Kickstarting Curious Cocktails
Many designer and illustrators feel they have ‘a book in them’ and crowdfunding has made this itch much easier to scratch. We spoke to Sheffield based Lisa Maltby to find out more about her current project (halfway through its campaign and halfway funded) ‘The Glorious Book of Curious Cocktails’, a disgustingly distinguished recipe book, using slugs and slime to teach children about literacy and imagination…
Who are you?
I am a designer, illustrator and lettering artist based in Sheffield. My main body of work is illustration – a lot of my commissions are food illustrations for advertising and editorial but I also enjoy art directing projects that incorporate different skills and that I can work on from initial concepts to final artwork. I also do a lot of speaking and writing – I’m very passionate about the creative community and I like to raise discussions on design thinking as well as giving an honest insight into my creative journey.
How have you found the whole Kickstarter experience so far?
It’s been both exciting and daunting! The project had such a good response when I first put it ‘out there’ that I was encouraged to make it more than just a personal project – Kickstarter was a way of bringing it into reality by people pledging to buy books before I spent thousands on producing them and only taking payment from backers if I reach my goal. Crowdfunding sites have become quite oversaturated in recent years though so it’s a challenge to make your project stand out against so many. I’ve spent a lot of time promoting it – the list of people to write to is endless and it’s tough when you have other client work (and kids!), but It’s been great to involve my six year old – he gets very excited when we get another pledge and he loves the fact he features in the video!
The project has clearly taken a lot of time and effort already – how do you fit it around paid client work? and any kind of plan B if you fail to reach funding? (not that we think you will!)
When you work for yourself you have to get comfortable with quiet periods – all my commissions seem to come at once so it’s all or nothing! I knew I’d be quiet in January so I planned to work on it then as I’d been sat on the idea a while. I always schedule in time for personal projects as they develop my professional work and they’re always the projects that end up standing out more. This one has certainly been more of a labour of love than most – I even created a unique font for it which was probably totally unnecessary but I wanted to make sure it was completely unique!
In terms of failing, I think sometimes you just have to try things, give it your all and if it doesn’t work out be okay with that. That’s tough when it’s so public, and even tougher when you have a kid involved! But it’s all part of being an artist. The projects with the biggest risk of failure usually have the biggest chance of success. If I don’t get the funding I may need to swallow my pride and produce it as a lower quality book but it’s likely it will remain a completely original hardbound book for my kids, complete with torn pages and full of doodles. Hopefully I will get enough funding and more kids and adults can enjoy it!
Any advice for budding Kickstarter hopefuls?
Difficult to say at this stage! Having an original idea you are confident in is vital but that’s worth nothing if you can’t get coverage. It’s all about who you know – I’m lucky that I’ve built up some amazing contacts and a loyal social media following since freelancing – the majority of which are extremely helpful and more than happy to refer me to other people. I think it’s the things out of your control that are tough and a large proportion of it is down to luck. Sometimes you just have to embrace the frustration, uncertainty and hope. You can learn a lot about yourself through those things.