Ah yeah! I totally get what you’re saying.
I feel like that often about artists that I followed for long and used to love the strength of their raw personal touch in art, and how it changed or sometimes was ruined by their development, or maybe the pressure they put upon themselves to improve.
I’ve been there myself, and I saw it, especially in volume 2 of Grey is, which I can’t open now without feeling daggers in my gut. I don’t feel that way about vol1 which is older, so it should be worse in art and story. But vol1 feels true to me while volume 2 looks fake, pressured and suffocated at time. Even though those who read it tend to tell me otherwise.
Thankfully, to my eyes, vol3 onwards were back to what I felt while drawing vol1. There are mistakes and stuff of course, but they feel more at ease.
I, too, miss the big message or raw personal emotion that I used to put in a single illustration, back in the days of deviantART. But I also see how and when and more importantly why that changed.
I wish I can draw endless chapters of only Black and White, or any one/two characters with monologues and empty pages that make the final product look like a draft rather than a finished thing. But writing that way can work in a one-shot, or a short story or one volume manga. Something like a poem, which I really enjoy but doesn’t work at length. (I’m not Homer)
I am writing vol6 now and it’s so full of events and happenings. The plot is moving and it’s enjoyable to read and write, but I miss writing the slow-paced emotion/thought-provoking chapters.
Not that they’re not there anymore, but there is a story that I want to tell so I have to get it moving.
A lot of factors play into this change too. Growing up and becoming known, as little or big that recognition may be. Growing up made me see things differently and be more rational about them than emotional.
Becoming known made me feel responsible about what and how I share, in a way.
I appreciate you writing to me about it, and you probably don’t want all this long answer, but, you inspired me to write. sorry ^^;
I hope you continue to enjoy my work and find new things in it to connect with.