On November 4th, I decided to start a huge new abstract pencil drawing.
I just finished two smaller pencil illustrations after completing a medium watercolor painting called Distortion Sympathy, and I got the urge to "go big." So I went down to the art supply store and picked up a really nice, large sheet of drawing paper. I'll never stop being an artist, but I realize there'll come a day that I might not be able to devote most of my time to something this big, complex and epic. So I'm working on this new drawing as a milestone of art in my life. I've spent a great deal of my time as an Artist working in pencil so this is bringing it all back around to the medium I started expressing with. It will serve as a stamp or a marker between one phase of Art in my life and the next. That's part of why I think it's such a big event. Here's the time-lapse video for that watercolor I mentioned, and a good recent example of the kind of artwork I make.
So, what's this thing going to look like at the end?
I don't know. I really don't. But if you want to see what it looks like so far, check out all the photos on my Facebook Art Page. The fun of making abstract art is finding out what what it looks like as I draw. Sometimes I get inspired and have a bit of a fore-thought. Sometimes I just start drawing something and it turns into a form, shape or texture I wasn't expecting. It's really one of my favorite things about working in the abstract. I get to figure it out as I go and it's a process of exploration and experimentation. I've already been working on it for the past few weeks, almost every night, and I have a lot of progress shots to show already.
Abstract Art is actually kind of an adventure.
During the course of this Kickstarter, I'll be updating the project with "work in progress" shots in collected updates through this page. If you pledge, you'll get these updates in your email (and you can turn them off, as well.) You'll get to follow along with me and watch as the drawing grows and evolves. When the project gets funded and the illustration is done, you'll be able to own a bit of that experience, whether that be in the form of digital files or an actual print. Either way, you've helped me find a new way to get prints of my work to people who want them.
Here's another example of my previous work, an abstract pencil drawing I call Gloopy Swoosh.
Why do a Kickstarter for this drawing?
I want to be able to offer you a chance to get a high quality print of the finished artwork, or even buy the original. Yeah! There's only one and you can own it! I also want to take you with me on this drawing journey by offering the "GREAT" digital reward tiers on the right ($5-10) which will allow you to reap the results of the progress shots, the final drawing in digital format, and a fun set of "adventure shots" in which I'll take the finished drawing out into the world and take photos of it all around Denver, CO. Follow along with the updates as I draw and pledge so you can get something out of the process at the end.
This is an epic illustration.
It may sound like an exaggeration, but I implore you to get out a yard stick or tape measure and block out a 22" x 30" area. Now imagine filling that entire space with a 0.3mm mechanical pencil. Whoa, huh? They don't even sell 0.3mm mechanical pencils at most department stores. You have to find them at drafting stores and specialty art supply stores. Seriously!
Why do I use such a small pencil? It's about the fine quality of the shading. With larger diameter graphite of 0.5mm or higher, the grit of the paper causes the valleys in between what's called the "tooth" of the paper to not get filled in with as much graphite. This results in a more speckled look since there are tiny spots of white paper peaking out of what should be shaded areas. I don't like that look. This is my high level of attention to detail and drive for perfection at work. (an obsession). It requires that I take the time to do something really nice, but I'm always satisfied with the results of that hard work.
What can I expect if I pledge?
You can expect regular photo updates of the drawing for the duration of the Kickstarter until the project is complete, but what else will there be? I'm currently gathering together footage to produce a time-lapse video of the drawing once it's finished. That means, not only will you get to follow along in real-time, as I draw this crazy-huge drawing, but you'll be able to see it completed at high speed in a video as well. The video will be posted to my YouTube page once it's finished.
What's all the money for? For the prints!
That's it. You'd be surprised how much it costs to get artwork printed out at high quality on a variety of sizes and media. I promise to make a slight profit, but I could never afford to just guess how many of each size to order up front if it weren't for Kickstarter. You get to tell me which one you want, and I reap the benefit of not having to invest up front in prints of various sizes and on variety of media that I might not sell. In addition, I've done all the legwork of researching all the printing companies in town and finding the best print quality vs. price to ensure that not only are you getting a great value, but you're getting a print quality that I have personally approved and that lives up to my standards and shows the true detail of the original drawing.
There's also a fun set of digital rewards.
As for the "GREAT" digital tiers, the money goes to the production and collection of all those digital files. If you follow my work, you may know that I get great enjoyment from showing people what I'm working on and hearing their feedback. I always respond to people who leave nice comments, and I'm rarely out of form when the internet rears it's stinky head. I'm pretty excited about going out and shooting all the "adventure shots" once this drawing is completed and I imagine I'll use up at least a tank of gas driving around the city and probably buy the drawing a few drinks to show it a nice time. ;)
Is it just a big pencil drawing?
Yes. But I think it's more than that. I haven't pioneered a new way of making a pencil drawing. I haven't invented a new technique nor am I experimenting with a new and different media. I'm not using anything more complicated than graphite, erasers, paper stumps and nice drawing paper. But doing something "new" isn't the only redeemable aspect of creating interesting Art. There are no gimmicks to this. I'm simply drawing a very large and detailed drawing in an abstract style that I've been experimenting with for a number of years.
So what makes it special?
The complexity and size of the project make it special. The detail level and amount of time I'm going to spend on it make it special. The act of sharing it with you while I'm making it has been done before, but the stuff I'll be sharing is new and transitory and allows me to connect with my audience and fans in a way that I haven't tried before. All of this makes it special to me, and I hope to you too.
Risks and challenges
This project is a large investment of time for me. I estimate the final drawing will take hundreds of hours of drawing. This is based on its size, the amount of shading to be done, and the painstakingly high level of detail across the entire drawing. But don't let me scare you off! I've completed hundreds of drawings and paintings in the past, which you can see on my many websites. I've also finished much larger and even more complex artworks in the past, so I'm confident that the biggest hurdle I'll face during this project is the sheer amount of time it will take to complete.
Once the project is completed, I will shop around local print shops for a super-high-res studio photo capture. I'm going to get this drawing photographed by a professional studio so that I have the highest quality image possible to create the prints. I estimate this will cost between $50-100 and the cost will be split among all of the prints and digital sales.
Once I have the high-res photo capture I'll add up all the prints I need to produce for the Kickstarter and get some quotes from local printing places. Quality and Price will be my top priorities for these prints. The cost of producing the prints can range from around 50% of the pledge cost at the lower tiers to up to 80%+ at the pledge tiers for the largest prints I want to offer.
I've priced the prints to turn a profit, but it's honestly minimal. I want the chance to offer affordable prints to people without the personal investment so the minimum pledge amount has been set to determine how many prints and digital packages I need to sell in order to meet my minimum costs overall. Even with the price of prints built into each pledge level, the greater number of prints ordered, the less it costs per-print.
After the photo studio captures the "digital negative" I'll use to make the prints, it's time for the Adventure Shots. I'll literally dress the drawing up in a protective case and take it out into Denver, CO to show it a good time. This will involve carefully transporting the drawing around the city and the mountains to take photos of it in a variety of environments. I think this will be the fun part of the process. Almost like a celebration of the drawing. A kind of victory lap. It's not a particularly hard challenge, but it will take time to take the photos, edit them and package them for the Great Adventure Digital reward. I'm just saying...
Lastly, I will send it all out to you. The shipping and emailing of rewards will happen after everything else, for obvious reasons. I'm estimating March-April 2013 is about how much time I'll need to finish the drawing, and print these rewards. Any unforeseen circumstances that present new challenges will be addressed through the kickstarter email updates.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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