STEM heroes book 1 has been funded on 2017-04-26, yay! Campaign for book 2 coming soon and both books are expected to be ready in June!
So, I moved to Japan for a short period for work and learnt that over here STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) careers for girls are a no-no. Somehow, they are raised to think that if they are smart and independent and like STEM they will automatically cease to have friends and instantly become unattractive. Whaaat?? We need to change this perception!
I’ve been doing a lot of science communication over here and the pattern at each high school seems to be the same. Boys are confident, know what they want to do in the future and are outspoken about it. Girls are shy, which is fine, but don’t seem to be as informed or prepared (or think that it’s ok to give their opinion!). Perhaps in the future we can do more outreach to include younger school children. For now, because I love manga and science and there aren’t many manga books about the subject, I’ve combined them to create a manga series called STEM heroes. Four bright and funny girls use their awesome STEM skills to save the day.
The script for their first adventure is written down and I got myself an illustrator and a translator for the Japanese version. The plan is to bring the idea to life and send the digital version to high schools all over Japan. For that, I will be raising money on Kisckstarter, with a campaign that will start very soon, in December. So, if you are a fan of the idea, watch this space, share and contribute if you can. Although the project started as a way of encouraging girls to take an interest in STEM subjects and careers, and help them realise that they can still be cool and kawaii, the books can be enjoyed by anyone interested in manga and/or science. And no, you don’t have to be a girl to think that more girls should think about STEM careers or to enjoy stories with female heroes.
How to support the project on kickstarter
This could not be any easier! You can either register for an account or now you can even pledge as a guest! Go to kickstarter.com.
Kickstarter does not allow you to choose multiple boxes or more than one of the same, but you can just add the combined value and message me to let me know what extra rewards you would like.
Kickstarter is all or nothing crowdfunding. No one will get charged until the end of the campaign and charges are only made IF the campaign reaches its goal. Otherwise, I get nothing. Campaigns can, however, exceed their goals. That is absolutely fine and this means backers may get extra rewards or some new improved features will be added to the final product.
Supporters backing our project on kickstarter may choose from different rewards for their contribution. These will include:
- Digital version of the manga (Japanese, English or both)
- Printed version of the manga
- Printed + digital manga
- Characters inspired by you
This is the design for the T-shirts of campaign 1. Do you have a favourite character already?
And… we’ve got ourselves a logo!
Here’s the evolution/creation process:
I got it done on fiverr.com, which is another platform I support and love. So much talent out there in the world! So far, all experiences with different artists from around the world have been quite positive. To start off, I submitted as much information about the project as possible and some ideas for the logo. Then, I got four different designs. Three were ok and one I didn’t like so much. Looking at them, I decided to combine 2, as I liked the letters/font of one and the graphic detail of another one. However, instead of a sun, I decided to change the rays a little bit to make them look like the cape of a super hero. I’ve submitted the new idea and voila! I hope you like it!
Preparing this project has highlighted some cultural differences between Europe and Japan that I hadn’t even considered! I’d already seen some signs on the train and thought they were really “strange”. For example, “I never noticed those piercing eyes looking at my backpack on the train” means “keep an eye on your backpack” or “beware of thieves”. “I notice cigarette butts more when I am out walking my dog” means “please don’t litter, and if you see some rubbish on the floor please pick it up to keep our planet clean”. So, it was no wonder that when I tested my campaign pamphlet on some Japanese citizens they had no idea what to do next. Giving a flavour of the project and providing some links and a QR code to scan or click here if you want to know more does not work. All information needs to be already on the pamphlet. So, it was back to the dashboard to make a larger and more detailed poster!