I have a complicated relationship with fanart.
I was a moderately popular and well-known artist in a very popular fandom in the mid-late 2010s. I had a ton of fans, made a lot of money, met some friends I'm still in touch with today. But after almost three years, I started to burn out. I kept thinking I had to supply more of that fanart because that's what people were following me for, and if I didn't provide it, they'd just leave. The sad part is I wasn't exactly wrong. I stopped and went back to focusing on original stuff, or other fandoms, and just got crickets. I realized very quickly that they were following me because they loved the fandom, not because they loved me or my art. And that fucking hurt.
I felt pretty burned by fanart for a while and decided I was pretty much done with it. Maybe a few pieces here and there, but only if I was genuinely interested, and only one-offs. I wasn't interested in investing all that time and effort into building a following that would only leave again if I ever switched subject matter. And to be fair, that worked - an occasional fanart piece would bring in some new viewers, but then they'd take an interest in my original content too, because it was now the majority of my work.
Then I ran into a similar problem. After a couple years I was getting burned out on my original content too, and had inadvertently given myself a complex regarding my fan characters - the characters that are original, and fully developed (sometimes more than the ones from my original settings), and mean a fucking lot to me weren't getting enough attention because I didn't think they were worth the effort. They were impossible to separate from fanart without losing what made them what they are, so I couldn't often make them appeal to original content fans, but fandoms really don't connect with fandom OCs (especially when they're shipped with canon characters, which most of mine are), so it wouldn't appeal to them either. I sketched them a lot, but I was afraid to commit to real, finished pieces.
Fuck that. At some point in 2022 I decided I was tired of feeling that way about them and about fanart in general. I'm gonna draw whatever the fuck I want, whatever makes me happy, and if anybody wants to stick around through all of it, all the better.