SuperListenMode 285: Burnt out on Speaker BurpDoodles…quitting?

SuperListenMode: On Speaker BurpDoodles 

Probably not doing “proper” Speaker BurpDoodles next year…it’s become such a huge, time-consuming project. It’s taken me a month and many breaks to have the stamina and mental capacity to redo and illustrate these pages. And create these blog posts. I believe I’ve burnt out on this ongoing project. I don’t think I’ll do these…at least not to this level again.

When it started…

I remember how doing these helped me focus and cope with the overwhelming conference [for myself really], maybe getting a moment to show it to one speaker and then posting them as gift art afterwards. It felt wonderful, heart warming and reassuring when occasionally, a few people from the industry respond back. A fleeting and cherished moment of belonging and giving something back in my own way through my artwork, thoughts and posts.

Because industry social events are hard, overwhelming and I need something else I actually enjoy, to do. It was a good amount of pressure, late nights, sleep deprivation, drawing inspiring people and a challenge for me to focus on…and less being anxious about industry events. I didn’t care about the quality of the artwork as much back then.

With games industry stuff: I don’t want to focus on “networking” and socialising [if friendship happens, it’s great though!] I use this as an excuse to be in my own world, still be engaged and do more art.

Perhaps I need to just post my terrible rough sketches and be done with it. I just need to lower my standards….ehhhhhh I don’t know about that!! :’) Maybe I’ll just do one finished portrait per speaker and make it an observational drawing adventure again.

If I were to do it again.

I probably will. I’m just not sure how to scope it down and still fulfill my standards and my well being.

As it is now, I feel the unspoken pressure.

I feel the expectation from some that I’m “supposed” to do them.  Once I got asked if I’ve posted them yet and hearing that felt heavy on my shoulders…they were just sketches at that point. I feel myself drained and losing interest due to the pressure and my standards creeping up even higher. I feel like I’m expected to attend all the talks possible to draw a variety of cool people. Or draw people I know, to support them.

I feel like I’m running on empty because of all the sensory and social overload going on and yet I don’t feel like I’m giving enough through my artwork. Is this becoming the only way I feel “part of the industry”? That is not how I want to live.

I need to change things up again to keep it interesting, manageable and be more kinder with myself.

Not that I’m feeling great enough to do it now, but in the future: commission me if you really want me to draw you? Though people probably won’t and like things for free ;P

True I was trying to practice…

…get out of my rut and get less rusty with art this year. You can tell how it has progressed and I’m slowly more comfortable with a bit of  traditional art. But this project is super time consuming and something I dread now. Because I don’t feel like I’m trying new things or artistically growing…I leaned towards doing safe and comfortable because of the pressure. You know, pen, highlighters and school markers. I gotta experiment next time!

Other times I feel like I rushed it heaps. It’s not as satisfying, interesting and fun for me. There’s lots of things I wished I did better, or redid but I cannot for the sake of my well being. This is the main reason. It became too much work, time, expectations, pressure and emotional labour…it’s not worth suffering for. Few actually care or anticipate about or will pay me for it anyway. And I’m not formatting these into digital booklets because that’s even more work.

Again, I’m not expecting money nor popularity from these…not my intention or what I care for in the first place. Because if it was my intention, I would have quit ages ago. It doesn’t bring in much money or “popularity” anyway. I’ll be super deep in the negatives given all that time and work I’ve put into it over the years. I super appreciate the kind support for previous years though! There were a small handful who donated anyway for previous years! Thank you if you’re reading this!! Made me feel valued and appreciated <3

Hey as I said countless times, through these I wanted to cope with social events and have fun drawing people. But now my need for creative change [my ongoing rut] versus the desire to please the professional/industry side of things have bogged me down. :’)

Feelings on the Responses so far!

Mostly super heart warming and supportive! It’s so humbling and sweet when the speakers themselves respond back in words!! ♥ One actually used it as a temporary profile picture and some others shared it to their friends! Other times it’s quiet, discreet or indifference as expected since the quality of the art is all over the place. Most things don’t work as well and that’s fine and normal. I just call the art done and move on. What’s important to me is how fun it is to just play and get carried away by a project just for myself!

What’s interesting is that when I finally put them out there, things are mostly quiet on Facebook and Twitter when compared to Instagram…the gap is big! It’s Instagram >>> Twitter >> Facebook for me. And somehow I got more likes on Facebook when I thought it was dead. Rather than Instagram, Twitter and Facebook were where I actually get feedback from people I know. There’s not many so I do remember the kind people who do interact and comment with the posts across many platforms!! <3 Thank youuu!! Replies are so rare! It means a lot because otherwise we don’t really talk or interact in person. You’re discreetly saying that you’re still quietly being supportive and kind to me :’) I see you. Or at least your username/icon haha

As usual, social media feels isolating…

because of the lack of depth in most of the interaction. I get it though. There’s not much to say and most of us are internet lurkers.

Let’s say I don’t fully understand what is “popular” with people. Sometimes I’m curious about it and other times I don’t want to care. Trying to minimise that business, networking, target audience, marketing, freelancing mindset until I’m in a better headspace for it. Focusing on art for myself, learning and fun and hoping people will like what I do too. Social media is such a mixed bag of warm fuzzies and loneliness.

It really reminds and humbles me that I shouldn’t worry about social media too much because most people don’t care and social media is an empty void full of people living in their own bubbles, niche communities and friendships. Most people including myself, interact only if it directly involves them. I need to let go of the pressure and check social media less every time I post a project!! Wah! So hard!! I repeat this a lot because I’m reminding myself :<

I’m thinking of scaling down how much I check social media and block myself even more and just keep it weekly and stick to emails + comments at my blog. People are so stuck on their favourite social media platform though :< Regardless I’m glad I have my online home [my own bubble and internet island] to ramble here :’)

Gosh if I wanted silly popularity numbers, I would have quit my SLM comics ages ago! I am planning to quit it as a regular thing but mainly for other reasons I’ll talk about when I’m ready to do it for real ;P Friends have been wonderfully supportive when I told them I was going to quit regular SLM comics next year though (:

Yeah nah

For the amount of work, time, planning, processing, research, unspoken pressure, blogging and emotional energy I put into these Speaker BurpDoodles, the process itself doesn’t seem worth it or enjoyable for me anymore. Don’t get me wrong and ungrateful, the result was mostly positive!
I did it this year because I wanted to finish this official big personal project for the last time. Even if it was at the expense of my own mental health. Oh it’s my stubbornness. It’s grown too big for me to continue doing them as it is now.
Another lesson of letting go for me.
With a heavy heart, I’m quitting this as a big official, colourful project. It might just be more crude and quick instead next time. Or one portrait per speaker instead like what I did with the closing keynote and lunch. Hey, I still need something to cope social things and to keep myself engaged. We’ll have to see how I feel next year.
Though completely not caring and relaxing much more during next year’s games week feels much more appealing. I don’t know if I can actually relax because…there’s crowds and socialising! Eep that’s too draining!
Thank you for understanding and reading all these thoughts.
Finally, thanks so much for the kind, encouraging words during this project & to my two patreon supporters! ✨
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