Part-time meant more time for personal work
Before I got into the animation industry I was a part-time college professor, and being part-time, I would have a lot of spare time to work on personal projects. I used to make my own comics and sell them at conventions. I used to organise and attend sketch jams, where my friends and I would sit around at Disneyland just drawing for fun. This was before I got a creative job.
Once I broke into the industry back in 2012, the amount of time I had to devote to my own projects became less and less. I eventually stopped making comics and selling at conventions, and I no longer had time to go to the sketch jams I used to enjoy.
Battling inner creative conflicts
Although I had this new full-time job, it created an internal conflict that turned into guilt, which I’ve now struggled with for the past few years. One part of me would scream, “You won’t improve as an artist if you don’t produce personal work”, while the other would argue, “So what? You produced personal work so you could get a creative job, and now you have it, so focus on keeping that job!”
I tried to force myself to draw for fun. But when I didn’t like what I produced, or the new personal projects I set for myself never made it past the ideas stage, it made me feel worse. If I wasn’t drawing, I’d feel guilty; but when I did draw, it didn’t bring me any joy. I had to wonder if there was something wrong with me – especially after seeing so many other artists on Twitter with personal projects. Was it just a slump? Or depression?