One of the amazing adventures of the Tales of the Kingdom crowd-funding Kickstarter Campaign was the contest that our son Randall Mains’ Pathmaker Marketing Group ran, searching for an artist to re-do the illustrations of the three books of this children’s trilogy. The Web site, 99 Designs, offers opportunities for artists from all around the world to compete for places to design logos and marketing ventures or, as in our case, illustrate whole books.
When the participating artists who were given the pdf file of one of the stories from the first book of the trilogy, Tales of the Kingdom, climbed to 87 participants (with eventually, some 300 submitted illustrations) David and I were hauled onto the team just to help with the intensive decisions and interaction with artists from a variety of countries.
The first story sent to them was “Princess Amanda and the Dragon”. The process goes like this: The artists are e-mailed the story—remember that most are reading the English narrative as a second or third language—a sketch is submitted, the panel makes suggestions and comments, another more completed illustration is sent back, final comments are made, then the artist sends a final submission.
Many aspects were judged. Was the artist’s English facility high enough for us to communicate clearly with one another? Could the illustrator turn in work on time? (We are needing to receive 36 illustrations by September in order to go to book design, make revisions to the copy, flow the content into the design, choose a cover, design a cover and have copies ready for Christmas mailings! Remember—we are re-doing three books.) Were the artists’ attitudes collaborative and cooperative or did they display an unwillingness to be directed? Were the illustrations appropriate for a children’s reading audience or were they more young adult art?
We received so many superb illustrations that we agonized over our choices. There were next to no submissions that we cancelled because of poor quality of workmanship.
In fact, we had so many gorgeous artistic renderings that we purchased 12 of the “Amanda Slaying the Dragon” entries and will offer a calendar for 2015 as part of the Kickstarter Backer Campaign.
You can see the winning artwork plus the calendar artwork (with a few quotes from the story). Eventually, each 2015 month will have its own quote from the book. Go to https://www.kickstarter.com/