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ASKtheARTIST Interview with Zombiesmile


<thefluffyshrimp> Welcome to ASKtheARTIST. My name is *thefluffyshrimp and today I have the great privilege to interview `Zombiesmile, a very talented illustrator and creator of many well-known works on deviantART.

<thefluffyshrimp> Thank you for presenting us with this opportunity to interview you, Zombiesmile.

<Zombiesmile> Hi, thanks for having me! :3

* Zombiesmile is super excited, oh god! * -*;

<thefluffyshrimp> ~rankirubai asks "In what ways has Shaun helped your art and creativity improve? What kinds of insights on art, character design, storytelling, etc has he given you?"

<Zombiesmile> Before I met Shaun (`endling) I was pretty much on my own when it came to art, looking things up and reading tutorials etc. It's been really hard sometimes.

<Zombiesmile> Nowadays, he's the person I talk to all the time, discussing art and stories and games and such. it's really important to me to have another opinion on my work, especially from someone I admire.

<Zombiesmile> He's still my biggest inspiration in art... u///-//u keeps me working harder and such!

<Zombiesmile Sorry, I am slow, now the next question! * A*;;; um...

<thefluffyshrimp> ~r3nka asks "What are things you do to stay motivated/focused on your work?"

<Zombiesmile> The things that keep me motivated are generally other creative people. Watching others work makes me want to pick up a pencil myself. The idea of sharing and having people feel the same thing when looking at my work, is pretty awesome. When it comes to work related things, it's the knowledge that it is going to pay my bills too. XD

<thefluffyshrimp> ~bwahhahahaaa asks "What game are you playing currently?"

<Zombiesmile> ahaha, recently played games are: Dishonored (loooved it!) The Walking Dead (sadly a big buggy, so I lost my save files. :C) and completely sucked into Minecraft again recently.

<Zombiesmile> Sadly I don't have much time to play. u_u

<thefluffyshrimp> *zmote asks "I live in Switzerland. How is the market for visual artist in this region (Western Europe)? Is it easy to get by as an Illustrator/Concept Artist/etc.?"

<Zombiesmile> Hmm. well to be honest, at the moment I do more comic work than concept art or illustrations, so it's hard for me to say. The times I do get offers though, generally the interested people are from North America. Comic industry-wise, Germany is insanely small, so it's not a very reliable source of income for me. I always try to look towards America for work, to be honest.

<thefluffyshrimp> ~rankirubai asks "What made you decide to publish some of your art portfolio on this site?" and "Which of your original works are you currently updating regularly? Do you notice an overarching theme or pattern with all of them?"

<Zombiesmile> My sister ~pinumbra convinced me to join ages ago, and at first it was really just a fun place to hang out, since Germany's Manga/anime community was... well, not very big. I was very happy to find fellow fans, and uploaded silly fanart for fun. Over the years, I stopped drawing fanart and it became more and more my main online presence. Nowadays, I can't imagine a career without it...

<Zombiesmile> Updating regularly is always a problem when I have big projects in the making, such as Crash'n'Burn right now. I try to share as much as my publisher allows me, but it's limited. Comicking is a full time job, and sometimes I even don't get time off on weekends. The mini comics are probably the ones I update most, simply because they're simple and fast to make. I try anyways, but finding time is always the big problem. ; _ ;

<Zombiesmile> As for overarching patterns,... I dunno! I haven't had people tell me that I repeat themes too often, and I try to vary things up, especially because I get bored with my own work. :T sometimes I think my art has a bit of a split personality, since mini comics are so different from my usual comicky stuff. (which is a lot more serious, I think?)

<thefluffyshrimp> ~saito20 asks "How many hours a week on average do you paint/draw?" and ~Zansake asks "What's your work routine?"

<Zombiesmile> Oh god. hours a week? just a sec.

* Zombiesmile whips out calculator.

<Zombiesmile> On average... 56 hours a week.

<Zombiesmile> My work routine consists of answering messages and e-mails, doing paperwork and making calls in the morning, and then drawing after that's done. Sometimes after lunch, if I am lucky, earlier. <_>; being a freelancer takes a lot of self-discipline, so all the crappy annoying stuff I like to get out of the way first. After that, I try to draw until 6-7pm. sometimes I draw after dinner, and even if my rule is to only do personal work then, when there are deadlines I can end up drawing until 1-2am.

<thefluffyshrimp> ~rankirubai asks "Your character Ko-omote was inspired by your Gaia avatar. Any other inspirations for her personality or overall quirks?" and "What types of characters do you enjoy drawing or coming up with the most?"

<Zombiesmile> Haha, Ko is something like... a walking cliché, but I love drawing her because it's a very carefree sort of place she originated from. XD

<Zombiesmile> I used to roleplay with her on Gaia, and I loved playing villainous, mischievous characters. pretty much all the bad things you're not allowed to do, Ko made possible, so. yeah, fun!

My favourite type of character...hmmm. Never thought about it that way, really. I guess I like drawing guys sliiiightly more than girls, mainly because I find it easier to do? other than that, I really love fantasy, even though a lot of my published stuff ends up being dramas for some odd reason. 6__9;;

<thefluffyshrimp> ~flybaby64 and ~r3nka asks "How did you choose your name and icon? What do they represent?"

<Zombiesmile> My Icon is my old Gaia avatar/character Ko-omote. :3 my username, well.. is a bit embarrassing I guess, but it's a thing from my old anime fangirl days when I was completely obsessed with a manga called Zombie Powder. I just never changed it because people got used to it I think!

<thefluffyshrimp> ~Chiisao asks "What are your goals for 2013?"

<Zombiesmile> Goal for 2013: getting married. @_@ ................. artistically though: getting Crash'n'burn done, and being able to look at it and be happy. I have a tendency to really be ashamed of my work after releases for some reason. Also, I'd want people to like it of course. (which is why I am working hard on it atm.)

<thefluffyshrimp> *Shabello asks "Can you tell us how you broke out from drawing as a hobby into something you make a full-time living off?"

<Zombiesmile> Hmm, it has really been a gradual thing, so there was no real point in time where I went 'right, time to do this!' from one day to the next... When I was 12, I decided I wanted to be a comic artist. (read Yu Yu Hakusho the first time) After that, I always took drawing pretty seriously, and even in high school when classmates asked for free sketches, I told them they had to pay for them. Sadly, no one ever told me freelancing was an option, so I wasted some time trying to find out how to make this work without starving to death. Eventually, through DA again, I got the info I needed and began taking commissions while working part time. Some fellow artists on here were so kind to explain to me how freelancing works and I finally had a direction.

<Zombiesmile> Took me pretty long to be able to live off it, and went through some pretty horrible times too, but I would not have it any other way.

<thefluffyshrimp> ~saito20 asks "If you had to begin learning from zero again, what are the 3 things you'd focus on? And what are the 3 mistakes you would avoid?"

<Zombiesmile> Oof...that's a difficult one... Maybe focus on studying the fine art masters, colouring, and enjoying what I do. I'd try to avoid: trying to please everyone, not confronting my weaknesses and instead doing short cuts, not doing something because of fear of failure.

<thefluffyshrimp> *zmote asks "I struggle with converting my sketches into proper line-art. Sometimes it seems to me it's because of the software I use (Photoshop). What do you suggest in how to approach digital line art?"

<Zombiesmile> Personally I prefer Paint Tool Sai for lining, because I find the pen tool to feel a lot more natural and dynamic. But I also found that zooming in a lot when inking is pretty important. The sketch must be pretty clean for that of course, but the more I zoom in, the steadier my lines are. If you can't get Sai, perhaps browse some Photoshop ink brushes people offer here on DA? O: I haven't tried any yet, but I know there's a lot of resources around. Sometimes you just have to find one that feels the most comfy for you.

<thefluffyshrimp> ~Demonfyre asks "How did you start out with your journey in art?"

<Zombiesmile> oh dear, that goes all the way back to..well.. when I was tiny. *- * My mother used to draw a lot, and my grandmother is a calligraphy master, and used to be a kimono maker. My granddad on my German family side used to paint with oil, as a hobby. I think even as a child I was always encouraged to draw, even if my dad was pretty unhappy when he heard I wanted to be a comic artist. (he was a banker. XD) I used to watch my mother draw portraits and wanted to be just as good, and in school art was my favourite subject. Because I was a very shy kid with no friends and very low self esteem, art was very important to me as a means of escape.

<thefluffyshrimp> ~hallowedthings asks "What made you start arting and who are your favourite artists/biggest influences?"

<Zombiesmile> aha, I guess my mother would be my earliest influence, since she got me into it as well. I remember watching Astro boy as a kid, and Gegege no Kitaro (Japanese ghost cartoon), but the first time I realized it was 'anime' was at age 12, when I read Yuyu Hakusho. My biggest influences are definitely: Yoshihiro Togashi (Yuyu Hakusho), Tite Kubo (not so much Bleach, but Zombie Powder and his early short stories), Kentaro Miura (Berserk). After that, Deviantart as a whole. There’s so many artists here that are amazing, that it would be impossible for me to list everyone who influenced me. I think since coming here, I improved a lot faster than I did by myself, reading only those few comics I had.

<Zombiesmile> I suppose Shaun stands out among them though, since he's helped me improve immensely since 2007.

<thefluffyshrimp> ~Darennysmith asks "How many works are you currently working on?"

<Zombiesmile> Right now I am working on Crash 'n' Burn, volume 1 & 2. the first book is already drawn, the second one is being thumbnailed right now. C: I suppose Mini Comics are always sort of running along in the background.

<thefluffyshrimp> ~saito20 asks "What did you draw 90% of the time when you were a little child?"

<Zombiesmile> DINOSAURS!

<Zombiesmile> :D

<thefluffyshrimp> *zmote asks "How do you increase your visual library? Are there dailies you do, like reading books etc.? What would you suggest for a newcomer artist how to structure a day to become a better artist?"

<Zombiesmile> I actually have folders upon folders of references and DA and pixiv art that I like to flip through for inspiration. Even though I like reading and watching films, I rarely have time for that, sadly. I find it important to take breaks though, since even if you love art you can get oversaturated by it? it gets too much. In which case I like to go out. I am always surrounded by art, so I don't really think a daily routine is necessary unless you are having a bit of a block. (which happens to all of us, believe me...) For a newcomer, I'd just say: draw lots, regularly! And most importantly, have fun! Once you're comfy in the medium, you can go out and explore and learn and stuff! Art should never be a chore I think.

<thefluffyshrimp> ~Sheika-gamergirl asks "Zombie what would be your ultimate dream job? (even outside of art)"

<Zombiesmile> My ultimate dream job is to do what I am doing, except being paid better. hahaha.

<Zombiesmile> I think freelancing allows me enough freedom but also keeps things fresh because I get new job offers and projects to work on. Downside being payment and lack of security, so anything that improves on that would be ideal for me.

<thefluffyshrimp> ~SpikeTheFistMan asks "What are your thoughts of art college/university? Is it worth the money, or you can just learn most of the stuff from the internet anyway?"

<Zombiesmile> To be honest, as someone who has not gone to art school or university, I really don't think I am in a position to say whether or not it might have been useful or worth the money. I believe some people are disciplined and determined enough to get where they want to go without it, but others definitely say they need the structure and interaction with others to in the end, I think it's up to the individual. I never had the money to go, but if I did, I probably would give it a shot.

<Zombiesmile> D; sorry.

<thefluffyshrimp> =TheDemonfyre asks "What would you suggest to the amateur artist looking to improve on their own artwork?"

<Zombiesmile> Hm, it really depends on where they're at, and what art they're making, but I think the most basic advice is to learn your basics, and tackle your weaknesses. I often see people who can't draw hands, so they make the character hide them behind their backs or such. Just practice the stuff you DON'T know, and eventually you can draw it easily and well. :> Don't be afraid of failure too. it's all about trial and error.

<thefluffyshrimp> *zmote asks “Where you ever at a point in your artistic career where you just wanted to quit, because you weren't improving even a little bit?"

<Zombiesmile> Oh yes, many times.

<Zombiesmile> There were about three times it was so bad, I was about to quit comics actually. funnily enough, each time I got a sudden unexpected little break. and I decided to be stubborn and keep going.

<thefluffyshrimp> ~r3nka asks "Were you apprehensive when you decided to pursue art straight out of high school? If yes, what did you do to overcome it?"

<Zombiesmile> one of them was Tokyopop's boss who asked me to be in an anthology. glad I didn't give up.

<Zombiesmile> Sort of, yeah. But I think determination and stubbornness ended up being stronger. one of my part time jobs thankfully was with a small publisher, so it allowed me to see what the industry was like from up close, and it gave me confidence and taught me a lot as well.

<Zombiesmile> Going to conventions was one of the things I did a lot then, and I saw people's reactions to my work (even if it was crappy back then) face to face, which reinforced the idea in my head that this was what I wanted to do and nothing else.

<thefluffyshrimp> *Girl-In-Disorder asks "I was wondering if any of the Crash'N'Burn characters, Scott, Tyler, Kimi, and Kyle are based on someone in your life? Like a friend, family member, someone you worked with etc."

<Zombiesmile> > O>; um... well some of them do have elements I see in friends and loved ones, yes. Mainly personalities and relationships. But it's all a bit mixed up and put together differently. it wasn't even intentional or planned, but people close to me do inspire me a lot.

<Zombiesmile> No one looks similar though, and Kimi's looks were a bit of an accident. When I created her, I had short, blonde-brown spiky crazy hair.

<Zombiesmile> oh,...! I guess the one thing that I stole was Kimi's name. my grandma's name is Kimi. :3 I just love the sound of it.

<thefluffyshrimp>~Ella-kayleigh asks "What's it been like being on Deviantart? Do you feel it's helped/improved your art?"

<Zombiesmile> DA has taught me a lot. It has pretty much everything I'd want as an artist, if you ask me. it has a large crowd that gives feedback, a lot of inspiration, information and resources like stock art and tools (brushes, textures, etc). It's pretty easy to communicate with people and exchange experiences, making learning better for someone like me who hasn't had the chance to learn at a university.

<Zombiesmile> I've gone through a lot of phases, but I certainly have always enjoyed being here. :>

<thefluffyshrimp> ~markusgrim03 asks "If you had the gift of giving life to your works what or who will you draw? (just one)"

<Zombiesmile> so mean! only one?! aaah!

<Zombiesmile> Maybe Pinu. she's cute and fluffy and also fierce. She will defend me!...and she's easy to keep happy with muffins and milk. :'D

<thefluffyshrimp> *ScorchingSketches asks "Is this where you imagined your art to take you, or did you have different expectations?"

<Zombiesmile> A lot of what I imagined turned out to be very different in reality... I guess it's part of growing up, really. But nothing has disappointed me so far. it's all about moving forward and learning. Some things I daydreamed about as a kid/teen did end up happening though, but I still can't quite believe it. (meeting my idols at cons, marrying an amazing artist, reaching 1mil hits on DA. XD) I think people generally imagine artists to have a somewhat glamorous lifestyle though, and that is something very different from my expectations as a 14 year old.

<thefluffyshrimp> ~YourAverageQueenie asks "Do you still have drawings that you made from when you were a teenager?"

<Zombiesmile> Yes! I plan on redrawing one and uploading them side by side one day. I think a lot of people nowadays are too obsessed with the whole 'I have to be a genius at age 16, or I am a failuuuure' and I strongly disagree.

<thefluffyshrimp> *Girl-In-Disorder asks "I think you said you had siblings(sisters) I believe in one of your tumblr vlogs. I was wondering if they draw too or do they have completely different talents?"

<Zombiesmile> ah yes. C: My little sister (who is taller than me) is ~pinumbra and she draws as a hobby too. we used to draw together as kids and play with cut out dinosaurs we 'd draw ourselves.

<Zombiesmile> I have an older sister too, and she used to draw when we were in school as well, but gave it up. now she's in marketing and is a serious business woman! (she was more into fine arts and still is. comics are not her cup of tea.)

<thefluffyshrimp> ~saito20 asks "What's the thing in the creative process that you most enjoy? Like: designing a character, inventing their personalities, drawing a page…." and "What's the one thing in art that took you more work to figure out and get it right, and how did you do it? What are the things you're still struggling with when you make art?"

<Zombiesmile> hmm, my favourite part is sketching. I still do that on paper, and pencils are my favourite tools to this day. It's what I started with and could never give up. C: Coming from a rather traditional background, I love drawing bodies best. anatomy is something I always admired and examined closely.

<Zombiesmile> The one thing I still have a hard time with is colouring. It took me the longest to switch from pencils to colours, and I still struggle with it every time I draw/paint. There's been times I just want to tear my hair out, because I spent 40+ hours on a painting and it simply will not look the way I'd like.

<thefluffyshrimp> ~Clairvoire asks "Have you ever thought about doing animation stuff before?"

<Zombiesmile> Yes, I have attempted a few tiny silly gif animations, but they are really very... uh... crude and simple. ´_ `; I really admire people who can do it well, but for now all I can do is make characters blink... So I guess it's somewhere on the stuff-I'd-like-to-learn-one-day list, but waaaay low priority because I suck for now. XD;

<thefluffyshrimp> ~Chowii asks "Miki, describe your art style with one word," and ~Ella-kayleigh asks "As a self taught artist, did you study the foundations such as anatomy and etc or did you just dive straight in and draw, draw, draw?"

<Zombiesmile> one word? "cantbedoneaaaaah" XD;

<Zombiesmile> I studied anatomy early on because I always found it interesting to know how muscles move a complex body and such. O: it was unintentional in a way though. at age 12 I certainly didn't know what it meant. For the rest, I did draw a lot. skipped homework a lot and just sat and drew for hours upon hours... even in class. (which you shouldn't do!) My old notebooks were full of drawings in every open space between notes. hahaha.

<thefluffyshrimp> *Lunabananana asks "How is your Crash and Burn comic coming along?" and ~Zansake asks "Do you have a mangum opus you're planning to complete in the future?"

<Zombiesmile> Like I mentioned before, Crash 'n'Burn volume 1 is drawn, and part 2 is being thumbnailed now. :3 (close to completing that stage)

<Zombiesmile> Hum. I used to have one, a huge fantasy epic I made up at age 15, but with the knowledge and skill I have now, I know it's a pretty crappy story. Haha. I guess I have a lot of shorter stories I want to tell, and I would love to cut that old story up and tell the good bits, but yeah. No big epic thing planned just yet.

<Zombiesmile>\o/ Thanks for the questions! <3
For all those who missed it, here's the transcript! :3
Thanks again for all who came by and asked so many questions~

For more interviews, check out :iconasktheartist:. ♥
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You're browsing deviantART or are simply checking your message centre and find a wonderful art piece. You want to suggest it as a Daily Deviation because you believe it truly deserves to be seen by the community as a whole. But how to properly suggest a DD? This article will explain the process.

Things to check before sending a suggestion:

The first thing you need to check is if the artist has been given a Daily Deviation in the past 6 months. Volunteers cannot feature anyone who's had a DD in that period of time with no exceptions, as this has been hard-coded into deviantART's system. 

"But how do I check an artist's Daily Deviations?" you may ask. Simply go to their gallery, click browse and scroll down. If they have any DDs, you'll be able to find a link to them at the bottom of the page. Alternatively, you can add "/dds" after their profile url and click enter on your browser's address bar. 

Screen shot 2012-08-13 at 9.15.04 PM (2) by alexandrasalas

Screen shot 2012-08-13 at 9.04.29 PM (2) by alexandrasalas

If they haven't been featured in the past 6 months (the dates are visible under the thumbnails) you may proceed to the next step. But if they do, you'll have to wait until they can be featured again to suggest their art.  As a side note, keep in mind the number of DDs the artist has, some volunteers have a limit and wont feature anyone who surpasses that number.  

The next step is to check the gallery your suggestion has been uploaded to. Simply take a look under the deviation you want to suggest and you'll find it: 

Screen shot 2012-08-13 at 9.03.48 PM (2) by alexandrasalas

Each Community Volunteer who features Daily Deviations oversees a specific gallery or category and can only feature deviations from that gallery/category only. A Photography CV can't feature deviations from the Fan Art Gallery and vice-versa, for example. On that same token, please make sure the image is not a miscat as volunteers cannot give DDs to misplaced deviations. IE, a digital doll uploaded to Traditional>Paintings>Miscellaneous wont be featured by any of the Traditional Art CVs. If you happen to come across a misplaced deviation, please report it via the tools given on the deviation page. 

Once you have the category all you need to do is check which Community Volunteer is in charge of it. The complete list can be found in FAQ #18: Who selects Daily Deviations and how are they chosen? Another way of checking is this communityrelations' blog entry:

The Community Relations TeamThe Community Relations Team is made up of Community Volunteers who liaise with Director of Community Relations Moonbeam13
Community Volunteers help the community out by providing you – the community – with a specific contact point in relation to galleries, chat and forums. You’ll find them doing the following:
Helping run community challenges and educational projectsSupporting community eventsHelping moderate forumsBeing part of the #help teamBeing part of the team that moderate #devart and other official chatroomsLiaising with Moonbeam13 on community mattersBringing rockstar deviants to your attention via features, articles and Daily Deviations
Please read :faq85: before applying for a Community Volunteer positionNote that you must be 18 years of age or older to qualifyPlease do NOT send notes
Apply Now
This is a listing of our current open Community Volunteer positions within Commu

More often than not, you'll come across galleries that have more than one volunteer in charge. In this case, send your suggestion to only one of them. Suggesting a deviation to multiple CVs will never increase its chances of being featured and may cause confusion among volunteers.

Now that you know who to send your suggestion to, go to their profile and look for their Daily Deviation Suggestion Guidelines. Some volunteers have said guidelines written in a journal entry and others have them as a widget on their profile page.  All Community Volunteers have their unique set of rules you need to be aware of before suggesting a deviation. Getting to know these guidelines will save you time because you'll know if the piece you want to suggest wont be declined straight away or if you'd be better suggesting to another volunteer who features from the same gallery, provided it suits their guidelines.

It is also a good idea to check the Daily Deviations given by the volunteer in the past. This usually gives you a good idea of the quality of art they feature. You'll usually find a collection of their Daily Deviations displayed on their profile as a widget or on their Favourites page.

Once you've made sure the deviation and artist meet the requirements to be suggested, all you need to do is send a note to the Community Volunteer. Remember, always send your suggestions via note as comments or replies might not be seen and for volunteers is easier to keep track of suggestions in notes.

Sending your suggestion note:

Since you're already on the volunteer's profile, the easiest way to send your suggestion is to click on the "Send a note" button located at the top right of your screen. 

Screen shot 2012-08-14 at 7.01.53 PM (2) by alexandrasalas

By doing so, a window will pop up. This is where you'll write your DD suggestion note:

Screen shot 2012-08-14 at 7.17.07 PM (2) by alexandrasalas

The first thing to do when writing your note is to copy and paste the suggested deviation's thumbcode.  Most volunteers prefer to see a thumbnail instead of a link.  The thumbnail code will work in notes, even if you don't have a Premium Membership. You'll find it to the right on the deviation page in two places. The first one pops up by clicking on the arrow icon on the Share section, but some deviants have this option disabled. If that is the case the second option is to scroll down a bit and select the thumbcode under Details:

Screen shot 2012-08-14 at 7.35.13 PM (2) by alexandrasalas

Copy the code and paste it to your note. 

Some volunteers prefer when suggesters include a short summary describing why they think the deviation deserves to be on the DD page, but it isn't always required. This is why, like I mentioned before, it's very important to check the volunteer's guidelines before sending a note. That way you'll now if you need to include it or not. 

When writing your reasons, relate them exclusively to the art itself. Daily Deviations aren't supposed to be gifts, awards or given because a deviant is a nice person or a good friend. They're an art feature and should be given for artistic reasons only. Be as short and concise as possible, you don't need to write an essay to make your point. 

Finished doing your writing? Now's the time to hit the send button. Voilá! You've sent a DD suggestion!

Note: If you're already familiar with a Community Volunteer's guidelines, you may skip going to their profile and instead suggest the deviation by clicking the note icon on the Share section to the right, writing their username on the recipient field, then adding your reasons if needed and hitting send.  

After sending your note:

Now the waiting begins.  While some volunteers will reply to your note, this isn't always the case. This doesn't mean they haven't read your suggestion or that they don't care. Most of them are quite busy and get many notes a day so it's practically impossible to reply to every single one they receive.

Be patient and wait for your suggestion to appear on the DD page. If this doesn't happen, don't feel discouraged.  Keep suggesting more art!  By keeping track of the volunteers' DDs and guidelines, you'll increase the chances of sending a suggestion that will be accepted.

Other things to keep in mind:

  • Sometimes you'll come across art that was submitted years ago. Why not check the artist's gallery to see if they have something newer that is much better?  The idea of a Daily Deviation is to display the best of an artist's gallery and you never now how much progress someone has made until you check their work as a whole.

  • Maybe you sent a suggestion to one volunteer, but you find out that the deviation has been featured by them but suggested by someone else. As mentioned above, volunteers receive many notes daily with suggestions. Someone might have the same suggestion before you or in some cases, the volunteer might have found the deviation by themselves. Complaining about something like this in public (and/or privately to the volunteer in question) will only make you come across as someone who suggests DDs for personal gaining. Suggesting someone else's art is not about you getting your name on the DD page: it's about making another artist happy because they work is so good it deserves to be there.

  • Suggesting your own art is ok! We as artists need to promote ourselves and get our art out there. Don't be afraid and suggest your own work!

  • In some cases like Photomanipulation, citing references and resources is a must in the description. If an artist hasn't cited their sources, the deviation will not be featured.

Useful links and references to keep at hand:

How to properly suggest a Daily Deviation.
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What is your Drawing Skill Level?

Journal Entry: Wed Sep 11, 2013, 6:06 PM

All of the images featured in this article come from archives of my own work so not to impose unwanted criticism. The intention of this article is not to categorize artists, but to categorize similarities of different skill levels of representational drawing. Please also note that skill level in representational drawing does not equate to the worth of an artist's creative ability. But skill in representational drawing is very important to have in a lot of art disciplines. It is a skill that takes a lifetime to learn. Skill does not come from talent. Instead, talent affects the perseverance, discipline, and desire of the individual to develop skill.

What is Representational Drawing? Representational drawing is a fancy way of saying trying to re-create something you see in real life on paper (or whatever you are drawing on). When we turn about 10 or 11 years old, or brains begin to develop a different perception of visual space than what we could understand before in the earlier years of elementary school. Some people can take this different perception and run with it, while others struggle and quit. No one has been able to pinpoint why this is but art teachers around the nation have several theories. The most supported theory is at that age, you begin to get highly critical of yourself. Just a few years ago, if a teacher gave you crayons, you were happy to color up any picture. It didn't matter if your mom's head was bigger than the house behind her or if your face had more lumps than a potato. But by as early as third grade, suddenly, you realize how unrealistic your drawings are and begin to equate unrealistic with bad artwork. Frustrations builds. Confidence plummets. If you can't draw that flower "perfectly" realistic, then why bother? These children that develop this notion become the people later in life that will say "I am not an artist. I can't draw." Notice how their work looks like it was frozen in time....still representing the world visually around them as they did before they came to the conclusion.
Children that bypass this hurdle of criticism either push it aside and draw whatever they want anyway, or are observant and are successful in picking up details that other kids miss. Some will argue it is an natural inclination and others will argue it is a fostered inclination. Either way, these children are today, people who like to draw. Let me also add that some people go through the criticism hurdle badly, but come back later to try again. These are people who start to develop their drawing skill later in life.

Before I move on, I want to again emphasize that how good you are at drawing DOES NOT make you a good or bad artist. If you have trouble wrapping your head around that, please have a look at this really inspiring artist who collaborated with a 4 year old to produce some really high-caliber artwork:…

How do we calibrate drawing skill? Every person is different. Everyone learns at a different pace. Just like the music discipline, you don't have to be in band in high school to one day decide you want to learn how to play the oboe. Anyone at any age can start the process of developing representational drawing skill. The categories I am about to provide for you are based on information I have gathered from my profession as an art teacher. It does not measure artistic ability. Do NOT use this to calibrate yourself as an artist. This is only meant to assess specific samples of your work for the specific skill of representational drawing. It's not an overall assessment of the artist as a creative. For instance, I might produce a digital painting at a level 5, but I might also produce a sculpture at a level 1. This is handy to know especially when thinking about submitting your artwork to groups or juried art galleries. I am also doing this to provide a resource to :iconanthrocommunity: because so many people that submit their work and have pieces rejected are still asking for the reason of the decline when what we look for is clearly outlined in the submission guidelines. This calibration is also specifically geared around illustration and figures within a drawing. You will notice me using the terms Low Caliber, Medium Caliber, and High Caliber. Consider High Caliber as the standard for professional art contracts. Game companies, publishers, and art agencies will generally not accept anything but High Caliber work. The Levels that have a :star: next to them are levels of artwork that generally get accepted in the AnthroCommunity group.I will be starting the levels off with what a 10 year old is capable of doing. So here we go!

Level 1 ------------------- LOW CALIBER

A very old old drawing by Katmomma An Act of Pure EVIL by Katmomma

Beginning to Explore: At this level, the artwork can range from the artist trying to capture basic shapes up to showing interest in articulating specific details.

 What is Likeable:
  • You can figure out what the drawing is representing.
  • Basic facial expressions and setting can be understood.
  • Different characters are easy to distinguish from one another.
  • Developing understanding of gestures.

What makes these examples LOW CALIBER:

  • The first image was done on lined paper, presenting a lack of seriousness about the artwork.
  • Furthermore, the artist did not crop out the scanning bed and the notebook spine, showing a lack of care/knowledge in digital image clean up.
  • Coloring lines going in different directions demonstrates lack of skill in coloring techniques.
  • Demonstrates poor knowledge of the art elements and principles (i.e. contrast, unity, composition)
  • Lacks understanding of proportion (a lot of you refer to this as anatomy)
  • General media technique feels "unfinished" and sloppy.

Level 2 ------------------- LOW CALIBER

Whoa.....Strong Coffee by Katmomma Ember Beauty by Katmomma

Growing Pains: The artist begins to capture not only detail in shape, but details in gesture and in value.

 What is Likeable:
  • Characters are clearly represented with specific details and expressions.
  • Begins to show basic understanding of light and shadows.
  • Demonstrates a growing understanding of media techniques. (Using pencil in one direction like supposed to this time!)
  • Better understanding of negative shapes and positive space develops.
  • Shows an interest in using/blending more than just basic colors.

What makes these examples LOW CALIBER:

  • Although overall presentation is neater, messy lines compete for attention
  • Media techniques are still very developing. Artist is still blissfully unaware of the "don't use dodge & burn for shading" rule in photoshop.
  • Still lacking in elements such as contrast and unity.
  • Still very figure focused and not a very interesting composition.

:star: Level 3 ------------------- MEDIUM CALIBER

The Platinum Collection by Katmomma Snowfight Holiday by Katmomma Friends Forgive Friends by Katmomma

Focus Shift: The work becomes less about specific details only and more about the composition as a whole.

 What is Likeable:
  • Character personalities are becoming very clear.
  • Demonstrates a growing understanding of foreshortening and contrapposto in figures. (Actions start to speak louder!)
  • More focus on an over-all presentation of the image. Careful thought about figure placement shows.
  • The artist's understanding of proportions are becoming more realistic/ believable.
  • Shadow and highlights are becoming more obvious.

What makes these examples MEDIUM CALIBER:

  • Still shows a hesitancy towards contrast.
  • may still include digital image clean up hiccups and low understanding of image resolution. Big Hiccups can make the artwork fall back to low caliber status and thus not accepted by the anthrocommunity group.
  • No knowledge of color theory yet demonstrated. Shadows are still handled in grays and darker shades of the hue.

:star: Level 4 ------------------- MEDIUM CALIBER

Austin Skwirl by Katmomma Kyle by Katmomma I beg your Pardon by Katmomma Olivia and Ivy Hot Honey Rag by Katmomma

Application and Experimentation: Having built  good amount of confidence in drawing the figure, the artist begins to play in the "fun stuff". This is an art level that a lot of artists get stuck at without formal training or community/networking resources.

 What is Likeable:
  • Characters resonate emotion. Proportions are reasonably accurate.
  • You start to really see the artist's "flavor" develop at this level.
  • Understanding of color theory, composition, movement, and unity begin to be applied.
  • Strong positive shapes and negative spaces are developing.
  • Demonstrates a good understanding of medium techniques to create a unified artwork.
  • Neatly presented, clear understanding of digital image clean up demonstrated.

What makes these examples MEDIUM CALIBER:

  • Compositions may contain an unsure purpose or direction.
  • Use of art elements and principles are not consistently successful.

:star: Level 5 + ------------------- HIGH CALIBER

In the Claws of the Jaguar : RARE 2013 by Katmomma All She Cares about is Love by Katmomma Capricornus of Saturn by Katmomma SEXY SAX SHEP by Katmomma

Demonstrating Professional Skills: The artist can tackle any shape or form and applies the art elements and principles successfully with every finished artwork they produce. Every mark is purposeful.

What makes these examples HIGH CALIBER:

  • Compositions communicate the purpose of the image clearly.
  • Utilizes different art elements and principles within an artwork to achieve a desired result consistently.
  • Artwork is neatly presented, very clear, and eye-catching.

Does this Level mean there is no more to learn?

absolutely not. Artists that can create professional level work still have lots to learn!

It took me about 14 years to develop my representational drawing skill from a Level 1 to a Level 5. It's not easy. It takes desire and dedication.
What I hope you get most out of all this is that you can be a little more honest with yourself about your skill level when submitting to groups. If you know your work is a lot like a level 1 or 2, then submit to a group that accepts that level of work. You are bound to get more helpful feedback from artist who are growing at the same pace as you. Same goes for Level 3,4 & 5. If you are honest with yourself, you will most likely know why something was accepted or declined. I also hope you will understand where you are at in your skill developing journey and continue to pursue your drawing no matter what is said about your work or where it is accepted. We all start from humble beginnings. We are all learning and growing.

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Great Portfolio is greater than College Degree.

Of Course, I’m not exposed to every school in the world but from my general knowledge, personal experience and some basic logic: School is way too expensive to attend, especially if it takes you years later to get a decent job after graduation.

Here are three reasons why I’m not happy with most, not all, colleges in america. Especially for artists.

Reason 1
IT COSTS WAY TOO MUCH MONEY! I hear now that some art schools are charging $30,000 a year, for three years. That’s $90,000 of debt. Most professionals in my field of concept art don’t make that in a yearly salary. It’s more expensive than some medical schools and that’s becoming a doctor of some sort. So why is it so expensive? Doesn't matter, it just is.

Think about it this way. You are about to invest almost a tenth of a million dollars for the promise of being a capable person in the industry. But by the end, all you get is a piece of paper and a pat on the back. GOOD LUCK! That sounds like more of a gamble than an investment. It’s like playing black jack and betting big. Except the dealer always gets 21, and you got to hope to get 21 just to leave with what you came with.

Reason 2
A degree doesn't mean you are a good at what you do. All it means is that you ‘PASSED’ and need a representation of that. Remember, most degrees don’t have any piece of evidence representing your actual ability. It just confirms you graduated. Because even if you struggled for that high GPA, your classmates, the ones who played minecraft all day, ended up with the same degree. So what does it come down to in the end? YOUR ACTUAL ABILITIES! Your portfolio won’t fool anyone. If you are good, you are good, if you are bad you are bad. It’s clear from the work you show people. They can LITERALLY see if you are a good fit or not. Diplomas don’t do that. Barely getting by does not cut it, good hard work always does.

Another perspective to consider is this: Imagine you are at work and you pass off some ‘C+’ quality of work. One might think, "Well hey I got away with that in school I’m sure my work will do the same." Nope. They tell you to do it again, and figure it out, and if you keep this up. You'll get fired. There are no weighted averages in professional work, there is either good work, or bad work. Of course you are allowed to slip up here and there, but within reason. The quality of your work shouldn't diminish, more like you need a bit more time, or you misinterpreted the assignment.

Reason 3
There are very few GOOD Teachers that actually know what they are teaching. I have had maybe five teachers I could name off the top of my head who had influenced me when I went to college. And one of them told me to drop out because I was wasting my time at the school. I loved that guy. The point being that some of the professionals at these schools actually are recycled students. They have come back into the education system and are ultimately teaching new students the very same skills that never resulted in employment for them, rather than emergent and dynamic skills that are actually useful. This is not inspiring. I even had a teacher tell me to stop drawing and pay attention in my compositing class. I told him politely that I wanted to draw to get better at concept art, and I had no interest in compositing. He got irritated and demanded me to stop. This was at an ART SCHOOL.

Imagine it like this. You go to a school of martial arts, and all the instructors have never fought a day in their life, and have never even sparred. But all the while, they are preaching that their techniques will save your life. Come to find out, that they actually learned there "skills" from “Martial Arts for Dummies.” The same book you could obtain for $5.

Closing thoughts
I’m not opposed to the idea of college. In fact I believe it should be more accessible to people, but it must connect you with ACTUAL PROFESSIONALS! People who are working in your field. There should be more open mentor-ships and internships and closer relationship between the teacher, and the student.

The internet is already there with online education which is more affordable. People can spend hundreds of dollars on their education these days, some education is even totally free from some of the biggest names in the industry.

I can tell you from experience, no one has ever asked me for my college degree and education. It’s always been portfolio/resume. Am I capable? Yes. Have I worked before? Yes. That’s it. I know this is true for many industry professionals.

College isn't entirely bad. You can meet life long friends, network and exposure. All of which are wonderful things, but ask yourself is it worth $100,000. For me it’s not. If you are on the fence about going to college I can tell you a few that are worth going to. A FEW. But if you can avoid it, I’d say you should.

On the other hand, If college is free for you and you've got the time, ignore everything I just said.

Good Luck,
  • Listening to: Music
  • Reading: Books
  • Watching: Movies
  • Playing: Games
  • Eating: Food
  • Drinking: Water
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Hey everybody, this is going around over on tumblr, but I feel like it's just as relevant here and it's a really good informational post for people that have/want to have good dealings and interactions with online artists. Because seriously, these are really good things to know. (I mean, I've been pestered by almost all of these at some point or another, and if people had read these they might have saved me a lot of annoyance)  So give it a read if you'd like.  The original post comes from

Don’t tell an artist, “SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!" or "I would totally buy that!" if you’re not ready and/or willing to back it up with an actual purchase. Artists love that you love the piece, but often produce pieces/quantities based on apparent interest and potential customers. Gauges of potential buyers and gauges of general interest are both very important, but they are very different.

 Do tell an artist that you love the piece. Just be honest about it. It’s OK if it’s out of your price range. It’s OK if you have no practical use or place for a piece. Most artists get the warm fuzzies just from honest compliments even if you’re not going to be a paying customer.  

Don’t assume that every message to an artist is going to get a response. Most artists read every message they get, but don’t always have time to respond to everything.


Do give the artist some time to respond. Some artists get a lot of messages and have to balance their time responding with their workload and still make time to be a person and have a life outside of art.


Don’t comment on a piece telling the artist how much it reminds you of some other artist’s work or other character (unless you’re calling them out on a blatant copyright violation). In your mind, you may see it as a compliment. You loved the art style in some movie, and this seems similar to you - you’re complimenting this artist, right?! The artist may have been influenced by that same work, but most are consciously aiming to evolve from that influence. Just as it’s dangerous to tell someone that you notice that they look good after losing some weight (“What, I didn’t look good before?!” or “No, I haven’t. Do I normally look fat?!”), not everyone sees this as a compliment.

Do be specific about compliments. “I really like the pose” or “This really captures the movement well.”  

Don’t tell an artist what they should do next. “This is awesome! You should do this other character next!” The only people artists need to take instructions from are themselves and paying customers.


Do politely tell the artist what subjects you might like to see. There’s a big difference in tone between, “Do my favorite character next!” and “I would love to see more art along these lines, possibly of this character.”


Don’t tell artists how to use their tools or materials better. You don’t know what they’ve tried or what they do. They may have tried it and it didn’t work. Lots of ideas sound good in our heads or on paper, and don’t work out as well in reality.


Do ask artists how they use their tools or materials. Ask if they’ve tried it your way. Offer informed insight. This boils down to attitude and tone. Bad: “Do this instead.” Good: After a conversation leading to it, “have you tried doing this instead?”


Don’t assume or expect artists to share their tricks, techniques, sources of materials or services with you. Some are open; some are guarded. There is no right, and no wrong. They don’t owe you anything. Most sources of materials or services are near the top of the page if you do a simple web search.


Do be gracious and actually respond if they answer your question about tricks, techniques, sources, or services. If they took the time to answer your question about something, a minimum of “Thank you.” is in order


Don’t ask for freebies, or free/spec work. For many artists, art isn’t a hobby - it’s their living. They don’t have time to make you free art. We’re all very sure that your new game/book/comic/restaurant/store really is going to be the next big thing. Part of building a business the right way is properly valuing your talent and assets - that includes the artists you hire - “hire” being the operative word. Exposure is great. Food on the table is even better.


Do contact artists with well thought out opportunities that acknowledge and value their time, skill, and effort. Just understand that they may not be as passionate about your project as you are. 


Don’t be a creeper or be inappropriate. Just because you’ve gotten a response to an email or comment, or because you’ve purchased something from an artist, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re BFF’s now. Being friendly is not the same as being friends. Until you’re friends, a general rule would be to not say anything that would be inappropriate to say to any random person on the street.


Do be conscious of boundaries. Be polite, complete your transactions or interactions, and move along. 


Don’t come across like a five year-old (unless you are one). No one is expecting your message to read like a Pulitzer winning story, but thoughts should be mature and cohesive. Proper grammar and punctuation go a long way.


Do proofread your messages before you hit post/send. If you’re dealing with an artist in person, pause for a moment and think about what you’re about to say - and don’t ever be a creeper or inappropriate.


Don’t ask if you can ask a question. This tip is brought you by the Department of Redundancy Department.


Do check the artist’s FAQ and relevant descriptions if applicable. If your question has not already been answered, just ask it. 


Don’t automatically assume that the artist knows as much about your favorite fandom as you do. Artists often know just enough about a subject to complete a piece. 

 Do express your love for your favorite character or fandom, just remember that you may be the only one who shares the love.  

Don’t ask why a piece of art “costs that much”. A piece of art is not the end product of just the time and materials to create a piece. It is a result and sum total of the artist’s career as an artist as they learn and hone their skills,  as well as the materials and time spent creating that particular piece.


Do ask how much an available piece costs (assuming that the price isn’t already listed. You looked right?)


Don’t tell an artist you “wish [you] could afford this.” Most artists see this as a passive-aggressive complaint about their prices, which are usually underpriced to begin with. If you can’t afford a piece, that’s on you, not the artist. 


Do begin saving up for a piece if you’re honestly interested in it, or contact the artist about getting a custom piece done in the future.


Don’t ask how much another customer paid for a custom piece of art.  The price charged to the previous customer was the agreed upon price at the time. It is possible, and even likely, that the price will be different. Artists learn something new with almost every piece they do. What took 10 hours the first time may only take 8 hours the next. But an artist’s hourly rate may have gone up. Prices of materials may have changed. The cost to produce a piece varies constantly. Plus, it’s just a little gauche.


Do ask if prints are available (after checking the description, of course).

  • Mood: Approval
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Daily Deviations, or DDs . . . for some deviants, receiving one is the epitome of awesomesauce in the deviantART world. For others, they are a nice way to show off the work of lesser-known artists. Still others treat them as a special way to bring attention to great art that exemplifies works being done by a particular gallery or community.

Perhaps because there are so many different ways of conceptualizing DDs, there are also many myths and misconceptions. I would like to address some of those myths by responding to the ones most frequently heard. Please note that these opinions are mine and reflect my experiences with the photomanipulation community, but perhaps they will be informative nevertheless.

Myth 1: DDs should always be perfect.

To many of us, the ideal Daily Deviation goes to an artist with amazing talent whose work draws you in and makes you think, "Wow, everyone needs to see this!" A DD should move you, inspire you, and provoke you to think, but there are many ways to do that. Something doesn't need to be technically perfect to be interesting and provocative. There are many different standards of what constitutes good art, and sometimes our opinions will differ. For example, sometimes, I want to show the world what is new and fresh in the photomanipulation community from talented, up-and-coming artists. These pieces may or may not meet your standard of "flawlessness," but they are creative, demonstrative of very solid technical skill, and worthy of attention. If you ever have a question about why a CV has featured something, feel free to note us, and we'll be pleased to tell you what attracted us to that particular deviation. But, please do not harass the artist. More about this topic later this week.

Myth 2: Getting a DD is about who you know.

Yes and no. Being a friend of a CV or staff member (yes, we do have friends!) does not make you a favorite for a DD. In fact, we are very careful when giving DDs to our friends because we know that people will cry favoritism if we are not! So, being our friends, or even simply being on our watch lists, may bring your art to our attention, but it does not increase your chances of receiving a DD.

People often wonder whether they need to be a CV's friend in order to suggest a DD, too. It's not the case. There is no such thing as having "the right person" suggest your deviation for a DD. To be honest, we don't even give any weight to who the suggester is, what their user symbol is, etc. Speaking for myself, I've even declined suggestions from other CVs before, and I've had mine declined.

Anyone can suggest a DD; in fact, you can suggest your own work as a DD! We even encourage self-suggestions! It is neither arrogant nor in poor taste to suggest yourself, and no one has to know. When you suggest yourself, we do not list you as the suggester, so you will not look like you are egotistical. :D

We very much enjoy and even prefer to give DDs to unknown artists. The truth is, it is PARTIALLY about who you know simply with respect to the fact that if we never see your work, we cannot DD it. Speaking for myself, I watch more than 200 groups and 900 individuals, and I plow through our galleries at least twice a day. But, it is impossible for any of us to see everything. Please, if you feel your work is worthy of a Daily Deviation, suggest yourself, or have someone you know and trust (ONE PERSON, not your entire watch list) suggest it for you.

Myth 3: If I complain loudly enough about not having a DD, I'll get one.

NO. We do not condone trying to pressure or guilt us into giving you a DD. If you want to know why you do not have a DD, ask us for a critique. We will be happy to point out where your strengths are and where you can improve. Who knows, maybe we'll see something in your gallery that we feel deserves a DD! Don't write a journal or a poll to cause drama over something that easily can be resolved without it. Doing so spreads negativity and does no one any good. Moreover, making a fuss about not having or getting a DD may make us less likely to give you one, assuming your work deserves it. If all anyone had to do to get a DD was write an upset journal about not having one, and if we gave in to those who did so, then dA would be full of negative journals. And we'd like to keep the place warm and cozy and conducive to artistic growth. Stick to the art; think llama, not drama! :XD:

Myth 4: I'm afraid to suggest. CVs are scary people.

Pssh. We're cuddly and loving and warm. Give us a chance.  We were regular members, too, and we will be regular members again very soon. We are not here to police you, judge you, or harass you. We are your cheerleaders and supporters. We want to promote you, and our main role is to serve as liaisons between you and the $taff of dA. Have YOU talked to a CV today?

Myth 5: CVs just ignore my notes.

We're not ignoring. Promise! If you don't get a response, it's for one of a few reasons: (1) We have 20+ pages of notes, and we just haven't had a chance to reply to yours yet. (2) We don't have time to reply. Would you rather us spend time replying to your suggestion note or doing something positive for the community? (3) A lot of times, when we reply, people expect us to give them an answer about whether the suggestion will be featured. Sometimes we aren't ready to do that just yet, or we want to keep it a surprise. So, we don't answer. :D

Myth 6: Some things (e.g. stock, icons, pixel art, nudity) are not "art" and should not get DDs.

Seriously? Who are we to say what is and is not art? Moreover, have you looked at the the galleries you are criticizing lately and taken the time to explore the work that goes into creating those deviations? Do you know the details, the intricacies . . . the techniques? We will have a series of articles on this issue very soon, so I won't belabor it now. Suffice it to say that it's wonderful to live in a world in which we all have differing opinions, tastes, and preferences and to have an art site that embraces our diversity.

Myth 7: If I get all my friends to suggest my latest deviation for a DD, or if I send suggestion notes to more than 1 CV, my chances of getting a DD will improve.

That's just not true. Also, intentional multiple suggestions will likely frustrate us and decrease your chances of getting a DD. Really. One is enough, and we DO look at every suggestion we get. If we aren't going to feature it on the first suggestion, we are definitely not going to feature it on the fifty-first. :D

Myth 8: The 6-month rule [i.e. one DD per six months] doesn't apply to me.

Uh, yes it does. ;)

Myth 9: Those who suggest lots of DDs get their names known among the CVs and get more DDs themselves.

This is kind-of true. Sort-of. Speaking for myself personally, I frequently visit the galleries of people who suggest DDs to me. That's because I am a "give-and-take" kind of person; if you are willing to give someone else a shot at a DD, I'm willing to consider your work as well. But, I think what it boils down to is that, if you are "putting yourself out there" and being a part of the community, you are more likely to be seen and recognized. That doesn't mean that you can't be unknown and still get a DD. It just goes back to what I said above: If we don't see your work, we can't give you a DD. And even though we search and watch and wait and check our messages, looking for unknown artists, there are some things that slip by us. Visibility is important, though it is certainly not everything. Oh, and I will also say that we prefer quality over quantity in DD suggestions. We prefer 1 good suggestion over 10 mediocre suggestions any day, so please don't start tossing every deviation our way just to try to gain visibility; you might end up frustrating us.

Myth 10: DDs are just a popularity contest.

See the point, above, about it not mattering how many people suggest your deviations, or who suggests it, or whether you are friends with a given CV. It doesn't matter how many page views or watchers you have. What matters is the art. I can name 5 people off the top of my head who get less than 100 faves on most of their deviations but have multiple DDs to their name. You don't have to be known, but you DO have to be VISIBLE. Again, we search and search, but no one can find everything. So, I would recommend you post in groups, make some friends by supporting their art, and of course suggest your own work if you really feel that you don't have enough "popularity" to receive a DD. Oh, and I should also note that getting a DD does not make you popular. In fact, it can have the opposite effect.

Myth 11: You have to have a DD before you can be a CV.

Nope, not true. There are several of us on the team who have never had a DD. And furthermore, we don't have to all be immaculate artists, either. We just have to care, have some time to share with dA, be motivated and knowledgeable, and love this community.

Myth 12: DDs are a prize you need to "win."

Wrong. It is a one-day feature designed to expose your work to a wider audience.

Myth 13: DDs are a great way to get feedback on your work.

Oh goodness no! No, no, no! We try to DD things that are clearly finished, not works in progress. Why? Because receiving a DD unfortunately makes you a magnet for people who just want to criticize your work. You WILL receive feedback--wanted or unwanted. But, we've seen people get torn apart for receiving DDs as well as people get praised and boosted in popularity. Feedback is important to helping you improve, but this may not be the type of feedback you are looking for, nor is it the purpose of the DD.

Myth 14: Only people who have a ton of views get DDs.

This goes back to what we were saying above. It has nothing whatsoever to do with their popularity. It has to do with their exposure. So, get involved in dA! Join groups! Come to a critique event! Talk to your CVs and your fellow deviants! Join contests, and participate in critique groups! If nothing else, write journals and display others' work, and make sure to tell them about it! Do something, anything, to get involved. When you are involved and have exposure, people start to take more notice of your art. Regardless, please note that "unseen" artists with very few faves and DDs get featured as well. In fact, we enjoy featuring them.

Myth 15: Suggesting DDs helps improve your chances of getting senior status.

I'm not equipped to talk about seniority with any sense of authority, except to refer you to the FAQs about it: FAQ #29: How do I become a Senior Member?

Many thanks to the deviants who brought these myths to my attention!

We hope this clears up at least the major misconceptions about Daily Deviations. Above all, we hope it will help you feel more confident in suggesting yourself or others! If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me or any of the other CVs: FAQ #18: Who selects Daily Deviations and how are they chosen?

Thanks, and enjoy DD Week! :D


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Interview with *JonasDeRo  11/11/12

<thefluffyshrimp> Welcome to ASKtheARTIST. My name is ~thefluffyshrimp and today I have the great privilege to interview *JonasDeRo, a very talented artist and creator of many well-known works on deviantART.

<thefluffyshrimp> Thank you for presenting us with this opportunity to interview you, JonasDeRo.

<JonasDeRo> Hello all, the pleasure is all mine!

<thefluffyshrimp> ~Fisharto asks "Without sharing too much of your ways to making environments how do you come up with ideas for painting?"

<JonasDeRo> Hello Fisharto, good question!

<JonasDeRo> I would say my main source of inspiration is traveling. I love painting but I love to travel even more; seeing cities, towns, nature really inspires me in the first place.

<JonasDeRo> The concept art scene is becoming quite saturated and I try not to look too much at other artists to get inspired for a new piece. I feel that there is far too much similarity and copying going on, so I try to look at the world as my first source of inspiration.

<JonasDeRo> However at times I fail at that of course. 

<thefluffyshrimp> ~Skulio asks "How do you come up with such rich forms and textures as well as harmonious compositions? We can find everything in your paintings... from trash on the grass to an old sofa and on the other side of the same picture we see beautiful buildings. So how do you mix all those things together?"

<JonasDeRo> Well I try not to leave parts empty.

<JonasDeRo> I think that, even though the main composition is important, there is a lot of extra information you can give with details. And people like to look around and discover them.

<JonasDeRo> I usually hide small things that give away what I might think the back-story is behind the piece. The process is a gradual one; I start with the overall concept and composition, and then slowly start filling in the gaps.

<JonasDeRo> I try to achieve the richness of photographs with the flair of paintings. How exactly I mix them is tough to answer. I guess it just happens naturally; I have a lot of things, ideas in the back of my mind. While working they just kind of 'pop' in and then I add them.

<JonasDeRo> I hope that kind of covers your question, Skulio.

<thefluffyshrimp> ~Fisharto asks "What are the fundamentals ones would need to know in order to do landscapes?" and "Have you tried doing traditional landscapes before digital or you started with the basics of traditional then went into digital drawing?"

<JonasDeRo> The fundamentals are the same for everything you do— as long as you don’t work abstract that is.

<JonasDeRo> Perspective, composition, values, color.

<JonasDeRo> I have done traditional landscapes when I was in art school, but the medium is not important; traditional or digital, there is no real difference for me, just the undo button.

<JonasDeRo> If you study those basics, perspective, composition, values and color, you can pretty much do anything.

<thefluffyshrimp> ~BI3OY asks "How did you make your breakthrough as a professional artist?"

<JonasDeRo> Through a little website called deviantart.

<JonasDeRo> Seriously, I owe my career to this site because they have given me worldwide exposure.

And of course thanks to all the watchers who fave and spread the word.

<JonasDeRo> Once I started getting better, the work basically came to me. I have never applied for a job in my life.

<JonasDeRo> So that would be my advice to everyone asking advice on how to get started: make portfolio and use the internet to its fullest.

<thefluffyshrimp> ~Kelmuun asks "When did you decide to go serious with drawing and what was your motivation?"

<JonasDeRo> I never really decided to get 'serious,' I was just always obsessed by it.

<JonasDeRo> My father has archived my drawings since I was a kid. I can tell you, when I see the massive amount, I’m even shocked myself. Thousand over the years. 

<JonasDeRo> My parents were very supportive. I went off to an art school at the age of 14, and art college at 17. After I had my Master's degree, I continued to do the same.

<JonasDeRo> So basically it's been a pretty clear path throughout my entire life.

<thefluffyshrimp> ~xav90 asks "Which concept artist do you admire the most?" and ~damzo asks "From any artists you look at, who would you consider as your favourites?"

<JonasDeRo> Wow, there are so many. Today most of my inspiration are artists on dA; I watch around 150 people, all of them are amazing. To name a few are cryptcrawler, michaelkutsche, andree wallin, griveart, danluvisi,tokyogenso, samburley, tahra....

<JonasDeRo> I’m sure there are many more I have yet to discover.

<JonasDeRo> I also want to add that before I discovered deviantart I was greatly, GREATLY inspired by Hayao Miyazaki (and I still am).

<thefluffyshrimp> ~xav90 asks "How long have you been working with Photoshop?"

<JonasDeRo> I have been working with Photoshop for about 10 years.

<thefluffyshrimp> ~meronfeisu asks "At what age did you start doing professional work, and is there in your opinion a danger of "going pro" too early and possibly hurting your name in the industry?"

<JonasDeRo> I don’t think you can 'go pro' too early. If you're not good enough, how will you get jobs?

<JonasDeRo> I started working professionally as soon as I finished my Master's degree which was in 2009. And I was, let’s see, 22 at the time I believe.

<JonasDeRo> I’m not a math person.

<JonasDeRo> I think it’s about being truthful towards your own skill. It’s better to underestimate yourself then to be pretentious when you haven’t got the credentials. If you haven’t achieved anything, don’t put a bio on your website naming irrelevant things; It makes you look unprofessional and desperate for recognition.

<JonasDeRo> Be fair to yourself. Don’t put works on your portfolio website if they don’t meet some technical standard that could get you employed.

<JonasDeRo> However do post them here on dA or other art sites to get feedback of course.

<thefluffyshrimp> ~Suik3 asks "How comfortable can a life of an artist in the industry be? Money and time wise?"

<JonasDeRo> Well, I can’t give a straight answer to that.

<JonasDeRo> It CAN be very comfortable. It is very comfortable for me; I have quite a bit of free time to do what I want, and the industry pays well.

<JonasDeRo> But being an 'artist' is so broad.

<JonasDeRo> I happen to be working in a more commercial area of the art world. Other areas are different and people might need to struggle a bit more.

** loish has joined

<JonasDeRo> Oh and I would like to say hi to loish who has just joined.

<JonasDeRo> You probably all know her, as she is very famous on this site. But what you do not know is that we went to school together. Just a little fun fact!

<thefluffyshrimp> =CarlosArthur asks "Will you ever do a DVD, or a free video (like time-lapse video) that shows your techniques or your painting?"

<JonasDeRo> Well, I get asked this all the time. I recently uploaded a video of me painting onto youtube, but it’s the only one out there currently.

<JonasDeRo> I am working with digital tutors at the moment, so I will be teaching long and very well explained lessons on how to do art.

<JonasDeRo> These are not free however. But the fact that I’m getting paid to teach allows me to actually spend a lot of time on it and make it as professional and comprehensible as possible.

<thefluffyshrimp> ~DruggedHerDaughters asks "How hard do you think it is, nowadays to break into this industry?"

<JonasDeRo> I'm afraid I’m too inexperienced to answer that— for me it was very easy.

<JonasDeRo> I guess it just comes down to two things: 1. Your skill, 2. Exposure.

<JonasDeRo> If you're good people will hire you. Of course you need exposure for people to actually find you. So building a portfolio and exposing yourself online are the crucial parts. The rest doesn’t matter; nobody cares about degrees or diplomas, your work just needs to be good enough.

<JonasDeRo> Once you start working a third factor comes into play: politics. Those will set forth your career once you've had a few jobs, so try not to act like an asshole!

<thefluffyshrimp> ~mightyeaglelol asks "What has your artistic training consisted of?"

<JonasDeRo> Well I would like to say art school, but really it was skipping parties, social life and proper nutrition/rest to spend days behind the computer painting and building portfolio.

<JonasDeRo> Of course I must credit going to school, but I feel that is more because I was 'forced' to do art, which I could have done at home.

<JonasDeRo> School and training are good for those who don't have discipline and would get distracted if they were to be self-taught, but it is by no means a requirement.

<thefluffyshrimp> ~jecle asks "What advice would you give to young artists deciding on an art school?"

<JonasDeRo> Well, I will definitely not dis-recommend it; you will learn things, but it’s not required.

<JonasDeRo> There are so many resources out there. Most of the techniques and skills that I have I discovered on my own or through the internet.

<JonasDeRo> However if I can recommend one school, it would be FZD— that is if you're willing to move to Singapore for the duration of the course.

<JonasDeRo> It's a great little school and all the students deliver fantastic work in a short amount of time. I visited the school a few months ago and I would really recommend it.

<thefluffyshrimp> ~maxlax101 asks "What do you draw first? The main part as in what you bring forward (i.e. a person) or the background, as in the scenery?"

<JonasDeRo> I start with the big shapesthe composition basically (in terms of shapes, not lighting or values.) In the beginning, I’m watching the navigator in Photoshop more closely than the actual full size file.

<JonasDeRo> I usually set up the light somewhere in those early stages, though I tend to work my way up throughout the process with both that and detailing.

<JonasDeRo> I usually wont draw a person in the beginning unless they’re the main focus of the piece. I don’t draw people that often anyway.

<JonasDeRo> Small details like birds etc, are added near the middle or end of the process.

<thefluffyshrimp> ~Skulio asks "Hah thanks for your answer to my earlier question. So it's basically comparable to a soup... You just throw everything that’s in the fridge of your mind but not really randomly because you have to get a certain taste (this is the background storytelling). Great. Do you make any notes to cut off some stupid ideas and select the more accurate ones or do you just do it automatically?"

<JonasDeRo> I don’t make notes; it’s all inside my little noodle up here.

<JonasDeRo> And yes, it’s kind of like a soup, and I always put in ingredients that I like.

<JonasDeRo> I have a few 'trademark' elements that reoccur in a lot of my work, hopefully making my work recognizable and different from other artists. For example, I think there are over 100 air conditioning units in all of my works together.

<JonasDeRo> Most of it is automatic. That’s why travel is so important.

<JonasDeRo> As I mentioned before, you need to see the world to portray it, and I always add things that I’ve seen somewhere, often without noticing it myself.

<JonasDeRo> You build up a huge 'reference' base in your mind so to speak, picking out the things that intrigue or inspire you.

<thefluffyshrimp> ~theNight-CJW asks "What is the key to achieving believable environments?"

<JonasDeRo> That can be answered very simply: correct fundamentals. These being the ones I mentioned earlier.

<JonasDeRo> Check your values. Values, values, values.

<JonasDeRo> I become more obsessed with them as time goes but they are so important! Perspective, color and composition are also very important— the latter being the most important.

<JonasDeRo> You can get away with some perspective mistakes, heck, I do it all the time really. But study the basics, look at photos, make reference folders.

<JonasDeRo> Look through them, examine how colours change with depth, how they relate, etc.

<JonasDeRo> Another trick I can give when doing environments (mainly natural ones) is fractals— study fractals! They are really important because that is how nature works.

<thefluffyshrimp> ~Etseulementmoi asks "You are an incredibly skilled matte painter and concept artist and you also do animation, photography, visual effects and sound design. How have you managed to have such a broad set of art skills?"

<JonasDeRo> Ok, well here I have to credit my school. I studied animation film (with loish) and even though you might not become an animator (I sure didn't) you learn so much. It’s such a broad medium.

<JonasDeRo> Our school didn't have a studio-based system like many schools in the US— we had to do everything. So we learnt about recording sound, about storytelling, about backgrounds, storyboards… there is just so much.

<JonasDeRo> And after that, there were so many ways to go for me. The first year I mainly did visual effects because I didn’t want to animate anymore; I found it too tedious and too much work. Also it grieved me that the 2D industry was dying and I didn't want to be confronted with that.

<JonasDeRo> I still love doing sound design, and I have some personal film projects where I wrote the scripts, filmed, acted, edited and did the sound and music.

<JonasDeRo> I guess I just love doing everything!

<JonasDeRo> During my time doing VFX, I never stopped drawing and posting on deviantart. After a few offers came in, it became clear that concept art would be my career.

<thefluffyshrimp> ~GaurdianRider asks "Your art is amazing. Did you practice every day?"

<JonasDeRo> First of all thank you!

<JonasDeRo> Well not every day, but a lot. I’m a person who's never bored; if I have free time I start painting. It's this 'urge' to create I cannot describe. Like an obsession.

<JonasDeRo> The last two months I’ve been uploading a lot of personal works here, even though I have so many deadlines. That’s how bad this obsession is!

<thefluffyshrimp> ~damzo asks "Many people look down at matte painting, since they think the photos do all the work. How do you look at these accusations?"

<JonasDeRo> I think it’s ridiculous. I mean, who cares? It’s the end result that counts. That’s how I feel about it and that’s definitely how the industry feels about it.

<JonasDeRo> Clients don’t care HOW you do something, if you used a photo of a forest or handpainted each tree for years… The end result is all that counts.

<JonasDeRo> I use a lot of photos in my work to save time and add detail. Most of the photos I’ve taken myself. That photography aspect is a part of the process.

<JonasDeRo> I love the fact that I can look at my painting and say,hah, cool, that poster on that wall is actually a poster I photographed back when I lived in South Korea (or wherever.)” If anything it adds to the depth of the piece to me.

<thefluffyshrimp> ~DruggedHerDaughters asks "We don't usually see a lot of girls working in the industry. Do you think that me, being a girl, will be at a disadvantage when competing with other male artists?"

<JonasDeRo> No. Not at all. If any it will be the opposite.

<JonasDeRo> As I said earlier, your work is all that counts; you can be fat, skinny, ugly, beautiful, any age, gender or ethnicity. People just look at your work— it’s all that counts.

<JonasDeRo> In fact, because this is such a male industry, you might attract more attention being a girl. However your skills still need to show.

<thefluffyshrimp> ~Skulio asks "While I'm working on any painting there comes a moment of crisis that I'm just too bored and tired of painting (usually that comes after about 4 hours of work). In that time I have to paint every detail that I want to put in the painting, cause after that my brain turns off. Do you have the same moments of crisis that you can't really come up with new idea? And if yes how do you manage them?"

<JonasDeRo> Yes, I do. I have quite a bit of psd's which are half-finished. I always save them when I get tired of them, sometimes after 15 minutes, sometimes 3 hours in. Usually I don’t go back to them, because I feel like creating something new. In other cases I have picked things up and finished them.

<JonasDeRo> It’s natural I think, and nothing to worry about. If you really don’t feel like working on something anymore that’s ok.

<JonasDeRo> Just make sure you do actually finish things from time to time! Because a half-finished product can’t be used to show your skill to the world or potential clients!

<thefluffyshrimp> GuardianRider asks "For all the starting artists of any kind of genre: Do you have any advice for them?" and ~maxlax101 asks "What would you suggest a beginner concentrate on?"

<JonasDeRo> Well, my advice is what I’ve mentioned before: 1. build a portfolio, 2. expose yourself online. Those two are a road to success. In terms of art, practice, practice. Nothing comes easy, everything takes time. Don’t give up and sacrifice as much time as possible if you want to get somewhere. If you're out drinking and hitting on girls, others are sitting at home at 4 am painting (me) and they're beating you to the punch!

<JonasDeRo> Once you have work and don’t need to worry as much about finding work anymore you get all that back. And at least you have security in your life then, which is on the long run more important.

<thefluffyshrimp> ~mightyeaglelol asks "When drawing high-tech environments, are you concerned with whether or not your machines and devices look as though they could actually exist and function in a futuristic world?"

<JonasDeRo> Not really. Or let’s say, make it 'look' as if it would work. Trick the viewer.

<JonasDeRo> Lately I’ve been doing work on a science fiction film which involves a lot of spaceships and techy stuff.

<JonasDeRo> I’ve never been asked, “but how does that work exactly.” It just needs to look as if it makes sense. Then you're good to go.

<thefluffyshrimp> ~Heartling asks "So did you learn traditional techniques when you were studying and just use them in your digital painting or has it always been digital?"

<JonasDeRo> Yes, I learned traditional techniques while studying and basically moved to digital on my own. It all started when I got a Wacom tablet as a birthday present from my mother, I was skeptical at first, but now I can’t live without it. I'm still using the same one!

<JonasDeRo> Personally I would like to get rid of the whole 'traditional vs digital' debate— lose the idea that they are different. They are a different medium but the art itself is the same and the same rules apply. In its basics there is no difference.

<thefluffyshrimp> ~Insomniacs-Corner asks "Why did you choose a life in the arts?"

<JonasDeRo> I didn't choose it, it just happened because I have a compulsion to create art literally all the time.

<JonasDeRo> If I’m not making art, I’m doing something that is either keeping me from doing art or is inspiring/helping for future artworks.

<thefluffyshrimp> ~GaurdianRider asks "How long does it take you to complete a picture?"

<JonasDeRo> It varies, but I’m a very impatient person, believe it or not. I usually take between 5-10 hours to finish a painting— sometimes faster, sometimes longer. I think the longest I’ve spent on a painting is about 15-20 hours.

<thefluffyshrimp> ~Suik3 asks "When you say politics in the industry... Can it happen that doing a job for one big company can mean you'll never get a chance of working for the, say, their competition? If that happens, is it rare or it goes without saying?"

<JonasDeRo> No, I don’t think so. The chances of working for the 'exact competition' are rather slim since the industry is quite vast. Also, as a freelancer, you don’t have any affiliation with your clients.

<JonasDeRo> When I said politics, I was referring to word of mouth mostly. If you work on a job you'll get to meet a lot of people… concept artists, art directors, production designers, etc... Those people will go off to work on other projects and might recommend you. People always look for people they know, they've worked with and are comfortable with.

<thefluffyshrimp> `loish asks "You do a lot of work for CGTextures, in which you travel all over the world and take amazing pictures. How did they approach you with this? Did you already have an extensive photography portfolio and travel experience before they approached you or did you start doing this as a result of working for them?"

<JonasDeRo> Haha, good question. Well it kind of worked in two directions.

<JonasDeRo> I got to know CGtextures when I was doing backgrounds for my final animation film – at that time the site still had a forum. One day I posted a request for them to add textures of pipes to the site; I needed them for my city backdrops and couldn’t find them on the website. Shortly after the webmaster Marcel, now a good friend of mine, had gone off to some old factories and photographed a whole bunch just for me. This was so nice that I wanted to contribute my textures in return, as many people were doing at the time. However the site was growing larger and the contributors usually had poor equipment and photography skills which made it inconvenient.

<JonasDeRo> At this time I was already travelling quite a lot, and I had a basic DSLR which I made travel pictures with. At some point I mentioned to Marcel (the CGtextures owner) that I would be travelling to India and around Kenya and Tanzania. He had seen some of my travel pictures and liked my framing, etc. so he offered to give me professional equipment and to make textures on these trips.

<JonasDeRo> When I returned with thousands of pictures, he was so happy he offered me a job to do this fulltime and started to change the system from contributors to fixed photographers. Every time I’ve travelled since, I’ve combined it with making textures.

<JonasDeRo> It’s absolutely great!

<thefluffyshrimp> ~Anyura asks "What else would you do for living if you weren't so successful with your art? No offense, your art is amazing."

<JonasDeRo> Oh my, I don’t know. No art? I can’t even think of it!

<JonasDeRo> I would resort to another 'art-form.'

<JonasDeRo> During my teenage years I was producing a lot of music (mostly electronic.) I own quite a bit of equipment actually, and at some point I got offered a contract with a label. Around that time I went into animation school and decided to follow the drawing path rather than the musical one. So I guess that would have been my alternative.

<thefluffyshrimp> =CarlosArthur asks "Speaking about FZD school: I'm 17 and I've been drawing for just 2 years now. I learned a a lot just by watching Feng's videos on Youtube, and I wanted to go to SG, to the FZD school, but my parents are a little bit concerned about me moving to another country alone. So, how is the life in Singapore?"

<JonasDeRo> Well, I haven’t lived in Singapore, but it is a great city.

<JonasDeRo> I'll take this chance to promote myself a bit! I’m having an exhibition in Singapore around January where I will present my City Ruins series (with a whole bunch of new ones not here on dA.)

<JonasDeRo> It’s a wonderful city, it’s very safe and there are a lot of opportunities. The life standard is so high and there are all sorts of people there— a lot of artistic people as well. Also it’s quite inspiring for an artist in general. Some of the modern architecture will blow your mind.

<JonasDeRo> I will always recommend someone to go abroad. Seriously, live your life, take the chance. Travelling is so enriching, I can’t recommend it enough.

<JonasDeRo> I wouldn’t be where I am had I never left my little city in Belgium.

<thefluffyshrimp> ~Melancholy-Minds asks "Unlike government employees or company workers who will have pensions when they end up retiring in their mid-sixties, do you as a self-employed artist plan on making art for the rest of your life to support yourself financially or are you making more than enough to allow yourself to retire comfortably after a certain age?"

<JonasDeRo> Well this is a complicated issue, because it depends on how the laws in your country of residency work. As a Belgian citizen we basically have to take care of ourselves, although we do have some backup for people who have an independent company like me.

<JonasDeRo> At the point that I am at now, I earn enough not to worry about it, and I don’t think that will change.

<JonasDeRo> I like being able to see and control where the money goes. In Belgium we always have the chance to put money aside monthly for pension, but I don’t do this. And because of that exact reason, I like to control everything myself.

<JonasDeRo> I don’t spend mindlessly and am quite good at handling finances, so I trust that I will do fine and take care of it myself.

<thefluffyshrimp> Alright everyone! The official interview with *JonasDeRo is now complete! I want to thank you all for joining us today and for supporting the ASKtheARTIST project. 

<thefluffyshrimp>Thank you again, *JonasDeRo for the privilege to interview you today, and for your patience and dedication in answering so many fan questions for our ASKtheARTIST event!

<JonasDeRo> Hey, the pleasure is all mine! And I advise everyone to join this group!

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The World of Digital Art

Stepping out of the real world and into your imagination is an experience that is both shared and held close to all of us. Most of us here express it in our own way in respects to art and the art form. As time moves forward technology progresses on, that type of expression is finding new means and mediums to be painted upon.

Digital art has exploded with the modern age and with it brilliant and fantastic artists have emerged from its rupture. So why is Digital Art so popular.

  Cordyceps by jeffsimpsonkh

What makes Digital Art so appealing that most would give up traditional art to move onto something more accessible. Is it money? Is it the potential to further your own artistic ventures? Some say all and others none of the above. It's all personal preference but I am sure we can all observe how popular Digital Art has become. Not just for the artists down the street but as well for the artists who are creating beautiful matte paintings for movies, television series, comics etc. 

The Procession-Final by AlexRuizArt

"A picture is worth a thousand words."  ~ Napoleon Bonaparte

Digital Art offers so many opportunities to expand on your own palette and skills. There are so many tutorials online that can allow you to reach the goal you want to be with your art in the digital realm and there are a lot who do it effectively too. The sky is the limit and there really are no boundaries. Only what your imagination can create. Perhaps it's that ease, that seemingly seamless transition from paper to computer that drives our curiosity. Perhaps it's just another piece of technology to play and fiddle around with as new software comes out for us to test and make Digital Art even more appealing.

Alm-Atias Refuge by andreasrocha

So maybe that's why a lot of users tend to veer towards Digital Art. They feel more comfortable with the accessibility of all the things that can aid them in achieving the look /  feel they want. There are countless stock accounts and websites here on DeviantART and around the web. You can even view live sessions online via youtube or livestream to watch your favorite artist paint something using the same tools you do on the computer.

Digital vs Traditional by MidnightTea7

You can buy tablets that make it feel even more like painting rather then the potential feel of a synthetic canvas. Which might not only make the process easier but more appealing. There are brushes, textures and styles all at your finger tips that would make painting chain mail, for example, a thing of the past. What would take probably a good chunk of your day using traditional art, digital art could take a few hours in PhotoShop.

To mix and blend colors instantly. To erase a mistake without having to re-do the entire canvas. It's the ease of Digital Art that makes it so appealing to so many users. Digital Art though a popular medium to use is still an art form and a beautiful one at that. Just like all art forms. The passion for art still remains just like any other medium of choice. Regardless if it is Digital or Traditional.

"The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance." ~ Aristotle

So I bring this question to the community. To allow you to think on such a topic and feel free to discuss in the comments below as this will warm you up for another article I will be releasing in the coming week or so!

Is Digital Art a popular medium? If so why? Is it because it's easy to access? You can download free applications online or use muro to draw?

Journal Design and CSS by PreetikaSharma. Header modified by KovoWolf
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10 things to consider when writing a tutorial

Hey, everyone!

Are you interested in trying our Official Photomanipulation Tutorial Challenge but unsure of where to begin? Look no further! Here are some tips about creating a tutorial that is easy for you to write and easy for us to understand. We hope these pointers will be useful to you; as always, feel free to leave questions or comments. :D

1. Sit down and really think about what you are good at doing

What do people compliment you about most frequently? What are you most proud of in your manipulations so far? It could be anything, from the way you select and cut out stock to the way you make your colors pop. Start from your strength, something you can talk about with ease.

2. Take the pressure off!

No matter how "good" someone is at photomanipulation already, they still have something interesting to learn from YOU. Yes, really! Maybe you do things a bit differently. Maybe your ideas are faster and fresher. We can all learn different ways of doing the same task; a little variety never hurt anyone. Maybe by sharing your way, someone will know how it can be done even better, so you BOTH learn. It's a win-win situation. Therefore, take the pressure off of yourself.

3. Think like a photomanipulator

Don't think like a tutorial writer. Think like a manipulator! How would YOU prefer to have someone explain it to you? What do YOU need to see in order to learn? If you had to explain this to yourself in words that you can understand and put to use, what would you say? Be personal.

4. Learn from the BAD tutorials out there!

We've all come across them: Tutorials that are so hard to follow that you give up one or two steps into the problem. You can learn from these, too! In fact, they have given you an example of what NOT to do! What do you think they could have done better? What would you have needed in order to have been better able to follow the tutorial? Make sure that YOUR tutorial has this missing information!

5. Sketch it out

Sit down and think through the steps you go through when doing your creation. Write out the steps in a numbered list, with arrows connecting each step, showing the sequence in which the steps proceed. (For example: Choosing the stock --> cropping the images --> setting the cut-outs onto the page) Include every step you take, even if it seems mundane and unimportant. This should give you a "blueprint" of what your tutorial should look like. You can start to add details (or as we say in the US, "flesh it out") from there.

6. tl;dr?

People don't like to read much text. :XD: So, while it is important to write details, it is also important not to write too MUCH detail. They don't need to know the moon phase that was influencing you when you wrote the tutorial. :XD: Be sure to give what they need to know, perhaps with a couple of hints and tricks here and there, without telling too big a story. Use bullet points and numbered lists when you are able. Think "short, sweet, and to-the-point." 

7. A picture is worth a thousand words?

Yes, please! A good way of giving detail without using a lot of words is to use pictures and screen captures. But, don't just put a cropped screen capture on there; briefly state what it means and where you got it. At the very least, you should have a caption with "Step 2" on it or something that will connect the graphic with the step you are showing.

8. KISS: Keep it simple, silly!

Walk-throughs are great and have an important purpose in our community: they show how a deviation is created from beginning to end. Tutorials, generally speaking, focus on the development of a particular skill. You won't be able to create an entire deviation from just one tutorial. For an effective tutorial, you should focus on explaining only one part and explaining it thoroughly but succinctly. Again, stick with what you're good at doing and what you know the most about. 

9. Give it a test drive

Go through your tutorial yourself and see if you can follow your own instructions. Is every step clear and unambiguous? Is there anything that needs to be added to improve the flow? Does it make sense? Is it in a logical order?  See if you can create the end product based solely on the information you provided, without using your own independent working knowledge. If you cannot, then your tutorial needs more work.

10. Check, mate!

Have a friend check your tutorial and give you their opinion. Is it too hard to follow? Is it too easy? How useful is it? Our friends and colleagues can be our best indicators of how user-friendly our tutorials are. Be sure to take advantage of this great human resource!


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