Well, today was Manchester’s Doki Doki anime and manga convention; I consider it somewhat of a warmup to next week’s Thought Bubble festival, but oen thing I have noticed is the marked difference between the atmospheres of the two conventions. In Doki Doki the crowd is noticeably younger, but with that comes a special kind of energy that only youth can bring; It is passionate, friendly, occaisionally impertinent and challenging, and it is quite infectious. It was fantastic to see not just so many young people, but also the parents engaging with their childrens’ interests and taking an active role in their enjoyment and education in life.

Speaking of education, a truly interesting part of the convention was the inclusion of Manchester’s Japanese society, showcasing many aspects of Japanese culture; Music, martial arts, religion, food, traditional handicrafts, all were represented and presented with impressive keenness on the parts of both performers and audience. Some might say that they were preaching to the choir, hosting such cultural education within the bounds of an anime and manga convention. However, the gusto with which the attendees sought to learn more about the country whose products they so enjoy was truly inspiring.

On the artistic front, I met the always-sparkling and fun Naniiebim. She’s planning some big things, so keep an eye out for her. If you haven’t heard of her, go check out her work! She has a wonderfully loose and fluid inking style and an impressive commmand of background management that makes her work an absolute joy to read. Go take a look!

Anyway, time for bed. I’ve got work work to get through, then loads more comic work to get through. No rest for the wicked, eh?




Whenever you throw yourself out into the real world for comments and criticism, you take several risks and not least that of your own ego’s integrity. The main problem that is encountered is as follows: You have created a piece of work, something that you have nurtured and grew. Something that has become an integral part of your life and psyche. The risks to receiving criticism on such an issue should be obvious.

I had a great opportunity to take some advice from a professional artist on my upcoming print comic Memecasters. It’s a work that I’m proud of, something that I feel showcases how far my skill has progressed over the past year. I’m sure you can imagine how my heart sank when elementary flaws were pointed out, pointing out fundamental problems with my drawing technique. And of course, the artist was perfectly correct! There is no defending against poor technique, and lack of forethought.

The impact such a harsh (but justified) critique has upon you really does depend on how you take the advice. You can clam up, deflect all comments, insist that your way is right and leave with your efo intact (and a few less friends). You can take it all straight to heart, let it gnaw away at you, to destroy your confidence and to crush your hopes and dreams. Or you can take the advice and improve upon your work, considering it a much-needed lesson from somebody with experience in the field.

Nobody, of course, is perfect: Although we are all supposed to take option three, we are only human and pride so often gets in our way. Or, a lack of confidence in our abilities can drive us into that deadly downward spiral. I will admit, the first reaction I had was path number 2: I had poured so much of my life into this project, expended so much time and energy and was near completing it, only to discover that I had so much more still to learn. I have considerably low self-esteem as it is, and today’s advice session hit me quite hard with my own inadequacies.

I could choose to mope around, like I used to do. I could choose to be a burden on my friends and gripe and moan to them. I refuse to do so anymore. If I ever want to be the best I can be, I need to get used to harsh, realistic assessments. I need to get used to reworking projects. I need to get used to cutting my losses and pressing ahead with imperfect products. I need the experience, and the only way to do that is to take my lumps and come out smiling. He who believes he will lose a battle has already lost.

I am going to win. No matter how much harder I have to work.