Our journey began in 2009 when David was working on a painting entitled "Beware the Jabberwock." It was then that he first imagined all the Wonderland characters (other than Alice) as animals. Fortunately, we happened to document the evolution of that painting. You can witness the moment of inspiration in this slideshow. For best view on a phone, rotate your device horizontally.
We launched a Kickstarter campaign because we wanted to include deluxe features that most publishers won't fund. What we didn't expect was how much backers would inspire us to take the book to an even higher level of quality. Backer involvement and encouragement led to the following features:
More illustrations: 34 oil paintings and 62 drawings.
New historically authentic text.
Textually relevant color images on every page spread.
Carefully selected page endings (for ease of reading aloud).
Deluxe foil-stamped slipcase and sewn-in red book ribbon.
The Alice book has involved far more work than we could ever have imagined and took us deeply into debt. But we felt very fortunate to have worked on such a meaningful project with a community of individuals who shared our passion for quality and legacy. When David died unexpectedly on the very day the book began binding, we felt more strongly than ever that we had made the right choices.
The rectangular images in the book (and on this website) were traditional oil paintings on canvas. The free-standing images were traditional pencil drawings. Early on, we decided that we wanted the book to be full-color, so we explored various ways to subtly tint the pencil drawings. Eventually, we decided that coloring them digitally best preserved details. Because the drawings are quite beautiful, we hope to offer them soon as small giclée prints on paper.
Cameron, our Alice model and muse, was nineteen when she began working with us. We considered models from a wide age range, because we were primarily interested in Alice's imagined internal world, rather than a literal interpretation of the text.
We chose to work with Cameron partly because of her fairytale appearance but, also, because she felt like Alice to us. She was bright, independent, literate, imaginative, and possessed an ineffable magical quality.
Cameron put up with a lot. For the "house" scene, she scrunched herself into a small cardboard box. For the "pool of tears" scene, she immersed herself, fully costumed, into our clawfoot tub.
The story does take place underground, so we imagine the light to be subdued. But, also, we find the tone of the text to be reflective rather than active or wild. Finally, the focus of David's work is on Alice's internal experience, which is contemplative and quiet.
Not at all. Lewis Carroll tinkered with the text for many years and different versions varied in punctuation and wording. Our goal was to create an edition that would best resemble what Carroll would have chosen at the time of his death. Our version is very close to his final (Macmillan, 1897) edition. Minor corrections were made based upon exhaustive research by Selwyn H. Goodacre and extensive discussion with experts and a team of volunteers. The decisions weren't all easy and some were a bit subjective. (We will soon launch a website that will describe all this in depth.) (Photo, taken by Katie Van Heest, is of publisher Wendy Ice and volunteer/backer Jan Groh making last minute corrections to the text.)
We worked with many volunteers from multiple countries. It's staggering to stop and consider how much assistance we had. This book was built by a community. Volunteers helped with:
Printing and color management advice.
Business and Legal advice.
Proofreading and editing.
If we could have afforded it, we might have hired assistance, but this wouldn't have had such impressive results. Instead of one proofreader, for instance, we had an entire international team that included a number of qualified professionals. Each team member discovered different issues and made a unique contribution. Just as importantly, each became involved out of real passion and concern. Finally, working together was great fun.
Sometime this sprint, we plan to launch a new Kickstarter campaign to create a book in the same size and format (cloth, ribbon, slipcase etc). This will be the second in a series of books that will be designed to display well together. The second book will feature more than eight fairy images by David Delamare with text by Wendy Ice. Contact us if you'd like to be notified when the campaign is launched. (If you're an Alice book backer, you will be notified via Kickstarter.)
Begin by joining a Lewis Carroll society near you (see our Alice links page) and, if you don't have one, find a copy of the newly revised Annotated Alice by Martin Gardner. It offers a cornucopia of fascinating facts about Lewis Carroll, Alice Liddell (the girl who inspired the tale) and the book.