How a Japanese illustrator crowdfunded a book of wonder



This is part of our Crowdfunding in Japan series (RSS). Services like KickStarter have become a global phenomenon with the power to let creative individuals take their ideas to new heights. It’s happening here in Japan too, most notably on Campfire, the country’s answer to Kickstarter.

Here’s a fun new Campfire project that aspires to create a magical short story. It springs from the mind of illustrator and graphic designer, Hidehito Shinno, and hopes to bring many eccentric characters gather together in a single book. Mr. Shinno thinks freedom is particularly important in producing his works, and this story expresses the fun of an “anything goes” mentality, and a strong departure from reality.

He plans to make a full-color soft cover book of 20 to 30 pages. And while such a plan is not so remarkable by itself, we do find it interesting how Shinno has decided to pay for his project. For many illustrators looking to make a new book, funding is often the main obstacle. But now, like other creative spirits in the digital age, an illustrator can make money through a crowdfunding service like Campfire or Kickstarter. And that’s what Shinno has done. On Campfire, he can promote his work, and eventually publish a book which can then be used as a part of his portfolio — which could then in turn, kickstart more opportunities.

The progress for this particular project is updated continually via ‘the activity report’, so the patrons can observe and enjoy the process of the story’s creation. Mr. Shinno also provides illustrated icons, badges, stickers, and posters to the project’s supporters.

The target amount that was initially set for the Campfire project was 250,000 yen (almost $2,700), and it has far surpassed that goal by reaching 363,500 yen. Clearly a little ingenuity on the business side of things is a big help to the creative process as well!