How a Make 100 Project Might Change Your Year

Four creators share how starting small with Make 100 kicked off a year of creative output.

Artist and Make 100 creator Alex Hubbell’s studio

Each January, we invite the Kickstarter community to take part in Make 100, our call for limited-edition projects. The only rule: launch a project with a reward capped at 100 backers — what you make 100 of is entirely up to you.

We started Make 100 in January 2017, and saw a wave of small-scale creative projects from artists, publishers, and designers of all stripes — from 100 photobooks about climate change to 100 lonely whale LPs to 100 boxes of chili peppers. Over 400 creators took part, and many asked if we’d be doing it again the following year. So we brought Make 100 back for 2018, and now we’re gearing up to do it again in 2019.

Considering launching a Make 100 project of your own? Here’s a little extra motivation: it might just kick off your creative career, or take it in a whole new direction. Read on to hear from a few past creators about how participating in Make 100 helped set the tone for the rest of their year.

Rewards from Alex Hubbell’s Make 100 project

Alex Hubbell, 100 Watercolor Indigo Birds

“When I first read about Make 100, it was very serendipitous, because I had just gone through a rough year and painted a series of 100 indigo birds. I had worked for years as a designer, but I was relatively new to fine art. Make 100 seemed like a good way to say, ‘Hey world. I’m a painter now.’

I’ll never forget my first backer. I was blown away. Really. I didn’t realize that there could be a community out there for me, of wonderful people who genuinely want to support what I do. I’m someone who literally had no following, and now, thanks to Make 100, I have begun to support myself through my art. 2017 was the first year I could paint full-time for work, and that was because of Kickstarter.”

Tamara Palmer, California Eating: The Limited-Edition Zine

“The premiere issue of my new zine California Eating was made possible thanks to the supporters of my first Make 100 campaign in 2018. I’ve been a writer for 25 years, but this project inspired me to learn how to photograph and design a magazine, which has been one of the most rewarding creative experiences of my life. I decided to make it a quarterly publication, and am now working on the second issue and gearing up to make it the focus of my second Make 100 campaign in January 2019.”

John Kilduff, Make (Paint) 100 Palm Trees

“Initially, I planned to paint 100 palm tree portraits, but I also painted other palm tree-related ideas that I would never have gotten to without starting out with the 100 palms. You start out with the one idea and then new ideas show up as you dig deeper.”

Photos from the Library of Congress’s Digital Photo Archive

Thierry Blancpain, 100 Views of America from the Library of Congress’s Photo Archive

“It was great to get off to a quick start for the year and immediately create things. I work a lot with typography in my usual work, so it was great to focus on photography, which in turn influenced other projects later in the year. It was really inspiring to see how quickly this all happened out of nothing. Finding all of the images was a lot of work, but I’m excited about the results — it was such a joy to go on these sometimes quite personal journeys with other people’s memories.

I created a small website for the project later in the year, showcasing the first batch of photos I selected during the Kickstarter project. Revisiting the photos and seeing the results as a collection was really interesting, and made me want to work with the archive some more.”

Blancpain’s advice for Make 100 creators: “I would set up a simple rewards structure and not overcomplicate any parts of the project. There are enough things you might not be entirely sure about before hitting the launch button on Kickstarter, so it’s important to know how to create (and produce and ship) your rewards.”