I'm almost done with my very first picture book for Mimochai! It started out as a simple story about life and adventure, but it's turning into so much more than just a book. Read on for more backstory about the story, process, and our very first Kickstarter campaign!
"We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time." - T. S. Eliot
What is it about? On a basic level, Let's Go Explore follows a pair of little explorers through various stages of adventures. It's all about exploration and discovery. Yay!
On another level, the whole thing is pretty much one big metaphor about taking on the adventure of life and discovering all we could be. And rather than making it one straightforward cheerful adventure, it honors both the light and dark moments, the ups and downs we will all go through.
I hope it gives a feeling of wonder and awe, even in times of falling or being lost. And of course, hiding little sprites throughout the spreads makes everything better ;)
You can read the entire text on the Let's Go Explore page.
What it means to me. I have a bunch of stories in mind and wanted to start with something simple but very meaningful to me. This story is something I've lived through in the past few years, in both career and personal life. I have heard from so many people that are either going through something similar or scared about how to start on their own journey, so I hope it resonates with others regardless of where along the path they are.
Marking up the original illustrations as I started working on the actual book.
The Illustrations. Visually, it was great to be able to explore different styles through the initial process (more on that below). What I love about personal projects is that having the freedom to really push myself in new directions. In this case I can really see how much I grew from the first painting to the last.
I'll have to do a separate post on what inspires and influences me, but safe to say I can see strains of video games, animations, comic books, screenprints, kidlit, and good ol' nature running through everything I do.
This shows the exact panel where we decided to hide sprites in the drawings.
Thanks to everyone who followed along!
Interactive. Let's Go Explore started out as interactive project on Instagram @himimochai. I wrote the text and sketched out a rough storyboard, then posted the colored panels one by one as I finished them in order.
The styling and direction of the storyline was influenced by comments and suggestions from followers. In this way, it really was an unpredictable journey that resulted in an outcome I wouldn't have had had I done it alone.
A peek at the storyboard transition process :)
I use Concepts app to draw my storyboards.
Difference in Design. Once the series was completed, I reformatted and edited the drawings to fit a storybook format. It's quite different to design for individual squares vs. a book with page flips! Some panels had only minor changes while others went under a stylistic overhaul, but the essence has remained the same throughout.
This was definitely not a normal book-making process, and in a way it may have taken longer than if I had just gone straight to the book process on my own. However, this was a more engaging and fun experience, and I really think it lead to a different result than what I would have done on my own (in a good way!).
Let's Go Explore is going to be my first Kickstarter campaign for Mimochai! It will launch next week, Tuesday 11/14, so please save the date <3
An Unexpected Decision. I didn't start out planning to do a Kickstarter campaign with this. I've backed a few projects on Kickstarter and have always been curious about doing my own. But it's a rather intimidating prospect, and honestly I'm terrible at asking for help. However, I had such a great time with the interaction of the original story, and wanted to figure out how to bring that in with the production of the book.
Coincidence? Sign? Right when I was debating whether or not I should do it, a new episode of one of my favorite podcasts popped up: NPR's How I Built This with Perry Chen of Kickstarter (I love this series! Give it a listen if you haven't!). I loved the backstory and what they're all about. I decided that was enough of a push/sign to bite the bullet and just do it! Thanks Perry.
Really, I want to find a way to really invite people into my journey into the next stage with Mimochai. I'm ready to create more characters and make more things that brighten people's days. I want to explore more interactive storytelling through technology. There's so much I want to do. And instead of going at it alone, I'd love to see what we can accomplish together.
Let's go explore :)
* UPDATE *: Wow our Kickstarter did so much better than I could have ever imagined! We hit our base goal in half a day and ended up raising over $30K, complete with nail-biter ending! I will definitely create another post about this experience when I get a breather. In the meantime, you can check out the archived Kickstarter page here. Production time is a whole other beast! I'm loving it. Thanks for your support and stay tuned :)