Finally back home. What a tiring weekend.
So, some thoughts now that the event is over. Overall, I think Armageddon was a valuable experience and I took a lot from it. That being said, despite the fact in terms of financially we made far more than at Overload, I did not enjoy the experience itself nearly as much, and honestly, if given the option, will probably not attend again next year.
I feel I've learnt a lot about myself over the past few weeks, not because I've thought about things more, but rather because I've just been doing more things. Through those new experiences, I've come to learn much more about my own mentality and values.
For me at least, I think art is a very personal experience that I hold dear to me, more than I previously realized. Making money through art doesn't mean nearly as much to me as connecting with people, and I think that's the root of my disdain for Armageddon as an event. I also think it explains why I was okay with taking requests on /a/ back in the days, yet I'm not comfortable with commission work.
Of course, it would be great if I were paid to do what I love, but on the flipside, I understand that what I love isn't so much the act of drawing itself, but rather creating something personal and being able to share that with other people. I feel like this is true for many people who make things, from musicians to game programmers.
I also understand that not everybody feels this way. Money is important, and being able to earn money through drawing is something I'm sure a lot of people aim towards. I won't deny that someone else being willing to pay for something you made is a very flattering feeling, and it's not one I don't enjoy. For me, the issue lies more in my inability to seperate "working" and "drawing".
Put simply, when I'm drawing for my own reasons, even if it's difficult and I'm struggling, I'm enjoying the whole experience. When I am being paid to draw for someone else's reasons, I cannot say the same. I feel so burdened by the need to do a good job for the commissioner that it becomes impossible for me to enjoy the actual process of drawing and creating something. Perhaps time and experience will fix this, otherwise maybe I'm just not cut out for ever doing work from my hobby.
One guy over the weekend approached our table and asked how much it would cost to commission us. I instinctively said I don't take commissions, and he moved on to questioning my friend, offering him a sweet $30 to design a character mascot to use for his business logo. I overheard their conversation and as it went on, honestly felt a bit disappointed. All the lines I've heard before to try get people to do something were thrown out. "If you can do me this one, I'll probably need more and get you to do more, so you'll have more work/pay!" and so on.
After he left, I had a talk with my friend and told him I felt he shouldn't do the job. I explained that $30 is chump change for what he was asked to do, more so because the man intended on using it for business purposes. What a joke. It upsets me that so many artists are taken advantage of in this manner, because so many people just want to make money through their drawings, whether that be to justify the time they've spent practicing, or validation that they've finally "made it".
I know I'm rambling here, so allow me to try and conclude. Armageddon was valuable because it taught me an important lesson. Do what you love, and find people who love what you do. There was nothing wrong with the event itself, and it was in no way Armageddon's fault that I did not enjoy my time there. Rather, I was so distanced from the audience that attended the event that I felt there was little common ground to connect on. I think that's a really beautiful thing about the internet, the fact that I have the ability to seek out and connect with people who live thousands of miles away, over a shared common interest.
Here's the sketch I drew for William. A lot of people asked if I was selling the sketches, and I turned all of them down because I think mostly I was just drawing to keep myself from being bored. I only gave 2 of my sketches away, this being one and the other to the Nozomi cosplayer, who came back on day 2 to give us some of her own drawings.
Sorry for the long post, there will probably be more of these coming up, as I really enjoy writing my thoughts on this blog. It's almost like a personal diary. Except there's 5 other people reading that diary.