White Cloud Worlds III gets its kickstart

A counter projected onto the wall of Miramar’s Roxy theater counts down. 5... 4… 3… 2… 1… and with that, the gathered crowd erupts in a chorus of cheers. For Weta Workshop concept designer Paul Tobin, it's a terrific moment, and a chance to take a well deserved breath. The third chronicle in his White Cloud Worlds science fiction and fantasy art book series has reached its Kickstarter goal, and then some.

In the end, 335 backers pledged $41,074 to help bring this project to life. And I’m surprised to say I was one of them. A Kickstarter virgin and a Weta Workshop greenhorn, I landed on the page not expecting to pull out my credit card and drop two hundred dollars. It wasn’t because I was trying to buy the approval of my new colleagues or a new coffee table book to work into conversations, “Oh yes, I work for Weta Workshop now, didn’t you know?” No, here’s the thing: this was an incredibly persuasive and well-run campaign. I bought in on the strength of the Kickstarter alone. I don’t even own a coffee table.

Quality of the volume aside for a moment, the rewards offered to backers in the White Cloud Worlds III Kickstarter campaign were clearly considered and then reconsidered by Paul and Kickstarter Manager Ike Hamon. There was none of the usual key ring and fridge magnet low cost filler. Entry level backing was fifty dollars. Steep, until you consider that this buys you the book and gets it anywhere in the world. Suddenly the price seems generous. In fact, ‘generous’ would be the word I’d use to sum up this effort. From the fifty-dollar mark, rewards were sweetened with signed Giclée Art Prints and original works by the books many contributors. For my money, I got my copy signed by five contributing artists, and Earning her Stripes, a print by terrific Rebekah Tisch.

In total, over 60 artists contribute to the third volume of White Cloud Worlds. Many have worked on acclaimed film properties such as The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies, Mad Max: Fury Road, King Kong, Chappie, Chronicles of Narnia, Avatar and District 9. Their names are also often found on the credit lists of companies like Weta Workshop, Valve, Blizzard Entertainment, Wizards of the Coast, Dark Horse Comics, Paizo Publishing, Fantasy Flight Games, Pikpok Games, Spectrum Fantastic Art and Imagine FX, to name just a few. The book profiles each artist with a collection of their professional and personal artworks accompanied by stories written by the artists: what inspires them, the realities of working as a freelancer, and the way they go about doing what they do.

I’ve now had the good fortune to get down to the design room and preview a copy of White Cloud Worlds III. And, suffice to say, I’m more than happy with my purchase. Heck, it may even be worth buying a coffee table for.

White Cloud Worlds III will be available this December. Signed copies of White Cloud Worlds I & II are available now on wetaworkshop.com

As varied as the land they inhabit, is the mind of the artists contained in ‘White Cloud Worlds’. They'll transport you to the Uchronisms of a WWI landscape traversed by giant robots, the painful, delicate love story of a Centaur and its lady and the heroics of Barbarians and female warriors among many others - these are images to get lost in.

Guillermo Del Toro on Volume 1

"Their collective magic, skill and emotional intelligence leads you, wonder-struck, out of this world and into theirs, never ceasing to challenge, amaze and inspire. The pages are quite literally medicinal"

- Andy Serkis on Volume 2

“Within the pages of this book readers will find examples in which the artist has gone beyond simply the creation of a beautiful painting and has embedded a truly unique idea into their art.”

- Richard Taylor on Volume 1

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