< Piro >
Thursday - March 13, 2003
I'm taking a moment this evening to clarify something that has been pointed out to me recently, and I want to make sure that there is no confusion about how i am representing myself.
Recently, based on some of the things that I have said here in my rant space some people have the mistaken impression that I am claiming to actually be a manga-ka (the japanese term for 'comic artist/writer), and to be a 'professional' comic artist, artist. I wish to clarify things and apologize for any wrong impression I have given based on my writings.
I have expressed a desire to *become* a manga-ka, and to *become* a 'professional' comic artist. I lay NO claim to be one, or to even be close to being one. On a professional level, i *am* an architect. I am licence in the state of michigan, I have a Bachelors degree and an Masters degree in architecture from the University of Michigan, and I practiced for 11 years in the business before I decided to pursue my goal of trying to become a professional 'manga-ka' or 'comic artist'. Yes, THERE i am a professional. As a comic artist i am NOT.
I think the confusion here comes from the fact that I am trying to do this full time, and I am making a living attempting to do this full time. Just because i am capable of doing this gives me NO right to claim either of the above titles, and I DO NOT claim them.
There are a lot of reasons it would be very rude and egotistical to claim such things. First off, regardless of my success as a webcomic artist, I did not fight my way thru the industry as a 'professional'. It was also pointed out to me (and has been on many other occasions) that I do not produce anywhere near enough volume to be considered either a professional or a real manga-ka. That is because in addition to being able to produce excellent quality work that people are willing to follow and read and enjoy, they can do it at a certain pace and speed that I am incapable of reaching. A pro can produce 3 to 4 pages of material per day, and a real mangaka will work 16 hour days non stop. I could *never* lay claim to being on par with what japan considers a 'manga-ka'. I might work the hours, but i could never match the output.
remember, i said it was a GOAL of mine, not that i would EVER ACHIEVE IT. Geeze.
Honestly, i average 12 hours of work at least 5 days per week, and about six to eight hours on off days (not always on the weekend). It takes me eight hours on average to produce a megatokyo comic. I am having a lot of difficulty doing 'warmth' because i am so slow. Truth is, i can't really do it. The first installment is half the size i wanted because it was all i could get done. I'm trying, and i'm pushing myself to try to reach something that is at least acceptable in the industry. As things stand right now, i would not survive if i tried to claim to be a 'pro'.
There is one small defense i would like to put up for myself, in small reaction to some of what i've been criticized for... does being slow mean that my work isn't any good? Not really. It just means that i can't produce work at the levels that the 'media', whatever media it is, requires to feed the machine. Megatokyo has it's own pace. It has for years. Is it slow because i am a lazy ass? no. I may be slow, i may not be reliable to the 3 comic per week, but i am reliable for the work as a whole I'm just slow. It takes time for me to get the emotive quality i like into my work. I'm constantly chasing my muse down and making it do my bidding. I'm not fast, but i am consistently slow.
The nice thing about how i've done things is that you the reader always have the choice as to if you will accept my pace or not. it's not acceptable in the 'industry', and there is no reason they should make a special case for me. I'm not hurting anyone doing what i am doing. That is why the comic is free, that is why its here on this website. if people choose not to like it anymore, they are the ones who will decide to leave. I do not HAVE to be a 'pro' to reach you. I'm just proving that you DONT have to be a 'pro' to reach and entertain people. It's great if you can do it, but not all of us can.
So, i repeat. I AM NOT an 'american manga-ka'. I am NOT an 'manga-ka'. I am NOT a 'professional comic artist'. I AM NOT an 'artist'. I AM NOT an 'author'. I like to draw, i like to write stories, I like to share my work with you. I do my damndest to make it the best work i can do. If i tried to get a job doing this i'd get fired after a week. I have enormous respect for the people out there who really ARE professionals, and would not belittle their achievements by brashly claiming to be on the same level as any of them.
So, having said that, i'm gonna go back to that slow, plodding, activity of drawing that i've been doing for three years now. I've wasted an hour or so fretting over this, but i'll still finish tonight. Actually, i'll be a little late, but bear with me. I Thanks for reading :)