The Future of OFFcell

Hello, everyone! This is Nips.

As the title suggests, I have some very important news about the future of OFFcell and, because it has been a very large part of my life, it will be quite lengthy (and I’m not the most eloquent) so I apologize.

Since I was young, I’ve loved to paint. It was only ever fruits and landscapes in oil but, in high school, I discovered digital art and anime which drastically changed my life. A whole new genre of media and the inspiring art style that came along with it. Shortly after, I found DeviantArt where I then began making friends and really immersing myself in this new world. Original characters, fanart, fan fiction, adoptables, art trades. It was all so incredible! This was where my love for comics and creating characters was born. I had never intended to do art for a living since I was set on going to medical school but, by the time I graduated college, I decided to give full-time art a go. I had always loved it and I’d be damned if I didn’t at least give it a fair shot so I wouldn’t regret it later.

Throughout my life as an artist, I’ve started many comics and, unfortunately, never finished any. That never bothered me though since I never had bigger plans for any of my stories. They were always for-fun draw-as-I-go creations. However, OFFcell was different. It was accidentally created in 2014 when I drew a group of 4 random characters that my audience and I suddenly became attached to. So attached that I dropped the comic I was working on at the time to pursue this project. At first, it was like any other comic for me: Get to know the characters, make a general plot and figure it out along the way. Not too much thought. Just having fun and drawing whatever came to mind. And those of you reading and supporting the comic were never anything but encouraging, kind and [most of all] patient. Only wanting me to create as I pleased and just enjoying the ride. The most any artist could ask for, right? I was so happy…or so I thought.

Initially, when I started making and publishing the OFFcell comic, I had no real plans for it. But, as time went on and I continued to draw the cast more, the comic accumulated a following and the pressure to tell a good story (and actually finish it) grew larger. However, that pressure was entirely created by me. As a perfectionist, I redrew chapters several times trying to get them to a level my audience deserved and constantly rewrote everything hoping my story would be stronger for a long term project which delayed content for months. Years. Constantly refining everything as much as I could. The more I tried to do this, the more stressed I became and the more the comic became a chore. I thought this was normal though. I did all the writing, drawing and coloring myself. It’s only natural I be stressed, right? This burden grew unbearable and sent me into years’ worth of burnout that brought out an intensity of procrastination, paralysis and depression I had never seen in myself. I simply could not get myself to sit and create the comic or even enjoy it at times. I love drawing my characters so what’s wrong? Something I thought I loved to do and wanted to do for the rest of my life was now just another task and that feeling only made me spiral further.

It was only this year, in 2023, that I had an epiphany about what my direction should’ve been from the start and I’m honestly quite embarrassed it took me this long to realize it. For a while, I convinced myself that, in order to tell a character’s story, I had to create a complete comic for it to be “valid”. “Beginning, middle and end” is the only way, of course. So I forced myself to write a coherent story as best I could. I didn’t want to but “I have to!” I thought. However, I had only fleshed out characters through daydreaming of scenes and interactions. How was I supposed to do all that? Whenever any “story” or “plot” was involved, it was merely a sandbox for the sole purpose of developing my cast. “For the plot”! It’s probably no surprise to anyone that has followed me for a while to know that I’m a very character-driven person. I’ve always known this myself yet I forced a story to learn about my characters and to feel valid instead of accepting that what I really liked was their exploration alone and that that’s okay! The answer was there all along. I don’t need to tell stories the “conventional” way. That’s the beauty of art: You make what you want of it!

All this to say that OFFcell will no longer be continuing as a story with an overarching plot but as vignettes that will explore characters and scenes of my choosing in no particular order, length or release time. I want to be able to freely explore and enjoy my characters again! I’ll be explaining how they work in more detail in the chapters themselves. I hope you’ll look forward to this change and enjoy the content that’s to come! During the OFFcell 24hr stream in 2021, you all funded 4 chapters so Chapter 4 & 4.5 will be completed as planned to finish the cast “set” and vignettes will take over from then on out in Chapter 5 & 6 to fulfill the funded content. As for later chapters, I’m not sure what the future holds. Due to my longstanding burnout, I will probably need a significant break once these are completed. I currently find it very hard to enjoy my characters and that hurts a lot but I hope to rekindle that flame again one day.

Words will never be able to express how incredibly and deeply sorry I am for how this has all panned out. The abysmal amount of comic content in the span of almost a decade because of the constant revisions, perfectionism, paralysis and the myriad of other personal problems (of which none are valid excuses) is, to say the least, disappointing. The promises I constantly made where I bit way more than I could chew. The waiting that you all so patiently did. Supporting me in moments I most definitely did not deserve. A story unfinished. You do not deserve any of that. I have let you down. I’m so sorry. I might not be able to redeem myself in your eyes but I will, at the very least, dutifully finish what you all so generously funded.

To conclude a probably-too-long note: Thank you. Another set of words whose weight I will not be able to accurately express here. Some of you have been here since the comic’s inception in 2014 and have seen it evolve to what it is today and some just recently joined but you’ve all been over-the-moon supportive. When I drew it for fun, part-time and then full-time, you never stopped encouraging me and keeping the story (and myself) alive. Through kind words, meet-ups at conventions, sharing the comic, fanart, cosplay and even spending your hard-earned money to fund its creation. The fundraiser?! I still can’t believe it. My heart was always full seeing how much love you gave me and my characters. I’m truly honored and grateful. The comic, cast and I would be nothing without you. The moments and time we all shared together are things that I’ll never forget. OFFcell and you all will always hold an incredibly dear place in my heart. 

Thank you all so much for everything. Love you and we’ll see what the future holds 🧡

– Nips

TL;DR Chapter 4 & 4.5 will proceed as planned but for Chapter 5, 6 and beyond, OFFcell will continue as vignettes that will explore characters and scenes of my choosing in no particular order, length or release time. However, after Chapter 6 is completed, I will probably need to take a very long break and I’m not sure when, or if, OFFcell will return.

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