The Unlucky Fox | A Mystery Unfolds in Words & Pictures
Cast into The Great Game, can a dapper young fox protect an archeological artifact, safeguard his honour and solve a family mystery?
Join in The Unlucky Fox mystery as it unfolds by way of a monthly digital subscription. Approximately every four weeks, backers who pledge $20 or more will share in the novel's development by receiving a new chapter bursting with freshly completed illustrations. Along the way, backers will also get exclusive updates of artwork in progress, character & background insights and video's of illustration tutorials.
There are twenty chapters in all, and chapter one is scheduled for delivery January, 2015 — the perfect start to a New Year! Preview chapter one here on wattpad.
A novel in Words and Pictures
With your backing, the finalized novel will feature over 100 pages of colour artwork and comprise of approximately 60,000 words! The story is already written and the illustrations are underway. Quality artwork takes time, and the goal of this Kickstarter project is to provide me with that most elusive and precious of things!
The Unlucky Fox is an engaging story set within an utterly unique world written and illustrated by me. Beyond children’s picture books, there are very few such books available where the author is also the artist. I’m not planning a sparse sprinkling of illustrations. Instead, the artwork is as integral to the story as the text is. I’ve planned for four or more colour illustrations per chapter; however, I'm committed to completing whatever is required to deliver an exceptional read.
Backing The Unlucky Fox means fostering the kind of story that celebrates individuality, loyalty and the importance of keeping your wits about you! It can be read by anyone from age 13 to 113 who enjoys a cracking mystery with a diverse cast, heaps of artwork, adventurous historical tie-ins, far-flung travel and, of course, a generous dose of archeological intrigue!
Returning to Calcutta to solve the mystery of his mother's disappearance, a young fox is inducted by his uncle into the peculiar Tea Merchants’ Secret Society. Against his will and in the company of strangers, he is plunged into a treacherous expedition deep into the Himalaya to protect a priceless artifact and is unwittingly entered into The Great Game — a cloak and dagger duel for supremacy in remotest Asia between Czarist Russian and Victorian English spies.
As the Empire teeters on the brink of conflict, our unlucky fox strives to unravel his mother's riddle, fulfill his promise to guard the artifact, and safeguard his honour... all without putting a whisker out of place!
If you're like me, and love nothing more than to lose yourself in a smart whodunnit, or wish to inspire your kids to wonder about our wide world through travel, history and adventure, then this is the novel for you!
Sounds interesting, but who the heck are you? I'm an award-winning artist whose work has been featured in magazines such as Communication Arts (US), Applied Arts (CA), Creative Review (UK) and 3x3 (US). This year alone, artwork from The Unlucky Fox was included in the Applied Arts 2014 illustration annual and chosen for Bologna Book Fair's Illustrators Exhibit. The artwork is currently touring Japanese museums until early 2015. If you happen to be in Japan, the dates are here!
You can read about my other works here on Goodreads.
I want to make this the most fulfilling Kickstarter campaign you've ever backed, so please don't hesitate to contact me at any time! With your pledges, I’ll be able to commission the final round of editing, complete the illustrations, and connect The Unlucky Fox with readers around world!
If this Kickstarter campaign reaches its goal, I’ll be able to share Theo's story as it unfolds by way of a monthly subscription. Approximately every four weeks, backers who pledge $20 or more will receive a new chapter replete with all the freshly completed illustrations. There are twenty chapters in all, and chapter one is scheduled for delivery January, 2015 — the perfect start to the New Year!
Although the physical book is not offered on this initial Kickstarter, all verifiable backers of $20+ from this current campaign will at a later date have the option to get the physical book at a $10 discount when it is available!
One of the added benefits you will gain from backing this campaign is a peek behind the scenes into my creative process. I look forward to making regular updates, sharing artwork in progress and perhaps even posting a few illustration tutorials. Above all, I promise to be transparent and available to answer questions.
Be the first — At the heart of my rewards tier is the Monthly Chapter Subscription PDF which comes with all pledges of $20 or more. You get the thrill of experiencing the story as each chapter's illustrations are completed. About every four weeks, when I’ve finished the artwork and typesetting of a new chapter you’ll receive a high-resolution .PDF to enjoy on your tablet, laptop or desktop device and share with friends and family. When the entire novel has reached completion, you’ll be sent a download link for the book's compiled twenty chapters and glossary.
Enjoy giving gifts? Add $20 for each additional person you'd like me to deliver a subscription to. I will send you a survey to collect email addresses after the campaign closes. Recipients will be given the option to unsubscribe if they choose.
Be nice — For all pledges of $25 or more, I will mail a printed Thank You Postcard featuring a colour illustration of the dapper fox toasting your impeccable taste, foresight and generosity! This reward will be posted in an envelope and is suitable for framing in a standard sized Ikea frame. Anticipated early December delivery.
Upgrade to all four cards! Add $15 to any pledge.
Be covetable — Get yourself this handsome packet of Bookplates to grace the inside covers of your most-cherished tomes. Simply add your name to these classic Ex Libris bookplates and you're on the way to having the most dashing library around. The bookplates feature a cameo of the dapper fox reading one of his cherished mystery novellas. Each pack contains 30 adhesive-backed 5” x 4” labels. Printed in Vancouver with black and silver Pantone inks on an FSC-Certified, acid free and archival stock from Mohawk Papers. The artwork is ready to send to the printer, so place your pledges now! Anticipated early December delivery. Includes Monthly Chapter Subscription PDF.
Be thoughtful — I’m also offering packs of blank Greeting Cards & Envelopes. The cards are embossed with a special gift-bearing version of the dapper fox cameo. The envelopes feature a blank address cartouche printed with a tasteful gold ink. Perfect for Christmas cards, or other special occasions. Each pack contains 12 cards folded to 5.5” x 4” and 12 matching envelopes. Printed in Vancouver with genuine Pantone inks on an FSC-Certified, acid free and archival stock from Mohawk Papers. The artwork is ready to send to the printer, so place your pledges now! Anticipated early December delivery. Includes Monthly Chapter Subscription PDF.
Be pretty — Choose two framable Glicée Art Prints on archival paper. These beauties are printed at a local studio and each one is inspected and signed by me before shipping. A very nice perk for yourself, or someone whom you know will appreciate it! The 8" x 10" illustrations are printed on a toothy 9" x 11" fine art paper. Each print will be signed with pencil in the border. This reward is suitably sized for mounting in a standard sized Ikea frame. Anticipated early December delivery. In order for you to select your preferred illustration, I will send you a survey after the campaign closes. Includes Monthly Chapter Subscription PDF.
Upgrade to all four prints! Add $35 to existing two print pledge.
Be in the know — The Kickstarter exclusive premium art book, Art & Inspiration **Pre-Christmas Delivery** A limited and numbered edition album of sketches, illustrations and items of ephemera culled from over four years of sketching, painting and research. Perfect for anyone who adores fantastic art and is interested in the creative process. This full colour book contains one hundred pages bound in a matte-finish image-wrapped hardcover. The text pages are an archival uncoated Mohawk Papers stock with library binding. To ensure prompt turnaround and quality control; this book is printed by the folks at Blurb in California. The artwork is ready to send to the printer, so place your pledges now! Due to ship with tracking the first week of December. Includes one hand-signed & numbered Ex Libris Bookplate + Monthly Chapter Subscription PDF.
The Art and Inspiration book is also available as a limited edition with my signature and an ink sketch of the fox on the end papers.
Preview mock-up of art book.
Be Priceless — A limited edition solid sterling Silver Dapper Fox Cameo Pendant or Keychain. These treasures are handcrafted by my lovely and talented wife at Era Design here in Vancouver. Each cameo is approximately (w) .75" x (h) .875" and is stamped 925 silver. You can choose between a 16” or 18” long chain or a standard keychain attachment. To specify your preference, I will send you a survey after the campaign closes. These are already in production and a limited number are due to ship with tracking the first week of December. The others will be ready in February. Includes Monthly Chapter Subscription PDF.
Where is my hard-earned pledge money going?
Your support will enable me to set aside client jobs and focus the majority of my energy on completing the outstanding chapter illustrations for the first Unlucky Fox novel. Of course, there are several other areas of the process that will also benefit from your pledges:
- Final review of the manuscript by my talented editor
- Final reviews of the manuscript by my dedicated proof-readers
- Design, typesetting and artwork of cover and page layouts
- Fulfilling backers' monthly subscriptions, producing and shipping physical pledge items
- Kickstarter and payment processing fees
- Income tax
- tea and biscuits
The more successful the campaign, the more time I'll be able to devote to The Unlucky Fox's completion, and more artwork and polish I can include.
Okay, but how do I know if I’ll like the story? Be adventurous! Nothing in life is guaranteed, except that you’ll discover excerpts from the story at www.theunluckyfox.com and a text only version of the first chapter at www.wattpad.com.
Is an Illustrated Novel the same as Graphic Novel? Nope. The Unlucky Fox bridges the gap between a graphic novel and a traditional work of prose. For instance, there are no speech bubbles and it contains twenty chapters of approximately 60,000 words and over 60 ‘double-page spreads’ of colour illustration. In traditional printed book terms, that’s well over 100 pages of colour artwork. It can be read as text alone or enjoyed with the three to four colour illustrations per chapter. This artwork includes a mix of key scenes, handwritten letters, telegrams, maps and more.
Why can’t I find a reward for the printed book? Good question — you are very observant! I want this campaign to be successful and ensure all the rewards are achievable. With your help, I’ll be ‘bootstrapping’ up to the final printed book. By which time, I’ll know the exact page count and have finalized artwork ready for print and can begin sourcing the best print options available. When this Kickstarter campaign is successful, and the last of the subscription installments are delivered, then I’ll be offering the hardcopy version! Although the physical book is not offered on this initial Kickstarter, all verifiable backers of $20+ from this current campaign will at a later date have the option to get the physical book at a $10 discount when it is available!
Why an Illustrated Novel? Throughout the history of storytelling, words and images have gone hand in hand. And yet, over the course of the last century, the days of the great narrative illustrators like N. C. Wyeth, Arthur Rackham, Warwick Gobble and Maxfield Parish have petered out. Surely there is no shortage of talent, so why has the role of artwork shrunk to little more than that of a marketing tool?
The good news is, with the proliferation of tablets and other quality eBook readers now available, we’re poised at the beginning of a new golden age for illustrated novels. It may be easy to dismiss artwork as little more than decoration, until you consider all the stories where the artist’s vision seamlessly enriches the storytelling itself. Such as, the works of Lewis Caroll, Kenneth Grahame, Rudyard Kipling, Robert Louis Stevenson and Jules Verne. Some of my favourite examples are writers who have illustrated their own stories like J.R.R. Tolkien, Rockwell Kent, William Blake, Evelyn Waugh and T.S. Eliot.
Thank you for taking the time to read this far. This campaign means a lot to me, and truthfully there is no end to the things I would love to tell you about it! If there's anything I haven't covered, don't hesitate get in contact.
Risks and challenges
Danger may lurk around every turn for our dapper young fox; however, that isn't necessarily so for this Kickstarter campaign. I want mine to be a resounding success, so I've have done my utmost to plan achievable timing and trial suppliers for reliable fulfillment.
One of the biggest challenges for those of us launching campaigns is balancing the production and shipping costs of physical rewards. I am personally overseeing the production of all of my rewards and not leaving it to a fulfillment company. All my rewards are created by makers in North America. With the exception of Blurb, they are all local businesses that I have established one-to-one relationships. Depending on the items, shipping will either be with Canada Post or Purolator. For added peace of mind, all items of $165 and over will be shipped with tracking codes.
Once the campaign ends, I'm ready to roll! Unlike other campaigns, there is no need for me to buy new equipment or learn new skills. I finally get to do what I do best. In terms of the illustrated novel itself, the writing is 95% complete. What remains is primarily the balance of the illustration and design. Fortunately, that's what I've done professionally for the last 15 years. My clients have included such organizations as Oxford University Press (UK), Penguin (CA), National Geographic Kids (US), and The National Maritime Museum (UK). Committing to long term projects and being relied upon by others has been a cornerstone of my illustration career from the beginning.
Should any setbacks arise, I will take great pains to correct things and promise to always communicate clearly and in a timely manner with my backers.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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