SuperListenMode 270: Why I’m conflicted with these comics

SuperListenMode: Quit it, Accept it as is or Change it up 

“Suck it up” – an internet stranger said to me last year.
You’re right. Perhaps I’m too emotional, repetitive and vulnerable online & people have mentally blocked me & my art out. It’s not exactly something people would pay me to do either.

Sadly realised that I was in too deep to see it. Though maybe I’m the one who’s tired of the subject matter and I need a break.

tl;dr: Been creatively burnt out for ages at least since 2017 and my SLM comic buffer is done so I’m breaking out of the mold of these SLM comics & expanding its scope into something with more variety. Learning ahead!

I’ll still be doing the usual personal blog posts, learning, art and comics…SLM won’t be as regular anymore until I figure it out or let it go. The core of my future comics hasn’t changed. I’m still expressing myself and learning.

Regardless, I hope to evolve my art and comics much more & get out of this rut!

I’ve been agonising over this since 2017 actually. :’)

Who’s kind enough to say that they still read my silly personal comics?
Not many people consistently interact with them. It’s super niche.
And most people are ninjas and that is super appreciated. Few people read the lengthy blog themselves.

Admittedly sometimes it feels like posting and writing to the void. I’ve even made a comic or two about that.

I was close to quitting it long ago but I still had ideas to express.
So I kept making more in batches until I felt done with my ideas list during July 2018 when I started drafting this blog post. Hopping indecisively between quitting or changing it up. A lot. Kept proofreading this blog post too. I changed how I did the comic along the way to keep it interesting.

Originally this blog post was about quitting SLM comics. Or not keep the name. But it’s identity is so ingrained as comics featuring me and my emotions. I feel like I need to change it more and the SLM label as it is now feels limiting.

Plus I don’t have a job and should be working on more quality pieces, now that I have the time to slowly sort myself out. Self discovery mode at the moment. I’ll talk more about that when I feel ready.

I need to kill my darling. Or at least how it is now.

I don’t want to be tied down anymore.

Sometimes things need to end for new beginnings.
It was logical but emotionally, it was difficult.
As they are, I felt trapped making SLM comics like they are now.
My heart wasn’t in this anymore.
I was tired. Burnt out.

Consequently I did a lot of comics to add to my buffer since July to September and then some more during November/December so my break could happen and to think things through on my own until now ;P As much as it hurts and saddens me, I don’t want to reflect on my vulnerable feelings this way and this frequently anymore. Overall I need to scale it back. Or approach it in a different way. Who knows!

After much deliberation, I’ve decided to make SLM comics less regular until I figure it out. Do it when I want to express feelings again. I think I do have that desire to, I’m just not sure how to approach it yet.

It’s time to let go as things are and change it up. I’ll still do personal art and blog about my personal learning journey but I’ll be more experimental 😀

Why change SLM comics?

  • I don’t feel like I’m growing substantially doing these. Emotionally and artistically.
  • I want to stop dedicating too much time on comics of a deeply personal nature. Stop taking it seriously all the time. I need some distance and a break if I’m ever continuing it at all. The cycle of improving and evolving! :0
  • I don’t want to talk deeply about my feelings in such a structured and regular way through my comics. Probably as a sometimes thing. Not have it on full emotional blast frequently. I don’t want to focus so much on my feelings in my work. That said, it’s going to be hard because I have a lot of new feelings right now I want to ramble about. Let’s see how things work out!
  • Sometimes it becomes repetitive as I go over the same personal issues and topics countless times as I deal with them. I’m repeating myself at times. Because I’m still facing them. Or I’m just distracting myself from the real problem. That’s fine, life is a struggle, I’m figuring that out, tolerating how things are and it’s how it is on the personal side, but as an artist I want to move on and change up what I put out there too.
  • It’s been 3+ years. I don’t want people to keep expecting the same thing from me. Time for more substantial growth.
  • I’ve actually cut out lots of ideas and sketches for comics because its content makes me upset, super vulnerable, repetitive and is self depreciating, under the guise of a silly personal comic. It is true that I have SLM comics that do this already. But I don’t regret putting those out there.
  • I just don’t want to draw more things that make me sad and mixed. Things that I’m still dealing with. Things I cannot really genuinely laugh away. Making comics about it is not helping me aside from awareness and being a way of expression. I haven’t been dealing with my problems directly…I’m just enduring. I need to move on from the same topics and themes a while.
  • Or face them anyway in some way my work.
  • I feel like I’m wrung dry at times. Creatively stuck. I need a break from doing the same thing. Evolve and do other things.
  • I realise that at times, I’m dwelling on negative feelings too much because I’m coming up with ideas for comics based on how I’m feeling. And unfortunately that’s what people judge me by whether I actually care about them or not.
  • Some comics that delve deep, deep down into my emotions, generate more feelings of despair, anxiety, self judgement and hopelessness than it relieves. I get frustrated and it’s not helpful. Perhaps I’m too focused on and am making the problems bigger than they should be.
    • Yes I don’t know what I’m doing plus am frustrated sometimes. Yes I want hope, love, good friends, connection, improve my surroundings and get better at art and life.
    • I get it, Leonie. Move on now. Actually take steps to do something and/or do your best to appreciate and focus on positive things while these negative things happen in your life. Don’t regularly make comics about negative things. Unless I really want to.
    • Other times I am wringing the topic dry to the point that I don’t feel like dwelling on it anymore. I feel a bit more at peace on this learning journey. I’m not simply talking about things *only* when things are resolved.
  • And I don’t want to put myself down anymore just to have a place to speak. I am agreeing with what Hannah Gadsby brought up in her wonderfully powerful, emotional and incredible stand-up, Nanette.
  • I’m tired and still afraid of putting myself emotionally out there too much in the form of these small comics. It should be a sometimes thing. So I can grow my art too. I need to juggle more.
  • yes I know that there are other ways I could ramble about my feelings…like this blog [since few people read it] or talking to a trusted friend ;P
  • But since I only have a few, trusted friends I see every several months or more, I cannot burden them with my personal problems. They turn to closer friends for their personal problems too so to put it bluntly: I’m not close enough to them to mutually support each other. Ultimately these comics allow me to safely express myself along the way without expecting others to solve them or listen to me. Because I know the responsibility is mine and this is my way to manage the hard times.
  • I want future comics to be more varied, fun and silly for me and for people reading too.
  • Other times I do get carried away by my emotions when I make comics. Feelings and reactions that just come and go. Especially when I draw sad comics whenever I feel sad. Not saying that’s a bad thing. Just don’t want to have to come up with personal, emotionally, similar charged comic ideas frequently if I can help it.
    • I need to remember to sit with the sadness and feelings as it happens, talk to somebody I trust and let it go without doing another samey comic about it. Or at least get some distance and then make a comic about it. I’m getting better at this.
  • I want to do comics only if I want to. For fun. Not because I’m expected to ;P This means I don’t want to do *only* comics.
  • The more people expect me to do something, the less I want to do it. Especially in my own time ;P
  • I want to have fun in what I draw. To learn and get better. To keep comics and art fun, silly, positive, real, varied and personal.
  • I’m not learning anymore if I continue and force this as a regular thing. With the same format. Same art style. Same theme.
  • Or maybe I need it to be so I can focus my time and efforts on bigger projects. Hmm.
  • I’m not sure if this even a viable commercial thing. It feels too niche to become anything big. Web comics are hard. You get known for it but it takes countless years for it build an audience, let alone go anywhere. I need to quit or change it up.
    • Since I’m not interacting on others’ posts much, on average only 4 “views” a blog post, 2-10 likes a given comic and more importantly, 1 response or so a week across all platforms. The reality is that my audience is super tiny and it’s all a labour of love.
    • In that light, why am I spending countless hours developing something that is going nowhere? If it’s not working, why am I trying to make this into something? It wasn’t even the intention in the first place! Whelp, I won’t worry if it’s not going anywhere ;P
    • I meekly linked a Patreon since August 2018 and then left it alone. Originally to test if an audience can be built from the blog, comics and my personal art and to give me another encouraging push and income stream. To not put it in the back burner if something else comes up. That people do read, find it valuable and are supporting me to keep going with it. Turns out that there are three generous people but it isn’t a large audience. And it felt like there’s even more pressure to put myself out there and give “more” and I don’t want to give what I don’t have. So I didn’t talk about it and just linked it at the end of posts. In spite of the lack of marketing, I got three kind patrons! Thank you! I hope to do more variety of things in the art I post when I figure it out in the future 😀
    • People are more likely to support webcomics with a long running *story* rather than personal, slice of life comics. I don’t mind since I can’t see myself doing a long running story right now. Maybe I’ll do a short story eventually though!
    • It’s really a small group of people and friends who might read this…it hasn’t really grown as an audience that much.
    • People seek escapism, not more emotional/personal noise :< But then again, I don’t care and I need the outlet anyway 😛
    • I want to protect these comics and it’s not time to monetise them.
  • How there are many more things I need to work on, learn and study in art and life. I find that I am using these comics to procrastinate and distract myself from doing it. I feel like I’m getting complacent in my comfort zone. This frustrates and deepens my creative rut. There are better things I can do to help me grow…and I don’t want to use these personal comics as an excuse to not do it.
  • I don’t want the same kind of personal comics as my “thing” in the long term. I want to push my art styles and skills further.
  • These personal comics are part of my comfort zone and occasional coping mechanism. I need to break out of this safe zone to grow.

Wasn’t sure if I should completely kill off the comics. 

I’ve been so indecisive. It’ll be killing off a personal outlet for me.
And this art style I’ve developed and grown attached to.

These comics have been a planned ongoing personal comic project with my art style and there has been undoubtedly many changes to my comics since I first started. I guess I want more substantial artistic and creative growth. I want to focus on other themes and shenanigans beyond my personal art and life struggles.

I can’t continue the comics as they are anymore. I need something else going on as SLM comics were supposed to be a side thing.

Hoping to evolve my SLM personal comics whenever I continue them

Leave the door open for personal comics for fun, silly ideas. I need to keep it flexible for me. No deadlines for them. I have that with life already!

Typing all this makes me feel super relieved!
I don’t *have* to do regular SLM personal comics anymore! Only if I want to! Spacing them out. Will probably come back in a different or the same form. I have a lot of things to express now that I am on the unemployment/freelancing/learning journey. Who knows!

I have a feeling that people that matter don’t care and/or support whatever I do anyway. People don’t care *that* much about these silly comics. (:
Thank you for reading them!

And thank you so much to the few of my friends who have listened and have been super understanding as I ramble on and on about this. And how flip floppy I am with these comics right now. <3

Ultimately I hope to keep evolving towards some artistic and personal growth! Get some variety! Be free to do some art styles in and out of my comfort zone too! I just want to learn to get better at art, design and visual storytelling with my voice. :’) I’ll keep figuring it out what makes me excited enough to give it my all. Learning and struggling out of this creative rut! ^o^;

I have a lot of growing up to do, always. It’s a lifelong practice of learning how to deal with discomfort, pain, fears, rejection, failure…in order to do what one believes in.

See you around! <3