I had actually joined deviantART to post various forms of MLP fanart as well as art for my MLP Fanfiction, go ahead and laugh it out now, yes, I like the show My Little Pony, but I like the fandom more. In Fact, I have the fandom, not the show, for getting me back into art in general. Seriously, without the support of the MLP fanbase, I'd have been so damn embarassed to post any form of artwork, no matter how crappy or good it actually was.
Speaking of Crappy Artwork, this was my very first deviation:
And BOY was it crappy! 2012 was when I had first joined, and this was my very first attempt at doing something shareworthy, so what did I do? Scanned a sketch, added an ink filter, splashed on some stock Photoshop blood and some text. And that was the cover of my second (and now most popular) fanfiction: The Blue Stranger, The Red Curtain. For about 2 whole months.
Then after figuring out I could color my sketches in Photoshop, I started doing a shit ton of semi-colored sketches, until one day, I had been commissioned for the very first time. For the first time in my life, I was actually getting paid to do art. F*cking mindblowing that I found out that was how you make money out of art. I was so excited, I spent a lot more time than was worth on the commission, and this was the result:
Now granted, I abused the heck out of the stock tools that Photoshop used, but in the end, I had made something I could say "Yeah, I'd buy that for 10 bucks." After that, a few more scanned in sketches, plus the deviantART T-Shirt Contest later, and suddenly, bam! A package came in for me in the mail. it was large, flat, and I didn't know what the hell was inside. I opened the box and- OMG a Wacom Bamboo Tablet. My sis had gotten me one as an early birthday present (Although I think I remember that I hinted on wanting one earlier in the year, nevertheless, was extremely surprised). It was awkward at first but after ten minutes, BAM, I was off doing digital art, now! And for my very first Fully Digital Art piece, I decided to redo a gift art I had done for one of the fanfiction authors I had followed, and at the time, working with a digital tablet felt so natural, it was delicious! After about an hour or so I had finished the piece at last:
(Still did text in photoshop, though)
It didn't stop there, Oh HELL NAW! I was churning out the digital art every couple of days! Fan Art! Commissions, you name it! Summer was ending, School was starting again, but f*ck that! I wanted to art! August of 2012 was the most productive point in my time as a digital artist. Even in September I was going strong. It wasn't until October that I was plagued by what eventually hits all artists, self-loathing and artist envy. It was then that I would find out about an artist who would be not only an art idol, but a rival, and a friend. His name was thanshuhai
and I had found out about him at the beginning of October, and by that time, he had an April head start, and by October, HE was doing work like this:
Which was not only one of his best early works, but also managed to get First Place Prize in Anthrochallenge. You can guess what happened next. So being the early art noob I was, I did what felt natural, attempt to find out his secrets and mimic him. Which gave rise to my lineless artwork, The first of which was this:
Sadly, I wasn't too skilled at backgrounds so I tried to put my focus on the characters themselves. It was EXTREMELY foreign to paint without lineart guiding me and I was actually pretty scared to finish. Nevertheless, I finished, and even though the shading looks a little flat, and the colors a bit oversaturated, it was a giant leap for my artwork. Though I still couldn't shake the fact that I was imitating rather than innovating. Fast forward to December, when EQD started hosting this thing called "Livestream Saturday" where people could stream themselves drawing, painting, composing, whatever. So I decided to attend, set up Livestream Procaster, prayed that my PC didn't crash halfway through and made the first piece ever to be featured on a news based website:
Ah yes, 'Last Cello Suite' was the first piece where I had actually thought to myself, 'I think I have something here!' I had found my "art niche", something I could call "sprung from my own inspiration". It was sadness. Even though things were going particularly well for me schoolwise (besides the schoolwork of Junior Year kicking my ass) I decided to delve into the realms of emotion and draw out the most heartfelt ones, Nostalgia and Sadness. From there I painted things that conveyed those two things: 'Solemn Lights' after the Conneticut shooting, 'Stratosphere' on a Saturday of a week where it did nothing but rain, 'Winter Alone' When I remembered that that Christmas and New Years I had felt more lonely than I had ever before.
After January, I realized that I couldn't keep painting sad things, so for a while I focused on drawing stuff for others, commissions, and gift arts mainly. Things started to slow down, I did art less and less frequently due to piling schoolwork, and some days I couldn't bear to pick up a tablet pen. I started to lose a lot of motivation for doing art. I was at my lowest by April of 2013, when I thought to myself, "What happend to the me that used to crank out art by the f*cking bi-daily schedule?" This was actually during the time where there was a bit of a schism on the fanfiction side of things, the group whom I used to collaborate with were getting more and more uptight instead of enjoying what they wrote, and more and more I found myself getting less and less support from those who used to support all the art I did. It got to the point where I was like "What's the point... why draw... My inspiration's gone to sh*t, and no one give's a f*ck anymore.
That was... until I was roaming around livestream.com and happened upon Thanshuhai's livestream (which was a godsend cause at the time he rarely ever announced his livestreams. It was like finding a unicorn XD.) and I got to talking with him and jamesfoxbr
and all the other people in the stream and it was so much FUN! We became friends almost instantly, started playing Co-op games like L4D2 and stuff. One day, I showed Thanshuhai my art (who was leagues ahead of me by this point) and he liked it. To think that an artist who was that good compliment my art was the kick I needed to continue my art. Since then I did more and more gift art, then suddenly, In the middle of July, I had the drive to start on an art piece that I said to myself, "You know what? F*ck whatever I had f*cking planned for the next 2 weeks, I'm doing this!" And thus, A piece that took 27 hours over the span of two weeks was born, one that ended up evolving my art to a level where I didn't feel bad or not posting art every week now, as long as what I did offline was something I learned from and made my art better and better. That's right, this piece: 'Akirakami'
This was the landmark, milestone, checkpoint, whatever you wanna call it piece that marked the point where I knew that I had come far enough that to quit on art would be a crime. The piece that told me "You got this far, you bastard, now go further."
One Year, 4 FanFictions, 97 deviations, and I'm still not f*cking done.
Now given how much of a history of procrastination I have, this is saying something. If I can go from sh*tty scans to something people say is as good as Advent Children CGI in a year, who's to say you can't do the same?
If you say you're sh*t at art, that's no excuse, everyone is sh*t at some point. If you can find people who will support you, and find a point where you just love making good art, then F*CK the police, you can do it! No Art degree required!