Illustrator raises £25k on Kickstarter for Darwin picture book

Illustrator raises £25k on Kickstarter for Darwin picture book

Sabina Radeva, a molecular biologist-turned-illustrator, has raised more than £25,000 on Kickstarter to create a picture book adaptation of Charles Darwin’s On The Origin Of Species, despite only aiming for £1,900.

Radeva switched to a creative career six years ago and said she has since then been trying to reconcile her interest in science with illustration.

“I am enrolled in an MA illustration course and last year I created the picture book prototype of On the Origin of Species as part of an academic assignment,” she told The Bookseller. “The book is profoundly important - evolution by natural selection is considered one of the 10 best ideas in science, yet Darwin's theory is often misinterpreted or misunderstood. I thought that a picture book could illuminate the subject and inspire children and grownups.”

Once Radeva came up with the idea for the book, she began sharing the project on social media, receiving an “overwhelmingly positive” response.

Darwin’s On the Origin of Species: A Picture Book Adaptation will be Radeva’s first book but she said she was not interested in trying to get a traditional publishing deal, saying: “I have my own graphic design company and I am used to doing things independently. Self-publishing is something I have wanted to try for a long time.”

However, she is considering working with publishers if the book has commercial success and says it is “very exciting what opportunities have emerged from the Kickstarter campaign”.

When asked why her book has been so popular on Kickstarter, she said: “I knew that the topic of evolution is controversial. The original book is a bestseller even today. During my research I found that people gift the book to their children and was surprised by this fact since the book text is lengthy and a bit outdated. I thought that a picture book will be suitable introduction and I tried to capture the inspiring essence of the original book.”

Kickstarter also chose the book as ‘project of the day’ on their social media channels, which helped raise awareness, she added.

She is currently in contact with a children’s writer, who she hopes will adapt the text.

Customers interested in Darwin’s On the Origin of Species: A Picture Book Adaptation can pledge £10 for an e-book, £20 for an autographed first edition, or £60 for three autographed hardback first editions. There are also ‘bundles’ available, one costing £250 and one £500, of books, art prints and activity sheets.