Although I’ve been working on this art project for long enough to where I feel comfortable screwing around in it, it’s also become big enough that people want to be involved – and not just having their characters drawn or whatever. It’s fun being able to chat with people, bounce ideas off the audience, and see the people that stop by appreciating the art long after they’ve been drawn. There’s lasting value in respecting your community.
I see it in my community and others in the Twitch Retro community.
There’s a common sense of wanting to hang out with the broadcaster rather than it being a strictly one-to-many approach that might be more typical for televised entertainment. There is a criticism launched against livestreamed broadcasts in the form of “who wants to watch people play videogames when you can play them yourself?,” but the thing is, we used to do that all the time growing up with our friends, going over to each others’s homes, hanging out in basements, rec rooms, garages, or wherever.
The only reason we stopped was out of pretending to be mature.
Many on the Twitch Retro community age-gate their content behind an 18+ maturity warning, which makes sense regarding crude humor, but really, I think it’s an attempt to prevent people that might not “get” “it” from stopping by and expressing their frustrations. I haven’t received that ire yet, and before every stream, I imagine what might happen if someone does the equivalent of road-rage in my broadcast, but, it would be so absurd to be funny to me if anyone were to see what this is all about and want to shit all over.
Especially since I scribble over my art all the time.
I mainly scribble to show specific people.
During this broadcast, I had three people “raid” or send their viewers over to my channel, and those three people were also people I’d drawn. It would be smart, manipulative marketing to do this to encourage people to hype me up, except it would fail because people would see through the insincerity. Instead, as I did with the first group that raided me after checking the video, I circled the broadcaster who sent his viewers to me, before going into a special “raid” introduction section of the broadcasting software I use.
In these ways, even when I forget, I try to respect the viewer and myself.
Over the past few broadcasts, I noticed that I was pushing myself too hard. When my health is good, I want to go “all in.” This project has been on the books for months now. As much as I want to enjoy the process of drawing this, I also want to diversify my content, do some gaming streams, or even do some other art.
But the more I look at this picture, the more it mesmerizes me.
In some ways, it will be sad once it’s over.
Something I mentioned during this stream was how many of the work-and-lurkers, which is to say people that watched livestreams while they were in work-from-home environments, are now going back to work where such activity might be strictly forbidden. In some ways, about 75% of this picture represents that community of people that might hang out and only occasionally – or never – chat, and when they do, it might be during lulls in their work day. I, personally, think work-and-lurking can increase productivity, since the worker can listen to something enjoyable while working work, lifting their mood, and increasing the accuracy of the work by decreasing stress levels.
This picture isn’t so much a “last hurrah” as a celebration of them.
Because of many of those people, I was able to begin my roads to success on Twitch, which has brought me an audience of people that, well, we give and we take from each other. For every broadcast I do, I give as much as I can of myself – my insights into how I handle situations, whether it’s road-rage or drawing characters. For me to draw these people is sometimes their first outward sign of appreciation from someone else in this capacity. It’s a fantastic feeling to read their excited comments. I try to limit the influence of external validation like this, but in truth, external validation can stimulate internal validation, and internal validation can radiate outward.
I do this not for money or fame, but for appreciation.
That shows in my willingness to do, redo, and continue to redo certain sections until it’s right. Not “good enough” or “fair,” but as I explained when I explored the idea of having posters printed of this image – I would want to print out a pre-final draft of this drawing, pour over the many details, and assess what I could work on or what’s good enough. Stray pixels can sometimes be artistic, but, I wouldn’t want someone to look at their drawing, look at others, and think “wow, mine looks really terrible.” Everyone here deserves to have something that looks cool – something that they could have as an avatar somewhere, if they wanted.
That is, until I make other sketches of various characters in other shots.
After I do the printing, whether it’s a batch order or options that anyone can print, whenever, is this: I want to draw more scenes around Zeal, exploring various locations I’ll write about in upcoming fiction, and pepper in people/characters seen here or ones that have yet to stop by – or maybe ones that have yet to find my streams. If I have a talent like this, for art and for literature, why not share it? I could try to gain money, fame, or influence by holding onto my efforts, but why? If I freely give away this to whoever might be interested, some may take advantage of that. No one has yet, because the Twitch Retro community has a brilliant way of shining lights on good people.
People who create good spaces for people bring in good people.
|Sources: My personal experiences.|
|Inspirations: Writing about my livestream.|
|Related: Other Media Meandry essays.|
|Screenshot: The first one was Twitch’s auto-generated thumbnail, then the broadcast thumbnail, then the full picture.|
|Written On: 2021 May 28 [11:23pm to 11:50pm]|
|Last Edited: 2021 May 28 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]|