Hi! I’m Tilke Elkins, a writer and visual artist. I’ve made this book, called How To Eat Color & Paint Who You Are, which is about a girl in a floating house who shows readers how to create fantastic color snacks with unusual veggies, turn a whole meal blue with a secret (all natural!) ingredient, and make paint and food coloring from scratch. Crucial skills, you say? Exactly!!
The 84-page book is TOTALLY COMPLETE. The paintings are scanned in huge files and all photoshopped-up with layered-on, hand-drawn text.
Now I really want to launch it out into the world, essentially by offering copies of it here on Kickstarter, as well a few other color-rich rewards. Once I have a community of people who love the book, I can go to a publisher and say, “See! They like it!” and the publisher will want to nurture it out into the world so that even MORE people can enjoy it.
If funded, I'll do everything in my power to deliver rewards by Dec.25th, 2017.
Update: The project has met its goal and is funded! A new stretch goal of $7,200 has been added to support the creation of a website in the spirit of the book, focused on connecting kids to the lush mysteries of the tangible world. Read all about it in Update #7!
The book is, as I say in the video, “…more like a playdate with an unusual child in a lush, mysterious, color-filled world, than a how-to book.” But it also IS a how-to book.
* How to make your own food-coloring from edible plant powders
*How to make your own PAINT
*How to make an entirely BLUE MEAL using secret, all-natural ingredients in your kitchen
*How to paint color portraits of yourself and the ones you love
The book itself will be soft-cover and printed on 100% Post-consumer Recycled Paper (so, no trees cut for it at all). The size will be 10 inches wide by 11 inches high — which is kinda big! This will make it easy to see all the details. At 80 pages, it’ll be a respectable chunk of book.
Is the Book for Kids, Or What?
It’s for kids “of all ages.” What that means is, I wrote the book to be interesting to read for anyone of any age (3, 9, 27, 56…) who likes color, plants and art, and I drew and painted the illustrations to be fun to look at for anyone who doesn’t read but would enjoy just looking, or looking on while another person reads aloud.
Imagine you took your favorite comic — like the kind that appears in the Sunday newspaper funnies, in color — and you blew up each frame to fit onto each double-page spread of the book. That’s what this book will feel like, with saturated colors going right off the edges of the pages (no white borders on the images) and speech bubbles for all the words.
Is Tilke, like, a Swedish name?
Actually, my parents made it up — by rearranging some of the letters in my last name and adding a “T.” Seriously, though — who the heck am I and what qualifies me to ask for money to print this book? Well, one thing is: between 1999 and 2005, I edited, wrote and illustrated a magazine for “children ages 1 to 100 and up” called All Round.
Home Education Magazine called it “very, very cool,” and Mothering Magazine said it was “literally packed with whimsical drawings and fun facts…a real pleasure to peruse.” The magazine was nominated for a design award by Utne Magazine (‘Best of the Alternative Press’) and had 2,000 subscribers, selling 14,000 on newsstands per issue.
The whole thing was very fun, and my readers were the best part — so many incredible families got involved, sending in entries to “contests” (I always published ALL the submissions) and some even becoming life-time subscribers as a show of support. One of my most moving reviews came from a parent in Portland, Michelle Arensberg, who wrote, “Thank you, thank you for the gift of this magazine. It’s a family heirloom.” Thank you all so much, you AR fans out there! We miss you.
Since we stopped publishing All Round, I regularly receive requests for back issues, even eleven years later! This makes me think that perhaps we were onto something, and that just maybe, there might be some die-hard fans out there poised for new material.
Though it was sad to say good-bye to All Round, one of the blissful things about not making the magazine anymore was having the time to really focus on one of the main characters I frequently portrayed, and make a book all about her. I think, if I may be so bold, that my drawing and painting skills improved. I was finally able to capture the world I envisioned for All Round as I saw it in my mind’s eye. Whew!
The School Garden Project
The School Garden Project (www.schoolgardenproject.org) is a wonderful organization in my hometown of Eugene, Oregon, which connects kids to the magic of vegetable gardens at more than 70 schools in Oregon every year. I want to share some of the contributions to this campaign with them, so that when you support me, you’re also supporting kids to connect with plants that grow food — which is also one of the things I hope my book will bring to readers. It’s an ideal match, and something I’ll feel so happy to be able to do.
Because I really want to see this campaign succeed, I’m setting my starting goal at $5,600. This will cover the cost of printing, publishing and shipping the book. I’m paying Evangeline LaRoque for her hard work on the campaign video which I adore and which really shows off her mad creative ability. Then, I want to make a minimum contribution of 5% of the pledges to the School Garden Project. The more my campaign raises, the more we can help kids eat veggies outside!
The other costs are Kickstarter charges plus credit card processing fees.
Printing & publishing costs: 40%
Mailing costs: 10%
Kickstarter & transaction fees & taxes: 25%
School Garden Project: 5%
That’s it. I’m not compensating myself at all for the work on the book- my goal here is just to make sure that it gets out there and inspires people.
If I exceed my goal, not only will I be able to donate more to the School Garden Project, but I may announce a stretch-goal which would allow me to print the book in HARDCOVER. While I personally adore soft cover books, there is something rather nice and solid about a hardcover that says, “I’m sticking around for many generations.”
A Note About Synesthesia
Jakesephina, the book’s main character, describes each letter in her name as having a specific color. When I was little, I thought everyone’s letters and numbers had colors. It wasn’t until later that I found out there’s a name for the ‘condition’ I share with both my parents: synesthesia. Synesthesia just means ‘the joining of senses.’ Science likes to make out that syntesthetes are rare and unusual — freaky, even. One in 100,000. But I have serious doubts about this. I have met LOTS of people with synesthesia. People have synesthesia in many different ways.
I think that whether you “have it” or not, it’s a really good metaphor that shows the ways that impressions and sensations can connect poetically.
And if you feel particular kinship with Jakes because your letters DO have colors too — then right on! High five.
Evangeline LaRoque of Brainchildz Creative Media is the genius behind the video. Her painstaking animation skills, her crisp, lush filming and debonair ease with people who are insanely nervous on camera (read: me!!) resulted in a short video so seductive that I almost forgot I was making a book and not a movie.
Charlie Catherine Hahn expertly read the voice-over for Jakesephina. All the recording took place in the exquisite sound lair known as Numberstation, run by the infinitely hilarious Mo’ Talaba.
Armfuls of flowers also for my color portrait crew:
Charlie Hahn, Julia Hahn, Elise Sardell, Yared Llewellyn, Grace Llewellyn, and Kalan Noah Guetti.
The Take Home
Thank you, in advance, for every penny you’re willing to part with. I am continually grateful for the people who have made it possible for me to bask in color and translate that joy into words and images that others can delight in.
I feel blessed and honored, 100% of the time, to be a maker. I love this work, and I love you for making it possible.
Thanks in every subtle shade of the millions of colors in the world!
Risks and challenges
The book is unusual: it’s for kids of all ages, it has an eclectic range of things going on in it, and it can’t be summed up in a quick phrase (though I’ve certainly tried! : ) ). One reason I hired Evangeline LaRoque and put so much into the video was to ensure that people could get a real sense of the feeling of the book, because the feeling is a lot of what it’s about. My hope is that people will get it, and want to hop on board the flying house!
If you’re familiar with publishing, you know that little things can come up between design and production. Since the book is all ready to go, delays should be minimal. I promise to do my absolute best to meet the estimated delivery dates, and will keep you posted if I encounter any unanticipated challenges, as I figure them out.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)