From the group of intrepid artists, photographers, and creators that brought you “Dry Season Only,” a journey through the wildest parts of Africa, we’re proud to announce the beginning of a new adventure!
Come with us on an expedition through China’s rugged terrain, in search of the elusive snow leopard. In “Creative Sojourn Volume 2 - Artists’ Journey to Wild China,” you’re cordially invited to follow our adventures through yet another awesome, unique, art and story book!
About This Book
Inspired by vintage travel logs of early naturalists like Charles Darwin, this book will contain sketches, paintings, stories, and notes from the field from the perspective of each of our contributors. You’ll get a first-hand account of our adventures from the unique perspectives of the travelers, filled to the brim with creativity, artwork, photos, detailed observations of the natural world, and of course, plenty of humor!
Since we haven't gone on our adventure yet, and don’t know yet what we are going to see, do, or eat, check out examples from our previous, finished travel book, "Dry Season Only" for an idea of what you can expect!
In this sequel, we will be heading to some of the remotest areas of the Himalayan Mountain range, in the vast natural landscape of China's great wilderness, on the search for the rare and elusive snow leopard. Wildlife abounds in this great area, which includes bears, wolves, leopards, Pallas' cats, and a staggering number of birds and rare creatures.
Now for the good part: what you’ll get by backing our Kickstarter!
Scheduled for April, 2019, our trip is a three week adventure to very remote, off-the-beaten path areas of China and the Himalayas focused on finding and observing wildlife. We will be mostly staying with nomadic people learning to milk yak (and drink the infamous yak butter tea), herd sheep, and experiencing a slice of life from a very different perspective. We will also be spending days on end scouting mountainsides searching for rare animals.
Let us get the blisters, sunburn, altitude sickness (hopefully not), food poisoning (please no), and chased by packs of wild, night-roving dogs (rabies shots recommended!) as we gather stories, make sketches, take photos, and share our adventures and (misadventures) with you. We look forward to seeing what this adventure brings!
Meet Our Crew of Creative Adventurers!
Embarking on this journey is an eclectic group of artists and creative types bound by friendship and a love of adventure travel to seek inspiration and experience to bring back to our creative ventures at home. Each person brings a unique voice and perspective to help share and craft our story.
-Foxfeather R. Zenkova is the travel organizer for these trips, and a full-time artist. She is most well known for her totemic animal jewelry, yin-yang creature designs, and “animal stack” series. Foxfeather's art focuses on the connection between humans and animals, as well as the spirituality that can be found in the natural world.
Alongside art, she is the caretaker of 98 acres property in southern Minnesota where she raises yak, emus, peacocks, and a bunch of other critters. She is a beekeeper, falconer, and cares for a wide variety of birds as an avid aviculturalist.
Foxfeather plans to create lots of drawings and share stories and photos from this dream trip searching for lammergeiers, mastiffs, and learning to better understand her yak, direct from the original source. Also looking for every bird. Every. Bird. You can learn more about Foxfeather and see her artwork on her website at: Foxloft Studios
-Anastasia "Balaa" Korochansckaja-
Balaa is an illustrator, designer, and self-proclaimed Jack of all Trades. Her personal work seeks to bring the vast passion she feels for the natural world (both far and near) to viewers from all walks of life. Anastasia chases passions in many forms from travel to "backyard" beachcombing to painting and more recently her work on a collaborative novel with her husband titled "The Leopard Sun".
-Ursula Vernon is the author and illustrator of the Eisner-nominated, Hugo-Award winning graphic novel "Digger," as well as the Dragonbreath series for kids, and the kid's books Nurk and Castle Hangnail. She also writes stories for adults under the pen-name T. Kingfisher, including Nine Goblins and Jackalope Wives. Her work has won the Mythopoeic, Sequoyah, and multiple Junior Library Guild awards.
Ursula grew up in Oregon and Arizona, went to college at Macalester College in Minnesota, and stayed there for ten years, until she finally learned to drive in deep snow and was obligated to leave the state. She now lives in North Carolina, where she's an avid birdwatcher and gardener and works full time as an artist and creator of oddities. She has a husband, defective hounds, and a fluctuating number of cats.
She plans to contribute mostly writing to the project, but will see what develops! Ursula is gonna see so many birds.
Called a “science social media wizard” by Business Insider, Brian Switek is the author of the books Skeleton Keys, My Beloved Brontosaurus and Written in Stone, as well as the Scientific American blog Laelaps. His bylines have appeared in National Geographic, Smithsonian, Wired, Slate, The Wall Street Journal, Nature, and other publications, with a focus on the stories old skeletons can tell.
He plans to contribute insights into the fossil record and natural history of the places the trekkers visit.
You can learn more about Brian at: http://brianswitek.net/
-Laura Garabedian is a wildlife and fantasy artist from Colorado.
"Art is a way for me to communicate my love of the natural world and the fantasy I see within it. I think that the creation of a narrative around wildlife and fantastical animals can lead people to see the world and the many lives encompassed within it with more compassion and joy, returning the wonder of childlike curiosity to their lives. I find that travel lets me add depth and character to my painting that inform the life of the creatures within.
I enjoy employing abstract backgrounds with minutely detailed subjects. The duality of the abstract work with small areas of focus lets the viewer fill in parts of strange color fields with their own story. My inspiration from nature and the narratives I like to weave around the strange beasts in my paintings lets me tell soundless stories to those who wish to explore them. In my paintings, bears covered in moss and trailing mushrooms emerge from the mist, gryphons dive from heights unknown with jewelry trailing them, and sphinxes ask questions unheard from behind blank masks. Where they come from, and what they want to say is left for those who watch them to determine. I hope through my work people can find a bit of mystery, of that wonder you have as a child making shapes in clouds, imagining what monster is in the closet, and making each walk in the woods a journey that may take them to Narnia, to Middle Earth, or to a world of their own making.
My travels with this group in Africa brought me so much joy and inspiration I found my contributions of sketches, stories, and photos to be not only a wonderful and fulfilling way to document the trip, but a wealth of information for future paintings. I plan on continuing this tradition with our current trip. I will also do a step-by-step documentation of one of the paintings that come out of this trip to share in the book."
-Roman 'Mbala' Zenka is an expatriate of the Czech Republic, having been coerced into moving to the U.S. by his wife and her promise of a musk ox farm. He is a computer programmer by day, artist by night, and part time bee farmer.
His artwork is whimsical, flavored by the styles of classic Bohemian illustrators and even older European woodcut works. He particularly enjoys making slice-of-life comics and has a bit of an obsession with zebras.
Roman plans to contribute photography, comics, and random Czech. Also extra zebras.
Special thanks to our dear friend Nicole “Thornwolf” Dornsife for helping us write and edit this Kickstarter campaign and coming book. She’s not going on the trip as she prefers to leave the floor sleeping and yak milking to us, but we appreciate her help and support just the same. You can check out her art on her website at thornwolf.com.
Why Do Artists Need to Travel?
“We are all artists and writers who draw inspiration from nature. The natural world captivates us, and traveling gives us the opportunity to see nature and wildlife in an irreplaceable way no other experience can. Watching how the wind moves the fur of a lion's mane or how a bird moves as it soars through the wide, open skies gives us a way to portray animals with a much deeper understanding.” - Foxfeather Zenkova
“Art is a lifelong study, and we are, ourselves, always works-in-progress. Travel, and experience fills our stores with creativity and a personal connection to our subjects. It is powerful, and so important to keeping the creative fires burning. We spend our time poring over books, wandering the halls of museums, and drawing or journaling about everything we see. Taking time to expand our base of experiences helps us become better, richer storytellers.” - Anastasia “Balaa” Korochansckaja
This adventure is more than just a trip. Our quirky group of visual artists, writers, and creative types all have a shared love of bonding with one another over the unusual, from screaming with delight over a seemingly ordinary rock to laughing with defeated resignation over being stuck in the sweltering mud flats of the Kalahari for days on end. We want to combine our shared love of storytelling and striking visuals to take you along with us on our journey to experience our triumphs and tribulations in spirit, all bound together in a single keepsake.
$5+ reward - Private blog access
Access to the project blog to view photos, posted sketches and works, and stories from the trip! Good chance to view the bloopers, since some really silly art is bound to make it in here. And who doesn't like to see the silly things we enjoy but don't want to actually publish?!
*All $5 and above tiers gain access to the blog!
$15 reward - Snow Leopard Enamel Pin
An exquisitely detailed, high quality, hard enamel pin, approx. 1.5" x 2.5" in size or larger! Designed by the artists Anastasia "Balaa" Korochansckaja and Foxfeather Zenkova, featuring artwork inspired by our quest to see a wild snow leopard. *Pin design subject to small changes as we get it ready for creation
$45 reward - A printed copy of the art journal book
A full color copy of the book featuring sketches, artwork, and stories from our trip! 8.5" x 11" size, over 80 pages in length. The book will be professionally printed and bound. Please note that the image here is just a mock-up of the idea and subject to change in the final version!
We will be using PrintNinja to print our books this time, for a big upgrade in quality, color, and clarity compared to our first book!
$60 reward - BOOK + Snow Leopard Enamel Pin.
$65 reward - BOOK + a Postcard (purchased in China) with a little doodle and message from one (or more) of our artists.Your own souvenir and a big thanks for making the trip possible!
$75 reward - BOOK + TWO Enamel Pins - the snow leopard, and a special secret pin, made specifically for this Kickstarter project!
$80 reward - BOOK Bundle - A copy of this book plus a copy of our previous, first book "Dry Season Only" as a set pair! If you missed out on our first book, or just need another copy, this is your chance to nab one!
"Dry Season Only" is a limited run, full color book 8.5" x 11" size with 122 pages, chronicling our artists' journey to Africa.
$95 reward - BOOK + Limited Edition Print
A specially created, collaborative print made by Foxfeather R. Zenkova and Anastasia "Balaa" Korochansckaja, featuring Asian wildlife and inspired by the trip. 8.5" x 11". (The images above are examples of both artists' works, the print will be a piece specially created for this project!)
$100 reward - BOOK + Comic Feature
Your chance for a starring guest role in one of Mbala's zebra-centric comic strips. Give him as much or as little information about yourself or your character as you like, and get a surprise of what he comes up with, featuring you!
You can see Mbala's comics here: https://www.furaffinity.net/user/mbala
$100 reward - BOOK + Be a Saint on Hidden Almanac podcast.
Your chance to be a historical saint on the Hidden Almanac podcast. You get your very own feast day, choice of what you would like to be a patron of, and (optionally) a dreadful and inspiring martyrdom. Sound file of Reverend Mord describing your sainthood available upon request.
Kevin Sonney is the voice of the long-suffering Reverend Mord on the Hidden Almanac podcast, as well as the producer. Hidden Almanac is written by Ursula Vernon, with new episodes every M-W-F. Kevin is a veteran of radio and the other half of the Kevin & Ursula Eat Cheap food review podcast. He lives in North Carolina, is very excited to finally visit Asia, and hopes to keep his wife from falling off mountains while chasing birds.
You can hear the podcast at: www.hiddenalmanac.com
$100 reward - BOOK + Voicemail Recording from Reverend Mord.
Reverend Mord, from the Hidden Almanac podcast (described above) will record a voicemail message for you.
$165 reward - BOOK + Merchandise Bundle
By popular request, a tier that includes all the new merchandise items from the previous tiers:
- A copy of the book
- A snow leopard enamel pin
- A secret project pin
- A limited edition collaborative art print
- A customized postcard sent from the artists
- Any extra added stretch goal items!
** This tier does NOT include a copy of the previously published Africa book. If you'd like a copy of the first book as well, check out the $200 'Gotta Have It All' tier.
$175 reward - BOOK + Original artwork by Foxfeather R. Zenkova
An original watercolor painting of an Asian animal. 4 x 6" to 5" x 7" in size. You can choose the species from a list or pick artist's choice. You can see a gallery of Foxfeather's work : http://foxloft.com
$200 reward - Gotta Have It ALL!
For those that can't decide, or just want everything, this tier includes all the merchandise items from the previous tiers!
- A copy of the book
- A copy of the first (Africa) book
- A snow leopard enamel pin
- A secret project pin
- A limited edition collaborative art print
- A customized postcard sent from the artists
- Any extra added stretch goal items!
$275 reward - BOOK + Original Artwork An original sumi-e ink painting of an Asian animal by *Foxfeather R. Zenkova* 8.5" x 11" in size. You can choose the species from a list or pick artist's choice.
You can see a gallery of Foxfeather's work : http://foxloft.com
$425 reward - BOOK + Original Artwork - An original oil painting portrait (head only) of an Chinese/Himalayan animal by *Laura Garabedian* 5" x 7" in size. You can choose the species or pick artist's choice. Also a special, signed bookplate to add into it, from Laura (shipped with the artwork).
$550 reward - BOOK + Original Artwork - An original oil painting (full body) of an Chinese/Himalayan animal by *Laura Garabedian* 8" x 10" in size. You can choose the species or pick artist's choice. Also a special, signed bookplate to add into it, from Laura (shipped with the artwork).
$500 Reward - BOOK + Original Collaborative Artwork - An original watercolor painting of an Asian animal drawn by *Laura Garabedian* and painted by *Foxfeather R. Zenkova*, 8" x 10" in size. You can choose the species from a list or pick artist's choice.
$500 Reward - BOOK + ORIGINAL CONCEPT ART + Signed Art Print
Do you want to own some of the original artworks that will be printed in the final volume of "Creative Sojourn Vol. 2"? Did you enjoy some of the work Anastasia contributed to "Dry Season Only"? This reward comes with hand picked concept art (3+ pages!) made exclusively for this book. You will receive a varied and action packed collection of original artwork that is sure to delight any collector of original art! Other goodies besides the original art and prints is guaranteed to stow away aboard this fun filled parcel!
$1,000 Reward - BOOK PLUS SURPRISE ART
If you're seriously considering this tier, you are an amazingly generous travel patron, and we will make it worth your while! You will get the book (with a special mention of your name in it), a scribbled-upon postcard sent directly from China, and surprise art and gift items from the various artists!
$2500 Reward - BOOK + Original Artwork
A large, specially created, collaborative painting made by Foxfeather R. Zenkova and Anastasia "Balaa" Korochansckaja, featuring Asian wildlife and inspired by the trip, at least 11" x 14" in size. The original of the piece which will be featured as a limited edition print for the Kickstarter exclusive print tier. Also, lots of goodies from the previous tiers (pins, post card, etc.) will be included in your package with the painting.
(The images above are examples of both artists' works, the painting will be a piece specially created for this project!)
$2950 Reward - BOOK + Original Artwork
A large, specially created, collaborative oil painting made by Laura Garabedian and Anastasia "Balaa" Korochansckaja, featuring Asian wildlife and inspired by the trip, at least 12" x 16" in size. Also, lots of goodies from the previous tiers (pins, post card, etc.) will be included in your package with the painting.
Want an extra book, or add-ons?
You can order an extra book by choosing the price of your pledge, or upgrading it if you've already backed this project. Here are the prices for add-ons as follows:
- Each additional book is $50 in the U.S. or $60 worldwide, including shipping
- A snow leopard pin is $15 (added to any book order or greater tier)
- A postcard with doodles is $25, (added to any book order or greater tier). If you want to order a postcard, please add $25 extra to your pledge then message us here on Kickstarter via direct message so we know what it's for (and to buy one for you!)
Where the Kickstarter Funds Will Go
All of the participating artists have already planned and paid for the trip, and will be going whether this Kickstarter campaign is successful or not. Many of us have been saving up for this for many years, and are very excited to go! This book is our way of helping to buffer the costs just a little bit by providing our wonderful backers with artwork and stories.
Part of the funding is fixed costs, such as the Kickstarter and credit card processing fees, fees to print and package the books, and costs to create other merchandise. A large amount of the funding is going to shipping, since Kickstarter's project total includes all the shipping fees for these heavy books!
A small amount is going towards management, including editing and putting the book together, running the back-end of the project, and mailing out all the rewards. The rest is going to the artists themselves to help with additional trip costs, including all necessary equipment to bring you only the best photographs and visual content that will be included in this book. For applicable tiers, any funds from purchases of original artwork will go to that particular artist.
Thank You and We Look Forward to Sharing Our Adventure With You!
When we started on this adventure with our first book and trip to Africa, we never dreamed that so many people would enjoy it and be so supportive and encouraging of our work. Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, to everyone who helped make that project happen, and to everyone considering supporting this volume. We look forward to making another amazing book for you!
Our trip is in April, 2019, and we want to give our participants time to create awesome content for you and for our editors to pull it all together into an amazing book! We have a good feel for how long this will take from our previous publications. We plan to have the book to the printer by July, and the pre-press, production, and shipping of the books is estimated at about 7-9 weeks. We will definitely not be silent during this time, as through our project blog we will share photos and stories from our trip preparations, adventuring, and the book content and process as it comes together. We will keep you updated as to how things are progressing and hope to have all books mailed out by September, 2019!
We are happy to be able to ship worldwide! Just select your favorite pledge option, location, and shipping will be automatically calculated for you. International postage from the USA, unfortunately, is quite expensive—especially for a heavy book. We have optimized shipping and packing material weights to try to save you as much money as possible, but the shipping costs are fixed and something we can't change. Once books are in our hands, we will be working to get them all out as promptly as possible, and shipments will offer tracking information via email so you can check on your package's progress.
Risks and challenges
We have produced a book like this before, so are very confident in our ability to deliver an even better one to you this time!
A project like this takes a lot of time - gathering artwork and stories, editing them, creating a wonderful book you can hold in your hands - the behind-the-scenes of getting it all together is a time-consuming undertaking. We have a wonderful group of experienced project managers who are committed to getting things done and exceeding your expectations!
If any artist is dragged away by leopards in the night, they may be exempt from participating in the final product.
Because of the nature of adventure travel, and especially the physically demanding risks involved in traveling to such high altitudes and remote areas, there is always the possibility that one or more of the participants will have to modify their trip or be taken back to the city/medical care. We do have back-up travel plans in case of natural disaster (earthquakes especially), inclement weather or other things that could cause us to have to change our trip. We are confident we can still create an amazing book for you, but cannot promise any specific itinerary or participant in case of emergencies outside of our control.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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