And after some "soul searching" I return.
Well I never really left. But just go with the idea.
It mostly involved thinking on where I'm so far as an artist, and where I want to go. All while playing way more Phantasy Star Online 2 than I'm comfortable admitting, but then again, ever since fully quitting gaming 2 years ago to focus on drawing I haven't had this kind of binges. It could be said a small "vacation" like that was probably even overdue.
But that is a bit of an off topic matter, The main point kind of remains.
One of the things is possibly money, as multiple people by now have told me to notify them if i open a patreon and/or comms as they would be eager to give support that way.
But I have always been a bit too hesitant on that, leaving aside economic/logistic worries, it's a bit of a matter of morals.
And in not the way it usually plays out, like not wanting to paywall content or being a "sellout", that's not really the point, it's rather about the innate jump to technically being a "pro", or rather, not being an amateur anymore.
It may sound fairly weird, but for a while now i have waved the flag of "look at the improvement i made so fast", but i have running with that flag for almost 2 years now. And it's something I didn't quite want to outgrow and leave behind.
You see, that flag is not so much about the pride of it, but the amateur cover it provides, I could feel on a pseudo-professional level on my art, while simultaneously softening any possible critique under the excuse of being a newbie that just started, 2 years is nothing compared to actual professionals that actually have been drawing for literal decades for example.
Yet that is something transient by it's own definition. A flag to ditch eventually, and honestly I probably should have done that sooner. Because carrying this flag meant not carrying responsibility for what I do art-wise, it could be played as just games in the moment something didn't got the quality I wanted it to. While at the same time i had it on my mind "professional" just meant someone that got paid for what they do, no matter how little.
And if i was still going to carry the amateur flag. It may be a bit clear why i have been shying away from being paid for what i do in any relevant or meaningful way.
At the end of that era, ditching that flag means not being able to say "Maybe this drawing sucks but i couldn't even draw a stick figure 2 years ago" anymore, which is for the better, because if it sucks, and I can correct it or stop making that mistake, then it should be.
Because that is a comfortable excuse, if i were to reach a certain level of quality, speed, and eye for design. I would be within territory of actually outright working for a big name company. Which doesn't seem far fetched within a few years really. Given my speed tendency for progress.
Which is why i felt this flag was throttling my progress, let's say in the off chance by a lucky turn of fate I get contacted by X group or company, what would I even say? Carrying the amateur flag would mean declining the offer, or saying nothing which is as good as declining. Or better yet, just staying at an "okay" level to not receive offers in first place. Staying comfortable at a place where nothing would disturb things as they are too much. Accepting mediocrity in the long run to avoid having to take responsibility for my skill.
And honestly I'm not even sure this kind of "fear" even makes sense to anyone but me, having this skill and potential opportunities is something maybe a lot of people would give a lot to have, i get this whole thing may possibly sound asinine to some people, "poor me i'm afraid of success", I know. I understand that point of view.
I "choose" this path on life in the way of doing it in hopes it would give results, that was a lot of the point from the very beginning, though back then it was more of a pipe dream than a goal. And it's not just about lewds really, it's not that far fetched to think down the line i could illustrate light/visual novels with no R-18 content, do the artwork for a manga, make the designs for a console/mobile game or even draw the final images to be used as sprites.
In one way or another that is the point. At the start when i began to learn, being paid in any way for my skill was a pipe dream, and i still considered it such for a long time, that is what the "amateur flag" i mentioned before is made of. I treated it as an "it would be nice if" dream 2 years ago, i treated it that way 6 months ago, and i kept treating it that way until two weeks ago.
At that point the metaphorical banging in the door telling me it's not a dream anymore, it's a goal, got too loud to ignore. And I wasn't ready to confront that.
I was raised under the guise of doing academics until getting a degree and then a job is normal, stable, something safe to strive for. And under this premise trying to do freelance is a bit terrifying.
But if now it's not the point where I take that stupid risk to do what i want to do, then when?. I may be young and life may be long, but time doesn't turn back for anyone, plus now it's the best time as it gets to pull something that sounds stupid and absurd like this, especially with my constant daily paranoia of thinking death is imminent within the next few days!
Up to and including legitimate worry over "tempting fate" or something due to writing "I may be young and life may be long" a few seconds ago. (Long story about personal superstition about saying a statement and getting the opposite result.)
And yes I know if you run the numbers then doing art is probably a safer bet than the beaten path, but I'm trying to present the situation in the same way how my mind perceives it, even if it sounds incredibly cheesy and/or stupid.
Yet actually being in position to take that path means leaving behind the amateur flag. And it was nice while it lasted, but it's about time i stop holding back so much out of fear.
I don't know why I'm even publishing this really. It was really cathartic just to write, i didn't need to press that "Submit Journal" button for everyone to know, but I did anyway.
Anyhow. Matter of seeing where the wheel of fate takes me now. Or rather, actually taking responsibility over the vehicle and taking a hold of said wheel for once.
This is the point where I both assure everyone I'm not going to stop doing lewds any time soon, and say "Expect even better from now on", but i want to crush those expectations and start delivering something even better than is already expected of me.