KickStarting the dream
The project of animals on bikes!
Kickstarting any idea is a difficult challenge, but with help everything can come true if you have a dream. Steve Domahidy is mad about bikes. He has built his career around the industry. Making highly elegant and robust custom mountain bikes in California, he is one of the leading experts on the bike riding craze. Steve came to me about two years ago, to help assist on a previous KickStarter project, involving animals on bikes. After some discussion the project wasn’t started but Steve had a great love of my work, and said he wanted to work with me in the future on something. In July 2017 Steve contacted me out of the blue and said he had found the project to collaborate on. Steve‘s idea was to inspire young and older people alike to see the value in bikes as not only the means of transportation, but as a vehicle to have an adventure. Around this, a book idea was created, and the visual motivation was to be my illustrations.
Before we go into any great depth about the project, you can view and assist with it’s funding by clicking the button below!
Many of you who follow me and my work will know I have over the past six years done a series of animal illustration under the series title; Animal Behaviour. Steve saw these pieces and saw the potential to use them in his work. Through our discussions after the initial contact in July, we built a small list of potential animals that could work well in the scenario of the book.
The process of drawing the animals wasn’t an initial challenge for me, as I have been doing it in a similar expressive way for six years now. The one main concern I had was the minor complexity of animal anatomy with regard to posturing on the bikes. We have set a story in play now, that contains some 20 illustrations and 15 or so recognisable animals all astride the bike of their choice (or at least the envisioned bike from Steve creative mind).
To help the project along, as the deadline if very tight for this amount of illustrations, several of the sketch have already been prepared in order to ease the preparatory stage of each drawing. In my typical approach I tend to start the drawings on paper, by sketching out the rough. This is one of the easy ways to get ideas going and formulated. Once the rough has been done, and OK’ed, then it is scanned into the computer to be rendered in Photoshop.
Below is an example of the process that is taken to render out a typical sketch and realise it into a digital form. Along with the actual drawing process an amount of time is set aside researching the animals, looking for good reference images for both the animal and the bike and making sure the elements all work well together. The Fennec Fox that can be seen here (which is part of the special pledge reward on the project) astride one of Steve Domahidy‘s own bikes (a Viral Skeptic), was built out of 4 reference images for the fox and 2 reference images for the bike.
All the work is done on multiple layers to allow for the ease of producing relatively complex images. The process really involves the rendering over the scanned sketch. Sometimes the animal or details change slightly, as the sketch is relatively loose. But typically most of the time the design goes according to plan. In all of the cases the images take around 2-3 days to complete one.
The creative team
Steve, Rob and Heidi
Steve Domahidy has spent over 30 years of his life in the bicycle industry in almost every capacity. He has always been inspired by the bicycle, starting his career with his own neighborhood bike repair business when he was only fourteen years old.
In 2004, Steve co-founded Niner Bikes with my partner Chris Sugai and helped to build that company into an internationally successful brand, along the way racking up awards and accolades for the bikes he designed, while head of R&D for that company. Steve stepped away from the day to day at Niner in 2011 and has, since that time, founded his own brand, Viral Bikes, as well as consulting on many other very high profile bike companies including Faraday Bikes (who was just recently purchased by PON), and Factor Bikes (who just got second in the team classification at the 2017 Tour de France).
Steve always considers himself a kid at heart; who loves to ride bikes. This is a passion he holds and one he has been incredibly lucky to be successful in. Steve states;
“I have the best job in the world: to design bikes that I want to ride, and in the process gain joy beyond measure in being able to share that passion with others who love to ride the same bikes. It is at once fulfilling and humbling to know that people around the world are having a blast on bikes I’ve created.”
Now Steve Domahidy want to inspire a new generation of bicycle lovers, and hope to do so through “A Bike for You“. His new children’s illustrated book that brings animals to life, riding bikes, through the illustrations of yours truly.
Along with Steve, there is also Heidi Volpe on the project. She is a freelance design and photo director based in Topanga, CA. Some of her clients include Outside Magazine, Red Bull, Los Angeles Times Sunday Magazine, Playboy, Garden&Gun and Brazil’s Abril Publishing. She publishes a weekly column about photography and consults editorial photographers on branding and site development. She is passionate about cycling, with a penchant for endurance mountain bike racing, specifically long distance single speeding. She is a new backyard bee keeper and launched a gourmet popcorn line, AWESOME POP, in 2014 that focuses on social impact cinema.
As with Steve and Heidi I too have a bike, which I tend to use for exercise. It’s a Marin Muirwood. I found out only recently that Marin are the founders of the Mountain bike craze as well, so I am feeling lucky to have the beautiful bike. Anyway, you all know me very well from my blog, so I don’t need to reintroduce myself.
I am hoping that this project gets off the ground, as I would like to invest in a Wacom Cintiq, in order to complete the work. It will help speed up the process and make my work flow a little more ergonomic and time-efficient.