After Midnight Anthology is a collection of beautiful illustrations and comics created by 20 artists. Each artist illustrates what they think happens after midnight. Some artists present their ideas in a comic format, while others do only illustrations. In addition each artist is responsible for writing a page that include concepts and fun facts that relate to their art.
Jennifer Wu grew up the city of Kaohsiung in Taiwan, and majored in Japanese before coming to America. Japanese culture had influenced her art a lot when she was younger. Jennifer Wu said that she is very glad that she came to America because this allowed her to be exposed to different cultures, and ways that people approach art. In turn her vision became wider and really helped develop her aesthetic.
In her spare time Jennifer Wu likes watching Japanese dramas and animation, loves cooking from scratch, and going on Pinterest to find artists that she likes to build up her inspiration folder.
During this past summer Jennifer Wu was thinking if there was anything that she could do before she graduates from SCAD, [Savannah College of Art and Design] something that was more meaningful to herself than a personal exhibition.
That goal had inspired her to create After Midnight Anthology.
“Making a book with talented artists surround me in this creative community at SCAD is really what I want to do. In fact, I think doing a group collaboration is what I felt the most excited for when I applied for SCAD. Each person contributes his or her specialty and at the end we achieve our common goal as a whole is such a beautiful thing. Making a book that you can physically hold in your hands really makes me excited, because the art we create will not be an isolated object but a book that you hold, read, and enjoy.”
Jennifer Wu walks us through the process of how long it takes to create After Midnight Anthology. She said that making the book itself is a long process because they have to meet industry standards.
“Our process is shorter compared to the industry standard, but it still takes about half year from the beginning for the book to be printed out. First you need to plan out the book and make a proposal. The preparation stage is very important. You need to think about the timeline and what you want the book to be like,” she began.
“It [the proposal] needed to be as specific as possible. Then I sent the proposal and invitation to artists. After getting enough artists join, I started a Facebook group for discussions and announcements.”
Jennifer Wu went on to explain that Facebook has been a useful resource to hold group critiques and giving artists a chance, to give each other feedback. Another thing that took a lot of effort was promotion.
“Not only did I need to learn how Kickstarter works, but I also needed to learn how to get more attention online as well as in the local area that I live. Making this book and running a Kickstarter campaign is a whole new thing for me. Fortunately I got friends that are willing to share their Kickstarter experience and help me along. Along the way I encounter situations that I can’t deal with on my own, but I always had someone who is willing to help for nothing in return. I sincerely appreciate that from my heart.”
After Midnight Anthology is Jennifer Wu’s first project, and there were two challenges that she didn’t expect to occur.
“Managing 20 artists is not easy. Everyone has their own schedules and things they are busy with. Pursuing artists to have them meet deadlines, and find more artists for people that withdraw are two things that I did not expect.”
Jennifer Wu said she was struggling with not having a constant style as an illustrator.
“In a panel discussion with an art director from a famous publishing house, he told us it is good to have multiple styles as long as those styles all have consistent quality. I agree with him. Having more than one style I believe opens up more opportunities to different kinds of work. I think the more important thing is to have a consistent working method and quality of work. I work both traditionally and digitally. Depending on the project, I choose a different medium. For the traditional medium, I recently got into pen and ink, and watercolour.”
Jennifer Wu also added that she wants to focus on editorial illustrations for food and fashion, and stationary designs (surface design and repeat patterns).
Jennifer Wu also works as an illustrator for After Midnight Anthology,and she shared that there are illustrations/stories from the book that she can relate the most to on a personal level.
“Both of my stories deal with loneliness because I think midnight is the moment that makes people the most lonely. The first story is about an old man that finds a magical mailbox that allows him to write letters to his deceased wife. The old man’s longing is fulfilled during the night, but the mailbox disappears at sunrise. The second story is about a lonely girl who lives underground. She looks for cats to keep her company during the night.”
Jennifer Wu said that the most rewarding experience in going through with this project, was learning to be professional, responsible, understanding, and being able to compromise.
“To know that people like what you do is the most rewarding part because the courage that we receive from doing this project will last so much longer than the campaign itself. All the artists need support and momentum to keep them creating good work. Since everyone in this project is still young, I believe this experience will be very helpful to all of us.”
Jennifer Wu hopes that readers will be pleased by the design of the book and the design of the layout at first glance.
“I hope they will enjoy the beautiful illustrations that we made with a lot of effort. I hope this book can inspire them to imagine the stories and fantasies.”
You can head on over to https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2102808181/after-midnight-anthology and support the project and make a pledge.
Project closes on 12/10/2014
Special thanks to Jennifer Wu for chatting with me.