Jonas Claesson is a Sydney-based artist who has gained an online following for his drawings of cartoon animals doing everything from surfing to snowboarding. He had often been encouraged by his mother and girlfriend to turn his illustrations into a children’s book, but never had any desire to do so until he came up with a simple, but ingenious, plan.
“I had this idea surfing one day, to draw different animals, from A-Z, starting with Anteater,” Claesson told SURFER. “I went home that night and drew the Anteater. I posted it on Instagram and wrote, ‘Listen, I’m going to draw A-Z, what should it be for B?’ And B was for Badger.”As it turned out, his fans loved the idea and kept sending him new animals. Claesson drew everything from lemurs boosting airs to mandrills carving cutbacks when a fan reached out to him out of the blue with what would ultimately be the basis for his new children’s book, The Surfing Animals Alphabet.
“About halfway through, I mentioned [on Instagram] that I was going to do a book,” Claesson told SURFER. “This young guy James [Redmayne] emailed me randomly and said, “I’ve been bored in class. I wrote these poems for your first ten animals.”And so, with that idea in place, Claesson launched a Kickstarter campaign in October of last year to gain the funding to self-publish his book. His effort was successful, and the first copies of The Surfing Animals Alphabet shipped last month.
So far, Claesson says, the response to the book has been spectacular.
“A lot of parents have reached out, saying, ‘I’m reading this book to my kids every day!’ A lot of them talk about how their kid has a favorite animal,” Claesson told SURFER.
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