I hadn't realized it at the time, but November of last year was actually my five-year anniversary on DA, when my old forum-pal convinced me to keep on drawing here after I had unceremoniously left the old OS-tan Forum. Roughly 2-3 years earlier, I had arrived at that place as a means to practice digital drawing, a craft that was so new to me then (and aided in large part by that wonderful vector drawing program Inkscape, which was also brand-new to me at the time). It seemed like only yesterday when I drew the lovely Amiga-tan, my first OS-tan, first vector drawing (with some Photoshop editing mixed in, since I still used that dastardly program at the time), and first illustration of any kind that approximated the vision in my mind...
And from then on, as my gallery stands testament, I did not stop drawing or creating or working hard to build an artistic persona I could be proud of, and, admittedly, would gain me success, fame, admiration, and, at times, perhaps even financial gain. But for all my accomplishments -- for all the people I've taught, lives I've changed, projects I've donated to, and so on -- it is remarkable how very little pride I've felt from any of it. Hence why it's been so easy to jettison projects, dash expectations, burn bridges, abandon character concepts, and at times break hearts -- because I've never really loved art as most artists do, I've always seen it as a chore since inception up to this very day, and, as such, a failed project just becomes more deadweight. Someone once complained that I'm almost always partially miserable because I always treat artwork, or my commitments surrounding artwork, like a job, and even use the same terminology for it sometimes (e.g., "retirement") -- and in all honesty that person was right, I've always treated this as a job, something to endure for a greater purpose down the road, and NOT for fun. Fun came with it, but it was never the goal... I can't honestly remember the last time I actually drew for fun.
I get people IRL who wonder why I don't pursue a career in art, but if they only knew how fragile and tenuous that talent was, they'd know I shouldn't quit my day job.
What I really like is helping people -- being the first person to take a dive into something, a person to lead by example, a person who helps turn the tide of fortunes, a hero. And in hindsight, almost all major project I've done have been done in the aid of some cause....
- OS-tans in 2006 were unsurprisingly Windows-centric and non-Japanese artwork at the time was uncompetitive in quality, so my goal first coming in was to turn that around
- My work on Ubunchu started as a specific grievance against the original LtR version, and later as a means to positively demonstrate that Western artists are also capable of professional work and artistry, even for a free translation work.
- My work in eeePcLinuxOS was obviously to save Linux netbooks from an onslaught of cheap Windows PCs set to destroy the market, and of course to help our small team be the best it could be.
- Likewise my short stint in the KDE Artwork and Games division was done for pretty much the same reason, to help make this project amazing.
- For Heny, I wanted to prove to her that her talents were amazing and well-appreciated, and as far as CameliaGirls went, to prove that dreams could become reality with the right tool and mindset
- Ponies had an abundance of high-quality artwork, but at the time an underabundance of inexpensive craft items, hence my efforts to fill that void with my pinatas and other interesting papercrafts.
- And once the threat of copyright policing loomed over, Sun Dried Cherries was born to offer something truly free, fun and safe to distribute.
- And for those precious few who knew my old Minecraft server, I don't even want to talk about it... but yes, it too began as a means to help some of our old friends of ours, and once it became crystal-clear that Cquel-kun made a terrible admin, that idea died a very slow and quiet death.
In neither case do I remember my job ever being done -- usually my participation either lead to an abysmal or fiery failure, or my services were simply no longer required, at which point the inspiration would slowly die off a slow painful death. My coming to DA was in fact a life support measure, one that endured for a good solid five years.
But I'm the first to spot the warning signs, like an oxygen tank quickly running out of gas, and no amount of tapping, banging and clanging on it will make it create more air. I know when I'm getting bored or frustrated, and risk tossing everything aside again and starting from scratch, in the hopes that this time it won't be an abject failure. I could tell myself I will chillax and draw for fun from now on as I've told myself several times before. But I'm not kidding anyone any more, least of all myself -- I've accumulated too much baggage, too many things I'm not proud of doing, to suddenly turn around and say I will finally have fun. In my mind I don't deserve it and am incapable of enjoying it because I take it too seriously, but taking things seriously has been the hallmark of what I do, and how I've managed to produce the work that I've done -- I simply can't have one without the other.
This goes a little past artist's block... I don't lack ideas at all (if anything, I still have an abundance of them),... this is truly a loss of will to go on. I'm tired of beating a dead horse and I'm tired of trying to make something out of my pig persona. But not being one to surrender either, I rather treat this as a tactical retreat... close down operations here, and find something new to do, IRL, that can genuinely be considered fun, free of any of my so-called baggage, and perhaps rekindle in me some sorely needed pride in myself.
The TL;DR of it is... the day has come, C-quel is finally out for the count.
Regardless of what I said or promised to do before, I think I will announce an indefinite hiatus starting today. I may be around to tie up some loose ends and possibly help some people (as I always do), since of course I am still grateful for all the amazing support I've been given over the years (without it, I would have given up back in 2006).
But, bottom line, this pig is tired, and needs a long overdue rest....