"Ours is a fame-obsessed culture, writes Sarah Dunant, but is it really a goal worth chasing?"
I enjoyed reading this BBC piece today. I think it affects a lot of people in their late teens-late twenties. It even happened with UK manga/comics (Rising Stars)! [Bear with me.]
The whole “manga publishing competition” wave of 7 years ago or so inevitably pitched people against each other a bit and made everything very intense, even when it turned out there was *no actual industry* (it Tokyopopped right at the time of it looked like it was going somewhere) and gave folks involved a very inflated sense of proportion.
As it stands making comics influenced by manga has gone very much full circle - we’ve rebooted and again I believe it’s all about publishing comics for yourself with access to glorious digital printing, online shops and even Kickstarter pledging.
(At best we have “Comic Village” spots cropping up in large UK conventions which is so supportive and excellent, I can’t even. At worst we have a form of “Artist Alley” - an “un-curatable” state of a Comic Village art scene that has developed, resulting in newbies riding the coattails of existing IP with nothing but pinup-fanart on some tables. I hope this changes and pure fanartists make their own OCs and minifandoms because I think otherwise, it will implode upon itself too.)
…So the link to this article querying “be famous or sit on the background” (or words to that effect) - people’s inflated expectations that cause a ton of problems for everyone - seriously, be happy toodling along doing your own thing to create respect and develop strong characters, art and our own IPs. (I love drawing fanart for fun, but personally I have always focussed on OCs and original art foremost.) Are folks genuinely happy pretending to be famous by selling 100% ripped off IPs on their art tables? I do not believe for a second that this is purely what people want to buy - people like great art and great stories - but undercutting fellow tablemates with an unofficial £2 MLP print is going to cause serious shit for artists in the long haul, including those artists who sell £2 MLP prints.
"But nobody will buy my stuff" - how do you know if you haven’t tried it properly? Get faster? Raise quality? Create immersing stuff?
Japan still only really takes on board homegrown mangaka. No western publishers (European, maybe) give time to many artists who draw like we do. We need to get serious to be taken even more seriously and the art scene seems to be lacking some momentum right now.
I believe humming away in the background and working hard will make you really good at doing your own thing. I hope to be even better at doing my own thing. And then people will get on board and create mini OC fandoms and everything will feel a bit more rosier than it feels right now, without that misinformed feeling of “I need to be rich and famous doing what I do in my spare time by the time I am 27 and I’m really depressed I’m not in that imagined state of life right now and I only draw fanart anyway”.
Let’s be professional about this! We’re all in it together!
…We’ve got a long way to go baby. Ride with me?