About this project
The Hour of Meeting Evil Spirits is an illustrated bestiary of monsters and ghosts from traditional Japanese folklore.
Some of you may remember my first Kickstarter project, but for those of you who don't, I would like to introduce you to yokai.
Yokai are the ghosts and monsters from traditional Japanese folklore. Where we in the US grew up with tales of witches, werewolves, zombies, bogeymen and the like, kids in Japan grew up with an entirely different taxonomy of beasts and monsters. Unfortunately, there is a serious lack of good information on them in English, and my goal is to help fix that. Because yokai are just too darn cool to go unnoticed!
In this book, I will cover a broad range of yokai, from ghosts, to demons, to transformed humans. Some of them are so silly you will laugh out load, while others are so scary you will have nightmares. I have been gathering and translating them for years, and this represents a large chunk of the work I have been doing recently. The stories have been gathered from Japanese friends and family, libraries, and other Japanese sources, many of which have never been translated into English before (as far as I know, anyway).
With Night Parade, one of the most frequent requests was to include more stories with the yokai. For that reason, in addition to the yokai bestiary, the later part of this book will also include a number of famous yokai legends, featuring some very well-known ghosts and monsters from Japanese folklore.
What is the plan for making this book?
As with Night Parade, I am using traditional Japanese myths as my source material for this book. As I go through the process of translating, sketching, inking, and painting each picture, I will send out frequent Kickstarter updates so you can follow the entire process as the book gets made.
This will be a fairly long process, and I expect to be finished in a year's time. However, during that time you'll get to see my sketches, the drawing process, and read all about the yokai as the book unfolds; so you'll never feel too far from the project.
How will the money be used?
As with Night Parade, I plan to use Amazon's CreateSpace program to self-publish this book. The cost to set up a book with CreateSpace is not terribly high, but costs do add up. In addition, I will be hiring a professional editor to ensure that this book is free of typos and mistakes. The majority of the money will go into printing and shipping costs for the rewards, and the remainder will be used to offset the cost of writing, illustrating, and doing the layout of the book. As I don't have a a large publishing company to back me up financially, I need your patronage for support to make this book possible.
Thank you so much for visiting my project. I hope you'll support me and help make this dream come true!
About the Rewards
Stretch goals have been added! See the graphics below for details!
The ebook will be as faithful a representation of the paperback as possible, with a linked table of contents for easy navigation. As with Night Parade, I plan on making the book in Kindle format, but for those who don't have Kindles it can easily be converted into any format you want with free software (such as calibre). The book will be DRM-free, and I will set up a private download link on my website when the book is finished.
The Postcard Set
The postcards will be 4x6, full color images of the most popular yokai from the book. Due to the cost of printing different images, I can only offer 10 at the moment. However, I hope to increase the number of postcards depending on how many people order them. Update: backers at this level, and anyone who chooses the Yokai Mailer as an add-on to their pledge will now receive two copies of each postcard, for a total of 20!
Paperbacks will be 7x10 inches, and roughly 1 inch thick, and are printed in the USA by CreateSpace. Night Parade was 226 pages in the end, and I expect this to be roughly the same size. The book quality they produce is top-notch -- these are trade paperbacks, a quality grade above the typical mass market paperback, and have the feel of a nicely made comic anthology or graphic novel. Signed by the author.
The hardcovers will be done as a special by-request opion with CreateSpace. They are library-cloth covers with a dust jacket that looks identical to the paperback. The hardcovers won't be available on Amazon or anywhere else for purchase after the Kickstarter, so they are a valuable collector's edition. Signed by the author.
Like it's predecessor, The Hour of Meeting Evil Spirits is first and foremost an art book. It is printed in high quality trade paperback format, full color, and made to be as beautiful as it is interesting. Everything from the fonts, to the cover, to the look of the paper inside is designed to be part of the experience. To get an idea of what the physical book will look like, these are some photos of my previous book, The Night Parade of One Hundred Demons:
Fine Art Prints
The fine art prints will be printing using a giclée printer on presentation-quality textured watercolor paper. They are printed using special inks that are guaranteed to last over 200 years (I haven't tested that myself). They are signed by the artist and come in a black, acid-free mat, sealed in a protective clear polybag. The mat's dimensions are 11x14 inches, and the image window is roughly 8x10. To get a feeling for the size of the prints, check out the picture of the strange man below. ↓
Only a limited number of original paintings will be available due to the time involved in making them. These are hand-drawn and painted recreations of the illustrations in the book. These are oban size, a popular ukiyo-e format that is roughly 10x15 inches.
The bookmark is an option stretch-goal add-on. For an additional $10 to your pledge, you will get a beautiful, high quality 2.5 x 8 inch bookmark, custom-designed specifically for this book. It will feature a tassel, and additional illustrations on both sides to complement the artwork in the book. The perfect collectible for your collector's edition!
Risks and challenges
The biggest challenge in making this book is the amount of time it will take. Those of you who have been following my blog, or who back my previous project will probably remember that there were long stretches where I was finishing a painting every single day and averaging less than 4 hours of sleep per night. I'm confident that I have more than enough time to finish the project on schedule, but there is always the risk than unforeseen circumstances might delay the project by a few weeks. If that's the case, I promise that frequent communication via Kickstarter updates will keep everyone up to speed on the project.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Towards the end of the project, when all of the paintings are finished, I'll make an online album where all of them can be seen together. If you have ordered an art print, you will get to choose from the album which painting(s) you want for your print(s).
The fine art prints come matted and mounted in an 11x14 inch black mat, on fine art, textured watercolor paper. They are produced on a giclee printer with inks guaranteed to last 100+ years, so you won't have to worry about fading. Prints will be polybagged for protection.
The postcards from the YOKAI MAILER pack work a little differently, since I have to mass-produce the postcards. The 10 paintings used in the postcard pack will be the 10 most popular paintings based on the choices from fine art prints and user feedback. The selection process for the postcards will also take place towards the end of the project, after the paintings have all been finished.
Sure! Just add the cost on to your pledge, and be sure to make a note on your pledge letting me know what you have added.
For quick reference, the costs are as follows:
- collector's edition bookmark: +$10 (unlocked via stretch goal!)
- extra postcards: +$20 (Note: the Yokai Mailer package has doubled to 20 postcards!)
- extra fine art print: +$30
- extra paperback: +$40
- extra hardcover: +$100
I started painting yokai on my blog years ago because I wanted to introduce people back home to the weird and crazy monsters I was learning about in Japan. I started painting A-Yokai-A-Day during October as a sort of Halloween celebration, and after a few years, that project evolved into my first book: The Night Parade of One Hundred Demons.
A number of other works provide the inspiration for this project. The first and foremost would be the original yokai guidebooks written by Toriyama Sekien in the 1770's and 1780's. You can read about them and see his drawings on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toriyama_Sekien
Another major source of inspiration for this project, particularly visual inspiration, is the vast amount of yokai-themed woodblock prints produced during the Edo period in Japan. In particular, the prints of Yoshitoshi (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tsukioka_Yoshitoshi, http://web.inter.nl.net/hcc/rekius/36ghosts.htm), Ogata Gekkō (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Ogata_Gekko), Kawase Hasui, Sawaki Sūshi (https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/百怪図巻) and of course Hokusai (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Hokusai).
I take visual cues from each of these artists, and I hope you'll see bits and pieces of them in my artwork. Mostly, though, I hope my paintings help you enjoy the bizarre world of the Japanese supernatural.
First and foremost, my primary source is the works of Toriyama Sekien (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toriyama_Sekien). He was the foremost master of cataloging yokai. I also look very closely at the other yokai masters of the Edo period. However, these older sources were primarily a visual guide, rather than textual, and most of them only have brief one or two-sentence descriptions of each yokai.
I try to flesh my yokai out with information collected from local legends, in order to give the first-time yokai novice a more clear idea of what each one is. These legends are stories that I have heard while living in Japan from friends, grandparents, and yokai fans who were willing to share their experiences with me. I also dig for information in the International Research Center for Japanese Studies' databases (http://www.nichibun.ac.jp/YoukaiDB).
In some instances, there is almost no information outside of Toriyama Sekien's work (particularly with the yokai that he invented himself), so in that case I tried to expand upon cultural concepts that may not be clear to Westerners unfamiliar with Japanese culture, such as the meaning of particular imagery, the etymology of their names, and so on.
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