Unconditional – The Illustrated Adventures of Tristan the Teddy Bear
By Nick Davis | Illustrated by Dan Nokes
In this room you will find a small wooden shelf at the head of the bed, and on this shelf is a set of books, an alarm clock, and sometimes a small collection of loose change. This is where the most faithful of friends sits day after day, night after night, unmoving, a little dusty and threadbare. He wears a red stocking cap and has amber eyes, yet he never blinks, and a smiley mouth yet he never talks. His honey fur once fluffy and soft is worn with age; if you look closely enough, you can see a little white stuffing poking out the side of his portly belly. It never stopped him from giving unconditional hugs and he never once wavered in his love for his child.
It is said Teddy Bears and Cuddly Toys are a child’s greatest protector and champions of imagination. When a child goes to sleep these Cuddly Defenders watch over them to scare away Boogeyman and his legions of monsters under the bed.
Did you know teddy bears perform a secret duty? A task that is one of the most important and sacred in the whole world? When a child sleeps at night their teddy bear vigilantly watches over them to protect them from the monsters under the bed. Join Tristan the teddy bear and his friends, the Cuddly Defenders, on their all-ages illustrated adventures to stop the Boogeyman and the monsters under the bed from taking over bedtime.
Did you know Teddy Bears have been protecting children from Monsters under the bed since 1902?
A Teddy Bear Tale is the story of Tristan the Teddy Bear and his last night of guarding his child from the Monsters under the Bed. On this final night the Monsters under the bed are unleashed by the wicked Bogeyman. Tristan must defend his child from Goblins, No Names and No Noses, the Slobbering Slobs, the Knockers, Blighters and Silly Buggers, Blue Skins with bald heads and a Dust Dragon with razor sharp teeth. With his child’s innocence at stake this heroic Teddy Bear must find a way to defeat them all and stop the Bogeyman from claiming his child.
We all remember that special stuffed animal we had as a child, the one that we couldn’t leave home without. Now you can pass those cherished memories onto your little ones with this wonderful tale of adventure and whimsy about a child’s teddy bear, Tristan, who defends his child while he sleeps from the monsters under the bed.
Unconditional is a 170 page graphic novel that collects together the complete teddy bear tales work, including; A Teddy Bear Tale, Teddy Bear Tale II & Tristan & the Cuddly Defenders: Friends, Menace of Mek-A-Nor and Tristan’s final tale Out Of The Attic.
Preview of the Art of the Teddy Bear Tales
It All Began With One Little Teddy Bear
The story began early 2011 (maybe earlier, but my brain is swiss cheese for dates) as a scatter of words that came in my head after looking at an abandoned Teddy Bear on a shelf. The little fella was dusty, leaning to one side and had long been ignored; however the amber eyes still sparkled and there was still a smile on his face. You can read these first words below.
Sitting on the shelf is a Teddy Bear, no different than any other Teddy Bear you would find in the store, or in the arms of their child, or, like this bear, left abandoned on a shelf somewhere. Here they all sit, without protest or complaint, and wait. Watching their child sleep at night, for the Teddy Bear has a secret, they vigilantly stand watch to protect children from the Monsters under the Bed.
As with many things, life stuff got in the way and I didn’t return to this paragraph until our writing group started their Impossible Things Anthology. Even then I submitted a story about a Steampunk Pilot’s last flight. I then returned to the tale of this little Teddy Bear because the Anthology had room for a second story, and from there the tale of Tristan really began. The short paragraph was expanded and became part of the story of a Teddy Bear’s love for his child that grew up playing with him, turned into an epic fight for his child’s innocence on the last night before this child packs him off into the attic. I was heavily influenced by the work of Roald Dahl with his fantastical grotesqueness comical delightful descriptions of the bad guys and went over the top with the Monsters, and the story became a total joy to write. At the time the story was just called Unconditional.
I finished the story in late September and submitted it for the Anthology. I figured I would release the story as a solo eBook once the edits came back and the Anthology was released for a couple of months. Then something very interesting happened, Dan Nokes an indie artist I knew from the Comic book convention circuit started to run a Quick Sketch challenge were he challenged you to submit a description and he would draw it. So I challenged him to draw an illustration of a Teddy Bear defending his child from the Monsters under the bed.
And what an image it was, it summed up everything about the story in one illustration and it got me thinking. Should this story be an illustrated tale? I asked Dan for quote to see how much, he sent it to me and I knew, although I couldn’t afford it, I would kick myself if I didn’t give this a go. So I turned to Kickstarter to find my funding and as Dan told me, he sent the quote that night, and when he woke up in the morning he saw a Kickstarter project with his sketch attached to it and almost at my funding goal.
To describe the story within a line, I changed the name from Unconditional, to A Teddy Bear Tale it summed up the story perfectly. After that, everything else just fell into place, Dan worked through a series of sketches for Tristan, the Bogeyman and the Monsters pretty much hitting the look on their head each time and at the end of October we hit 200% funding! Again, I want to take this moment to thank everyone who believed in this project to fund it!
Dan busied himself through November getting the color illustrations done, repeatedly knocking the ball out of the park with a series of beautiful ink washed pieces of art. I worked the book layout as I got the art and as Dan wrapped up his end. I completed the production end and the book was published by December 10th, 2011, from inception to completion, it was a five month time line, but taking out the life stuff the entire production time including writing to finished product was about 2 months. The entire story was a magical adventure and although the tale is the end of Tristan’s time with his child, it is just the beginning his real adventures. I hope you stay with us as we explore Tristan’s world and discover all the wonder (and Monsters) waiting for him.