...I was looking for some kind of tolerant public outlet for my "edgy" artwork. Kind of desperately looking, actually. Living in a very traditional, religious, and sexually repressive culture made it difficult to find folks who would openly acknowledge any interest in the imagery I was putting out. Family portraits, landscapes, and religious imagery were what held their eye and merited their respect. My stuff was not the kind of thing Jesus would want them to look at, apparently. Some folks said exactly that to me about it.
I don't know how it happened, but I stumbled across DeviantArt on April 9, 2006. Signing up seemed minimally risky, and browsing through, I had the impression DA might offer me something like what I was after. I signed up, made a few comments on some people's posted works, and submitted a couple of my ink drawings.
Things took off very quickly. It turns out that the "Deviant" with a couple of the works I commented on was actually an art thief who was posting under the guise of the artist Rowena Morrill [link]
. I had no idea she wasn't Rowena, but I left my honest appreciation and feedback for the pieces I saw. A fellow Deviant who was on to the thief's game noticed my comments and sent me a note, informing me of the charade and encouraging me to stay on DeviantArt and continue. That nice, welcoming Deviant became a wonderful friend whose impressive art now hangs in my home and whose input in my life is cherished. Thank you, Carole, a.k.a *CaroleHumphreys
As I posted a few more pieces and commented a bit more, learning how to "favorite" and seeing some of my own works "favorited," I quickly came in touch with a small group of very cool people with their own impressive artistic talent and creativity. In somewhat of an order, I met and had note conversations with visual artists Jana ( ~Dyun
), Gordon ( *dashinvaine
), Scott ( *DocRedfield
), Bob ( ~giadrosich
), and with writer/photographer Emma ( ~TheSilverLining
). These people gave me some great feedback about all of my artwork, including my "controversial" imagery involving bondage and Damsels in Distress, and even the few Female Domination pieces I had. There were others during that time, including ~FreshwaterMermaid
, with whom I interacted off and on, all of whom made the DA world more than just an attractive little escape from the conservative high desert I still live in.
That first Summer, while talking on the phone with one of the most influential people in my life, I told him about DeviantArt and suggested that he get an account and post some of his own artworks here. That person is my uncle, *freya50
, whose artistic talent, honesty, love and support for me, and rational viewpoint on life have been vitally important to me. Given that he wasn't as computer-savvy as I was (which, come to think about it, is a bit scary, since I am definitely NOT computer-savvy), he would complete each of his pastel drawings, send them to me to crop and adjust in Photoshop for some bad photographic lighting issues, and post on his DA account. I got to be closely acquainted with his collection of artworks I hadn't seen and closely involved with the production of the new ones that poured out over the next few years.
Later, a friend and neighbor I've known since my youth was looking for a place to post his photography, and I suggested DeviantArt to him. This was ~john33
, and his work has shown me the real beauty of the state we both live in. Another very close friend and writer joined DA and posted some of his narratives, one of which was done to accompany a piece of my artwork. This was ~EmeraldMage
whom I met in college and from whom I ended up living right across the street for some choice years. Together, ~john33
, and I spent many hours at the gaming table with other friends and family, and some of that time has produced artwork I've posted here.
Soon, some publication and posting projects started showing up. *DocRedfield
created the DA group #monstersandmaidens
and asked me to charter-member it with him, which was a lot of fun and had a great run of monthly contests with themes that accumulated some really cool pieces in a variety of styles. ~giadrosich
was named the Art Editor for a book of Alex Ness' poetry and gave me the opportunity to get some pieces included. ~Dyun
started a group called the ~ArtistPortraits
project, in which a portrait was drawn and then photographed in the hands of the artist, which was then drawn by the next artist and then photographed in that artist's hands, and so on. *BryanBaugh
saw my inkwork and invited me to participate in his book publication on How to Draw Swords and Sorcery characters. *dashinvaine
created a self-generating story illustration group that had a fun run called ~CollectiveFable
, to which I added some pieces that may or may not have contributed to the overall story, but were still fun to draw. All of those projects were fun and interesting, and kept me in contact with the cool, interesting people I knew and introduced me to skads more.
Somewhere, early on in that ongoing nest of opportunity, I posted the first few pages of "Rats in the Cellar" that I had drawn two years previous. This started a ball rolling for me that had more or less slowed to a halt for a number of reasons since I'd started it. But with the sudden influx of interested comments, favorites, watchers, speculators, narratives (thanks for kicking that off, Jana!), and whatnot, "Rats in the Cellar" and it's quasi-follow-up "Twisted Plot" surged ahead on the tasks I had taped to my drawing board, as it were. More interested Deviants popped up with comments, suggestions, questions, compliments, and speculations as the two chapters were completed and posted, and by the time I was finished with the 34 pages of the original "Twisted Plot," I was making plans to continue the whole thing along the lines of what had only been a pipe dream before that.
That's when I decided to address a weakness in the art of the overarching storyline that started with "Rats" and "Plot": If I was going to have multiple female victi-... er... protagonists, then I'd need to draw them in such a way that they'd be easily distinguishable from each other as the story progressed. While my mind was capable of drawing a woman's face and figure without a reference, I was limited. To make that face and figure consistent would require a reference for each character, and while I could go on for a while borrowing and tweaking images from obscure scenes in DVDs and porn clips (whoops!
), I recognized that the best way to do it would be to find some interested female of appropriate age who wouldn't mind her face and possibly figure being drawn in a storyline like "Rats" and "Plot."
Enter Natalie Paquette, a.k.a. `fetishfaerie-stock
. Natalie was a stock artist, which I learned was a Deviant who produced a variety of photos, mostly of herself in dramatic lighting, costumes, and poses, for fellow Deviants to use in producing their images. Somewhat timidly I sent a note to her asking her if she'd consider letting me use some of her images for the next "chapter" of the storyline I was working on, and she agreed. She even agreed to produce for me some particular stock images that I would use for her protagonist's "capture sequence." After six years, most of those requested images are still sitting here, waiting on my hard drive (they're due to show up at the beginning of the next chapter, "Web of Betrayal"), though some of them have been put to use a few years back.
Natalie's willing involvement gave me confidence to try for a few more like her, and before I was even finished with her character's installment, "Fair Harvest," I was sending out a digital request for more interested stock models on DA.
And that's when I completed my first year of membership on DeviantArt.
That was just one year, and my god, the artistic drive it gave me was astounding. Over the years, the list of stock models and those providing references for me has grown to include creative writer ~Feathered-pics
, medical professional ~perditax31
, avid cosplayer ~Lizzy-Barry
, animal medicine grad student ~Geekhyena
, sword enthusiast and writer ~Mistersneaky
, model ~catchan
and her photographer *Viator-Defessus
, and a few others whose work either hasn't been used yet or I'm not certain I still have the permission to use. And that's just talking about the "Demon's Due" project. I've made use of some other stock models' imagery for other projects I've had in the works during that time, and the comments I've received, suggestions, requests, ideas, and such from so many interested people, has been of nigh incalculable effect and richness.
During that first year and after, many fun folks and personalities have come and gone, some remain but don't currently associate themselves with me, my artwork, or any particular project. Most of the friends listed above have endured some pretty traumatic setbacks in personal and professional lives, others have embarked on long-term professional and educational goals. I've had my own setbacks and challenges and new projects that friends here have been aware of and for which they've thrown in their support. DA has not been the only location in which I've been a part of these lives and they've enriched mine--I've even met a lot of these people in person, or carried on lengthy conversations with them in other fora--but DA has been the main one.
To all of you Deviants who have been a part of my life (artistic and personal) for these past seven years, thank you. To try and say more would only further quantify my inability to quantify how cool this has been.
To DeviantArt, thank you for the opportunity. Quantifying that with $30 for an annual premium membership is woefully understating things.