That's it. The Oni Project is over for now. They're all perfect and happy, and i hope you're pleased with the results. Predictably, a few people have inquired about the NEXT Oni drawing... and at this point, there are none planned. Not anytime soon.
Some of my favorite of the lot...
I feel like talking about this whole process. Care to hear about it? Good. It's about a lot of things apart from the drawings themselves.
Let me rewind the clock back to August of 2014. I had a rare five-day vacation about to commence, and naturally, i wanted to start some new drawings, because i'm a poor person and so vacation means "hanging around the house" and not "going someplace exciting." At that point, i had drawn the Sakura-Karin and Ino-Hinata sequences for OverlordOfNobodies
as commissions. (If you like these drawings, you really ought to thank him.) And my brain kept thinking of what could be done with, say, Anko and Kurenai, Tsunade and Mei, Tenten and Temari...
...and i said to myself, self, forget about those. You know damned well that you need to work on something else besides freaky and strangely cute transformation sequences. You have too many of those already. Every time someone makes a passing remark about how your gallery is nothing but "characters standing around," you feel a rush of murderous rage that only subsides when you realize... they're totally right. You have to do some more ambitious stuff!
...and then another part of my brain said -- ahh, come on. Anko as a snake Oni and Kurenai as a tree Oni? That would be cool. You have five whole days here, why not have a little fun?
So i drew them.
Later, in November, i succumbed to the temptation of drawing the Tsunade-Mei sequence and in December, the Tenten and Temari sequence. And i thought, that's it, right? Get this stuff out of your system, dude, and start 2015 off with nothing but new, ambitious, and varied work!
...then i thought, man, if i did a sixth sequence of Konan and Tayuya, i'd have six, then they could merge after imaginary battles and i could have my watchers vote on the outcomes...
...and then draw a supreme Oni Queen...
...and then why not some perfect forms, to give this thing a happy ending?
(Jeez, you have no idea how many ways i thought of doing those. There were so many possibilities, and in the end i went with something simple, but it took so much mental effort to get there...)
And now here we are. It's... it's halfway through 2015 now. What the everloving fuck? How has half a year passed by already? And most of what i've done this year is fantasy Naruto monsters? These aren't even my own characters, for fuck's sake, i could've been drawing Zoel and Murk and Maryl this whole time!
THIS IS WHERE I NEED TO STOP AND RECONSIDER THINGS.
There was a point, a brief point when i thought things were going to be different. Do you recall how i asked for donations of money to do the Tsunade/Mei sequence? As soon as i posted that journal, two sizeable donations were immediately given by two generous people. And i marveled at that, and i thought... dude... this is it. You could BE one of those artists who draws what his fans want, like that one guy -- Sakimichan -- and get money for it. Enough money to stop working overtime? Enough money to quit my job? The sky is the limit, you just got $100 in donations in one hour!
......and that's pretty much where it stopped. Not many more came.
I've learned that you guys like my drawings, but not enough. I blame myself for that. I don't even like Sakimichan's style all that much, but apparently a lot of people do. He gets money for his stuff. Way more money than i do.
I've said on many occasions that i don't want to leave DeviantArt. And that's true.
However, i need to shed the DeviantArt State of Mind. You know, the state of mind where you draw an endless flow of eye candy for your fans, and taking their requests, and doing things that you know your watchers want... as if i was some 18-year old kid living with my parents, able to do everything for shits and giggles.
Draw a cute Oni creature? 5,000 views! 120 faves!
Draw a man reading a book? .....230 views. 3 faves.
It's addictive. You like it. I like it.
But it's not sustainable.
I need to think about the future. I look at what VanHeist
and others have done in seven years, and i'm very jealous.
Things have changed a lot in the real world lately. I'm still at my go-nowhere night job, the same place for the last seven years. It's getting a bit old, to be honest, and i'm looking around for something else.
Ah, my job.
It's changed so much.
I keep reminiscing about the early days at this place, when things were different. I was younger, and the people there were younger. Things were looser. There was this air of energy around the place every night, this feeling of "what are we gonna get away with tonight? Watch a movie? Work on drawings? Explore the complex? We have six hours before daybreak, and this place is ours until then!"
It... was... fun.
The flood of 2010 and the reshuffling of 2011 made it less fun for a while. But then it got fun again in 2012 and 2013...
...and it stopped being fun again in 2014 when my last cool coworker left.
I don't think i want any more cool coworkers. I don't want it to become fun again. Fun is a distraction.
Ever since then, i've been freaking out about the future a bit. I don't want to be here forever, and i've outlasted almost every one of my coworkers. They come and go, and i stay put.
You know, the same thing happens on DeviantArt. People come and go. I'm currently polishing up my pre-2007 drawings, which has been very rewarding... but there's a disappointed feeling i get when i realize that i'm reworking a drawing for some old watcher who has been gone for years.
What happened to Significant-Pie and his brother? Tom Hopkins? Josiah? What about BurkeOnTheSly, and Allie Kleber, and BT, and Angela, and Steph Cherrywell? Starglider? Mori-Tohsaku? CMunkii?
Not around here much anymore. Where is Metamorphaxx?
He and i had quite a collaborative vibe going for several years, until he suddenly vanished a few months ago. And he didn't answer my last email. He might be back, or he might not be. I have no idea.
I still have some friends here. But i have far more anonymous lurkers who only pop up to ask about when the next cute Oni is going to be drawn.
It's not sustainable.
DeviantArt is not as much fun as it used to be. My job is not as much fun as it used to be. All the young people are gone, replaced by grumpy, grumbling, cigarette-smoking depressed old people who talk about the daily grind and nothing else. Every week i get shuffled to random places. No one's watched a movie there in a long time.
I might be reaching the end of a chapter in my life.
What comes next?
Well, i'm going to slow down a bit. Finish this turdpolishing. The only two new things i'm working on in the next month are contest entries for Heroes of the Storm
. (Man, i'm so behind on that first one. I should have delayed those last two Perfect Oni sequences and gotten started on that one earlier, damnit...)
Fewer drawings. Better drawings. No more Onis. No more candy.
The way i figure it, i need three main things to reach the next stage of my artistic career.1.
A slick new non-DeviantArt website that's overstuffed with drawings and shows that i'm prolific -- and with my new Artstation site, i think i have that one licked.2.
Five or six fully-realized illustrations that involve more than just "characters standing around."3.
A 4-6 page sequential sequence that shows of my coloring skills, suitable for submitting to comic book companies.
I have the first one, so now i want the next two by the end of the year.
(After that, i need a new computer, and want to learn ZBrush and relearn Maya... more on that later.)
If you've read this entire entry, i commend your patience. For the first time in a long time, i feel like NOT having fun and doing some boring work. I feel like being practical.
If i was drawing what i felt like now, i'd be drawing SO MUCH Stephen Universe fanart, you guys. You have no idea. There might be some eventually. But not right now.
Wait, new episodes of Stephen Universe start on June 15th?
THAT'S TOMORROW. OH MY GERD.