“The chance to bring a comic of my own into the classroom seemed like a no brainer” Ryan K Lindsay on new book Ink Island is perfect for kids and teachers

It’s been another bumper month for Kickstarters, and it wouldn’t be a crowd-funding extravaganza without the Aussie King of Kickstarter Ryan K Lindsay (Chum, Deer Editor and EIR). Instead of being another gritty crime drama, Ink Island is an all ages adventure starring his own kids that comes complete with a teaching pack for families and teachers.  So we decided to catch up with Ryan to find out the secrets of a good Kickstarter, why he’s aiming it at kids, as well as the mysteries of Ink Island.

You’re about to launch a new Kickstarter for Ink Island, which is hot on the heels of campaigns for Deer Editor, EIR and more, what is it about Kickstarter that you find such a great platform for financing your comics? Is it the freedom from publishers or the immediacy with your readers?

Ryan K Lindsay: I absolutely love Kickstarter and how it works for self-publishing comics. I certainly love the freedom, and that uninhibited connection with your audience is great, but for me it’s about being able to expand the scope of what you are offering.

I can sell the digital comic for $1, as I would on my own site, or on ComiXology, but in a Kickstarter, I get to offer other stuff that won’t see daylight anywhere else at all. I can offer deluxe PDFs that run over 100 pages, I can value add with a Creator’s Commentary audio file that’s me talking over the comic so you can see into its creation, and what thoughts I have after having finished creating the book.

Those are things I don’t think would work so well just sitting on your site and hoping people will buy them.

Tell us a bit about Ink Island – who are the characters and what is it all about?

RKL: Ink Island is an all ages one shot about two children [my children] who live in a lighthouse, and what’s a lighthouse really there for if not to keep the monsters in the dark away. So what happens when the globe breaks?

It’s a really fun adventure romp brought to life by the amazing Australian comics sensation, Craig Bruyn. I’m really excited for people to get their hands on this, and their kids’ hands on this, because it’s a really funny book, but it’s also got a huge chuck of heart wedged right into it.

It’s an all ages book, which is a bit of a departure from Deer Editor and Chum, why have you chosen to write a more family orientated book – is it the parent in you?

RKL: It’s definitely the parent in me, hell yeah. I want stuff my kids can read. Though on this project specifically, the project came about because I love Craig Bruyn, and I love his expressive and very all ages style he uses for pin ups. Eventually I snapped and pleaded with him to work with me on something, and so this project was born.

You also mentioned it having a teaching pack. Tell us a bit about that? Is that intended to get kids in school reading comics? Or as a way to get new readers into comics? Either way, it sounds like a great idea? Are you still teaching yourself?

RKL: I am a teacher, still full time, and with nearly a decade and a half experience in the classroom, and I love teaching comics. I do it whenever I can. So the chance to bring a comic of my own into the classroom seemed like a no brainer. I then realised, after my directorate did a spotlight on my comics teaching in class and how it marries ICT and Literacy, that I had some knowledge in this area, plus a lot of teaching friends would call on me whenever they needed targeted materials for using comics in the classroom.

From this, the Ink Island Teaching Guide was born. A collection of lessons for use in upper primary/elementary classes, there’s reading and art and writing and more bundled up across a variety of lessons which any teacher can run with, or adapt into other situations. I truly believe that good comics in the classroom can unpack a great detail of storytelling nuance and critical thinking, so I’m looking forward to teachers running this resource in their classrooms.

And finally, what’s next for you – I saw on social media you had your campaigns blocked out, so can you let us know a sneak preview of what is next on your list?

RKL: I love Kickstarting one shot comics because I know we can create the book first and then sling it into the world, and the audience doesn’t need to catch us up on anything further down the track. They get it all in one shot, it seems ideal for the platform, and so I’ve been assembling a few teams to collaborate with to create one shots and at present there are 3 more nearing completion – a spacesuit noir, a teen superpowered sleepover, and a lady viking ghost story – and I’m hoping to bring them all to readers through Kickstarter as they roll into the final stages of completion.

Beyond that, who knows. I’d be interested in tackling something larger on Kickstarter, but for now, I’m focusing on one campaign, for one comic, at a time.

You can pledge your support for Ink Island on Kickstarter here. And we’ll have more from this interview in the next issue of The Pull List, on sale May 1st!