The LEAFSCAPE softback edition!
My name is Jess Shepherd (aka Inky Leaves) and I am a botanical painter. In December I ran my first Kickstarter project and with your support I managed to turn my dream of publishing a limited edition botanical art book into a reality. I was quite overwhelmed with the response I received for Leafscape and was pretty under prepared, setting the limiter to only 500 copies.
Since the campaign I have heard from many of you who have asked if I would be willing to print another edition of the book having missed out on the first. So, whilst taking into consideration the pledges made by those who supported the first campaign, I have decided to make leafscape available as a paper back, and what's more, I am working on new plates of unseen work for this book.
Wow, that leaf behind you is huge!
Yes, it's a whopper isn't it?! I have been busily painting over 30 of these giant leaves with all their details for the past 18 months. Now nearing completion, this collection of leaves will be exhibited in a solo exhibition 'Leafscape' at Abbott and Holder in London between 16-25 February 2017. Most of them are supersized and very different to traditional botanical paintings in their scale.
Capturing the essence of a leaf
This collection of paintings is a chronicle of discovery. The story began when I picked up a leaf from a London pavement in July 2014. At the time I was moving house and felt that the condition of the leaf told my own story. It had been scuffed by the streets of the city and was no longer attached to the tree, but blowing across the floor in the wind. Like me, it was on the move.
After carefully painting this leaf I was drawn to paint another and another. Eventually, after months of painting these leaf portraits, all from different moments in time and place, I have created a visual story. My vision of a botanical dystopia.
For the past two years I have also collected all the environmental sounds from where each leaf was growing. The resulting soundtrack has been arranged by musician Derek Thompson (Hoodlum Priest) who, though a process of both precise and random digital manipulation, has created a composition where place, time and space become intertwined. In this dystopian soundtrack we can hear the sounds from London’s East End and the Sussex seaside as well as the birdsong and the rhythmic clanging of goat bells in Granada, Spain. The idea of recording sound introduces a completely new element to botanical art and I hope that this interpretation of both the natural and human worlds will encourage listeners to be as aware of the diversity and beauty of sound in the city as much as that of the countryside.
What is 'Leafscape'?
'Leafscape' is my way of catapulting botanical art into the 21st century with the use of sound and watercolour paint. The collection is a journey through a botanical dystopia, where leaves can be found growing on the margins of human civilisation. My driving ambition has always been to show the world how beautiful nature is in the most unexpected ways. In all of my work I try to give plants a voice.
What will the book look like?
The book itself will measure 210 x 260mm (8.3 x 10.2 inches), consist of approximately 60-70 pages and will be printed using litho press. The book will feature an introduction written by the artist in English and will have a full colour plate of every painting in the collection PLUS four never before seen BONUS PLATES. I am also hoping to add more supporting material in this copy.
How are you printing this book?
I have chosen to print this book lithographically as it produces a superior product. Using real inks, this form of printing will ensure that the paintings in the book will look more vibrant and true to life.
What will be on the audio MP3?
The continuous 45 minute soundtrack documents the outside sounds taken from where each leaf was growing at the time it was found. Elements vary from birdsong, running water and the cicadas in Spain to the hustle and bustle of the streets of London. Throughout the composition these sounds are mixed and sometimes altered to create a disorientating dystopian effect, ushering us into a space where we might begin to question our sense of reality and what it might be like to exist as a leaf.
Why are you using Kickstarter and not a publisher?
I thought a long time about whether to offer this book to a mainstream publisher, but I wanted to create a unique, beautiful volume for my supporters and not submit to the compromises of the marketplace. By using Kickstarter I can maintain creative control and personally assure product quality.
Q&A: If you have any questions at all about the rewards or exhibition, don't hesitate to message me through Kickstarter, I'd be happy to walk you through the process and talk about the work.
Spread the Word: I am the only one managing this project, so there's a lot of communication required on my part to spread the word. So please feel free to encourage others to get involved as the success of this campaign will directly determine what we can accomplish together in 2017.
Kickstarter has very kindly supplied us with a 'share' button at the top of this page for you to use. You can follow my work on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Thank you so much for your support. I am looking forward to getting to know you in the months to come.
Acknowledgements: A big thank you to Andrew Burton of Browse Digital for all of the design work, Hoodlum Priest for CD production and Peter Clitheroe of Outhouse Filmworks for producing the video for this campaign.
Risks and challenges
Risks and challenges
I have already successfully completed one Kickstarter Project and have been able to refine this campaign to ensure that it runs smoothly. I have previously worked with the printer who will produce the book and greetings cards - they produced the first limited edition book and I was very pleased with the product. We have samples of the paper and binding and I have colour proofed the printed images to ensure quality. The printers are local and this makes it easier to tackle any problems that occur during printing, whilst also supporting a local business.
The printer who makes the fine art prints that come with some of the rewards is also local and someone I have used for the past six years. He scans and colour balances every piece with the original next to him so that all colours match. I have samples from his handy work and consider him incredibly professional and reliable.
All of the books and prints will be shipped with insurance and will be securely packaged.
The paintings for the book are complete, but I have taken into account possible delays in the design and printing schedule due to any unforeseen circumstances when setting the delivery date for the books.
Will this be late? I of course hope not. However I do promise to be transparent and as helpful as I can during and after this project.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (31 days)