About this project
THE CARDS - trading card size: 2.5 x 3.5 inches
A few years ago I started collecting old illustrated books because the pictures were so awesome. Most of them were published during the era of Sherlock Holmes and Alice in Wonderland, when the world was a very different place -- an amazing medieval Steampunk fantasy kind of place, if you can imagine that.
The more time I spent looking at the pictures, the more I wanted to write new stories and collaborate with artists who worked long ago -- artists like L Leslie Brooks, William Makepeace Thackeray, JM Conde, Howard Pyle, and John Tenniel.
Modern technology actually makes that possible. Last winter I started making digital collages using scans of those antique illustrations. The result is a collection of new characters -- characters in peril, characters search of love, characters ready for new stories -- stories you can tell, stories you can write.
WHAT IS THE KICKSTARTER PROJECT FOR?
This is a design phase project, not a mass-production project. The original idea was to do 100 designs for 3 x 5 cards for the PERILS GALORE! Bard Versus Bard game. Designs for 30 characters have been completed. The first 30 designs took three months working full time, plus an investment of over $2500 in paper and ink, external drives for file storage, and book purchases.
The Kickstarter project goal will produce rewards for supporters and help fund creation of the next 30 designs by making it possible to get more cool old books and supplies for printing proofs and prototypes, upgrade equipment, get space 'on the cloud' for file backup. Additional $$ will make more equipment upgrades possible and pay for my time.
ALSO -- feedback by Kickstarter supporters will help clarify priorities for the future development -- what kinds of stuff do Writers & Storytellers need? Little bitty trading cards? Biggish cards? Greeting cards? A game? Impressive prints to put on the wall? Booklets with blank / lined pages for handwritten stories? Coffee mugs? iPad and iPhone apps?
THE IMAGE DESIGN PROCESS
What is digital collage? Here is a simplified overview of the process, starting with an illustration from a history book published in the 1890s.
Step 1. Make a high resolution full color scan of a figure with a cool costume.
Step 2. Separate the character from the background and convert from color to black & white.
Step 3. Adjust the limbs and posture, and start work on the new face.
Step 4. Complete the new face and costume adjustments.
Step 5. Add new props and colors. Print it small [2.5 x 3.5 inches] and big [9 x 15 inches] to make sure the collage always looks great. Make adjustments and print again until all is good.
Step 6. Add a new backdrop, and voila! -- this fabulous character is ready to star in a new story! Your story!
Can you imagine the life and perils of this character? What brought him to this situation? Where is he going? What happens next? Will he ever achieve his goal?
LIMITED EDITION / FABRICATION
This is the first edition of the PERILS GALORE! images. It will only be available via Kickstarter. My current fabrication process for trading cards and game cards = sheets of 10 cards are printed one side at a time, at 600 dpi on an Epson digital printer. It takes half an hour to print each side. The sheets are then individually cut and trimmed by me using a guillotine paper cutter. Then I snip the corners of each card with a Fiskars hand punch. It's a slow process.
Why scan your own books when you can just grab some images off the web or get one of those disks with a thousand pictures on it?
The quality of images on the web and on disks are not adequate for this project. Those image are generally encumbered with copyright issues.
By scanning books of my own, I can maximize the image quality and resolution. Plus, I only use illustrations that were published before 1923, so the only copyrights are mine.
Will these characters & images appear in other formats and future editions?
Eventually if all goes well, yes. Kickstarter supporters will be the first to know the details of that. They might also be offered the chance to play with and evaluate prototypes.
How will everyone know Kickstarter supporters have the FIRST edition and not a later one?
By a combination of the colors, the paper, the numbers and dates on signed items, the thank you postcard, plus you will be listed as a supporter on the Kickstarter PERILS GALORE! project page.
Risks and challenges
Big Concerning Risk #1 = A Memory Crisis! Some of the original tiffs for these designs are over 1 GB, and they're all over 500 MB. The InDesign folders for the cards & prints are also bulky, and the scans are taking over the world. All the storage I've got is at or near capacity. I can't currently get broadband so offsite backup is not an option. Yikes.
How to overcome that?!? -- In October I will be moving from the boondocks to the city, where broadband is available. Some of the Kickstarter funds will be used to pay for a big chunk of memory 'on the cloud'.
Big Concerning Risk #2 = Time, Time, TIME!! Rent, rent, RENT!! Many projects are competing for my time and many expenses are looming overhead. If all my time must go to other projects in order to pay the rent, etc., guess what happens to this one?
How to Overcome That?!? -- Kickstarter funds will be used to upgrade equipment so it doesn't take so long to do things. Being able to use a USB 3 connection instead of USB 2 would literally save days of scanning time. A printer that doesn't need half an hour to print each 9 x 15 inch print, or an hour to print both sides of a sheet of 10 cards when I need to proof colors and design would make a huge difference. Faster equipment will make it possible to complete more designs with the same amount of time. If the Kickstarter funds can actually pay for some of my time, I can devote more days to the project and finish it much sooner.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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