I made a decision at the beginning of this year: I am going to create a maid-themed art book. I am going to break out of the rut I’ve been in for over a year where I’ve barely illustrated for myself. That’s what I decided but…in the process of starting this project, I came to realize something: I’ve lost my passion for creating manga illustrations.
I loved creating illustrations. By illustrations, I am talking about works separate from my freelance work or comics. Drawings with no ties to current projects, drawings made for fun. Sometimes this simply meant drawing cute anime girls, and sometimes it meant drawing these girls mutilated in horrifying ways. Overall, it was a way to vent or express myself.
But lately, I haven’t been inspired to illustrate at all.
At first, this realization worried me. To be honest, one of my greatest fears is that I’ll one day lose my passion for anime and manga and that everything I’ve worked towards so far would become useless. How long would it take me to achieve my dreams, I thought? But after thinking about it more, I’m not so worried about the fact that I’ve lost my passion for illustrating, and I’ll explain why.
Redirecting Creative Energy
One of the main reasons I believe I’ve lost an interest in illustrating is simply because my other creative passion has taken priority in my life. What might this be, you may ask? It is: creating stories.
This may seem very obvious to anyone who knows me or my work. It’s always been my dream to become a manga artist, to publish my own comic one day. Though I love creating art, I love writing and telling stories just as much. However, I think I became a little bit distracted from this goal for awhile after graduating college. The culprit? Social media.
Because of social media, even though I was creating manga, I noticed that colored drawings would always get more likes and attention. I was so happy to receive some validation for my art that I kept feeding into the Instagram machine. I would create more colored art and illustrations, get likes and feel happy for a moment. However, every year that passes, my sense of urgency for achieving my dream of becoming a published comic artist grows stronger.
What should I be spending time on now? Is the short term validation I receive for my art on social media really worth it in the end? Will I gain fulfillment with that?
There is also the fact that my other major motivator for creating illustrations, to vent my emotions, has fizzled out as well. Right now I am pretty stable and happy in my life and don’t feel an urgent need to let out anger or sadness in such an immediate fashion that illustration allows. Instead, I’m more motivated to reflect and create stories over a longer term that can reflect my experiences and emotions through a more focused lens.
And thus, as my priorities shifted.
Will I Ever Illustrate Again?
Honestly, the only way I see myself drawing illustrations like I used to in the past is if someone commissions me to do so. Would I ever get back to illustrating like I used to? Maybe one day. But I now know for sure that now is not the time for it.
Instead, as mentioned before, I will be focusing more on my passion for storytelling. Right now this means working on: 1. my own personal manga projects to submit to publishers and either publish online or print, 2. working on my visual novel Amanita Asphyxia with Chaos Cute Soft, 3. freelance commissions because of course, I want to make money (lol).
When I work on my own manga or new visual novel, it fills me with excitement. In the end, isn’t art supposed to do that? And when working with a story in mind, I am motivated to put my all into the art and writing to create a moving experience. I want to hone this skill more, and one day I hope I can be viewed as a master in the field of manga storytelling.
Until then, I will keep working.
Though I was afraid of getting to a point where I wouldn’t want to illustrate anymore, I feel satisfied at the moment. Even if I don’t illustrate like I used to, I hope you will follow and enjoy my work. I am looking forward to spending more time on the projects I am truly passionate about. And despite what people tell you you should do, I hope you will look for the thing that makes you excited to wake up and get to work.
What inspires you? What makes you want to work hard? Feel free to let us know in the comments below, and thanks for reading!