I have been on Deviant Art for 10 years. O_o
I started posting on here back in High School when I used primarily colored pencil and micron pens and drew really tiny hands.
I was young and copied almost anything and everything - character designs, poses, etc... My favorite thing to do was take a character design from one artist, and take a pose from a different artist, and mash them together.
Plagiarism wasn't my intent, I honestly was just having fun drawing what interested me, but as I grew older I began to want to design/create my OWN things, not just copy other people's creativity. So eventually I took down everything that I considered even remotely plagiarized, and started over.
I designed a few Original characters
and a whole lot of garbage
. Art wasn't a serious matter to me, just a hobby, something to fill the boring hours of my life.
Eventually I reached a place where I became a lot more comfortable with the medium I was using (traditional colored pencils and inks) although character designs, especially their clothes, were a struggle. Eventually I ended up here:
This piece was actually a HUGE turning point for me. It took me about 1-2 hours to draw, 1 hour to ink, and 8 hours to color. I ran out of green colored pencils on this piece twice and when I bought new sets, they didn't match, thus the really odd shading on her shirt. The reason why it was such a huge turning point is because it pushed me towards thinking about coloring digitally.
I wanted to make more complicated and intricate pictures. Full characters and full backgrounds, stuff like that.
But I knew there was no way I could create the type of art I wanted unless I found a new way to color.
But there was a problem: Money. Having little to no income in high school, I knew there was no way I could afford to pay for fancy traditional coloring tools like Copics or Prismacolor markers. Buying my inking pens was already all I could afford.
Long story short, my high school computer teacher had photoshop and a cheap bamboo tablet which he would let me tinker with when all my work was done. Over a period of a year, I taught myself photoshop and saved enough money to buy the cheapest wacom tablet I could find. Now I just had to buy *ulp* Photoshop (Which was in the upwards of 500+ dollars at the time) I did some research and discovered Paint Tool Sai, a cheap affordable program, with a very similar interface to Photoshop. Just what I needed! This led to me creating my first ever digital painting:
I was hooked
and thus started my journey of coloring digitally. I never could get the hang of drawing digitally/digital inks. It always just took SOOO long! I would spend 4 hours drawing something digitally that would take me 30 minutes by hand. Seriously.
Coloring, though, was MUCH faster, and I could do much more intricate scenes, like this:
However, even though I had made some improvements, I began to be really unsettled with my art. I drew the same things over and over from the same perspectives. My coloring was quick but had no depth. It was super bright and over-saturated. I couldn't figure out how to make it look better. I spent 2 years trying
to make my art look better
(especially the coloring
) but I never could figure out how to improve.
This was especially unsettling because art, for me, had started to move from "just a hobby" to "potential career."
I finally decided that if I wanted to improve, I had to make some drastic changes. I had to either be "all in" or be ok with improving very slowly. I decided to go for it and after pouring over my art, came up with 8 areas I wanted to improve.
I spent the next 6 months drawing and drawing and drawing and watching art video after art video and reading articles and books and articles and books, and, well, you get the idea. I started finally seeing some improvement:
That was 3 1/2 years ago.
I have done 3 more of these art "training intensives" since then, all with at least some
improvement, although maybe not as drastic as before.
I also worked as an art assistant for a comic artist for about 8 months, and even managed to draw a few logos for some small businesses. No, I wasn't making money off of my own original art, but I was at least making money off of ART. And, no, I wasn't making enough money to live solely off of art, but hey. . .
It was a start.
I decided to try my hand at making a Graphic Novel,
and eventually started uploading it as a webcomic!
I figured that it would be a good way to push myself in improving my art. And it has definitely been a challenge, but also rather rewarding.
When I joined DA 10 years ago, I had no idea where it would lead. I definitely had no idea I'd still be posting here 10 years later. Over the decade I've been here, I've, graduated, gotten married, moved 12 times, lived in 4 different states and worked jobs ranging from setting up drape in conference centers to unloading trucks at 4am to cleaning and shipping auto parts. I've experienced a lot of life that I never could have dreamed of before. I've been on a few mountain tops and trudged through a whole lot of valleys.
But through it all, I've decided this whole "art" thing is much more than just a hobby. It's what I want. And regardless of whether I'll ever be able to make a living at it, I'll definitely keep trying.
The past 10 years have been fun, here's to another 10!