Take A Look Behind The Drawing Board
Photographer Greg Preston published The Artist Within through Dark Horse Comics back in 2007 and he has decided to publish an updated version of the book, funding it through kickstarter. Tripwire spoke to Greg Preston to find out more about his new campaign which has just launched…
TRIPWIRE: What was the impetus for creating another Artists Within book?
Guilt! lol! When The first book came out in 2007, It included 101 of the approximately 150 portraits I had taken to that point. Dark Horse had produced a beautiful book, but I still had over 50 unpublished portraits in the can. Because I was new to publishing, I had promised the artists that they would be in the project (there were some hurt feelings, and a few artists dropped out), but I really wanted to make good. So, I just figured that if those portraits were ever going to see the light of day, I would need to do a second book, and I was glad to continue going out and meeting more of these amazing people. I love going to artists studios and taking portraits. So, I just continued slowly working on the project and now have another bunch of portraits ready to send out into the world.
TW: The first one was published by Dark Horse. What made you decide to fund it via Kickstarter?
About a year ago, I approached Dark Horse with the new project and they were noncommittal about publishing another book of portraits. The first book had pretty much sold out two printings, and it had never even been put in Dark Horse’s catalogue. But the bottom line is it didn’t make enough money for them. I think due to the changes in the economy and the comic book industry, money for this type of project has dried up a bit. I did feel out a couple of other publishers without much success. The Idea of going with a Kickstarter came from a couple different sources, two were my friends, artist Olivia De Beradinis and her Husband Joel Beren, who were having success with doing a Kickstarter for one of their projects, and another friend, publisher John Fleskes, had multiple Kickstarter successes. They encouraged me to try it. It was all very exciting to try something new; it seems like with Kickstarter the sky is the limit.
TW: How different is it to the first book?
The new book has 100+ new portraits, plus I included 4 outtakes from the first book. New photos of Jack Kirby, Al Hirschfeld, Chuck Jones and Al Williamson will be included. The new book has about 50% color photo’s, where the first book was all B&W, and also I have included a quote from each artist.
TW: Is it a photo book, an interview book or a hybrid of the two just like its predecessor?
Pretty much the same as book one, with the addition of the quotes.
TW: How many artists are in the second book?
It’s going to be close to 120, maybe a few more.
TW: What was the criteria for including particular artists in this volume?
Like you, I am such a huge fan of comics and cartooning, so my ear is always to the ground. So between other artists being excited about someone I really should consider, my benchmark for a newer artist was to be a published professional in the industry. Most of the artists you’ll probably know, but there are some new “up and comers” too that I’m sure will be all the rage soon.
TW: Will it include a number of the artists who were featured in the first volume?
Just 4 or 5 outtakes from the first book
TW: How many artists are new for the second volume?
115 or more. My secret here is that I have another trip planned….I just can’t seem to stop myself.
TW: How have you found funding it via Kickstarter?
It’s been a lot more challenging than I thought it would be. It really is a lot of work keeping up with it, but it’s a great learning experience. if I do it again I would probably do a little more work on the front end reaching out and setting up networks to get the word out sooner, maybe spend a few months on preproduction steps making sure no stone is left unturned . It’s important to pre-plan as much funding as you can.
TW: What did you learn working on the first volume that you have been able to apply with this book?
If anything, that people want a little more information, i guess. The idea for adding the quote came from a review, it went something like “here is Greg Preston standing in the artist’s studio, could he have asked a question?” And I thought “well that’s a good idea!” But in the end, I thought that instead of my stories, maybe we should just hear from the artists themselves, and see what they’d like to share.
TW: How much extra photography needs to be done before this volume can be completed?
Just a few-like I said before, I have a few secret trips planned. Shhhhh-my wife doesn’t even know about these.
Here’s the link to Preston’s kickstarter campaign which is well worth checking out