I’ve been making comics for years- literally since I was a kid. I’ve never held illusions that my work is cutting-edge or going to change the world, but at the time I’ve thought, from time to time, that it’s been pretty good, and I’ve occasionally had some things to say that I thought were worth saying. At the moment though, and I mean right at this minute, I’m struggling with a seemingly inescapable truth of this full-of-content-and-shiny-things world.
He who fails to self promote fails to be seen.
In a mainstream world of ever-scrolling in-your-face blathering technicolour brain vomit, I’m working in a niche of a niche field- I don’t draw big action, superhero nonsense, I don’t cater to current trends or try to fit in, and I don’t self promote. I tried it once, getting on social media, actively sharing content, contacting others, getting involved. It was exhausting. I felt like I was shouting into an uncaring void “Look at me!” I came to realise that in the end, actually, people often don’t really care- particularly about anything unfamiliar. If I was drawing Wolverine, maybe that’d get them. Or Manga. But my own content in my own style? Forget about it.
As I overheard at a convention one time, “People know what they like and like what they know.” I’m making stories about myself. I can see how this isn’t too thrilling. But I’m also making stories with a voice, that others might be able to connect to, if they only knew about it.
At the end, I’m content to just make my work, seek to keep improving, and enjoy the process. Who knows, it could be that getting discovered might end up being the worst thing that could happen to a creative type. At the same time, I see some people who do the hard yards with self promotion, and many of them get the recognition they do (and sometimes do not) deserve. And hey, I’m not chemically imbalanced. I meditate, practice tai chi, exercise regularly, have a predominately organic diet, great relationship and an awesome cat. I get to teach at a cool university and draw comics every day. So, you know, I’m happy for them. Yay. But sometimes, and only occasionally, I’m filled with a burning indignation; a feeling of disbelief and incredulity at people’s tastes and what passes for creativity, that threatens to consume me, makes me want to snap my pencils and throw my entire collection of sketchbooks in the bin.
Luckily, it’s usually only a fleeting desire.