Kickin’ it with Frank Cho and John Fleskes – Drawing Beautiful Women
Our last Kickin’ it with before the Christmas break is a double interview with Frank Cho and John Fleskes in which we talk about their new project – Drawing Beautiful Women: The Frank Cho Method.
4cr: Welcome to Kickin’ It With! We’re doing things a bit different this time around since we’ll be talking to both of you [John Fleskes and Frank Cho] in one go. To get things started, can you please introduce yourselves to our audience?
Frank: Hi, I’m Frank Cho, writer-artist at Marvel comics and the creator of Liberty Meadows.
John: And I’m John Fleskes, publisher of Flesk Publications and director of Spectrum Fantastic Art. I design books and do some writing, too.
4cr: The Kickstarter campaign for Drawing Beautiful Women: The Frank Cho Method has exploded since day one and was fully funded in less than 4 days. Where either of you expecting this kind of response from fans, or did it catch both of you off guard?
Frank: We expected to be successful since I have great and very loyal fans, but I didn’t expect to take off as it did. (Thanks everyone. You guys rock.)
John: I thought we had a good shot at making our goal by the end of the campaign, but like Frank, I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly we reached our initial goal. It costs much more to make a book than what we were asking our supporters for. Their help will go a long way toward covering our costs, while also letting us add more bells and whistles along the way. For instance, the Gallery Edition would never have happened without our Kickstarter supporters.
Frank: John Fleskes means “quality” to me.
John: What it boils down to is that Frank is a good guy; I like him and we get along well; and I happen to love his art, too. We’ve been talking about working together for a number of years. When Frank presented this book idea to me, I said, “That’s the one! Let’s do it.” The Schultz and Brom Kickstarter campaigns went well so we thought we’d try using Kickstarter to help fund Drawing Beautiful Women. Frank will be spending months working on the book. Him having a financial buffer to focus on the book without having to take on paid assignments is hugely helpful. Plus, we are highly motivated knowing we have the pressure of the fans’ trust in us.
What is so appealing about Kickstarter to me is the opportunity to connect directly with our supporters and to be able to upgrade a book without increasing the cover price. Getting the book into as many hands as possible for a good value is very important to me.
4cr: This time around, the project has set all reward tiers as “Ships Within the US Only.” Since Frank’s fans are all over the world, why was this decision made?
Frank: It was a very, very hard decision. Something we struggled with for a long time. John and I went back and forth since I have many fans in Europe and overseas. Here. John will explain it better than I.
John: It was tough to make this decision. It had nothing to do with our international supporters, who were great. But the problem was with the various overseas postal services and the postal rates that always seem to go up in the spring. It’s impossible to determine the postage rate so far in advance. And the weights of the book always seems to increase as we add stretch goals and book upgrades so I can not determine the weights yet either. I wrote up an FAQ with more details on our Kickstarter page. But the good news is that I will be making all of the books available for international purchase on our fleskpublications.com website next fall. I’ll know the package weights by that time and the site can automatically figure out the shipping based on the destination and the current Post Office pricing at that time.
4cr: The book is being offered in a trade paperback version, along with a deluxe hardcover edition. There’s also a crazy gorgeous 12″ x 17″ gallery edition. Other than the obvious difference in cover material and the size of each book, what else can we expect for each version? Frank, are you working on unique content for each version?
Frank: Many of the art in the Gallery Edition will be reproduced at their original art size. So you can see all the pretty little pen strokes. I’ll also draw an original head sketch of Brandy and Truman in the Special Gallery Edition.
John: The publisher’s and gallery editions come with the extra 16-pages featuring an interview with Frank with some supplemental artwork. The size is the big plus since the art will be reproduced large enough for artists to study and also for collectors to appreciate.
4cr: On a side note, Frank, our readers were wondering what has happened to the Bifrost project with Bill Willingham. Do you have anything to say about that?
Frank: It was simply miscommunication. Not only is Bill Willingham a great writer, he is also a very passionate guy. He launched the Bifrost project while we were still in the planning and brainstorming stage. The excitement of the project got the better of him, and he launched it without my full knowledge. That’s why the whole Bifrost Kickstarter was unclear and a bit confusing.
4cr: There have been several stretch goals for the campaign which have already improved the trade and deluxe hardcover editions with double gatefolds to showcase Frank’s art, as well as an exclusive free print only available to Kickstarter backers. Other than the $110,000 stretch goal set to bring the gatefolds to the Gallery Edition, are there any other stretch goals planned for the campaign?
Frank: We have several more exciting stretch goals in mind. We see this campaign as a marathon, not a sprint. We want to release them throughout the campaign evenly. As matter of fact, John has few ready to go and will announce them shortly.
John: Indeed. We just announced a new batch of stretch goals that upgrade the hardback book bindings for the publisher’s editions, add a print of Ivy Doomkitty, add a PDF digital version of the book, and we’ll even do a Cho online video. All of these will be free for everyone who makes a book pledge of $20 or more. And a $10 PDF tier was added which will also give you the Cho online video if we hit our goal. So, lots of new goodies will be coming for free should our support grow.
4cr: It might be too much to ask, but is it possible that we can get an exclusive Liberty Meadows short in this book? I understand that the aim is to have this as a combination of an art book and a proper tool for art students that want to learn new skills or hone their technique, but everything is better with more Liberty Meadows!
Frank: You’ve read my mind, dude. THERE WILL BE many Liberty Meadows comic strips and art throughout the book including new ones, to illustrate or highlight the drawing lesson or information.
4cr: Our time is just about up. Do either of you want to add something else before we end this?
Frank: With the success of this book, look for more book collaboration with me and John. Many more.
John: Yes, I would like to thank everyone who has supported us. It’s such a privilege to be able to work with Frank and the other artists. Each book purchased and every pledge made goes toward new books that wouldn’t have been made possible without you. We’re all in this together. You have our appreciation.
4cr: Thanks to John and Frank for sitting down with us to discuss this awesome project! We can’t wait to get our hands on the end result!