About this project
Hi, I’m Lucy Blackwell. I’m passionate about creating beautiful experiences that help people learn something new and make the world a better place to live.
‘Quibble and Hearty', my first children’s book, ties together my interest in; telling stories, inspiring young minds, protecting the environment, and understanding how things can be made in our digital world.
What’s the story?
Quibble is a very busy character, in fact he becomes so busy building his dream house, that he fails to notice he’s ruining the world around him for all the other animals. He chops down the trees, leaving the caterpillars with no leaves to eat.
And uses up the lake water, leaving the fish with nowhere to swim.
When his best friend Hearty tries to point out the problems he’s causing, Quibble gets frustrated and locks her up in their house. He then starts building a wall to keep everyone out.
He builds so many walls around their house, that soon he has become lost in a maze of his own making.
Thank goodness his best friend Hearty is determined to help him change his ways.
This modern rhyming fable is a bold lesson in the consequences of selfishness, and the importance of sharing and friendship.
How was it made?
The story is told through beautiful handmade models and landscapes, inspired by artists and animators like Svankmajer, Selick and Hundertwasser.
I created each character with flexible wire inside, so I could bend them into different poses for each page, a technique I've used previously for stop motion animation.
I also built lots of models and props for the backgrounds.
Then I lit and photographed the characters and sets, and finally combined all of the different elements together digitally on the computer.
This picture book endeavors to offer a fresh approach and style to the world of children’s illustration.
Why is this project relevant now?
I have always been interested in environmental issues and was keen to write a story for kids on this topic. I actually began working on this book over ten years ago, but after a couple of rewrites and some redesigns following feedback from children, publishers and friends, I became busy with my design business... and the book ended up sitting on a shelf.
However, when Trump became President of the US, declaring he was going to build a wall, and that he didn’t believe in climate change, I thought about the story I'd written, and realised it was an important time to share it with the world.
I have decided to self-publish ‘Quibble and Hearty’ as I'm keen to learn how different digital products, like print-on-demand services and Amazon, are changing the publishing industry and allowing individuals to produce and deliver their ideas directly. If I am successful with ‘Quibble and Hearty’, I hope to use the same process to create and sell other books in the future.
It's also perhaps worth noting that I normally work in a collaborative team, but with this project I have enjoyed the challenge of doing every bit of the book myself: writing, storyboarding, designing characters, model making, lighting, photography and graphic design, so I'm keen to complete the project by finally publishing the book myself too.
How will the money be spent?
Most of the costs for creating the book have already been covered by me, such as; the cost of supplies for building the models, renting equipment for the photo shoots and printing a prototype of the book shown in the video above.
However, there are still some outstanding costs that this Kickstarter campaign will help me with, including: purchasing the ISBN numbers, bar codes and fonts, as well as initial setup costs for the print-on-demand service. Most of the other money raised will be used to print the books for each reward.
If I have any money left over, I expect to use this to purchase sound effects and music for an audio book, and potentially make some interactive components for an ebook.
What are the project goals?
- To make a book that inspires children to do the right thing, and helps them understand what really matters in life.
- To provide parents and teachers with a vehicle to help them address questions that arise about building walls, the environment, and sharing.
- To learn about digital publishing, print-on-demand services and how to sell a book online.
- To build an audience for my book, effectively selling about 100 copies of the book on Kickstarter.
- To make the book available for sale globally on amazon at a competitive price, whilst always remaining in credit.
Risks and challenges
Historically print-on-demand services have been thought to offer a lower printing quality than offset printers. Whilst this quality issue has changed dramatically with recent technological advances, I am still waiting for a sample of my book to be printed by the print-on-demand service I plan to use. If I was not happy with this sample, I may have to use offset printing which could add a couple of risks to the project. I may have to choose between making the books all hardback OR all paperback, plus I would probably need a little longer to fulfill the rewards. However, I’ve taken these risks into consideration and I am confident that whatever happens, I will still be able to deliver my children’s book to my backers.
NB: The book shown in the video is a prototype, and some of the illustrations shown on this page are still being finalised. Music in the video is by www.purple-planet.com, and a special thanks to Oscar for being in the video with me.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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