I know over the past while I haven't been putting out as much content. I guess an owe an explanation.
First and foremost I feel burnt out. I feel like I have reached a dead end in my craft. Making comics feels tedious to me. At this point almost every idea I come up with feels like something similar I've already done. I keep running into ideas uncomfortably similar to what I've already done before. I run into a lot of ideas that are overly complex and long, but barely any payoff. As a result I can't dedicate myself to a single idea; I can't settle with something mediocre, even if my readers see it and get a kick out of it.
At one point I was convinced that the next step in my hobby is comic series. When I was planning out End of a Generation I honestly couldn't think of another time where I was this giddy about making comics. The only downside is that these take more planning that takes time to work and rework. Most importantly it took writing talent I apparently don't have. I can whip up a humerous conversation on the fly, but belting down and dedicating to a cast of developed characters worth remembering? That's tough. That's near unfathomable for me. But I went for it anyways, which leads me to my next point.
END OF A GENERATION
What do I think about End of a Generation? After all has been said and done I think it was a success. Nothing viral, not remotely perfect, but I'm proud of it. I'm glad people liked and loved it, and as odd as it sounds I'm okay with people strongly disliking it. I remember this one saying by a game designer I listen to a lot. He said that, given the chance, it is better to try to have a small number of people love something to pieces than it is for everyone to be lukewarm about it. In hindsight I may have misinterpreted that.
I know I did quite a few things wrong in EoaG. I had this idea that I wanted to rush the story; keep the action tight and interesting. I wanted something important happening as often as it could happen. Sometimes I bump into a random page of another MLP comic series. I would read it and dismiss it; that nothing interesting was happening and I had no interest in continuing. I didn't want that to happen to my comic series; I actively sought out to avoid that wherever possible. In the end I was clearly tone-deaf to any tempo in the story, and that was a sacrifice I was willing to make.
As a result of this focus I've somewhat tried to make Sunset a bit of a Mary Sue. I can get away with making her untouchable in all of the action, or so I thought at the time. At least most of it, anyways. I think there are cases where it's possible to have a Mary Sue, but having one in a comic exposes a fundamental misunderstanding of the medium I'm in. Characters like the Equalizer, Dredd, and Ip Man are interesting as Mary Sues in their movie because the action is so well choreographed. The audience can see them outwit every opponent that comes their way. Comics cannot do that.
There's also the criticism that Sunset wasn't very dynamic or relatable; that her relations with Twilight felt very distant at best. It required time I was not willing to set aside for that kind of development, and in hindsight I'm not sure if that was the right call. I wanted to focus on Sunset Shimmer and who she could have been if she resided in Equestria again. In the canon MLP universe she went from being a rebellious genius to Twilight's vanilla friend in Equestria Girls. In my eyes that's boring; forget about that! Sunset Shimmer has always been a cheesy train wreck as a character, but at least she was more interesting as a villain.
What did I do right? I definitely nailed the beginning. It set the stage in six panels, and the next two plots after that where very strong in my opinion and by the opinion of most others. Things definitely died down after that, and it was pretty obvious I was sloppily setting everything up for the surprise twist and the finale. I am satisfied with my ending because it tied in with bits of the MLP canon, such as explaining "Princess Uselesstia". Yeesh, Princess Celestia; gloss a city or something in the show. I'm just saying; it would be badass if you did something interesting.
I had to keep things as focused as I could. In hindsight I regret mentioning Sunset being a little more grey after revealing her supposed unfettered loyalty to Twilight in the end. I was tempted to have Sunset Shimmer backstab Twilight at some point. However, that would cause for a longer comic, or leave a cliffhanger to a comic series that'll never launch.
I've never held the belief that any work of art "should never have existed", and I hope I can use EoaG to make mistakes and learn from. Either way I doubt I'll be ditching my personal canon that pony Sunset Shimmer would be this rebellious genius bastard that instigates all kinds of crazy stuff. There's just so much to play with in that. Maybe my next comic series will be a little slower and more flushed out; at least assuming there will be one, anyways.
WHAT DO I THINK ABOUT THE SHOW?
You know- that show. The show we all know and love; the lovely show. Show de l'oeuf-ly.
Steven Univ- MY LITTLE PONY.
To be honest I've always been lukewarm about MLP since I first started watching it. I was never really overwhelmed by it, but I had nothing better to watch at the time. The reason I joined dA in the first place was to store several images of baby ponies and share them around. I guess I like baby ponies more than I do the actual show. I don't know; maybe I'm just getting tired of the show, but I know season 5 opened strong. Beyond that point nothing really turned my head.
WHERE TO NEXT?
I know if I try to monetize my artwork the likelihood of me getting enough money to make a living off of it would be really low. At the same time, after pouring so much time into making these comics I fear that I won't even be able to put this down on a resume to show for it. This hobby has been tolling me more than anything, and the only thing that's been driving me forward so far is a sunk cost fallacy. I love it when I get unholy amounts of views my artwork and get the internet votes; every artist loves that feeling. And you know what? They're a dirty liar if they say otherwise. Internet fame is awesome. At some point I became so hellbent on focusing on the numbers I eventually stopped enjoying this for the sake of putting out new content. I keep thinking back to my greatest hits and being demoralized by the fact that I may never beat that. Then that makes me perform worse; or so I think.
I don't know where to go from here. I might need a break; I might need a new approach to what I do. I might end up getting up, and walk away without a penny to my name. Maybe I should have just left around the time I finished EoaG; finish on a high note. It wouldn't be the first time I thought about closing my account and walking away. It's not like I'm severing any serious ties. I have a knack for pushing away my closest friends like that. Maybe I can just downsize my demographic. Hm. Decisions, decisions...