March 26 - Quick Book Update
The book is currently only available via Barnes & Noble BUT it will be available on other sources such as Amazon (US, France, India, etc.), Ebay and other random online shops. I will post another blog post with all of the links to various stores once they are available. I'll be posting that blog post on social media so everyone that lives in a country where you can't order from B&N, there will be other options shortly.
If you google the title and find it online elsewhere PLEASE check the page count, if the page count is 88 or 90 pages then it is the old revision, the new revision is 106 pages so the site hasn't been updated with the proper book yet. This is primarily because the site I used to make the book is convoluted and frustrating but I chose it because it offered the best quality for POD books.
Life Update + Some Backstory for the Book
After over a year of struggling with work and depression it is a huge achievement for me to release my sketchbook compilation "Fragments Vol.1". I'll always be honest with my followers and readers about my challenges because I dislike the filter that is put on social media accounts, I'm a real person with real person issues and hopefully talking about it can help. That being said I had some issues with creating "Fragments Vol.1" mainly with the site I used. I'll touch on that in a bit.
After using a local printer for my first book, a zine called "Masayume" about my first trip to Japan, it was clear I couldn't handle shipping the books off myself. The act of signing every book plus customs forms damaged my wrist for a few days and we shipped about 1000 of them ourselves (Lopi & I) which took (I think) 3 months, this is partially because I had to ship the books with prints as well causing a huge delay. It was this time in 2016 that I hit a ceiling in my career, my Birthday soon came on Nov.9th which was the day America got a new and very unpalatable President, it was also when I fell into a deep depression. I've pondered about this period of time and how psychologically I have fallen into that state, it lasted over a year and I feel I am at the tail end of it. I have concluded that the reasoning for falling into the pits are one or more of the following:
- I just accomplished my biggest dream of going to Japan, no more dreams left.
- Just worked nearly everyday for the past 9 months to save up for the trip for two people, now depleted and having to get back to work.
- Realizing that I can't move forward in my career and not knowing how to move forward because I had no time to do any art or the other things I invested time in (YouTube, Patreon, etc.).
- Trump and the fear of him ruining Canada's Economy since a large percentage of our trade is with USA. He has since cut off the forestry and is cutting off the steel industry along with many others. Luckily our PM is in talks with other countries. I also feel that the fear of everyone else has reflected on others, such is the human condition so many in 2017 were depressed.
- A loss of regular family life after loss of brother.
- Meeting biological grandfather and discovering he is a misogynistic old creep. Having him manipulate me to have a relationship with him while boasting about himself and asking nothing about me and my life.
I've been through a lot in the past, I've been able to recover decently well. So when I really dissect my mental state and the reasoning, I think the primary reasons were having nothing to work towards anymore and hitting the ceiling of my career and not knowing where to go. Since I was a kid my primary drive in life has been my artwork, I am a VERY goal driven person, I need to have something that I want or I am a sloppy sack of meat that will play Overwatch all day.
I recently watched a video of Frannerd's about hiring help and that really got me thinking about the things I could do to move ahead and for the first time in a long time I feel more hope. I also feel hope when I see how well other artists are doing, sometimes it can cause the opposite effect though and I see how far behind I've fallen in numbers and I feel crippled by my illness. But that is something I am trying to teach myself to ignore, to not focus on numbers and to make my own path however many turns it may have.
For those of you that don't know I have been living in the middle of nowhere on a random snowy mountain in Canada. We decided to move here before winter and it has been the 3rd biggest mistake I've made (1st is buying a new car, 2nd is going to graphic design school). I didn't know that it would turn into a prison, it takes over an hour to shovel the driveway and there is a 50% chance of getting stuck in the driveway or on the road to/from our place. There is a general store with a cafeteria that serves no vegan food, grocery store is 30 minutes away and they lack lots of foods, the nearest city is 1.5hrs away and it isn't the greatest. This place is cursed, here's why:
- We are trapped here 24/7.
- Our deck lit on fire after putting a bucket (with fireplace ashes inside) on it. The ashes were fully put out but the bucket was plastic, it melted and luckily I made the decision to not work that night and go into my office or the house would have burnt down with all of our belongings.
- The fireplace glass broke, we had to use the fireplace with huge holes in the glass until new glass arrived.
- The only nearest proper restaurant burnt down right after we moved here.
- Anyone who tries to visit gets stuck before they can reach our house. I've seen both Lopi (a very calm person) and my sister (much less calm, she kicked her car a lot) have full on breakdowns over this, I have also had a breakdown (punched steering wheel and "ugly cried").
- We have gotten towed twice.
- Power goes out regularly. I can be out for a full day at times. The day we moved it it went out and was out all day.
- Have gotten stuck, people have driven by without offering help, very un-Canadian.
- The woods are filled with people protecting their grow-ops with guns.
- I've gotten sick more times here than anywhere else.
- It has been a money pit, $900 on winter tires, $300 tow truck fees, $2000 moving fee, $250 for wood for the stove, $180+ bi monthly for electric despite always being able to see our breath in the house we also later found that the heating is faulty as well as the appliances.
- And there's mold now.
We have decided to move home ASAP so I had some serious motivation to make my book. With taxes coming up (probably around 5-8k), needing to save for moving truck (2k), having a last minute trip pop up (4k-ish), having a massive 6 month commission that doesn't allow me time for personal work (also takes 60 days to pay me), and having to support Lopi and the cats I have some serious motivation to work myself out of this place and this mental state otherwise I will get totally lost in it. Once we move back Lopi can get a job and I can finally start to rebuild myself back to where I was.
I am so ready to start over and do all of the things and that was definitely a motivating factor for this book. I hope this doesn't sound complain-y, I want to be 100% honest and to be real with you guys, I don't have a filter, so what you see is what you get.
Making "Fragments Vol.1"
Compiling all of my sketches took a few months because I needed to find time during my commission to source all of the images. I then had to fit all of the sketches on each page in a flattering way, I drew on top of some of the pages digitally to add some extra filler as well. After my experience with the last book I had decided that I wanted to use a company that could handle the logistics, printing, shipping, everything. I had to make my last book limited because I could NOT keep printing and shipping those books on my own. After much research I went with IngramSpark. It had the best options for paper quality. My experience has been not the greatest, the website is VERY convoluted not allowing much details for the author to track their sales or to even know where their book is being sold. I have to google to find out where my book is being sold online. It takes ages to update any edits. The site itself is such a mess I can't begin to describe it.
After filling out a bunch of forms and googling how to do various different things (due to the lack of explanation and use friendliness of the site) and getting an ISBN# from the Canadian government I finally got it all sorted out. I got the first proof in the mail 3 weeks after ordering it, that is with a one day expedited printing, I didn't get expedited shipping because it would have been a $100 book. The last third of the book was a bit difficult to see so I reconstructed it which took about 3 days and then I had to wait for the 3rd party sites like Barnes & Noble to update the book...it had the book already available on the site because the book got listed early...because the site is complicated. So that is why some of the 3rd party sites have the wrong book, they haven't updated yet. Amazon will take a long time because CreateSpace (another POD service) is owned by Amazon and they give them priority over other book services, but I've hear bad things about CreateSpace and it seems geared towards novels, not art books.
The reason I used a POD service:
I wanted it to be available forever so using a POD (print on demand) service seemed like a decent route. In the future I will go through a proper publisher or another company that is willing to handle the logistics because IngramSpark is not worth it. The quality is decent though my copy had a white bar across the top of some of my pages, other people haven't had any mistakes like mine though. I have seen other artist's that are well known use this service as well so initially I felt fairly safe using it. I will have another book coming out in summer which will be a zine from my 2nd trip to Japan and should include some other goodies, maybe stickers, a pin or a patch, I will be going through Rhino Barking Sparrow for that one.
In the future I would love to get back on my feet, start my shop up again and sell some really awesome stuff. I would love to print on clothes again. I am super inspired by artists like Fran, OMOCAT and Koyamori that's what I will work towards once I get back on my feet.
Lastly thank you SO MUCH everyone for supporting me this past year+ for people who hung out with me on Twitch, bought prints, commented, liked, etc. it means a lot, it's scary to feel like you might lose everything if you have a break down and it means a lot to see you all sticking around. I'm very grateful and it just makes me smile to have such awesome people in my life whether in person or on the other side of the globe. So, thank you.