Where do I begin? “Begin at the beginning,” the King said, very gravely, “and go on till you come to the end: then stop.” Ahh sound advice King, I will start at the beginning.
Mid 2014 while researching for another project Angela and I work on in our spare time from work, “Recreating the Past,” where we reproduce old scientific manuscripts and texts by hand, I stumbled upon the Alice in Wonderland manuscript. I was transfixed! I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I’ve always been interested in the origins of stories, theories and new ideas; I love the journey of discovery when looking for an original source, finding that moments of enlightenment and creation has always been a passion of mine. Exploration of the past can be extremely rewarding! And the journey down the rabbit hole was no disappointment.
“Curiouser and curiouser!”
Our next goal with “Recreating the Past” was taking it to the next level from just reproducing single pages to an entire book. Alice’s Adventures Under Ground was the perfect choice for our first major project! But in this case we had to first get the British Library’s approval. Never one to back down from a challenge I began the long complicated process of gaining an licence. I won’t bore you with the details, but after 6 long months of discussion we had the licence in hand, and a copy of the highest resolution images available of the real book.
Now I must say before anything else, working on these files was an absolute pleasure, the resolution was spectacular, the colours perfectly captured. It was a true honour to be entrusted with them. After we got over the initial shock of seeing these images for the first time, Angela and I got to work.
There is no easy way to complete the task ahead of us, use a couple of fancy Photoshop tools to get you started with the images by removing most of the background….being careful that nothing else was grabbed by mistake. And then just a good old fashioned visual inspection and tidy up of each individual letter. Something that fascinated me during the process was you could see where the ink in Lewis Carroll’s pen was running low and when it was full. The letters actually start to fade in sections then get darker again…. It was something that surprisingly hadn’t occurred to me to begin with, and for a while I was thinking it was me!
One part of our agreement was the Library wanted to see a finished product before I could tell the world what we were doing. So we got a few samples made, which in the long run was a great choice, as now being fully funded via Kickstarter all we need to do is send a purchase order to our suppliers to get starter.
Now that I’ve brought up Kickstarter, let’s talk about the campaign. We didn’t have the funds to publish the book on our own, Angela and I both work full time sure, but publishing a book is expensive! We needed help. So we turned to Kickstarter, there is no better place in the world for creative people like us to reveal our work! Kickstarter is full of likeminded people number one, but also allows you to reach a fantastically diverse community. If your idea can’t make it on Kickstarter, it is doubtful it will anywhere! Well at least that’s what I think anyway.
Running a Kickstarter camping is a crazy ride! We announced a few weeks beforehand via our social media accounts the dates we were launching. We got a couple likes here and there, but not a whole lot of interaction. In a word we were a little worried. Have we done enough, we don’t have a video! (I will write an entire blog post about why we didn’t have a video in the coming days). Our social media fan base was large. But mostly unresponsive. Until about 3 or 4 days out. All of a sudden we’re getting messaged. Asking about time zone differences and things like that. Hey maybe people are listening. The internet can feel like a crowded stadium sometimes with you in your seat trying to scream out a message, think anybody can hear you? A Couple will, but is your message worth passing on to the person sitting next to them? That was our question? Was our message worth passing on?
I didn’t originally plan to spread this over two posts, but this one is getting a little long. In a Few days I’ll post part 2.
Part 2 – The Campaign – Coming soon