I can’t decide anything anymore.

Recently E*sy has been cleaned of Jojo content (with rumours that Stone Ocean is coming out soon), more specifically, there have been takedowns affecting every Jojo artist of all calibers, popular and small artist, and a lot of people have been looking at other places to setup shop. Including me.

The problem is that fanart is still fanart, infringing on others’ IP is still Bad, and no one wants to deal with that. Getting your account terminated can happen on any storefront, E*sy or otherwise. I’m not gonna discuss legality of it, but I’ll say that fanart is the reason I can pay my bills, and that’s probably the same for many artists, so you know my stance on it now.

Because of this recent event, my hackles have been raised quite a bit for the past several days due to various things. First, I love Jojo, so not being able to share my Jojo merchandise with other fans who want to buy it outside of cons makes me sad. I love spreading the good word of Jojo and limiting my ability to do that sucks.

I am not fighting the fact that the company wants to protect its IP. That is well within their rights. But this is my second problem: My original stuff doesn’t sell because I can’t create marketable ideas/products and my tastes are too niche.

While looking up threads on this fiasco and seeking out possible other options than selling on E*sy, someone’s comment in particular really rubbed me the wrong way. The short version of it is that they treated fanartists condescendingly and said that their original art does well on E*sy therefore proving that original works are just as viable as fanworks.

I looked at their store and… well it was just animals. Of course their shop was doing fine. Their original work appealed to every person on the fucking planet.

It’s not that simple for everyone. I want to make nuns and angels and priests and religious shit for my original merchandise. Who the fuck wants that? Very few people. Every single piece of original work on my table is carried on the shoulders of my fanart. If I get rid of all my original work my sales wouldn’t suffer in the slightest.

The only original art I’ve been able to sell with sort-of success is anything with Incubus (people love his design for whatever reason), but it’s not like I can do much with that- usually it’s like 1-3 pieces of something Incubus-related per con. Which I consider fucking mindblowing next to my other original shit which has exactly Zero sales.

And, people suggested doing cute animals: yeah, I did that. They sell as frequently as my other original works, which is…maybe one per con. Why would people buy cute animals when they could buy a character they like? The connection is greater for the latter.

I thought of starting a series of cute/fanservicey angels, but I was reminded that nearly every piece of original art I’ve ever done has sold poorly so my feet sunk into the mud, unable to get a solid footing. I’m also abysmally fucking terrible at character design so it’s not like I could make a really stylish character that could appeal to anyone either. I just have accepted the fact that I can’t create marketable stuff without relying on other IP.

It’s easy to say: “Just do it!” But I see dollar signs disappearing before my eyes and more merchandise no one will buy sitting in my already-full closet.

“Art that you love sells! They will know how much passion you put into it! Make what you love, not what sells!” What a fucking joke. The fanart I gave the least of a shit about and barely put effort into was my biggest seller for several months.

What should I do? I just don’t know. I’m so lost.

The Future, Behold

So since I surprisingly actually made a living wage at Youmacon (like, a real, normal wage that normal people who work normal jobs actually make), I was able to pay off the final debt of my student loans and I am now free. Free from a degree that I used for exactly…three years of my life.

Anyway, now that that’s over I can start some fiscal-related things like putting away money for a house and other investment stuff. I wanted to treat myself to something nice since I never spend money on myself other than buying stuff in the AA at cons, but all I can think of is old people things like buying nice furniture or actually seeing and being able to pay a dentist. So that isn’t really fun. The amount of things I want has dwindled as I became older. Instead I just went to dinner and splurged a little.

Continue reading The Future, Behold

Youmacon Aftermath

So avoiding the complete dumpsterfire that was the drama surrounding Youmacon, it was my best con so far. Some observations:

1) I had originally made my small loaf pillows as an alternative to people who gawked at the price tag of my big pillows. However, people preferred the big ones, and were really receptive to the backing I used. When they asked about buying big pillows that had sold out, I offered to sell them the small versions, but many of them declined. For a while I had been afraid that I had nothing to offer that was different than manufactured pillows from Alibaba. After all, you can get double-sided pillows made for cheap that are several inches bigger and you don’t even have to do any work for them other than drawing the image. It’s time-consuming and expensive just to sew my 10-inch ones, so I felt inadequate next to manufactured ones. The fact that people preferred the backing I use made me feel good, like I do have something to offer, and I don’t have to give up my craft just because other people order theirs off of Alibaba.

Continue reading Youmacon Aftermath

Trying to stall a dying earth

Because doing cons has basically become my actual job now instead of just a thing I do sometimes, I’ve become more aware of how much waste I create and I’m trying to be more conscious about it.

Yeah, the earth is dying. Yeah, it’s arrogant to assume that anything that I, a single person, does is having a grand effect. Yeah, it seems pointless. But humans are creatures of anxiety, and if it clears my conscious to do it then I will live my life in this way instead of feeling guilty, pointless or not.

As much as I love creating cute packaging in cellophane plastic bags, I researched some alternatives to such things after reading some starting points from this twitter thread.

Other useful thing that was posted in the thread of what’s the difference between biodegradable vs compostable. Basically compostable > biodegradable because if it’s compostable it leaves no residue behind (only good stuff for plants); biodegradable sometimes leaves toxic waste behind.

This post is mostly detailing different types of packaging to use.

Continue reading Trying to stall a dying earth

Something Positive

So Anime Midwest is over and it blew every other con I’ve ever done out of the water. This is the first con where I figured out how to display my pillows prominently, and I also debuted my very soft pillows, which sold exceptionally well.

It made me realize that I think I found my niche, which is doing pillows. It’s both something that I love to do and make profit off of so I want to hang on to this tightly.

I mean, weirdly enough, unlike everything else I do for cons, I don’t hate making pillows! Yeah it’s a pain and there’s always hiccups because I’m still learning, but in the end it’s very rewarding!

That being said, I’ve long despised being a print artist because of many reasons.

Continue reading Something Positive