So What's the Story?
Web comics about the life of an artist. They've been done a million times, right? Of course they have. Artist loves having center-stage. She'll talk about herself given any opportunity!
...my Artist, however, has roommates. Two roommates: Business Manager, who's got the wallet; and Marketer, who sells things. They're constantly interrupting her when she's trying to Be Creative, telling her unpleasant things about how if she wants money to fly in the window she'd better put it in a drawing because that's the only way it'll ever be that easy...
(She never listens.)
The Three Jaguars is a web comic based off my series of business columns for creative professionals, which were illustrated with cartoon jaguars (thus the name). Those columns were very popular, but when I polled my readership a lot of them said: "This would be even better as a web comic!" And I thought, "Hmm. Hey! That's a good idea."
So I did a test run. And you know... I had fun!
So my plan is to try running the Three Jaguars for a year, see how I feel about the work. I'll be posting twice a week (Monday and Wednesday), with an optional third page if I get healthy donations that week. My planned story-lines are slice-of-life fiction--with accidental educational stuff thrown in about small business management, marketing, accounting and advertising. My goal is to tell stories, make you laugh... and maybe help illustrate some business principles that anyone can use to be more effective.
But mostly, I want to tell funny stories about what it's like to be an artist who has to figure out how to pay the bills.
What Am I Paying For, Here?
This Kickstarter will be funding start-up costs for the web comic. Hosting fees for a year, the domain name, pen and paper supplies, the basics. If we overfund, I'll be able to afford some nice extras, like some reference books, an advertising budget, and a stipend for someone to spend an hour or two a month making merchandise from the cartoons. Once the site goes up I hope that advertising revenue will take care of paying my salary, which I haven't otherwise included in my itemized budget!
If we go substantially over my target, I'll be able to sock money into the new "Three Jaguars Books" imprint of my publishing studio. I'm using that imprint to publish business books for artsy types (my first is already available, and is about running a Kickstarter campaign!), and I'm planning on issuing the web comic collections through it also. Having some money set aside means I'll have the capital to start those projects! In addition to the comic collections, I'm hoping to do a general business book for creatives, and maybe some specialized topic books, like how introverted artists can develop an extroverted facade to help them get their work into the world.
What Are You Offering?
I love that doing a web comic lets me be super-responsive in creating prizes for people. What could be more fun than a cameo in a web comic you helped sponsor? Or, if you're a creative professional yourself--an artist of any medium or style trying to make ends meet--you could buy in at a level where your frustration ("I can't seem to find my audience!") could be the next storyline I address in my web comic. Or if you're not into that, you can get some artwork for your wall, or an original comic book page. Either way you'll end up listed on the Three Jaguars website as a backer.
For backers returning to this, my fifth Kickstarter project, please note: with the exception of the $5 prize, these rewards don't stack like the rewards on my other projects! If you'd like more than one of the prizes, however, you can up your pledge to cover the cost of your additional goodies. At the conclusion of the project, I'll use the backer survey to find out what else you were buying!
So Can I See a Page?
Sure! Have a look! This is one of the story-lines I did as a test, to see how long it took me to do each page. It became a long convoluted thing about chocolate, coupons, dreams and the responsibilities of artists and marketers. There might also have been cuddles at the end. >.>
I decided to do the comic in a style I miss a lot from my old B&W fanzine days, back before technology made color comics more affordable. In those prehistoric days I used to turn out page after page of B&W illustrations, done with dip pens, technical pens and brush pens. It's funny that something that used to be so common because of technological and financial limitations has become so rare because of those changes!
Each of these pages are ruled, drawn and inked by hand. The lettering I do on the computer, because my handwriting has good and bad days.
Lots of reasons. But mostly because Marketer insisted. She says when I decide to make the inevitable toys and stuffed animals, jaguars will be more appealing than dolls. >.>
So there you have it. $450 to launch a web comic I hope will be funny, entertaining and occasionally informative. Let's go for it!
Risks and challenges
Hmm! Kickstarter has added a section here for you to talk about risks and challenges. I think the most obvious challenge in a weekly web comic is hitting your deadline. I'm working on that issue now by building up a 2 month backlog; I'm already 10 pages into it. Check the Updates tab to see some photos of pages in progress!
My other big fear is that I won't be able to do this while handling next year's production schedule; I have 8 books scheduled for release and (I think?) four audiobooks? Most of that is project management--I'm only writing new material for two or three of those books--but it's still a lot to keep on top of. But that's what checklists are for! *cues trumpets*Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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