Currently working on page 29, I’ll do another release after completing page 30.

This project is the dream project I’d been waiting for, and I’m doing it. It’s slow, but I know for a fact that if I spend a few years on it… one year, three years, five… ten… I’d be really happy with the work that I’ve done. I’ve created a lot of good work before. Work that attracted clients who paid well, but there was always something missing about all the other work I’ve done in my life. The other pieces I’m referring to, which are not posted here, each took like 15 to 30 hours to do. The best pieces I’ve done in my life outside of “The Anaether.” They were also all personal pieces. I never try to show off the work I’ve done for clients. They weren’t bad, they just weren’t my absolute best.

My best pieces I did for myself were good, but they probably weren’t that impressive because I only made like 2 of them a year between freelance gigs. They also lacked back stories that audiences could get attached to. They were just illustrations I made in hopes of landing a dream client or a dream job at a huge company that paid me six figures. I wasn’t properly motivated. If I wasn’t trying that hard, I didn’t really want some six figure job at a company that badly.

Every time I had someone ask me to create artwork for them, paid or not, I’d do the best I could. But it always felt like I was checking off items on a check list instead of taking things above and beyond like I try to with “The Anaether.” With “The Anaether,” I’m so particular about almost everything. Everything has to be just so, and even then I’m not even sure what I’m doing but I know that things have to be executed in a very specific way in order to be extraordinary by my own standards. When I worked on art for clients, I’d end up asking myself, “Did I have to make it this ugly?” I wouldn’t take the extra time to make sure it had that “wow” factor because I wanted to deliver quickly to my clients. Client work also always gave me anxiety, no matter how cool the client or the project was.

For years, there’d be a tiny whisper in my head that said something like, “I wish someone would pay me to draw Vas.” There is nothing else in the world I’d rather be drawing. I have this seemingly lifelong fixation with drawing Vas. They’d also have to be drawn just so, and the cost in time was no object to me. Drawing almost anything else is completely boring in comparison.

I’d lived in fear for years that I’d never find out what my dream project really was, that I’d die never having created a project with my utmost determination. I was so afraid I’d die without having created something absolutely unforgettable. I want to make my audience cry their brains out. I always knew I was meant to relentlessly obsess over some project and put out work I was really proud of, and be time efficient about it. I just didn’t know what that project was, but now I do.

I’ve never been so productive and I haven’t been this self-motivated as an artist since I was basically a child. I feel as if I’d dragged my feet through the past decade doing what I thought was expected of me as an artist. I was so filled with a paralyzing sense of anxiety. I always knew I was better than the best work I made. I always felt insulted when someone else (especially clients) thought the latest work I made was the best of all the work I’d made in my life because I felt as if they were saying something like “This is the apex of your art skills,” and my response to that was like, “That’s it? That’s all I can do? No fucking way.”

I know for a fact I can get to where I want to be as an artist. The main difference between me and other artists, who are my role models, is that they’d been building their brand consistently for at least 4 years. I just know that if I kept up the work I’ve been doing on my project for that long, I’d at least be much closer to living off of it. I just have to find my audience and earn their respect and adoration, and maintain that over time.

A part of me just wants to say “fuck you.” Fuck all those fuckers who didn’t know what the shit they were talking about when they assumed I wouldn’t earn any money off of my art skills, that 2D art was dead, that I have to work for some company like Blizzard or Riot Games in order to be considered a success. That I have to work more than 50 hours a week, work through crunch time hours to make deadlines and lose sleep for someone else’s dream. Fuck all those clients who kept complimenting me at first but in the end told me to my face that they didn’t think I was worth paying as much as I’d been asking. Fuck all that.

Waiters give the bill to the man sitting across from me assuming I wouldn’t be paying for it. Well I do. I’m the breadwinner of my household because of my art skills, and let’s just say I don’t live in a shitty apartment. I control my work hours, I don’t have to feel guilty for working less than 40 paid hours a week because I make enough. The rest of the time I do whatever the hell I want.

I’m not completely time efficient yet though, not as much as I want to be. I work paid hours almost every day, and when I switch off to working on “The Anaether,” it takes a lot out of me. My dream schedule is to work on only this project in all my waking hours.

I’m still anxious about losing this obsession but again, all I can say is that I don’t see an end in sight and I can imagine myself working on this project for the foreseeable future. I truly hope I can deliver to my audience consistently high quality work.