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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
Created by

Steven Sanders

1,149 backers pledged $63,491 to help bring this project to life.

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Back on burner, on low-medium heat.



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. 






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, 


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



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.



Important update!



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.




(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.


Still chugging along!



It's been a few months, wanted to update everyone that I'm still chugging along on this until I run out of savings (we'll see how long those last after I pay taxes :D )    (I keep the KS money separate, btw, so worry not about my using book monies for personal bills and whatnot) 

I have a decent amount of Symbiosis art up on my tumblr, for anyone who wants to see.

Here's a screencap of how progress is currently going in Manga Studio. I'm doing most of the drawing, painting and rough paste-up in Manga Studio, and will be doing final layout and adding text in InDesign.

 I'm currently talking to the printer about getting a dummy of the book made up, so you can at least see what the finished outside will look like for the book and the clamshell. (Have to iron out some technical issues regarding what can and cannot be debossed and foil printed on the clamshell) 

Side note: One of my friends, Jason Aaron, who was kind enough to give his endorsement for Symbiosis when the KS launched, is coming out with a comic called "Southern Bastards", with co-creator/artist Jason Latour. I was given a preview copy of the first issue, and it's a pretty amazing book. If you like comics at all, I'd recommend putting an order in at your local comic shop. (pre-ordering is super important for keeping comics you like going, so don't depend on your local shop owner to buy all the good stuff. ) I tend to be a "robots and explosions" type reader, but Aaron and Latour made me very interested in the story and the characters in a short period of time and I'm eager to get the next issue. Even if you don't read comics, and just like good drama, I'd recommend checking this book out. It's a refreshing change from standard American comics.


Thanks again for the support, and take care!