receive more apocalyptic love than four kittens could shake a mouse at.

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    2 backers Limited (10 left of 12)

    ROBOT DOLL – AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT – One of 12 original Martha Hull Robot Doll sculptures (see Update 13 for pictures)! These are ready to go and robots will be shipped out in time for holiday gifting. Plus BOTH softcover books + handmade bookmark + print + PhD in Evil + rad sticker + all the digital goodies. You will be listed as a BENEFICENT BENEFACTOR in the book, and the robots come infused with love.

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    1 backer Limited (4 left of 5)

    MUSE - PATRON PORTRAIT (in Martha Hull's characteristic style, from a photo) of you (or another person you wish to immortalize) dressed in a ROBE, the color of your choice. Optional SCYTHE and feline(s) may be included, either yours or Belladonna's. Plus you will be listed as a MUSE in the book, because I adore you. PLUS a paperback copy of Death's Daughter + sketchbook page + archival giclée print + handmade bookmark + PhD in Evil + THREE stickers + all the digital goodies. And apocalyptic love to the edges of the universe.

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    1 backer Limited (2 left of 3)

    APOCALYPSE YOU – DIE IN THE BOOK. Become a background character in Death's Daughter who dies horribly in the apocalypse (likeness from a photograph) + original art from that page. Plus, everything in the “Own a Piece of History” reward EXCEPT that you will be listed with the MUSES in the book. Because you complete me.

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    0 backers Limited (3 left of 3)

    FLUFFPOCALYPSE NOW - A VISIT from the artist. I, Martha Hull, will come to your town and drink a caffeinated or adult beverage with you. I will hand deliver a copy of both books + a SURPRISE piece of original art + five stickers + a giclée print + your PhD diploma (in Evil) + a handmade bookmark, and I will READ Death's Daughter to you, should you wish it. I will also send you all the digital goodies. You will be listed as a MUSE in the book, and I will also make you a one-of-a-kind T-shirt that says "love" spelled out in Untimely Death Alphabet letters, so you can see (and wear) a physical manifestation of the mind-boggling affection I feel for you.

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Funding period

- (30 days)