I’m so excited to be able to give a release date and know that its coming out soon. This story is so close to my beating comix heart that I just have to get it out of me and into your faces! But that brings me onto my other point. Over a year ago I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis, an auto-immune condition of the gut which brings me a lot of discomfort, pain and nausea and is famously difficult to treat. Even now docs just sort of, guess, moving you from one kind of pill to the next and then again when they don’t work. Steroids are central to getting the symptoms under control and they have comprehensive side effects of their own.
Thankfully I’m quite a lot better at the moment. Still suffering from some leftover side effects of the steroids but I feel much more me. One of the worst side effects of the steroids was the onset of a big puffed up face. At its worst it looked as though I was vastly overweight, but only in my face! As I’m sure you can imagine, this really got me down but thankfully its all back to normal now!
As I said, not much is known about what causes Ulcerative Colitis. Doctors are pretty sure its hereditary and are pretty sure it isn’t caused by diet. One major theory however is stress. I put a huge amount of pressure on myself with my work and my comics and I have a bad feeling that at the very least, this had an effect on my health. I take on lots of freelance illustration work and pro comics projects alongside my dayjob and then on top of all of that I want to produce my own comics and constantly feel the pressure to grow, improve and evolve.
I have so many ideas and plans, enforce deadlines on myself, hate my work, redraw stuff, think up new ways to lay out my table at cons, rethink my approach in self promotion and marketing, and try amid all of that to convince myself that my work REALLY IS good enough to sell and that I’m doing WELL ENOUGH!! Whatever that means… basically I put myself through hell.
I am 100% sure this is no different to any other comic artist or indeed any creative self-publisher out there. However I think it does have genuine health ramifications for me. I think I damaged myself last year. With my keenness to have Vol 2 done in 2014 I could feel the same anxiety and stress hanging over me from that deadline and I realised then, that I didn’t want to put myself through this again.
So I had some big revelations and the long and short of it is, Volume 2 will be shorter than Volume 1. This doesn’t sound like much, but believe me, it is. The story hasn’t changed at all, but what was going to be 3 volumes has expanded now to 7. The story is the same as my original script I wrote way back when just re-engineered to work in 7 chunks instead of 3. This required some tweaking and adding/altering some scenes but I actually think it has made the story better.
Books will come out more often now, at least one a year, and with more books there will be a feeling of having hung out with the characters for longer. You’ll get to know the story and characters better. It will end up longer overall as well. Plus 7 books… it had to be really. If the book’s called 7STRING…
This will ease the pressure on me, both making deadlines easier to achieve and getting books out sooner to sate the nagging voice in my head that I’m taking to long. I get LOADS of people come up to me at cons and ask for Vol 2 which akes me so happy but also piles the pressure on. Hopefully this way, I’ll keep em coming and dodge that ‘late’ feeling. It will also give me the ability to work on the 4 million other things with greater ease and less stress… like the BIG Big Punch stuff that’s coming… seriously… there is so much more Nich coming your way!!
So there you go… I wanted you to know where I’m at. I’m not usually one to talk about my troubles online, or even face to face with people really… I always maintain a hyped up happy Nich. In fact I don’t really talk about my life at all… so I felt that this was a good opportunity… and also a way to get to know me, instead of just constantly posting up work/teasers/marketing type stuff… I am a human! I promise!
I’ll leave you with an amazing email I got from an awesome kid called Joseph who absolutely loved his copy of Cat and Meringue!
‘Hi Nich, I met you at the small Bristol ComicCon, where I got the 1000 days of adventure book. It’s really good! There are some questions I have, and I hope you don’t mind answering them: