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Pro Bono Sucks

Note: If you’re too lazy to read my heart and soul being poured out to you, feel free to read the TL;DR at the bottom…

I’m not going to lie, I’m not at my happiest while writing this. I’m not upset either. I’m just reminiscing and evaluating all that I’ve done in the past 12 years or so this site has been around and wondering what I have to show for it. Don’t get me wrong, I loved working on this site and being around the followers and supporters really helped me get through depression while I was in high school and college. But as you all know, many of the sites that I’d been affiliated with have since disappeared as webmasters’ lives have moved on. Is mine beginning to move on?

Little fuckers can't starve to death, but I wish they could at this stage...

Little fuckers can’t starve to death, but I wish they could at this stage…

No, I’m not closing the site, don’t be silly. I still love making graphics. My problem is that the interaction between viewers and myself has been lost over the years. When I first started, the site was created for my Neopets guild members and then eventually all of Neopets. It was a small world where I was able to interact with people and they interacted among themselves. We’d talk about the anime my graphics were based on. Now over a decade later, social media reigns supreme and it’s come to the point where the only interaction I get with viewers are via requests. You the viewers surely don’t speak among yourselves and so there’s no sense of community. Forums are a dying thing and so the closest thing is Reddit. I’m not a fan of Reddit’s environment of downvote happy trolls, nor do I feel this site deserves a subreddit. So this just leaves me with a chatbox that people chime in on once in a blue moon, and weekly requests that feel more like a To-Do list for me, rather than a way to communicate. Every week it’s more “Can you add this? Can you add that? When are you going to add this and that?” I feel more and more like a robot. The only times people are reminded I’m a real person is when I post an Instagram pic of myself.

Let's be real. Your kid has seen more skin in ads at the mall.

Let’s be real. Your kid has seen more skin in ads at the mall.

It’s not your fault, I’m just falling behind on the times. When I focus on a specific social media, I tend to earn followers and make new friends, but on a very superficial level. I don’t expect to find the close friends I found a decade ago, whom have since grew up with me and watched this site mature. So what is it I’m saying? Well as you all know, this site does not make money. I lose money every year by paying for the hosting and domain. Second, I don’t really ask for donations anymore. (Not that I need them.) But what it has made me realize is that I COULD BE making money out of the things I do. For example, if a few years ago I had focused more on my social media, I could have been making a living off of it. But instead I went to find a “real job” with my degree and work a 9-5. If you’ve been following my Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, you will find that my pictures have become increasingly… Lewd? Not even that bad, but in comparison to a a few years ago, sure. The reason for that is because I’ve become increasingly comfortable with myself and the way I look. Those who have known me for years will confirm that I basically grew up looking like a dude back in my younger/angstier days. I hated everything feminine and wanted to be a “bro” among my friends. When I started dating my current husband, I found myself much more comfortable with my femininity and loved the fact that people reacted even more to my “tomboyish” hobbies paired with my more feminine face. Tomboys doing “guy stuff” was one thing, but a “dainty little Asian girl” doing manly things garnered an even better reaction. And I loved it.

The thing to focus on in this picture aren't the paintball or real guns. It's the fact that I have Boy's Love posters on the wall for my family to see when they visit.

The thing to focus on in this picture aren’t the paintball or real guns. It’s the fact that I have Boy’s Love posters on the wall for my family to see when they visit.

So where am I going with this? Am I suddenly going to go full time Instagram modeling? Oh hell no, let’s be real – I’m too old for that shit. I’m turning 30 this year (sobs) despite how I look so I know it won’t go far in that sense. Plus there is an overabundance of Asian Girls Doing Stuff out there on all forms of social media. I don’t do makeup well, I don’t make my own cosplay and I certainly don’t want to talk about pop culture or news. The only niche I can fill is the “Asian girl with guns” side, but that would require me to drive almost 2 hours to a gun range very often to film videos and stuff. Not happening. I hate driving. Are you going to sponsor me to buy new guns? Didn’t think so… I have been approached to do sponsored posts, but I’d have to do those super often and quit my day job for it to be rewarding. It’s just me with a Bluetooth remote on my camera phone guys. I could take out my DSLR, but I’m not even that invested yet. I did think of doing Youtube videos, but like every other thought it involves consistent time and effort. Would you guys want to hear me vlog about stuff? If so, what? I tried streaming for a bit, but that also required a schedule that I could not keep. Damn having a full time job!

I was totally going to make this a Youtube Vlog video. I know huge walls of text are intimidating to some people. Only a handful of people will read this, but if you do, please share your thoughts on where you think I should go with this. Thanks to those who have stuck around and I hope you continue to spread the good word of this site. It pains me every time I see one of my works uploaded elsewhere, especially when they remove my signatures. This is what happens when you make things free… Should I be focusing on stuff that ARE NOT FREE to make myself feel better?

TL;DR : I’ve been doing free stuff for over a decade and now I’m starting to think I should be doing stuff that gets me paid. Thoughts?

The Comments

  1. The internet has just evolved. There was no such thing as social media when we made our anime graphic websites so we built our own little communities online. That’s why there are less graphic designers making their own websites, they don’t need to. The internet is so vast now so it can be harder to find if you don’t know where to look and build friendships. But thanks to social media, I have found a massive graphics communities especially on twitter, tumblr and deviantart. They even have design groups with members, it’s not about being a lone wolf. Being proactive within the community with other website owners/bloggers/designers also helps. A lot of people do this through blogging and commenting on each other’s posts and then chat with them on social media messaging.

    Some people in the community do make money from their hobby. Some have “web stores” where you order designs, freelancing, selling PSDs or premium resources (stock photos and textures are common premium downloads on DeviantArt), etc. Regarding YouTube, some designers make “speed art” videos that is a time lapse of their creations in Photoshop.

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