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SYMBIOSIS: An art book exploring a world where all technology is powered by biological engines that are deeply linked to humans
SYMBIOSIS: An art book exploring a world where all technology is powered by biological engines that are deeply linked to humans
1,149 backers pledged $63,491 to help bring this project to life.

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Update, long overdue!

21 likes

Dear patient backers, 

I came to post an update and realized how long it has been and wow. My apologies. The separate "more frequent updates" have been minimal too. Time has been passing faster than I'd care for it to. But, work critical to getting things ship-shape has been happening in the meantime.

I've been focusing on trying to get the freelancing ball rolling past the point where I can actually have a surplus to start saving, (This has been making the rounds lately if you want a peek into the life of a somewhat average comic artist. It's pretty bleak. Working in comics isn't always like that, but often can be. Live the dream, everybody! :D * ) and that took way longer than expected due to a project that I was working on that I thought was a Sure Thing, but then wasn't. (Note to anyone pitching comics: Never count on one thing, no matter how sure things might seem. Also be prepared to wait FOREVER.) Throw in various therapeutic things I needed to do to undo burnout/unbreak my brain, and that equaled a filled schedule. But, now I have a long term (for comics) gig at Image (to be announced at Image Expo) and finally have my ducks in a row to get things back to where they need to be for the book to complete, print, and ship. 

When I last checked in on shipping rates (shortly before when Things Fell Apart) the shipping quote I had from DHL was way higher (by 15-20USD each) than I was given when I started the campaign. Not exactly sure why that happened. DHL can be...byzantine. There was a general DHL rate increase, but not that much. So I need to earn money to pay for that, plus to pay some people to delegate various tasks to so I can streamline the fulfillment process, and pay down credit cards a bit so I can have some financial padding built in.

So long story short, I've been rebuilding my mental and fiscal foundation so I can do things right, and am finally properly entering the "make money money" stage, after which I'll take a break to finish book art (we are about 90% finished) and get it formatted for the printer, printed and shipped. (and copy edited, for those who are painfully aware of my poor grammar/syntax) Due to the timeline for the comic gig, and how back-end money is paid out (I'm getting a page rate too, but it won't be enough alone to cover everything) we are looking at next spring for a ship date. I'll release the Ebook as soon as it is formatted, so people won't have to wait for print if they don't want to. 

Still lots of work ahead, but I'm excited to see this project finished and get out in the wild. Any reports of the death of my enthusiasm for this project are greatly exaggerated. (apologies to Mark Twain, there.)  I'm just sorry a bunch of personal stuff got in the way of that happening sooner than later. 

I'm going to start doing Symbiosis work as part of my warmup, so there will be more art to look at soon, as well. 

Again, thank you all for your patience and support, full speed ahead, damn the torpedoes, etc., etc. Feel free to message me or email me (my name ran together at gmail.com) with any questions or comments. 

All the best, 

steven

*Regarding the whole "it's hard to make decent money in comics" thing, you just learn to deal with it or find other revenue. That write up was presented more as a source of an insider's viewpoint vs a cork-popping for a pity-party.

Back on burner, on low-medium heat.

9 likes

Gentles, 

Thanks for your patience while I took some time to get my head screwed around back into a position that wasn't staring into oblivion. I'm still pretty burnt-out/not at 100%, but I'm back to working on Symbiosis while I'm waiting for some more paying gigs. Due to the need to get my finances back on track, pronto, I'll be having to work on this in-between gigs. So I don't really have a timeline I can give at the moment, but my general plan is to do enough work to get finances back in order, and then take a short break to finish this thing up. 

If anyone wants to see work in progress, a lot of it is up on my tumblr, and I'll be putting more up soon.

I know a lot of people who supported this just want to know when things are shipping, so, if you want more frequent updates about general progress, please send me a message with your email, and I'll make a separate email list for more incremental updates, and keep this for major ones. 

Anyway, thanks again for all of your patience and support, I sincerely appreciate it, and I look forward to getting this book into your hands as soon as possible. 

Regards, 

Steven

Hiatus/back-burner

17 likes

Gentles, 

I appreciate all of the support that was sent regarding the last update. You are all great people. 

Unfortunately, while I'm much better, life has kind of decided to keep seriously kicking the feet out from under me, and at this point I need to spend some time focusing on getting my mental health, personal and financial life back in order (good lord the debt) so I can actually be in decent shape to complete this book. 

It's my hope to start back on the book in a few months. Right now I just need to focus on taking care of myself and getting money rolling back in. 

I'm sincerely sorry for underestimating my ability to easily do a whole book from soup to nuts, but after I get through this personal improvement boot camp, I hope to be much better equipped to deal with this project and see it into your hands. Gonna dust my shoulders off and get back in the game right. 

As always, I sincerely appreciate your support, patience, and kind understanding. 

All the best, 

Steven

PS: If anyone has any favorite tips/tricks for the Getting Things Done method, especially for freelancers/artists, feel free to message me. 

Catching up

28 likes

Hello! 

Apologies for the lack of updates lately; things in my personal/work life (they've been kind of the same for quite some time) hade kind of gone all pear-shaped and it was rather distracting. 

The short version for people who just want to know "where's my stuff/when is it coming out?"

I plan to have the book to the printer by sometime in October, hopefully early-mid. I'll post updates on a time schedule for shipping the physical books at that point, and I'll send out PDFs of the Ebook as well. 

Long version for people who want to know what the deal is with the (new) delay: 

I've never handled stress terribly well, and kind took the "pressure cooker"/"don't bother anyone with your problems" approach to dealing with it. The length/scope of this project plus a number of other factors basically made me feel like I was at my breaking point, where it took all of my energy to just work on the book, much less do 'normal' living, from more or less January to late August, at which point I felt like "I guess I need to draft up some kind of plan to deal with this Kickstarter after I'm dead, because I just can't take any more of this. I'm done with everything forever."

Fortunately, instead of everyone getting a rather bleak email explaining what would happen to Symbiosis without me on this planet any longer, I went through some stuff that knocked some major rocks loose in my head, and made me realize that everything isn't going to go wrong forever if this book isn't absolutely perfect, and that it's definitely not worth dying over. (Who knew? Not me, apparently.) 

So that's probably a pretty intense sort of Kickstarter update, but I figure it's just me doing this book, not some company with PR to manage, and I don't know if just pretending that this whole thing didn't happen would be terribly helpful. (for anyone wondering, I'm getting help through a variety of resources, and things are much better, so.) 

Something else that happened, which I found fascinating and horrifying, was when i told my friends about the whole work stress/depression/suicide thing, the number of people who replied with their own similar stories was rather striking. It was at the point where I wonder if a majority or near majority of people freelancing in comics or illustration or whatever are often in some pretty dark places. 

So, if you're a fan, realize that this is hard work where you are alone with yourself for most if not all of your day, and your brain will tend to eat itself if you don't have good habits built up to deal with stress and social isolation. Comics/art/freelancing can be a "fantasy job," but it can also be a terrible meat grinder at the same time.

If you're a pro or are going to be one, and if this even sounds vaguely familiar, go and get some help, because it probably won't just resolve itself. Feel free to contact me if you'd like. Most cities have therapists available on sliding scale payment systems. Or go get some books on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to get a toolkit on how to become more comfortable in your own skin. 

Anyway. The book's still going to come out barring some unforeseen disaster, I'm just going to be a lot more calm about things, and I look forward to getting Symbiosis into your hands with joy instead of dread and depression. :D

I hope you are all well, and take care of yourselves.

More later as things get rolling, and thanks again for your support and patience.

Best, 

steven

Important update!

15 likes


Hello!

It's nearing July, and some are likely wondering what's up with the book. (or you aren't. Backers, myself included, seem to break down into "following timelines" and "oh right I backed that")

So! To also address comments about disliking frequent updates, I'm making a 'short and sweet' update. If you need more info, feel free to ask in the comments.

Short and sweet: I have the dummy of the book in, and it looks AWESOME. Pics and video below. Downside: It's going to be at least another two months, and that's all on me. The reasons are complicated, but it's basically that my initial estimates essentially had me doing the art equivalent of sprinting a marathon, and that's not tenable. This book is significantly different than doing comic work, and it caught me kind of flat footed.

You have my most sincere apologies, and I'm doing everything I can, including living on my credit cards (within reason) to get this finished ASAP. About 70% of my brain is devoted towards guilt, so please rest assured that the person most irritated and bothered by this is me. To those of you who I've talked to regarding delays, thanks very much for your support and understanding, and thanks to all of you for your patience with this. I tend to learn by making mistakes, unfortunately. Upside, if/when I do another one of these, I now know exactly how to run it.

Other upside, is that to show you that this is worth the wait, here's three full page illustrations from the story section of the book that haven't been seen yet. I'm placing them as links, so that if you don't want to have any spoilers, and want to just wait for the whole book, you don't have to see them.

1

2

3

(Looking at #3 with a fresh eye, I'm going to add some more things to it, so yay extra surprise) 

Oh! Also, while people are waiting, if, for some reason you want to get your hands on the art early, let me know and I'll let any backer access the in-progress materials. Send me a message or email if you want access.

Anyway, again, apologies and thanks for your patience. I hope you like how things are turning out so far, quality-wise, and I look forward to getting this book out to you ASAP.  Enjoy the video and pictures of the book dummy, below. (sorry it's so shaky, I used my cell phone)

And some pictures for those without broadband.

 

 

 

 

 You use the ribbon to pull the book out. Faaaancy.

 

 thanks again and take care!  Nose back to the grindstone.


steven