Illustrator John Maddin is known for is depictions of animals, cute and noble. Recently, DesignWise Graphic Design Studio contracted John to do a rabbit illustration for a beach house logo in Cannon Beach. They liked John’s illustration so much they are having him draw the beach house as well.
Per suggestions from our Small Business Administration adviser, Jackie Babickey, we will be turning John’s A to Z in the Oregon Alphabet collection into booklets soon. Jackie has raved about John’s stunning attention to detail and its thoughtful content. If we did not have a young child, I doubt John and would not have come up with this idea. Pouring over black and white children’s books, particularly Nikki McClure’s book Awake to Nap, the idea for this collection probably would have never crossed our minds. So in a way we have Bahiyyih to thank for its inspiration.
John will be taking samples with him to the Licensing Expo in Las Vegas June 13 and 14. He looks forward to seeing everyone!
This weekend, John will finish “z” for Zigzag, Oregon. Now, what can we do with this collection of art? Both of us want to see it turned into a board book for children. The only other ABC book about Oregon is “B is for Beaver,” which is a full-sized book about the origins of the Oregon flag. So we are still breaking new ground.
There are a couple plans. Talk to Department of Fish and Wildlife, Travel Oregon, and Made in Oregon to ask them what form they think it would sell in. And would they pick up that line if we made it? Would they license the images from John?
Self-publishing does not look like an option because the industry is, delicately put, not what it was. But there are other considerations. John has gotten pre-orders on the book. He has gotten pre-orders for T-shirts. We made six images into cards, and they are selling well in the two shops that bought a batch each: Atomic Boys in West Seattle and Broadway Books in Portland. Both shops say they are doing actually better than expected. Not ready to re-order yet, but sometime.
This is where Kickstarter comes in. We are going to put the Oregon picture series on Kickstarter in two parts. One proposal will be for the book. Self-publishing a die-cut book is prohibitively EXpensive, but are some self-publishing options that might work for us. Die-cut would do this book such justice: the covers in the shape of Oregon, and if we could get really fancy, each page cut out, at least for two sides, of each image. The tactlessness of it would be appealing to children.
The other Kickstarter proposal would be to continue making note cards, prints, calendars, and T-shirts. We would like to know what else people would like from this series? Should we print all the images? Or just half of them? What other forms would you like to see the art in? That will help us with the backer rewards.
That is the upshot of Kickstarer and other crowdfunding platforms. People can shop for art, swag, stories, movies, theater and music. It is the next eBay and Etsy. And those of us who won’t get a loan from the bank or get an angel investor (not sure if I would want that anyway), this gives us a chance to have folks who just like what we do help us – and they get something sweet out of it. It is more egalitarian. It let a broad base of people decide what art and entertainment they want, not just a few from the upper echelons.
The downside is promotion. Sure, the products should sell themselves, but still have to get the word out. Working on that. Follow me on Twitter! @WalchyOne
I can’t believe it. About a year ago John started doing his scratchboard illustrations of Oregon flora and fauna, and Oregon-related things. The shining moment, the crowning achievement of this endeavor is using “xeriscape” for the letter “x.” Most ABC books use X-ray or Xylophone. Which get rather tiresome after the 50th read. It could be a bit of a concept to describe to children should this become a book, but it think “gardening with less water in a desert,” ought to work. And since we are in the age of conservation and sustainability, xeriscape is a relevant subject.
Oh, and John illustrated it beautifully as well.
John had to endure numerous “x” jokes: “outxtanding” (thank you Robin Ator), etc.,,ad nausea.
Next stop, put cards, posters, T-shirts, a booth for Portland Saturday Market, etc. on Kickstarter, so we can get his art to his growing fan base! We are still investigating the possibility – of the series as a children’s board book – daunting as publishing is. Deciding how to prioritize package this fantastic set is taking a bit. We are soliciting feedback from people.