Article by: Curry Zawa Kaoru
Actually, I used to provide this kind of consultation outside pixivision in the past, but even then, I would get a mix of common commotions (like family trouble) and more peculiar inquiries that would result obscure to any non-otaku out there. Things like "I don't know how to deal with misinterpretation of my work", or "My niche genre is growing too fast and things are getting complicated", or "I'm a shotacon, what to do?".
In short, the requests for help that I get are something that would never be picked up by Mr. Shoji Kokami's life counseling column.
I'd love to hear how Mr. Kokami would deal with modern issues like reverse couplings and such, but that aside, I bet many people on pixiv have come across similar troubles.
In this column, I'll answer to the concerns of the otaku population and offer some personal opinions and insight (I have to spell this out to prevent turning each answer into a flame).
I can't ride the 'big wave' well enough
For a creator, fan art is usually a hobby, and as such one shouldn't force themselves to draw it if the thought puts a strain on them. The easy answer would be to keep drawing at your own pace, and only as long as you enjoy it.
However, we live in an era where the concept of "the act of drawing" as the sole joy of creation is quite old-fashioned and doesn't match well with the diverse society of the current Reiwa period.
There's a Japanese meme on the internet that, when translated, goes like: "There's no choice but to ride this big wave". The guy in the meme looks like he's having the time of his life: it'd be hard to find someone who's having a better time than him.
What I'm trying to say is: riding the "big wave" of popular, trending genres can be a lot of fun.
In Japan, people who jump from a fad to another are called 'grasshoppers'. However, the term refers mainly to those that join a certain fad to wreak havoc. I think jumping from popular genre to popular genre is one of the many ways one can enjoy themselves.
There are also people who don't really enjoy drawing that much, but they do it anyway because it makes the people around them happy and because it gets them a lot of likes. Recently, I saw a tweet that said "Some people don't understand BL at all, but draw it anyway because it makes fujoshi girls happy."
In other words, it's up to each person to decide what they find fun in creating, and as long as it doesn't harm others, there is no wrong way to enjoy things.
Pleasure and pain
When you've just started riding the big wave, drawing is fun, getting reactions from others is even better, and there's a sea of works from other users that are worth checking out. All is well, but just for a short while.
As time goes by, there comes "pain". Someone like our counselee could get frustrated that they can't keep up with the genre's speed; others may be concerned that their drawing skills don't match the love they feel for their favorite characters; some may be jealous of other artists or get angry at their own work being misinterpreted by others.
People who keep churning out high quality work all the time while still having plenty of fun are either geniuses, perverts, or AI.
Honestly, I think many people ignore the pain and keep drawing just because it's fun to be riding the wave with so many others. That is yet another way to enjoy things.
Drawing manga is a total pain for me, as well. However, I can't deny the pleasure of attaching the finished manuscript to an email and pressing "Send", or the pleasure that comes with having money transferred to my account. That pleasure is the reason why I put up with the pain of drawing and deadlines.
For many creators, creating is a matter of sorting out which pleasures can help you endure which pains.
Even Mr. Big Wave, from the meme, might be getting up at 5 A.M. every day to ride his beloved big wave.
So first you need to figure out what kind of pleasure you wish to find in creating.
You want to ride the wave, but you want to do it at your own pace; and because you're not sure of the direction you're heading for, you're struggling to take a step forward in either direction.
If you're riding the wave of popular genres and finding pleasure in the fact that you get many more likes and bookmarks compared to niche genres, or if you find enjoyment in getting plenty of feedback from others, then I think you should be able to put up with thoughts such as "drawing is no fun" or "it's hard to keep up with the genre's speed".
On the other hand, if you want to continue to enjoy the act of drawing, you should stop forcing yourself to draw and only do it when it makes you feel good.
If this is your choice, though, you'll have to put up with the FOMO that comes from not being a part of the "big wave" and the lack of feedback on your work (because, naturally, there'll be no work to leave a feedback on).
For every joy that comes with creation there are new and different challenges.
Just because you take pleasure from the act of drawing, it doesn't mean that you should stop when it gets hard, or that it's wrong to draw for the sake of riding the big wave or getting feedback.
Rohan Kishibe once said: "One shouldn't draw manga for the money", but that's his personal opinion and not all creators share his view.
First of all, you should find the Rohan Kishibe within yourself and ask him what is it that he's drawing for.