Here I am witnessing the 14th year of existence of this
It's been a while, hasn't it? Isn't it heart-warming? Especially for those who've been an active part of this community for so many years?
I've been a dA member for 6 and a half years, but I did have the curiosity years ago to look up how this everything looked like many many years ago right at the beginning. The evolution of this artistic platform is fantastic. It reached amazing heights in all aspects and domains.
On this 14th anniversary dA wants to hear our story about our colorful and artistic evolution we undergone during the time we spent in this place.
Wants to hear mine? So be it.
Dear ladies, gentlemen, followers, watchers, friends, take a sit. It's going to be a long ride. While some might recall certain details, here's the full fledged novel.
It all started almost a decade ago.
It didn't start on dA. As shocking as it sounds, for a better understanding, I have to take things a bit earlier from when I made my dA account.
I was commencing school. First grade. Very anxious to start something what seemed so new. Wanted to know how it feels. It was a big deal for me. Lots of kids all around. It felt like an adventure. Just as a kid I was very naive. I set my hope high. I thought everything would be amazing day by day. This would be subject to change years later.
As I said, I was so eager to start school that I learnt reading, writing and basic maths so that I wouldn't fail anyone there. So that I'd do all things right. I didn't have a sense of competition. I never had. I don't like competition. It has me changing the pace with which I do things. I didn't want to be the best. I wanted to be good just for me. At that time I was the only person I needed to impress. And so I did.
Unlike many of the colleagues I had in these 12 years of schooling, if not all of them, I come from a family with a deranged financial situation. The family I have is nowhere near to being... no, not perfect. No family nor any other thing is ever perfect. Perfection is a matter of perspective. The family I have is nowhere near to being fine. I think that's the most decent word I can find, 'fine'. BUT, again, unlike many kids with troubled families, I am proud to say it had no effect upon my evolution. You see lads turning to drugs and other stupid things just because a mere divorce. These kids deserve to have it way tougher. I pity them for how easy they fall into despair just from such a trivial thing. Living just with my mother, she had to work constantly to raise me properly. That meant that by the time I finished classes I couldn't got all by myself back home. So I had to join this after school thing. Where I'd go eat, sleep and then late in the evening my mother would show up to pick me. I'd do homework there. That's where the teachers noticed that after doing the trivial homework I had to do for the next day, I'd get out of my school bag these Maths books and start studying. They were impressed to see I knew all the letters, numbers and how to 'play' with them. Soon after that my mother was asked whether she'll agree with me skipping that year or not. They said it'd be a shame to waste any more time. We decided it's best to stay in the first grade and do things accordingly.
If I were to skip the class then, there would have been no likes of me writing you right now.
So I didn't skip the class and I remained in the same classroom with the same kids and things went on accordingly. I had many overachievers in my class. Everyone was fighting for the highest grades. I was a bit stressed of course. Their stress would pass down to me, but I'd still take things naturally. I never cared to waste extra time on studying. It was just in my veins. I could easily understand everything was thrown at me during classes. No really need for practice; I kept myself among the first places, while others required private classes; I could never afford them nor needed them. In the following years I wouldn't miss not one single Maths contest. Always there, hunting for prizes. Everyone would say that what defines me is Maths, that I'd become a very intelligent person with a very technological type of career. A real businessman. You know, a guy with a tight suit on that would invent extraordinary thing. They took me for a man of science, while everything I was doing was just common sense. But yes, I loved Maths. I loved spending time calculating impossible formulas, proving them to me. Whenever our teacher would present us a new lesson, in that same they I did all the exercises for the whole chapter, this resulting in me having no homework for the following month. I was a maniac. And our teacher was amazing. I loved him. He was spectacular. Such a fine man with such calculated gestures. I will respect that man until the day I die and beyond.
In the 5th grade my mathematical knowledge witnessed an incredible blooming. This teacher took it in his hands and made wonders. I was all going so well. He was so proud of me. He had seen in me something that kept on motivating me for being better and better with each and every day. I wasn't getting my grades only through papers and semester papers. I kept getting grades through the answers I would be giving during his classes. I was making the answer in my mind and saying it to him and he'd be all like "10!" - the equivalent of A+.
At this point, could anyone possibly think that there'd exist one tiny little factor that would drift me away from this path where I had no connection whatsoever with arts? Back then i could barely hold a pencil in my hand. Whatever meant art, it was so unrelated to me. I was a man of logic.
I find this to be the most beautiful part of the story. In the same fifth grade (2007) we got 5 new classmates. Among them was a very, but very beautiful girl. Her appearance, to me at least, was breathtaking. You see...this breathtaking expression. It makes sense. It is not a cliche. It's this intense moment when you just stop to figure out whatever the heck is going with you when you witness something...beautiful in this case. And that what her beauty was to me. Breathtaking. I had huge problems trying to get closer to her. In the fifth grade I stopped attending the after school program, because my grandmother, God rest her in piece, came in town to take care of me. But for as long as I attended the after school program I was on the verge of becoming obese. You see, the food there was so good, but the kids never appreciated it, so I ended eating 3 to 7 dishes of each lunch we had there. In the fifth grade I was rolling ball of meat. I didn't have the lean structure of my male colleagues that were very active with their sports activities. I'm also have an endomorphic body structure so I always need to watch my weight. Being so complexed by this, I never dared to approach her. I didn't want to disgust her. It was very hard for me. Until I found out we had in common this one anime we both loved a lot, which was actually the first anime I ever watched - Shaman King. Around the same time the class mistress organized this skills contest. Everyone would make something out of nothing and present it to the class. It could be anything, drawings, poems, cardboard figurines - anything. I decided to make a drawing. A drawing of the Spirit of Fire.
After all this time I remember it. It was this screenshot I've drawn from scratch on an A4 paper and colored. With few mistakes here and there and with no grids applied, because I had no experience to use grids, from a proportional perspective it was identical. It got all the votes and most importantly, it got her vote. What I felt that day was beyond explaining. As I was experiencing love for the first time in my life, through the cage of my complexities regarding the way I looked like and my weight problems, out of all the people, to see her, acknowledging me - it was dementedly rewarding and heartwarming.
And so I kept drawing more and more screenshots off of Shaman King only to impress her some more. It's very funny, because this way I actually, unwillingly, practiced hand-eye coordination as I was looking to the screen of my computer and then reproducing the lines down on my paper. During the same time, I created my dA account, but I only started posting during the next year, in 2008.
I was browsing through all the masterpieces deviantART keeps promoting on the first page of the website, frustration filled my veins and fueled my heart and motivated me to cease copying screenshots off the screen and start drawing without references. Use my own imagination. I have to mention that I knew of deviantART before creating my account, which, yeah, is plausible, duuuh. But in the night I got this motivated I made myself an account and drew my first original drawing.
And many others followed. Soon enough it wasn't about having that beautiful girl notice me. It was, again, about impressing myself, proving my worth to myself. I was again all alone with my own self.
Had it not been for this girl, there would have been no likes of me writing you right now.
She drifted me completely away from what I was supposed to be doing - Maths. My grades declined slowly but steadily. I disappointed my teacher. But I didn't care. I was drawing. I was embodying my feelings on a countless sheets of paper.
On my quest towards self-improvement on deviantART I discovered Rogie Custodio - best known by his famous nickname pokefreak, and now Roggles
This artist's gallery impressed me with his wonderful paintings, but even more with the cel-shaded artworks. They were so beautiful and dynamic. I needed to learn cel-shading as well. So, because of him, I decided to buy a graphics tablet, a mere Trust TB700. This is when I started working digitally and also posting here on dA.
First cel-shaded work however was done with a mouse.
That was the start of everything. Artwork after artworks was being processed and I would find progress with each and every picture I posted. I would get the recognition of many.
When I joined dA, I was amazed by the artists that would take commissions. I never truly thought I would get to take commissions as well. At that time I never knew just how would I evolve as much as to dare to ask people for money in exchange of my services. I thought it'd be a joke. Who'd be interested in my petty artworks.
But you know what? Rtenzo
did. And he commissioned the shit out of me.
It killed me, but I'd do it all again, 100 times better. IT WAS FUN!
2009 was the year I started taking commissions. It was also a sacred year. After being just my client, Rtenzo
became my partner and we've now done collaboration commissions for almost 5 years of not more than that and if I'm now wrong I think there are more than 150 illustrations we've done together.
Next year, in 2010 I'd get my very first Daily Deviation on an illustration I did when I was only 15.
This motivated me on to making an even greater illustration!
But beyond all these achievements...
...I had the opportunity of meeting extraordinary and amazing persons through deviantART. I gathered a sweet loving audience towards which I'm grateful.
I also got the meet :devblackmsiley:. She had a definitive role in my evolution. It was just amazing how time of 3 consecutive years we'd meet each weekend to go to McDonald's and draw out on paper all the randomness of our deranged minds. Weekend by weekend we were there spending 6-7 hours continuously doodling and thickening our dusty portfolios. Amazing!
I've also ran into sleeping-ninja
, which had an extremely profound artistic evolution. From time to time I check her works and I just can't believe how amazing her skills have gotten.
Another nice person I found here is also dandyliongk
of which I haven't heard of in many years, but I do remember our random chats, which were quite hilarious.
I can't forget about my awesome Queen, Azixel
. She's such a wonderful person! I made it a lifetime goal to visit her in Athens and bust her door open all uninvited and just say "Hi! " then go take some soda from her fridge and just sit on some chair in the kitchen.
This awesome lad - puddlefisher
. I ran into him right after Rogie Custodio. He got even more awesome mad cel-shaded skills. He was that amazing artist with over 1 million pageviews on his old account - pooketz - and I was so shy and stalking on his works. Never thought anyone like him would interact with a beginner such as I. But fate had it that we're now best pals and share doodles between us on Skype. Again, I'm wowed by how he's such an amazing artist and also fantastic cartoonist. He can easily bring out the child in anyone with his dynamic and colorful doodles. For real! I'm so thankful we're now pals. I can learn lots of things from him.
What'd be a grim reminder, for me it is not, for I remember him with joy. eisengod
- I wish I got to know him better. Whenever we got to chat we'd have interesting things to share to each other. Too bad it was for a short amount of time. He was a good illustrator. Made these top knotch signatures. If I only had a bit more time to get to know him better and just talk to him perhaps he'd have lived. Unfortunately due to some unfortunate events he found that taking the way out of his life would be better for him. Many couldn't understand why he did it, but if we ever cared for him we better not think of it and only keep the pleasant memories of him in out hearts.
I realize that without deviantART and with no one to show my drawings to and no one there to offer real support, this hobby would have faded away in time. DeviantART helped maintaining the flame inside of me burning time of so many years. Because of deviantART I never allowed myself to doubt my motivation of turning this hobby into a career. Many relatives were disappointed to see how I'm throwing away a brilliant career in what mathematics would lead to for the likes of a hobby, which in the eyes of many is plain death in poverty. My talent was doubted from the very beginning. Only my parents truly supported me.
I held on to it as hard as I could and now I'm waiting for my departure, this September, to UK, where I will be studying Computers and Video Games at University of Salford.
From a mathematician prodigy to a helpless freelance digital artist.
My artistic path on deviantART started with LOVE, it continues with LOVE and will end with LOVE!
Happy Birthday, deviantART!