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This art book will illustrate the 100+ mythological stories of Ovid's epic poem, 'Metamorphoses'. Read more

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This project was successfully funded on April 27, 2013.

This art book will illustrate the 100+ mythological stories of Ovid's epic poem, 'Metamorphoses'.

About this project

Welcome to my Kickstarter project!

For this project, my aim is to create an art book featuring the 100+ stories of Ovid's masterpiece, Metamorphoses

Metamorphoses was completed in 8 AD. In it, Ovid describes Greek and Roman mythology, stretching from the creation of the universe...

The Creation of the Universe, as told by Ovid. This is the first illustration; before Creation, there wasn't a lot going on.
The Creation of the Universe, as told by Ovid. This is the first illustration; before Creation, there wasn't a lot going on.

...to the death of Julius Caesar (the dictator of Rome, not to be confused with his equally ruthless younger brother, Little Caesar, of pizza fame).

Ovid's epic poem is extremely important. Besides being the best (often, the only) source of the greatest mythology of all time, Metamorphoses was an incomparable influence to some of the greatest storytellers since the Roman Empire was founded. Ever heard of Shakespeare? He was no stranger to Ovid, often dipping his grubby paws into Metamorphoses and scraping out a plot or two. But Shakespeare was not the only hungry artist. Some of the greatest works produced by mankind have borrowed heavily from Ovid. I merely want to be the most recent to rely on his timeless work.

The fact is, despite being so pivotal, Metamorphoses is not as widely read as you'd think. Not anymore, anyway. Maybe it's the length of the book that turns people off. Maybe it's the lack of pretty pictures. Either way, I intend to do something about it.

A picture is worth a thousand words. I hope to take advantage of that fact, condensing each tedious story into one tedious illustration. By merely looking at a picture, accompanied by a short excerpt or summary, one could theoretically absorb the entirety of Metamorphoses in one sitting. In this manner, civilization can go forth.

The Ages of Man (Gold, Silver, Bronze, Iron).
The Ages of Man (Gold, Silver, Bronze, Iron).

For my illustrations, I am using Ian Johnston's translation of Metamorphoses, published by Richer Resources Publications. If you love the classics, you should probably familiarize yourself with Mr. Johnston. As the kids say; "His translations are phenomenal". 

MORE METAMORPHOSES IMAGES BY ME!

Apollo and Daphne. She would rather be a tree than hold his hand.
Apollo and Daphne. She would rather be a tree than hold his hand.
The Flood. Do not anger the gods, lest they turn into water and eat you.
The Flood. Do not anger the gods, lest they turn into water and eat you.
Mercury and Argus. This one has it all; winged feet, a man with 100 eyes, and, naturally, a cow.
Mercury and Argus. This one has it all; winged feet, a man with 100 eyes, and, naturally, a cow.
Deucalion and Pyrrha. They wrote the book on how to make humans. Beware of snakes.
Deucalion and Pyrrha. They wrote the book on how to make humans. Beware of snakes.

A BIT ABOUT ME

As you have undoubtedly guessed by now, I am Ian Crowe and, yes, those are my paintings. I have been creating artwork for as long as I can remember - although the majority of my masterpieces reside about 2 inches behind my eyes, waiting for their moment to emerge from the ether. Or not.

I have studied art theory and methods for a long time. Indeed, most of my early library rentals were along the lines of "How-to-draw <fill in the blank, usually ghouls or some such>". I have, of course, taken traditional classes in both public school and college, as well as the occasional Superhero-drawing class and glass-blowing sit-ins. However, I have found that the primary benefit from these classes has merely been that of doing. I doubt that, when I was a teenager, I would have spent any time drawing/painting/sculpting if not for class requirements.

Thankfully, I've recovered from that reluctance (laziness) and here we are. Recently, with the excitement (and relative cleanliness) of digital artwork, I have discovered my inner-artist anew. My passion for creating has been rekindled, and I feel the time is ripe for me to subject the masses to my visions.

My process for each of these pieces is as follows: I read the appropriate portion of Metamorphoses (using, as I said, Ian Johnston's marvelous translation). Often, as I read, there comes a point when I can "see" the story. The words jump out at me and I think, "Good gravy, I want to draw that!"

Other times, I read and read and nothing in particular strikes me. There is no "moment" that begs to be painted. In those instances, I withdraw my consciousness into a deep meditation...while watching cat videos on YouTube.

Once I come up with an idea, I spend varying amounts of time sketching it out - on napkins, notepads, or whatever else is at-hand. When I am satisfied with my sketch and composition, I begin to work in earnest. I either scan the winning sketch into Photoshop, or begin anew using the sketch as a rough guide.

I spend anywhere between 4 and 20 hours on each illustration, usually over the course of several days. Of course, those timeframes are optimistic estimates; I have been known to work for a time, only to realize 6+ hours have passed since I looked away. 

And, of course, there is what I affectionately call the "artist's curse". That is, I will work on a piece for hours - targeting details, tongue lolling, shading every leaf, attempting to bestow a god with a tasteful suggestion of genitalia. I can see the end in sight, I'm almost done.

Then I go get some water.

When I return, I find that this masterpiece I've been working on is, quite simply, terrible. This refreshed view, mere minutes later, allows me to see my work for the first time, truly. It is all too easy to get caught up in the details, all the while straying further from a semblance of a coherent whole.

The moral: take breaks. Also, keep water at your desk.

MORE IMAGES!

Phaeton taking a joyride.
Phaeton taking a joyride.
Callisto, or the Origins of Ursa Major.
Callisto, or the Origins of Ursa Major.

Risks and challenges

My biggest challenge with this project will be managing my time. I work full-time, and supplement my income with freelance graphic design/illustration work.

So, basically, I work, I sleep, I work some more.

Even with a fully funded project ($9000), I will have to work overtime to get this finished on schedule (meaning: I'll never sleep again). Here is how that money will be allocated:

Firstly, Kickstarter takes a 5% cut, and Amazon Payments takes another 3%-5% for credit card transactions.The majority of the leftover goes directly into the print order for the books. The remainder of THAT will be split between shipping costs, printer fees for custom prints (see Rewards!), and, perhaps, the occasional hamburger. I get hungry.

Therefore, every dollar OVER my goal directly goes to speeding up my production; if I don't have to spend 30+ hours a week on side projects, I can devote that time to finishing up this book. Make sense?

Other than that, I'm raring to go. This really is a project I believe in, and I'll finish it whether I succeed with Kickstarter or not. Eventually.

I judge my pride to be about the size of a medium grapefruit, but even so I cannot resort to begging. Therefore, I've tried to choose rewards that are fair for everyone involved (that is, me and you). If you are interested and have the means, I would definitely appreciate the support!

If not, no pressure. But don't you want to be a part of something epic?

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

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Rewards

  • You selected
    Pledge $1 or more

    2 backers

    This pledge amount will grant you one sarcastic "Gee, thanks", to be delivered verbally or otherwise at my earliest convenience.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $10 or more

    9 backers

    Pledgers at this level will receive authentic gratitude, as well as an original SKETCH! You can choose your own subject matter, and I may or may not cater to your wishes. More than likely, you will receive a doodle of my own choosing, allowing you a private peek into the inner-workings of my mind.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $25 or more

    4 backers

    All pledgers at this level will receive a limited edition 'Metamorphoses' poster! Approximately 11x17.

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    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $30 or more

    0 backers

    Because I've deemed my name to be worth $5, this reward is the same as the previous, but with the added bonus of my authentic signature on the poster!

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $45 or more

    5 backers

    This level of pledge will get you the 'Metamorphoses' art book, first-edition!

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  • You selected
    Pledge $50 or more

    21 backers

    Again, my $5 name can be yours! For $50 you will get a SIGNED, first-edition copy of the 'Metamorphoses' art book!

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  • You selected
    Pledge $75 or more

    4 backers

    BEST VALUE! This pledge amount bundles Reward #6, Reward #4, and Reward #2! That is: a signed first-edition book, a limited-edition, signed 'Metamorphoses' poster, AND an original sketch!

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    Pledge $100 or more

    7 backers

    Pledgers at this level will be publicly acknowledged with printed recognition in the book! I will place your name (or someone else's) on a special "Thank you" page in all first-edition copies! You, too, can be immortalized in print!
    Of course, you will also receive your own, signed copy of the book to show off.

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    Pledge $100 or more

    9 backers

    Ambigrams are words (or names) that can be read rightside-up or upside down. This reward earns you a custom-made ambigram of your name, or another name, or any word of your choosing!
    Unfortunately, not all words/names can be made into convincing ambigrams, so please have a few options available!

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  • You selected
    Pledge $500 or more

    2 backers

    Pledgers at this level will receive TWO signed books, TWO ambigrams, and a signed print of any illustration in the book!
    Also, you may choose up to FIVE names to be acknowledged on the "Thank you" page of my book!

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  • You selected
    Pledge $1,000 or more

    1 backer

    Double everything from Reward #10! Plus, I will create a custom, one-of-a-kind painting or sculpture for you! You choose the subject matter, and thy will be done!

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $5,000 or more

    0 backers

    This pledge amount will grant you one genuine "Gee, thanks", to be delivered verbally or otherwise at my earliest convenience.

    Also, pretty much whatever you want.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world

Funding period

- (30 days)