About this project
Update 3.12.2013: Stretch goals have been revealed!
For more details and an audio demo, read this update.
DONE! - $7,500: A professionally recorded audiobook, spoken word only, will be distributed with every contribution of $15 and above. Free stuff!
DONE! - $8,500: The same audiobook will feature music from the incredibly awesome Crooked Fiddle Band, who will generously contribute as much music as I wish to include from their current (and substantial) body of work.
$11,500: The Crooked Fiddle Band will write and record a song especially for the audiobook.
It's unlikely that Wind in the Willows needs much of an introduction. It's an international children's classic about some bright, adventurous animals who act a lot like people (occasionally they seem to be the size of actual people, which is a bit weird and poses some illustration challenges) and get up to all sorts of shenanigans. Set around the time of the industrial revolution, with all its mass-production, waste and environmental damage, the deeper concerns of the characters are remarkably similar to the concerns we face today. It's brilliant.
Makers, artisans and craftspeople have been around for a very long time, too. They are also brilliant. Aesthetics, craftsmanship and traditional skill are prized among these adroit folk, and their skills are increasingly sought after in the wider community. In the last few years the number of makers seems to be growing, and self-sufficiency, DIY, recycling, skill-sharing and the rejection of wasteful mass-production are also on the rise.
One of the key messages of Wind in the Willows and the modern maker movement is the same: Yes, it is very shiny and new, but do you really have to buy another mass-produced, gas-guzzling SUV, Mr. Toad?
Steam in the Willows is about celebrating and weaving both of these fine things together.
Tl:dr? Here's the very simple visual version:
But it's not Steampunk enough!
This project is about Makers, Artisans and Steampunks, the people making things in our world right now, and the effect they are having on the way we view craftsmanship and consumerism. It's not about re-telling the Wind in the Willows as a Steampunk story. Need the longer version? Read this update.
If funded, this project will produce an E-book, a Black and White Paperback and a Colour Hardcover. There will be 40+ richly detailed illustrations in all editions: twelve full-page spreads and numerous vignettes scattered throughout. The first books printed as rewards for this Kickstarter will be limited edition, with additional art and character designs that won't appear in any books printed afterwards.
Having worked recently on projects like the Steampunk Bible, Eidolon, The Electrodyne Opera, and Liebling, An Adventurous Life, and the whimsical output in my own portfolio, I am right at home producing professional work with both a steampunk flair and a joyful, childhood spirit.
Here's a very rough example of how the illustrations may look in situ:
That's neat! I have all these ideas for art you should do...
I am keen to hear them! Designs for the main characters are already established but if you, as a contributor, feel like I am absolutely missing a trick by not making the Chief Weasel look like Mark Frauenfelder, you are probably right!
Not everything will make it into the book, of course, but if you came up with a smashing idea that I use as inspiration, I will include the designs on a special page in the limited edition books with credit to you.
If your reward tier includes original art, you can even choose to have art of the character you helped create. How neat is that?
I take my reward making very seriously, as this video demonstrates.
Oh, and then there's the other rewards...
There's Ratty, having a jolly nice and relaxing afternoon. Just makes you want to mess about in boats, doesn't it? This is the first of 3 full-colour designs.
Blank inside, A6 size, printed on recycled 350gsm card, with envelopes.
Sketching / Note Journal
Blank paper conveniently stitched together and wrapped in a stylish and handsome cover. It's called a Journal: what a brilliant invention!
Printed colour cover with 64 blank internal pages.
Saddle stitch, recycled paper and cover, rounded corners for ease of sliding in and out of pockets.
Bow-ties are, as we all know, cool. These bow-ties aren't just cool, they are hand-stitched, completely one-of-a-kind and made from recycled shirts (no armpit areas will be used - that's a guarantee!).
Adjustable sizing. Colours and patterns will vary (although I will try to match any requests as closely as possible).
Original character drawing
A drawing of the character of your choice having a lovely time. What could be better on your wall?
Graphite on 300gsm paper, 18 x 28 cm, signed.
An original watercolour painting of the character of your choice, looking all adorable and whatnot. This is the only thing that could be better to have on your wall than the sketch!
Watercolour on 300gsm cotton paper, 28 x 37cm, signed.
Painting things traditionally is a rather expensive game. The funding will go towards materials, preparing the books for their various formats, registration with distributors, rewards and shipping. If there's anything left over, I may use it to buy myself a small, celebratory cup-cake.
Here's a percentage breakdown:
40%: Painting materials, 12 month subscription to InDesign and Photoshop, 12 dedicated hours a week to work on the paintings, with an estimated 26 weeks to completion (I will be working for less than minimum wage and surviving largely on kitten smiles and couch fluff, but it will allow me to keep the project on time).
35%: Book printing (based on print-on-demand costings with Lightning Source), set-up and registration fees for distribution, ISBNs, postage.
15%: Printing for greeting cards, sketching journals and materials for the bow-ties.
8-10%: Kickstarter fees
Risks and challenges
At present, I am the only person working on this project. All of the art, book design, formatting, organisation and distribution will rest solely on these bony shoulders. Therefore illness, injury or my arms spontaneously shooting off my body and leaving town may stall the project, but I would aim to keep my contributors well informed about how things are progressing. I am prepared to learn to paint with my feet if necessary.
Lightning Source is a well-established and reputable printing company, so I am confident in printing with them. I've chosen print on demand because it will greatly reduce the cost of postage (books will be printed in the country they are ordered from, rather than all posted out of Australia which would be ludicrous) and it will mean the books will always be in print, should you decide to buy a copy once the Kickstarter is complete.
Formatting the books will be a challenge, but as someone who has worked on commercially printed projects in the past I feel pretty confident about that, too. I will be teaching myself how to do this, with guidance from friends in the publishing industry who have volunteered to look the finished work over. Feedback and revisions may cause delays in the formatting, but I will keep backers well informed on that front.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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