$3,409
pledged of $4,800pledged of $4,800 goal
75
backers
6days to go

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Mon, September 30 2019 4:49 PM UTC +00:00.

Unfamiliar Skies: Zodiac Poetry & Illustration

A RISO printed art book written, illustrated & designed with an enamel pin clutch by illustrator Cameron Lucente.

Unfamiliar Skies: Zodiac Poetry & Illustration

A RISO printed art book written, illustrated & designed with an enamel pin clutch by illustrator Cameron Lucente.

$3,409
pledged of $4,800pledged of $4,800 goal
75
backers
6days to go

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Mon, September 30 2019 4:49 PM UTC +00:00.

About

Unfamiliar Skies is a collection of zodiac inspired illustration and poetry, compiled together for the first time in a RISO printed art book. It is a project that I have put a lot of effort in to elevate it from a zine booklet into a beautifully designed art booklet.

In September of last year, I went through a particularly intense burst of organizational energy. I noticed an influx of zodiac related things on my social media, and a Google rabbit hole later, I gathered that it was... maybe because it was Virgo season. So, inspired by this information, I drew an illustration for the season and wrote an accompanying poem to post online. A year later, the result:

A mockup of the booklet and pins- weird ambiance not included.

I don't believe in stars- the rational side of me tells me that it was just a period of good work habits. However, for some reason, I have fixated on the zodiac; I learned my sun, moon and rising signs, researched zodiac traits, their common habits and elements, and even the weird forgotten parts of astrology. It all fascinated me, and before I knew it, what was a one off illustration became a series... and a series became an emotional outlet for my interactions with the stars. The title of this project comes from my unfamiliarity with the stars and their hit-and-miss wisdom, and this theme of wary discovery is woven in throughout the contents of this book.

A page spread from the Deluxe edition, featuring Scorpio.

Strange star charts, warped imagery, and questioning poetry fill this book, all of which is grounded in the textural ink from the risograph process. Here's a full look at all 12 of the zodiac illustrations (minus an oft forgotten 13th sign that's exclusive to the book)!

The series was originally posted online on Twitter & Instagram.

Risograph printing, or RISO, is a stencil duplicator printing process that works similarly to screen printing, but with soy-based inks. Slight variations or imperfections are common as layers are printed, but it truly gives a very charming feel to the end result. I'll be working with Risolve Studio as my printer. They have an impressive track record of art zines and prints, along with an incredibly helpful and knowledgeable staff!

This project was also a chance for me to experiment with how enamel pins could be packaged and presented in tandem with a booklet like this- from the beginning, I wanted to use the accompanying pin to act as a clutch that closes the book. I designed visual elements around the resulting pin hole, so that it will minimize its presence once removed. However, for those who might feel like this idea is nigh sacrilegious to books everywhere, there is also the Standard edition available for purchase which will remain unscathed from any enamel pin wrath.

Enamel pins are honestly a true joy for me to design, and I spared no energy in making these as decadent and detailed as possible. All three will be soft enamel with an antique bronze metal base. The Warning (1.5 inches) is exclusive to the Deluxe edition of Unfamiliar Skies, as it acts as the clutch for the booklet. The saying within acts as a warning to those who might gleefully put all their faith in astronomical forces, but also reminds us that maybe... the stars might know something we don't.

The accompanying set of pins, Polaris and Delta Velorum (2.5 inches each), came about through early explorations for design assets for the book. Once they landed in my sketchbook, I knew I had to get them made. Naming them after a set of stars came easily; the polar North and South stars seemed like a perfect fit. Polaris was already in my knowledge, but when I looked for its Southern companion, well- turns out, there isn't a comparable polar South star! Sigma Octantis is currently designated the position, but its not bright enough or close enough to be an equivalent. However, in 9,200 AD, the star Delta Velorum (part of the False Cross) will be closer to the South Pole than Polaris ever will be to the North Pole.

Somehow, naming the two stars after a contemporary and a distant future holder of these titles made sense. Knowing that the stars will be here long after we're gone, still whispering their strange wisdom, is a little comforting. Makes you wonder who will be interpreting their messages thousands of years later.

All the reward bundles available to you! Careful- some are very limited.

Now, let's talk finances! Gross, I know, but we have to. Here is my cost breakdown:

Numbers.... scary, but thankfully informative.

As you can see, things unfortunately require money to be exchanged for them. There's also another thing missing here: shipping pricing! Since I have no way to know where all of you will be pledging from, it makes no sense to guess a number and a random ratio of US/international shipments. Instead, I'm basing this on the raw potential earnings from each physical tier (~$7,115 total), and the threshold of physical reward pledges needed to hit goal- about 150, if we start from the lowest tiers. The added shipping with each pledge will inflate the amount raised, but not too terribly. Also, if we don't overfund, I'm perfectly capable of purchasing a portion of the items out of pocket.

In addition, you may realize that there's a limited amount for each physical tier. I've only budgeted for 100 of each item: 100 of both editions, 100 of the clutch, and 100 of the star pin set. However, once we hit 150 pledges total, I'll be adding a second wave of each Standard, Standard & Stars, Deluxe, and Deluxe & Stars tiers! The Heavenly Warning and Celestial Visitation tiers will not be a part of this, however, so snag one of those early if you really, really want it. Now, onto our stretch goals!

Ooooh, more stuff!

[EDIT - 9/20/19] I shuffled around the planned stretch goals to better ensure the possibility of funding for the new comic I'm debuting with this campaign!

  •  $5,500 - The Distance: A star, a human, and the distance- a 28 page comic, exclusive to this campaign! All physical backers will receive a physical 5x5 inch black and white comic.
  •  $5,800 - Gold Foil Mini Print: a 5x5 inch print will be added to all physical orders, printed on satin card stock and embellished with a gold foil layer.
  •  $7,000 - Deluxe Booklet Upgrade: at this point, all Deluxe edition booklets will receive an upgrade from 5x6 inches to 7x8 inches. I'll also be expanding upon the poetry for each sign, which will remain exclusive to the books! All tiers will receive the upgraded Deluxe PDF as well.

Here's a sneak peek at that first stretch goal- The Distance!

The cover for The Distance!

 Anything past the $7,000 mark will mostly be put to ensuring shipping runs smoothly, any extra fees are paid, and ordering extra stock if the campaign goes above and beyond my expectations. If all 200 physical tiers are claimed, this will easily be reached. However, if this campaign goes like... absolutely bonkers, I do have some ideas brewing for later stretch goals. Take a look below!

  •  $7,500 - Sticker Sheet: a final goal is a 4x5 inch sticker sheet that will be added to all physical orders - final design TBD.
  •  $8,200 - Temporary Tattoo: a 3x1.5 inch temporary tattoo will be added to all physical orders, based on the star chart graphics from the book - final design TBD.
  •  $9,000 - ???:  A screenprint? An iron on patch? An actual star? Who knows!
My projected timeline for fulfillment, from September through December of this year.

The last thing I want to talk about is the timeline I have for this campaign. It goes without saying, but I want it to be clear: things happen! Sometimes things get held up, problems occur, and things just... go wrong. I'll keep you abreast of anything like that in backer updates, but please keep in mind that I am essentially a one man operation (with a very supportive family that I will be buying many dinners for as they help me with shipping).  I will be doing my best to have everything out the door and in the mail by December 9th at the absolute latest.

Wait, just who is this gu- what on earth was that? A goblin?

So, hey, I'm Cameron! I'm also well known by my internet handle 'mancameron.' I'm a bisexual comic artist and illustrator based near Nashville, TN. My work frequently varies in style and tone, but common themes range from the paranormal, autobiographical self reflection, ghostly horror, queer love, and recently, existential weird stuff about the stars. I've self-published Twenty Two & Alone, a collection of comics, poetry, and illustration in March of 2018, and another poetry collection, Letters to Nowhere, in June of this year. Hot pink is my favorite color, and I really, really like dogs. You can find more work on my portfolio site, and my previous enamel pin work in my store.

The Dum Sucker Press logo! Ain't it cute.

Also, this will be the first project published under my own press name, Dum Sucker Press! I look forward to adding more strange, spooky, odd, and uniquely made titles under this name.

I can't in good conscience end this without thanking a few very important people!

  • My parents, for giving me the time and space this past year to figure out who I am
  •  Hye M. & Hannako for the help and advice in all things pins and kickstarters
  •  Risolve for work-shopping the specifics of this art book, and for all the brilliant suggestions that made it really shine
  • All my friends who encourage me and my work every day- I love all y'all

Now, one final warning from those glittering skies overhead...

Risks and challenges

I am an experienced online shop owner, enamel pin maker, and have shipped product across the US and abroad. All shipping materials will be curbside recyclable and purchased through Bulk Office Supply. I have all the illustrations and poetry finished, book design done, and all 3 pin designs finalized with a trusted manufacturer in mind. I have 2 fully completed Kickstarter campaigns under my belt. If anything does go wrong (shipping always has the possibility to be behind schedule), you will be kept in the loop and informed every step of the way through bi-monthly updates. Fonts used in campaign images: Georgia and Bahnschrift Light Semi-condensed. All other elements were designed and executed by myself.

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    Digital Constellation

    The digital PDF edition of Unfamiliar Skies, along with a catalog of my recent poetry and comic work! Includes Letters to Nowhere, Twenty Two & Alone, and 2-3 mini comics in PDF format.

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    The deluxe physical edition of Unfamiliar Skies, along with the digital PDF. Includes 'The Warning' enamel pin clutch.

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    Heavenly Warning

    The deluxe physical edition of Unfamiliar Skies has a message from the stars for you- a poem! Be wary of what the stars whisper to you... Includes the digital PDF, Polaris & Delta Velorum pin set, The Warning enamel pin clutch, handwritten poem on stationary, and sun sign mini print.

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    Celestial Visitation

    Oh dear. You are either very blessed, or in big cosmic trouble. This bundle includes a poem and a 8.5 x 11 inch digital portrait based on you. Includes the Deluxe edition, digital PDF, Polaris & Delta Velorum pin set, The Warning enamel pin clutch, handwritten poem on stationary, sun sign mini print, and digital commission file.

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