A thought that hasn't just occurred to me has once again crossed my mind, and it is this:
I'm beginning to remember the exuberance of creating.
The term "remember" is key, because I had it, and then I lost it, and now, I'm catching bigger and bigger glimpses of it everyday as I draw out of amusement and fun.
I think-- in fact, I know there was a certain point at which I lost that fun, and I'm not sure if I can pinpoint the exact time, but I think I know the root cause. My initial guess was that my desire for attention, took the fun out of drawing which made it an exercise in frustration for many years. But now I know it wasn't only that, because that desire was always there; "Mommy look what I made!!".
I think what took the fun out of it is how I reacted to that desire and the affect it had on my work. Which was virtually unnoticeable (consciously) to anyone but me.
When I was a kid I'd draw all day and all night, watch TV, and draw Scooby-Doo, and play Waffle Boy on Postopia.com and draw fun comics about both of them. I'd watch American Dragon Jake Long and Yugioh GX and eventually made my own knockoff version of Jake Long called, Chinese Vampire Alex something, something (I forget). I am not kidding. He had really dumb hair. Then I got into Pokemon and started doing comics about that too.
Then I saw Rave Master on Scifi and said, "I can do better than that! This is dumb!" So I set out to do just that.
I was completely deprived of Cartoon Network (and subsequently DBZ) as a child and had to settle until for watching it when my parents left for work, until an age where I could watch it openly. So I was able to catch Teen Titans (the good one) and just before the ending of Toonami back then, some really fun shows like MAR, Prince of Tennis, and Megaman Starforce came out and it was awesome. I was in 6th grade at the time and Naruto had been running for quite a while, so when wasn't LITERALLY trying to become a ninja (running up trees with a knife), I was drawing my first comic called "Starlight" and it was gonna kick Rave Master's ass.
Maaan, I thought I was the shit back then, drawing a cool comic about a 12 year old who got lightning powers from a falling star. He'd go on his adventures with his friends and stuff and do some Naruto power ups on the way. I even started a Deviantart account to share these adventures, but didn't have a good scanner at the time, so it never saw the light of day (you're welcome). Eventually the comic petered out (at about 47 pages) as I became "self-aware" and by 7th grade I started something new, something that would be the most awesome story I could muster, based off of Bleach, because it was awesome to the younger me. It was called Core and lasted 6 or 7 pages.
Then I moved on to something even awesomer called "Crow" and it was going to be the bee's knees. It lasted like, I dunno 8 pages.
So then it was time to get serious. It was time for all my newly learned skills of actual anatomy and --well that's all I knew, and even then not much. But this time I would create my Magnum Opus called "BIOMETAL" even the name sounded awesome. It was created in much the same circumstance as Starlight; in order to spite a show I didn't like very much which was Kekkaishi.
I was like, "I can make a better main character than that! AND he won't say "shut up" all the time, like a dummy."
(I didn't hate the show, just the main character sometimes. And I would make fun of them for using boxes, but that was it!)
And so with dogged determination I set out to create my best work yet. He would be an older boy of about 15, and he would have jet powers that would come from his iron arm and have a cooler older sister character (like Haruko Haruhara) that was a ninja and could wield giant kunai, and it would be the best thing ever.
I wrote out a lot of the story, and I was into Sket Dance and Gintama (and finally caught DBZ Kai on Nicktoons) at the time, so the stories I wrote had both comedy and drama. And since it worked out so well for them, I could do just as well, right? WRONG.
I gave up at like, page 5.
I did get some concept art out on it and I wrote and drew a (manga) Ne-mu (name) for the first chapter. AND did a video about how to do it since I was reading Bakuman at the time!!
But then I stopped it rather unceremoniously to start a new comic called Tenshitsuji which I don't even know the meaning of because I had been learning Japanese then and was just mashing words together, so yeah. But this one was for a contest with not much intention of turning it into a long running project like all my others. I got 7 pages in AGAIN!! But this time they had some weird semblance of quality, I didn't really know I was capable of. And my relatives complimented my work which made me feel great.
But the thing was I didn't need their compliments to feel great, I just felt good in the act of drawing! Whether to spite some TV show or start over after another unfinished project, I always felt like I was getting closer to my vision, and even learning new things about art was fun because it made me even better at doing what I loved.
But somewhere in there, the whole process became somewhat tainted, I guess.
My genuine desire for more knowledge of my craft turned in to a fruitless addiction. My simultaneous desire for attention brought timidity and preciousness to my work. And eventually I wasn't even giving it my all anymore, because it just felt like it was just another mandatory thing, like homework.
To pinpoint that mindset shift is what I'd like to cover in my next journal. So for now, let this sit with you and see if it resonates with your own experience.
TO BE CONTINUED...