Kickstarter, the Future of Publishing, and How Renderosity Helped Shape My Career

August 11, 2012 8:55 am

Tags: 2D, 3D, Birds of Lore, Illustration


I am a full-time, freelance illustrator. While I’m not rich or famous, I can say that I make a modest and happy living doing what I love. I feel that I am indebted to Renderosity for two reasons:

One, I was lucky enough to take 1st place in the 2008 Christmas Art Contest, thereby securing a full copy of 3D Studio Max, which I use every day of my life. I’ve won a few other awards, like placement in “Society of Illustrators, West” and a silver “Mom’s Choice Award” for a series of children’s books, but honestly, nothing beats a stable, legal suite of tools. Best contest ever.

Two, I visit Renderosity often for inspiration and the infinitely useful offerings from the store’s 3D wares. What if it’s 4 AM, and I have a project due that includes showing a complete, messy kitchen in the scene? I’ve finished the room, the textures, the lighting, and the principle cast of characters...but now I need props...How do I add 30 background details and keep my health and sanity? I might just find the boost my scene needs on Renderosity. As I said, infinitely useful and ultimately part of the total equation of survival for future illustrators. Thank you, sincerely, creators of 3D content libraries.


I also wrote in to mention that I am currently trying out the Kickstarter model of publishing at the moment. In case you haven’t heard, Kickstarter is one of several crowd-funding web sites. This is the basic formula for getting your book idea out there, from the last 100 years:

1) Spend an innumerable chunk of your life securing an agent-either an illustration agent, or a literary agent, or both (harder than it seems!). You will meet with resistance, as agents get inquiries every day. Did I mention that illustration agents take 25%, one of the highest percentages taken, from the one of the most modest artistic trades.

2) Then spend several years submitting your manuscript. Collect lots of rejections based solely on the disallowance of trend lists, or the capricious sifting of interns through the “slush” pile of unsolicited ideas...Yeah, your idea is pretty much considered refuse by the industry because they just don’t care much about originality. They want time-tested and safe book ideas that adhere to media trends. Sad but true.


With crowd funding, now, you can let the people decide if they want to pay for your book “in advance,” which ultimately lets you create (without corporate edits!), print and publish your own project. It might be easy to make broad assumptions about the merits of funding art this way, but let’s face it, it’s a wholly new channel for people whose creativity has been stifled. I believe crowd funding is here to stay, and will give luck and hope to artists who work very hard at their own ideas, but have no way to share them.


My wife and partner on the book, Audrey Durney (also a talented, degree-holding illustrator), and I have always had an affinity for medieval bestiary books, illuminated manuscripts, old Dungeons & Dragons art, H.P. Lovecraft’s stories, and Brian Froud’s book “Faeries” (for one)...and Dr. Who...which pretty much sums up the inspiration for “Birds of Lore.”

It’s a book of mythological birds from throughout time, legends, folktales, paranormal stories and literature with what we hope is eye-popping illustration. Art-wise, the artists of Birds of Lore are very different. I am an unapologetic 3D artist, and Audrey is a vector art and Painter guru. We also hope to use the Kickstarter budget to bring in at least 4 guest illustrators who are renowned for their fantasy prowess, like the wonderfully unique art of Socar Myles, for example.

*We are also inviting submissions (concept sketches or final art) from anyone at the $25.00 or higher pledge level. We are going to pick at least 3 favorite submissions and pay for their inclusion in the book.


Of course I am hoping beyond hope that you’ll take a look, and perhaps decide that, much like the many 3D bits and druthers that I happily added to my shelf from Renderosity talent, you might also need this book for inspiration, and you might even love the idea that you are handing money straight to a rogue 3D artist, instead of an industry that has become a series of walls and gouges for creators.

If you want to see our project “Birds of Lore,” please go to

Pledges are backed by Amazon,which makes it safe and easy to become a backer. Our backers enjoy personal notes and have a direct impact on the book.


Kindest Regards and Appreciation. Keep working on your own ideas!

For more information on the “Birds of Lore” project, please go to

All supporting images are copyright.
Images cannot be copied, printed, or reproduced in any manner
without written permission from Ryan Durney.

**Please note: If you find the color of the text hard to read, please click on "Printer-friendly" and black text will appear on a white background.**

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