I think I’ve come to the conclusion that the internet killed at least some of my creativity. Well, maybe a specific kind? Hm, it’s hard to explain.
Back in the days before I had internet, I would fill sketchbooks and sketchbooks of original characters, be it illustrative art or character designs, whatever. I was thrilled to make illustrations with my own characters, despite the fact that a lot of them were modeled after Takeuchi Naoko’s artbooks– but what do you want? I was in middle school and just wanted to be Takeuchi-sensei. I have books upon books back in the States, most of which that are falling apart, full of elaborate pencil renderings which slowly evolved into watercolors (because, along with Takeuchi-sensei, I also wanted to be all of CLAMP). I don’t look at that time spent with shame. Because of it. I leaped way ahead in learning how to use watercolors, and got a head start on pencil rendering.
And then the internet happened.
Or, more specifically, the internet happened and then I went to my first anime convention, where I saw my first art show. I witnessed that people didn’t care about original character artwork, they cared about fanart. And ever since then, I’ve been fighting an uphill battle. You see, somewhere between then and me joining DA, I got it into my head that the only way I would get fans was to draw fanart. Then, and only then, could I post my insanely brilliant [blatant] Sailor Moon ripoff… or whatever story I was working on that the moment, and I would be covered in glory! But until that, only fanart would get eyes on my work. Much like when I first went to SCAD, I thought since I got As in my classes, entry into the comic word must have been guaranteed!
I have a habit of putting the cart before the horse. It’s one of my more debilitating character flaws. Living in Japan has made this crystal clear to me.
But this week I kind of saw the light. I’m still sick, so I spent the weekend meditating, drawing, and looking at some art online. I’ve always been hesitant to make original character stuff, because I think no one cares. But is that really true? I’ve gotten attached to other creators OCs very easily. The art just has to be engaging, tell a good story– which is easier said then done, but IS possible. My friend Nen has made her living making beautiful watercolors of her original characters. And they are amazing. But I’ve never seen secure with myself enough to try to delve into it head first.
I saw so many beautiful illustrations this weekend, all original characters. And I started to get jealous that all these people are just producing what they want, not asking for fans by doing fanart, just creating, and people are drawn to it. it’s not about the hits, faves, or whatnot. That stuff is fleeting. Once a fad is over, it’s over. People find new things to be fans about, and they no longer care about that other thing.
Trying to cater to the masses be damned. I’m finished with it all. To quote Cartman, “I’ll do what I want!” Does that mean I’ll never do fanart again? No. I know I will. But I need to take this leap!
I also pretty much shut down my presence on DA. It’s been a drain on me since the beginning– instead of comparing my art to other artists to see where I should improve (which is what you SHOULD do), I was comparing stats and trying to figure out what to draw next to get more eyes on my profile. It hasn’t been healthy for me in so many ways, and I’m ready to let it go. I thought about updating my pixiv account instead, but it’s just the same mess in another language. Tumblr is where I’ll be posting new stuff as it happens, with the pick of the crop being posted here. Tumblr is okay for me, but I still have the same problem of seeing how many notes a piece got. I just need to let it go.
Do what I want, create striking images, and things will happen.
But, the most importantly, I need to create art for me, not for others. Once I can do that successfully, I know things will start to fall into place.