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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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Important Update Regarding Printed Book Tiers

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So. I don't really know how to write something like this. If I do a poor job, apologies in advance.

As I'm writing this I haven't checked messages or comments on Kickstarter in a while. Between work, holidays, someone I'm close to being in the terminal stage of colon cancer, and what this update is about, I'm doing rather poorly (but not "I'd like to stop living" poorly) and haven't had the bandwidth.  

I've been encouraged to stop beating myself up, and to be candid about things in updates. Pretty mixed results on the first part, but doing my best on the latter. I don't know if it's part of getting older, or the feeling of pressure to maintain a professional persona that is upbeat and excited all the time, but, man. Letting people down is something I don't handle well, I feel like a complete failure and an awful person. I'm working on getting better at dealing with the self-esteem wood-chipper it can be, but letting down 1700 people is... something else.  

When I was getting things together to retool/relaunch the project, I contacted the printer, with whom I had put down 15K as a partial payment, so I could see where things were at and what I had to work with. They were surprised to hear from me; I guess completely ghosting on printers and backers is pretty common, and heard a number of horror stories about people burning through hundreds of thousands of Kickstarter funds in a couple months. So I could have done worse by everyone. Regardless, the 15K paid for most of the materials, and those materials went stale/were no longer suited for being printed on during the time of my breakdown. (I don't fully understand why it went stale either, in case you're wondering, but I'm not well versed in the technical aspects of commerical printing.) It also puts me in technical breach of contract. I remember the expiration of materials being mentioned near the time my brain's fuse popped, but between the breakdown and trying to get better, I completely forgot until it was brought up again by the printer.  

But my cruddy memory aside, what this all means is that I cannot make the print version of the book happen. Even if I sold my house and got loans with whatever credit I may have left I wouldn't be able to. If this project can't be called star-crossed at this point, I don't know what would be. I read a while back that saying "sorry" to people often makes them feel like they owe you forgiveness or something similar. So I won't say that. But I do regret what happened, even if it wasn't something where I could point at a choice or two and lay the blame on it, it's still on me. If you're feeling angry, frustrated, etc., it may provide some satisfaction in knowing that trying to get this project back up and rolling for years now without success has been a near-omnipresent source of shame and stress. Or maybe it won't. I don't know.  

My only option at this point is to finish the book as I can, and hope to find a publisher with whom I can work something out to get the book into backers hands. That's what I'll be doing, but it's not fair to the backers at the print tiers to just leave it at that. I cannot refund you via the method you used to pay, but I can send money via paypal or I can mail a check through my bank. If you're in one of the print tiers, and wish for a refund, please send your name(or kickstarter ID) along with your Paypal or mailing address to symbiosisrefund@gmail.com, and I'll get that rolling.  

If your tier includes things like props, or custom character designs, I'll still be making those if you want them. I'm also going to put in Google Drive all of the currently completed artwork and text for the book. People like the folks at Khepera Publishing and Daniel Solis have be using the material already, and their work is a definite bright spot in this.  

Since my anxiety over this is off the charts, and I'd like to get my life moving in some way again, I won't be checking back here for a bit, but if you need to contact me for anything non-refund related, feel free to contact me at stevensanders@gmail.com  

All of you who backed this project have my sincere thanks. Your patience and kindness has been extraordinary, and I wish with my whole heart that you were holding the book in your hands now rather than reading this. I want to do right by you, as much as I am capable, and while my skills at un-derailing Kickstarters seems pretty poor, I am still a good illustrator/art instructor/tutor. If that can be of assistance to you, I'm happy to help in that manner as well.  

Take care, everyone.  

Steven

Update about a forthcoming update

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Hi folks! 

Quick update to let you know a longer, much more exciting one will be showing up soon. Decided after consulting some peers and other people and myself that shame-spiraling was getting me nowhere, and I'm getting a team together to retool the project and help handle things like regular updates and getting this project sorted so I can get a hard deadline to you. 

Back with more once the helper ducks are in a row! 

Quick update- still plugging away

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Hi folks,

Last several months ran me through the work/life ringer, so not much Symbiosis progress, but I promised an update for this week, so let's see how I do! 

 

Trying to work in practices that help modulate burnout while working on Symbiosis, in this case experimenting with some digital watercolor brushes, and a bit more "cartoony" character type. 

 

 Almost all of these are roughs/works in progress. Basement lab of person experimenting with fungal biocomputers.

 Sussing out how a bio-engine can have its consciousness bumped up from about that of a bee to that of a dog. (The theme of Symbiosis isn't supposed to be animal cruelty, so I keep biological components at lower consciousness levels, and mistreating an upgraded bioengine would be akin to abusing a dog.)

 A "how it's made" sort of thing. Look through interesting reference, find shapes you like, use them with other shapes you like. 

 Not sure how easily this rough is read, but looking out over a lake at some kind of industrial plant. The curves glow under the water. 

 Natural media work. (so is the "sky surfer" above, it's just colored digitally.) I think I was trying to stay awake while inking this, so got some kinda hamfisted inking to touch up. Still, it was fun. 

There's more art, but that's all for now. I'm still chipping away, doing best I can with what I've got, like we all are, or so says therapist. 

Take care and be well, everyone. 

steven

Symbiosis Chapbook!

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For backers only. If you're a backer of this project, please log in to read this post.

Place-holder update

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Gentles, 

I'm sure a number of you are wondering where the updates are, and the answer is they just got flooded by life and hustling for money. As I pulled the update page up to write this, I found this draft in it.

"Hey everyone!  I finished the arc of the comic I've been working on, but between my AC completely dying (The unit was from the 80s, had a good run, but it literally caught on fire.) and needing a full replacement, and various other things that pulled money from the comic gig, I'm going to have to get to work on paying work ASAP since all that pretty seriously chewed into my "work on Symbiosis" money.  I'm uncertain about how soon I'll"

So something apparently interupted that, or it might have been the "perfection is the enemy of done" thing that I've been learning to not get stuck in.

That's kind of been my summer, and it pulled me down mental health wise as well.  I have been drawing Symbiosis material during my free time, though, things are moving in an upward direction again, (man, exercise is so important it's scary)  and I'm working with an intern on getting Symbiosis out there in some form (sort of a "beta version") until I can finish things properly. 
I'll have another update as soon as can get the aforementioned "beta version" squared away. 

Thanks again for your support and patience, and I hope everyone is doing well! 

Steven