Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Interview with illustratus

The duo behind ghost is a new creative outfit called illustratus - also know as Kit and Jeff Turley. Illustratus is a design company focusing on quality products such as illustrated books and more. They have worked several years in the animation industry and have noticed that the kind of talent and passion of our peers can have a lasting impression on audiences.

From reviewing their debut book I wanted to find out the inspiration behind it and how it came to be crowdfunded on Kickstarter.

BWB: What inspired you and Jeff to put ghost together?

KT: The idea really came about between Jeff and Chris Sasaki. They were two artists who admired each others work and wanted to collaborate on something. One day they were talking about how they loved scary stories and how there didn't seem to be new scary stories that we grew up with- like Goosebumps, Sideway stories, etc.- stories that had that classic, timeless feel about them. They were imagining spooky stories that would be read around a campfire and remembered forever. 

For me, what inspired me to actually pursue this project was the memory of my mom reading my sisters and I stories before bed. She'd do the voices and play all the parts, and it was memories like that that made me want to create something that could provide similar childhood memories for kids. 

BWB: Did you approach any publishers before deciding on the crowdfunding route?

KT: We did not. Right from the idea of Ghost, we knew we wanted to be in control of the publishing.

BWB: You both work for huge animation companies. Did you find it hard to fit in the crowdfunding responsibilities around your busy work schedules?

KT: It is hard working a full time demanding job and also trying to pursue your own projects. But, what was great about the Ghost production schedule was that we all took turns in having our busy times. For example, at the head of production I was somewhat busy in plotting out the production and crowdfunding schedule. But, this was only for a couple weeks. Then our writers, Blaise and Jesse, were super busy in drafting/writing/editing all 13 stories for the next 6ish months. Next up was Jeff and Chris' crunch time, illustrating the whole book in six months. And then back to me, for going public with the crowdfunding and making sure we got the funds and managed all the book fulfillment. Because we each had moments of rest between times of business, it made it completely manageable. 

BWB: The Kickstarter for the book was over double your original goal. Did this response surprise you?

KT: It completely surprised us. We had not idea how the kickstarter was going to go- I had all sorts of advertisement contingency plans to hopefully gain more support, but it ended up not being needed. We were truly blown away. But more importantly, the kickstarter response was really encouraging and inspiring- it showed us that people were really on board with the idea of Ghost, that we weren't just making something for the heck of it.

BWB: You collaborate with several other creatives for ghost. How did you select who to work with?

KT: The team was carefully selected based on people we knew would be just as excited to work on a personal, outside work project as we were. At the time, Jeff was working with both Blaise and Jesse. He knew that they were talented writes who had good intentions when it came to creating- not out for stardom or fame, but interested in creating something special for audiences.

BWB: What is your favourite part of the book? 

KT: My favorite part of the book are the poems. I love poetry and seeing them alongside the prose pieces provides nice break ups. For Jeff, he really enjoyed the richness in the writing, the book offers a classic tone of storytelling complete with cleaver twists and top quality suspense. By far his favorite part of the book is the way the stories are told separately but are coherently harmonized with a witty Prologue and Epilogue.

 Is there anything you would change if you made this book again?

KT: We always say we'd love more time. This book is like a gigantic compilation of art, both written and verbal, and as artists we always see things that we wish we could fix/change.

BWB: Any plans for a follow up?

KT: There are plans for a Ghost II- slowly in the works, but definitely something the team wants to pursue based on how well Ghost was received.

Thanks to Kit and Jeff for taking the time to answer my questions. ghost is available to buy now from the illustratus online shop here.

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