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Write On Ottawa: Talented illustrator turns to crowdsourcing to help publish two children’s books

By Alejandro Bustos on September 29, 2013

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Gerry Capelle has had an impressive career in animation, ranging from his work on the TV show Arthur, to previous assignments with such legendary publications as National Lampoon, Raw and Heavy Metal.  His long list of credits can be seen on IMDb, in addition to his design and storyboard work for commercials in the United Kingdom, New York City, Australia, Montreal and Toronto.

Currently living in Perth, which is located about an hour south-west of the nation’s capital, the former longtime resident of Ottawa is now working on a new project involving two children’s books that he wrote.  The beautifully illustrated works contain 29 short stories told in rhyme, and while they focus on childhood sensibilities, they can be read by anyone with a child’s heart.

web-cops“Each story (is) not tailored for any particular age group, but always staying true to my child mind as much as possible,” says Capelle in an email to Apartment613.

To fund his project, he has turned to Kickstarter in order to raise $8,500.

“Why did I choose Kickstarter?  I want to raise the funds to print these books,” explains Capelle.  “I’m kind of semi-retired; retired is a ridiculous word in relation to me, it means not working for pay, most of the year.  Which I can manage so far and which allows me to do these meaningful efforts.”

The inspiration for his books come from numerous sources, ranging from stories told by his friends to images that he saw several decades ago.

TOBY and WiFi (2)“You know how your memory accrues all these fragments of experience, like the story that opens the pitch video on Kickstarter about the kid who gets his head stuck between the school fence bars?,” says Capelle.  “It came from an anecdote a friend told me 40 years ago that a paramedic told him about just how they deal with that problem.  It was so simple, ingenious and metaphoric that it stuck in my mind all those years.”

Other stories were inspired by experiences in Capelle’s own childhood.

“Another one came from from this photo I saw in a magazine when I was about 12 years old – which was a long, long time ago – of these lab beagles harnessed and in face masks being forced to inhale cigarette smoke,” he recalls.

“It shocked my little kid mind and stuck there all these years.  I wrote a story, in verse, and quite humorous, about the one that got away.  So, it’s those kinds of fragments of experience that we all have glommed to our cores that served as the source for quite a number of these tales.”

The Kickstarter campaign runs until October 12

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