Love Working with Artists

Author: Karen MainsI am enough of an artist that I love working with other artists.  I can remember the first time I was invited to attend a two-week laboratory where one of my books was being turned into a film project.  The screenwriter was a friend who had talked me into letting her submit this entry, and I rather reluctantly made my way to New Harmony, Indiana where I realized for the first time in my life I was with a whole group of people and we were all speaking the same language (artist-ese).

So some thirty years ago, when Jack Stockman, the artist who illustrated the first two books of the Kingdom Tales trilogy, began scheming and dreaming with me of collaborating on his first fully illustrated book project and my first venture into creative writing, it was pure joy to see how Jack’s mind interpreted my stories.  I loved his work and still love it.

Jack’s process, however, is not cost-effective for a tight publishing budget.  It takes Jack a week of work to paint one illustration.  His work is detailed, imaginative and leans back into the classic children’s illustrated books of another generation.  The artists who submitted illustrations for the contest we ran through the 99Designs Web site are using computer technology.  Consequently, the winning artist (from Bulgaria) Zhivko Zhelev, can turn out two to three illustrations per week.

However, David and I (and countless other readers) love the Stockman illustrations.  (The publishers hired another artist to do the third book, Tales of the Restoration—one of the headaches of being an author is being subject to the whims and fancies of the publishing industry.) If the Kickstarter Campaign exceeds expectations—and many do (many also don’t even reach their goals)—there will be enough money to pay Jack to complete the third book with his gorgeous artwork.  This then, will give us the “classic-illustrated set” in addition to the newly-illustrated set with more of a multi-ethnic representation in the art.

Check out this link to see how we are doing in reaching our goal.  Check out the Backer levels to see if there is anything you would like to pre-order for your own family or to give as gifts.  Pledge an amount if you are led to do so.  Then, would you tell your friends about this campaign?  We need lots of buzz, not only to reach the goal but to exceed it so that we can get Jack Stockman started on finishing a long-unfinished project.  Thanks so much.

Kickstarter Artist: Zoltan Tobias

Kingdom Tales Kickstarter Zoltan TobiasThe artist in us all can be sidetracked, but it can never be eliminated.  That’s a fact that Zoltan Tobias, of Szeged, Hungary will readily attest to.  Though currently a university student who is about to become a medical doctor, Tobias still pursues his love for art.

“When I was ten years old,’ Tobias explained, “I saw an extremely inspirational movie about a young child who was drawing comics.  And,” he added with a big smile in his voice, “I discovered that I could do the same thing.”

Like so many artists around the world, Tobias is self-taught.  He prefers digital art, but when dealing with more traditional mediums, he is attracted to markers and ink.  While searching online for digital paint jobs, he came across 99 Designs.  He followed through with signing up because he realized it presented him with a number of promising projects, opportunities to improve himself, and good financial offers.

“I think I was probably attracted to the Tales of the Kingdom project because I have been fascinated by dragons since I was a child, making this an obvious choice for me.”

This particular project did prove to be a challenge for Tobias, especially creating Amanda.  While most of his projects are completed in four to five hours, this one took closer to eight, due to the fact that he made several changes to the piece as he received feedback about the art he was producing.

You can view Zoltan Tobias’ online portfolio and see his incredible illustration of Amanda and the Dragon, created for the 2015 Princess Amanda and the Dragon Wall Calendar, by going here:

When you Back Our KICKSTARTER Project you’ll RECEIVE 3 Award-winning CHILDREN’S BOOKS to READ & ENJOY WITH YOUR KIDS (or GRANDKIDS) — each story teaches character lessons for life, and comes fully Revised, Re-published in print and all eBook formats, and Re-illustrated with Captivating, Original Art!

If you would like to get the Wall Calendar and/or back our Kickstarter Campaign to revise, re-illustrate and re-publish the Kingdom Tales Trilogy, go here:

Imagination Garden

Imagination GardenAbout ten years ago, our septic system started leaking and after the septic crew tore up the lawn under the great ash tree (to connect the underground boxes that had never been connected), I sat on the back porch surveying the BIG mess and just cried. It would take me years, going at the speed most improvements take within the system of the Main’s family schedule, to make things right. I was overwhelmed with the thought of the effort.

Then one morning, I looked at the mounds of overturned clay (we live on a nasty streak that has demanded I build my own black soil) and thought, “Well, OK. Why not turn those mounds into a spring garden?” I moved the 10 peonies bushes, piled on black soil, added some grass and variegated hostas, and over the next decade, cultivated a rather lovely garden where there had formerly been piles of despair.

This took some imagination to see beauty instead of desolation. To me, that is the role of the artist, to imagine what could be.

There are some people, many of them well-meaning Christian folk who think the imagination is a bad thing. To me, I don’t know how any of us go through life without an imagination. How can a cook plan a lovely meal for family or for guests without imagining what it will look and taste like?

How can a decorator redesign the look of a home without imagination? How can a farmer plant vegetable gardens without imagination regarding a harvest to come? More importantly, how can we become intimate with a God we cannot see without imagining his personality and his characteristics and his everlasting love working in our lives as well as the life of the world?

Imagination is essential. I looked at the devastated mounds of lawn in my back yard and imagined that a beautiful garden might exist under the ash tree.

One day some thirty years ago, I also imagined that a book (eventually to become three books) could captivate readers with the scriptural concepts of the Kingdom of God told in literary formats. Those books became The Kingdom Tales trilogy and have brought both tears and delight (not to mention) to the minds of readers.

Imagination (particularly one that becomes persuaded and informed by holiness) is essential.

We are mounting a Kickstarter Campaign to raise funds to revise, re-illustrate (with multi-ethnic characters) and re-publish these award-winning books Tales of the Kingdom, Tales of the Resistance and Tales of the Restoration. Without imagination, great literature of any kind, would not exist. It also takes imagination to conceive of a campaign that will provide some $22,500 to reach this goal.

Can you help us by becoming a Backer (we have the imagination to believe that several thousand people will support this effort)? The Backer levels go from $3 to several hundred dollars. All the levels are basically pre-orders that provide the funds for the republishing campaign. Check out our Kickstarter page.

All it takes is a little imagination to create beautiful things in the world.

Karen Mains

The “imagination” garden this spring/summer as seen from David Mains upstairs study window.