Submitted by Jam on March 25, 2011 - 1:22am
Ok everyone, gather 'round, I'd like to talk to you for a minute about a project my friends are working on.
Now, those of you who have been following me for a few years may have heard about Cloudscape. I was one of a handful of comickers that helped to form this group back in 2008.
Cloudscape is a group of Vancouver-based comickers. Our goal is to support each other and grow the local comics community. Since 2008 we've been meeting every Wednesday to draw together, get feedback on our projects and help each other out.
One of the main things that Cloudscape does is publish anthologies - collections of short stories that showcase Vancouver's best talent. These anthologies are not only our primary excuse for dragging ourselves out of our studios every Wednesday, but they are an important tool for sharpening our skills and getting publishing credits under our belts. To date we've successfully published four books: our debut anthology Robots, Pine Trees & Broken Hearts, Historyonics, a collection of history comics, Funday Sunnies, a full-colour collection of comedy strips, and Exploded View, our award-winning Science Fiction anthology. (I've had stories featured in every single one of these books.)
All of these books were funded by the creators -- out of our own pockets. As you can imagine, this can be tough for a group of independent cartoonists, and the process of making our money back by selling them online and at conventions - while fruitful! - is challenging and slow.
The fifth anthology is Cloudscape's most ambitious yet. It's called 21 Journeys and it's 250 pages in FULL COLOUR. Inside are 21 short stories about journeys large and small, from inside our minds to down the street to around the world. The art for this book is finished and it's ready to go to press.
The book includes lauded autobio comicker Miriam Libnicki, Xeric award winners Jonathon Dalton, Wei Li, and Vanessa Kelly, and local legends John Christmas, Edison Yan and Colin Upton.
I got an early peek at the book and I really enjoyed it. Scott is an amazing designer and this reads really well as an ebook! A few of my favourite stories...
The colours in this book are gorgeous, but the limited-pallete theme really stands out when there are beautiful watercolour pages like Miriam's and Edison Yan's. His journey is one of adolescence... as seen through the eyes of the salmon returning to their spawning ground and a young boy.
Colleen MacIssac's got a beautifully-illustrated science story that I'd never heard: the journey of a vessel that was designed to follow the Gulf Stream back in 1969. Veeeeerrryyy cool.
Newcomer Eric Uhlich has an awesome portrayal of the inner journey to enlightenment.
Founder Jeff Ellis really knocked it out of the park this round with his tale of getting scammed and the last, most painful stages of growing up.
And there's an amazing entry from newcomers Bevan Thomas and Reetta Linjama. A tale of betraying expectations and breaking away from the flock. Veeeeerrry impressed.
If you've read previous Cloudscape books, some of your favourite artists and teams are back from Exploded View and there are some stellar newcomers that I think you'll really appreciate being introduced to.
For this book, Cloudscape's trying to raise the funding in a different way: using an IndieGoGo campaign. (IndieGoGo is very similar to Kickstarter, except that Kickstarter is not available to Canadians. One of the good differences with IndieGoGo is that EVEN IF they don't make their funding goal, they WILL get your donation and you WILL get your book!) For as little as $5 you can help us print this book and get yourself an ebook version. There are lots of other great donation incentives, like a huge library of titles by our contributing members and original art!. They're over a third of the way there already,
but there's only 10 DAYS TO GO!
I'm not involved in this particular book (the deadlines overlapped with *my own* journey to Thailand!), but I've read it and it's definitely a solid book.
Supporting this project DIRECTLY supports independent comickers. First and foremost, their hard work will see print, and the artists will be able to continue to sell this book. Cloudscape will have a big leg up towards their next project (which is VERY cool and I WILL be involved in.) Many of our members have used the skills and/or contacts that they've gained through Cloudscape to aid their own projects and careers. Three of our members, since joining Cloudscape, have won Xeric awards (a prestigious grant that is used to help creators self-publish their own stories). Many new webcomics have launched, and most importantly, we're meeting new creators all the time.