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The DeviantArt Community Turns 14

Thu Aug 7, 2014, 12:01 AM
 
 
 
The DeviantArt Community Turns 14
 

When you're young, your teenage years can't come soon enough. Thirteen was fun, but with a whole year as a teenager under your belt, you start to get perspective on what it means to grow up. You're not there yet, but the path ahead is clear and inspiring.

At 14, you start taking on responsibilities and testing out maturity, while continuing to reach for the stars and fostering the creativity that's such an integral part of your life.

DeviantArt's 14th birthday marks the ushering in of this new chapter. For the past year, we've gained perspective on where our journey should lead us next, and we couldn't be more thrilled to share it with you and have you with us every step of the way.

 
We are where art starts
 

We are where art starts, but that is only the beginning. We are a community for the creative in everyone to develop and heighten their personal sense of taste, but that's not where it ends. We are the movement for the liberation of creative expression.

We believe that art is for everyone, and we're creating the cultural context for how it is created, discovered and shared.

Artists love us because we are an inclusive and supportive community. We help them find their identity through self-expression. We provide the tools, resources and exposure to enable them to become better, more successful artists. We inspire people to create art by feeding their creativity.

 
The Global Undercurrent of Creativity
 

We provide endless entertainment and inspiration. This is where you see it first. This is where whatever you're into, no matter how niche, is embraced and expressed by a dedicated community of likeminded creatives. This is where the global undercurrent of creativity feeds the future of popular culture.

 

There's no other place like DeviantArt. We are an unapologetically addictive experience. Our world is a prolific orgy of originality where creatives enjoy freedom of artistic expression. We are the deviation of creativity that shatters the confines of expectation. We can't help it — it runs through our veins and compels us to nurture it in others. This is DeviantArt.

 
Bleed and Breed ArtAngelo Sotira (Spyed) DeviantArt CEO and Co-Founder
 
Questions for the Reader

And now we turn to you for the next step in our journey. Where should we head next? What would you like to see the DeviantArt community accomplish in the future?



As I noted in my last journal, there are some big -- and exciting!! -- changes on the way for deviantART. Er, DeviantArt.  :P (Lick)

The team here at DeviantArt continues to listen to your feedback plus we met with a crew of super-deviants in NYC last month (check out a pic below :-) (Smile) and got a full, insightful download.  Then, we thought long and hard on how to pave a kindred and inspiring direction.  As always, you are the center of it all -- and how to connect you with your community.  

Ok, getting into it, I want to share a sneak peek on work-in-progress (as in not final!) designs for the new Today page and to hear what everybody thinks.


Fella Version                            Llama Version

Hp10 by Leelor     Today-page Dark by marioluevanos   

Our intent with the new Today page is to better connect you with other deviants in a much better looking page (yes, a design refresh was overdue!).  

What do you think?  We’re listening!
  • What excites you about the Today page’s redesign?  
  • What would you change?
  • What kind of content would you like to see represented?

-- A  Spyed (deviantART CEO)


Screen Shot 2014-07-10 at 4.40.36 PM by danlev
Deviants in New York City give feedback on the new Today Page design.
We're going to be DeviantArt, officially. But you can always call us deviantART. You'll get to be retro, and that's always... well, retro! This goes for DA and dA, too.

It was nice to see Moonbeam13 and starvingartist today in Toronto. We got some lunch. Then 'Beam was nice enough to drive me to the airport with Rob. :wave: Rob! Happy Birthday Moonbeam! :party: 

I'm in the sky eating a banana at the moment. I wonder what monkeys would make of me eating a banana at 30,000 feet. Let alone journaling on DA from here.

I was in Toronto visiting Autodesk, and the teams behind Sketchbook and Pixlr and other awesome apps they have. What wonderful people. I really enjoyed seeing what they're up to, it's all very exciting.

I've been hanging out on #devart on dAmn today, and I asked Pickley to pull together all the best scripts and projects out there that improve dAmn. This way DA can consider buying the code, interfaces, etc. and see if we can implement the changes so that everyone gets the improvements. Poor dAmn, doesn't get enough attention from our team. And it pretty much won't for a while, DA is focused on DA itself. So Reaper-X and I were talking about how to bring some fresh blood on to the dAmn network and so I have an idea for him in about a month leveraging some new features that will launch. (Remind me dude, I get busy like crazy! If I go dark on you, hit up LaurenKitsune to nudge me, K?)

Things got twisted for a minute around here. That's about the best way I can say it. It's going on a year now that we're back on track, and you guys are about to get a load of changes to reflect that. All summer, all winter. Changes, improvements, and more changes. Welcomed changes. Happy changes. At least on the whole. You know how it is, people will freak out at stuff. But we're doing quite a bit of user testing, and the feedback from fellow community members and random people alike is suggesting we're hitting this on the head. Heidi and danlev led such a session with Ian in NYC a couple days ago. Can't wait to hear this batch of feedback when I get to HQ tomorrow.

I've been sharing some of our plans (and will continue to) with our many long time friends to be sure we're getting a thumbs up from them. So far the briefings have been focused. But as we get to alpha/beta levels (soon) where there's even more transparency for what will happen I'm gathering feedback from everyone who will talk to us. 

Anyway folks, I don't want to bore you. Happy to chat in the thread below a bit. I read everything, I can't always reply.

Oh yeah, we're launching iOS and Android sometime in September, we think. Loads of marketing activity will obviously follow with all the details, but I just wanted to set that as the approximate time frame in case you were wondering.

You weren't wondering about mobile, were you? hehe

-- A  
Have you guys seen Whisper or Secret? Reminds me of DeviantArtSecret but in App form. 

I wrote this article for Recode.net. Check it out and let me know what you think!

recode.net/2014/03/21/never-fo…

-- A
I had so much fun with this activity, we need to do it more often!

All right, first, let's take a look at ALL the entries!

The first group was uploaded onto the original poll itself, which was a nice mix of the eventual winners:


Sexy Fish Person & Llama Cat: 


Sexy Human Fish by SrGrafo       Llamacat by damphyr



And not a finalist, but sometimes you just have to include a Fish Hamster:

Fishhamster by endosage


Now that the game was on and the two inspirational prompts were chosen, the comments and mentions came pouring in! Check them out!

Sexy Fish Person by Nyiana-sama Llama kitten by BananaBu Untitled Drawing by Aiko-Hirochosexy fish by psycoticpaintbrush Untitled Drawing by Tainted-IceUntitled Drawing by SusuSmiles Untitled Drawing by Kite04 Eve's Llama Kitten For Spied :P by TheGalleryOfEve Untitled Drawing by hulliaUntitled Drawing by Red-FoxieScreen Shot 2014-02-24 at 2.40.38 PM by spyedUntitled Drawing by zaphoralillyLLAMA KITTEN by Raksha18Untitled by renonevada Untitled Drawing by Melkboy Llama-kitten by PixlPhantasy Sexyfish by sometimesidrawshitLlamakitten by G4M3KittyLlama Kitten by Z4N9Sexy Fish People by spyedLouise by Steamland




Which ones do you guys like the most???

Tip: You can use the "Conversation" tab inside the "Add Media" option when you leave comments to access the pieces in this journal for easy reference. 

Discuss below, and... always feel free to draw and add more to the conversation!

-- A
UPDATE: Let's keep drawing through the weekend! Monday morning at 11:00 am PST I'll start checking out all the amazing works you've been contributing and highlight the very best! EVERYTHING IS AWESOME!

---

And the votes are in!  We're drawing LLAMA KITTEN, or alternatively, SEXY FISH PEOPLE! 

WHA? We were hanging out in #devart on dAmn lobbing out ideas for what to draw. 


Screen Shot 2014-02-21 at 1.36.56 PM by spyed

And the results are in!


Use deviantART Muro, Autodesk Sketchbook or any other drawing tool to illustrate: 

LLAMA KITTEN


or 

SEXY FISH PEOPLE


... whichever prompt you like better.... And simply post your drawing to this thread below using the "Add Media" button on the comment box!

Screen Shot 2014-02-21 at 1.41.06 PM by spyed


LET'S HAVE SOME FUN PEOPLE!

-- :spyed: 




Communities of all kinds are held up by pillars made of heart. Typically embodied by people who let the weight of their community rest on their shoulders, willing to let life be life. Sometimes it hurts, and sometimes it's comfortable. Regardless, the result is a halo that surrounds all participants in a community. The healing light of being mothered, fathered or cared for.

These are very special people who take this role in your community. Maybe this person is you. In which case, please be you today, and every day. Because you are very important.

For the rest of us, we all know who the pillars are that hold up the communities that we care about. We all know the value of what they do, especially when we stop to think about it.

There is nothing in life that I have ever found a deeper admiration for than people who take on this role. Pillars of Community. When a human being digs their heels in, claims territory and begins to show Love towards a group of people, they begin to embody the beauty of humanity in its greatest light. Passionate leadership, selflessness. Care for their fellow man. Admiration and dedication to a cause.

It doesn't happen every day. 

And it is a personal sacrifice for the greater good. People in such communities find success, and many rewards. Pillars of Community create an atmosphere where success is possible, growth is possible, life is possible. After all we are all mere humans, and we need to be Loved in all aspects of our development. When we go off the rails or as life derails us, sometimes we need that pillar to guide as back to the light.

Pillars of Community are very important people, who cannot be thanked enough.




Three things:


ONE. 

I wrote about Clydene Nee here on my journal in July of 2013. As a quick recap, she's the amazing woman who happens to be the Community Pillar for Artists' Alley at San Diego Comic-Con since 1989. She's a hero to this community, loved by all who she has touched. And that's a long, long list of people. I ask that you visit Clydene's GoFundMe page. On behalf of deviantART, a donation has already been made. So you don't have to donate, only if you want to. More importantly, I just want you to read about this woman, and what she is going through, plus who is stepping up to the plate to help. As a member of both the deviantART community, and the SDCC Artists' Alley community, I'm so worried about Clydene. And I'm so moved by the support she is seeing. It's beautiful. It's inspiring. It's so deserved. I wanted to share it. The page was set up by our very own diablo2003 (Mark Brooks) on her behalf. Contributions have come from over 240 people, including Jim Lee (jimlee00) from DC Comics, Erik Ko (ErikKo) and others. I don't think she would have set a page up like this for herself. I'm so proud of you, diablo2003, for stepping up to the plate. It's really awesome of you.


TWO.

In honor of wonderful people like Clydene, people who are Pillars of Community ... please share with us (in the comments) who at deviantART is a pillar of community for you. Or, simply share whatever comes to mind about the pillars that hold up the community you love! These people are critical in life, it's always important to stop and thank them. Acknowledge them. Encourage them. They have often times deviated from their lives, to give to something that matters. 


THREE

If you don't feel like talking about it here, then I simply encourage you to reach out to that pillar today and say THANK YOU, YOU MEAN A LOT TO ME! They need to hear it! 


True deviants. True deviousness.

:heart: 

-- :spyed:  







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The rampage of 2014 begins. We're all back at hq, refreshed, ready, and with a steady hand we're going to start the surgery.

deviantART hit an all time high traffic record on the 2nd of the year to kick us off. You guys are incredible. Patient. Loving. Precisely what we wish for deviantART to be. Always. 

We owe you a lot of work that you can hold in the palm of your hand. A lot of adjustments that make you more comfortable in your devious seats. A lot of celebration, like techgnotic's You're Not Alone article suggests as we bring in the New Year.

It's going to be one heck of a ride in 2014, so strap in!


Meanwhile, I wanted to thank you all for your contributions to my 31st Birthday a few years back. Each of us got confirmation over the holidays that we are now serving 500 people with fresh water in the Democratic Republic of the Congo from two different sites. I didn't end up having much control over the names of the sites, else I would have named them in honor of deviantART. Regardless, it's the results that truly matter. I think highly of the folks at charity: water and encourage each of you to donate your birthdays in 2014! It feels unbelievable to know that we have made a difference in the world!

Check out the photos! 


Site 1: KAHANGA I - KASHOLO (link)


Kahanga I - Kasholo  1 by spyed

Kahanga I - Kasholo  2 by spyed




Site 2: POPOKABAKA - BF POPOKABAKA WP 6 SCHOOL (link) 



Popokabaka - BF Popokabaka WP 6 School 2 by spyedPopokabaka - BF Popokabaka WP 6 School 1 by spyed

Popokabaka - BF Popokabaka WP 6 School 4 by spyed

















 
Working on products again. I missed this. Deeply.

In the experience of deviantART, we find ourselves hitting "X" buttons a lot, don't we? Every day our +watch lists produce a whole bunch of activity from the people we are interested in. Deviations, Journals, Polls, etc. and we either click "X" to make them disappear right away, or we reply... and then we hit "X" to make them disappear once we're done. 

Except for the hoarders. They like to keep stuff. Some of the hoarders keep all the messages. Some keep only the messages they want to remember later. Chances are, they don't really go back to look at the stuff they're hoarding. Who's got that kind of time? Besides, there are always new messages to tend to! 

I tend to like the legitimacy of it all. When you +watch someone, you definitely have a chance to see their updates and their new art work. It doesn't somehow scroll away or disappear. You'd have to "X" it away for that to happen.

We do this for:

:bulletyellow:  Deviations published by deviants
:bulletyellow: Critiques written by deviants about deviations
:bulletyellow: Journals published by deviants
:bulletyellow: New forum threads by deviants you +watch
:bulletyellow: Polls by deviants you +watch
:bulletyellow: Activity

And it has been requested that this be offered for: 

:bulletyellow: Comments
:bulletyellow: Faves

... by all the people we +watch!


Well I have to say, that's a lot of hitting "X"  --  Some of it very valuable. Some of it totally unnecessary. 


I'm going to go out on a limb and say that only two of these things really need explicit tracking. The rest can be fed to me in the experience of deviantART without requiring me to "X" them or "Mark them as Read" --

:bulletgreen: Deviations
:bulletgreen: Journals


I will try to reply to all. But I also want to thank you in advance. This type of feedback is incredibly valuable to us. 

Cheers! :beer:
:spyed: 


Help in the Comments!

1. What do you think of all this "X" work you're doing?

2. Do you want more than just Deviations & Journals (from your +watch) to require "X" interactions? Why?

3. Anything else you want me to know about your Message Center usage?






-- Angelo

:spyed: 
  • Mood: Joy

I'm excited to let you know that Autodesk, Inc. has made an investment in deviantART and that one of Autodesk's top executives, Samir Hanna, Vice President of the Autodesk Consumer Group, will become an observer on the deviantART Board of Directors.

Autodesk has over 30 years of history in helping designers create amazing things. You may know Autodesk for apps like SketchBook and Pixlr for drawing, illustration, and image editing, or for software like 3ds Max and Maya, which are used by the top film and game studios around the world to create fantastically realistic 3D characters, environments, and effects.  Amazing fact: the last 17 Academy Award winners for Best Visual Effects use Autodesk software. Autodesk is also known for engineering software like AutoCAD, Inventor, and Revit, which has been used to design some of the world’s tallest buildings, longest bridges, and most incredible machines.

With the investment we plan to improve deviantART at a faster pace than we could have just under our own steam.  More deviantART delivered deviously -- that's the plan. I can assure you, there will be no change in control over the community or company as a result of this deal but the rest of the terms are staying confidential for now.

Our consistent growth as a community and in raw numbers visiting the site proves how vital dA has become to so many involved in the arts and in the popular culture reflected and created by deviants. It takes more than just extra servers to keep up with this growth. We so deeply appreciate all the support from the community, from staff and from volunteers.  It’s hard work but with a huge result -- for me and for many others the best place to be on the Internet.

-- Angelo

:spyed: 

p.s. Go say hi to autodesk-sketchbook !!!  

As you get older, you may begin to see birthdays as a distinctive point in time. A time for reflection on past successes, past roadblocks, past lessons. I also see it as an opportunity to look forward, set goals, aim ridiculously high. I'm sure everyone's heard people joke about disliking getting older and lamenting another year passing, but not me. Not yet, at least. The wisdom and hard lessons I've had to learn over the years helps me map out my immediate future. I may stumble, sure, but I also have a lifetime of overcoming obstacles and analyzing achievements to guide my decisions. All I can do is keep learning and growing. 

I feel much the same way about deviantART. 

I don't need to tell you that a web property sticking around for 13 years is a rare thing, and it's not an accomplishment we take lightly. We owe our continued existence to all of you, and the passion and inspiration that emanate so naturally from the community, from the most successful professional to the most eager student, cultivates a bond that my team has been honored to be a part of every day for the past 13 years.

We may have provided the framework for this community of artists, but in embracing our products and supporting our efforts, you've truly made it a home. And so, on our 13th Birthday -- August 7th, 2013 -- I couldn't be more thankful for every one of you and the community you've helped build. For us, 13 is an extremely lucky number, and we're simply humbled at the prospect of providing more frameworks for you to cultivate for years to come. 

The big joke around the office, of course, is that on our 13th birthday, deviantART is finally the age we require our youngest members to be, and I think that's a poignant statement to our coming of age. We're still fresh-eyed and optimistic, but we have had a lifetime of trials we've overcome, endeavors we've grown from, and a past to reflect on, but we're ready to take on the world as a young-adult company.

But we still need your help! We look to our deviants for guidance, and we look forward to growing with you and for you. When I think of what lies ahead, I get shivers at the possibilities. If the past 13 years have taught us anything, the most giving community on Earth is this home for artists in a small corner of the Internet, and I couldn't be more proud to be taking this journey with all of you.

Earlier this week, bradleysays sent me a note reminding me of this Journal titled "deviantART in 10 Years", that I wrote back in 2003, musing on where deviantART would be in 10 years, and it couldn't have come at a better time. (Thanks, Bradley!)  Here is a clip from it: 

I think deviantART will be looked upon as a revolution unto itself. Having been able to scale not only it's infrastructure but it's community and spawned sub-communities (within the garden of deviantART) to include the various arts of hundreds of millions of artists worldwide.
And as the ultimate compliment, it will be taken completely for granted. A service fully integrated into daily life, on every pleasing screen you see.
The ultimate entity through which artists deliver their message to all man kind. 
We live in remarkable times that demand change, and permit unfathomable growth. Growth that has only practical boundaries defined by the actual size of possibility. And we intend to be a catalyst.

That message was our hope back when the Internet was a very different landscape. In 2003 when this was written, there was no Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, MySpace or even Friendster. The only other network we recall was LiveJournal. And with the passing of time, the scaling of our numbers, and the welcoming of record-breaking numbers of talented artists with every passing day, (now 28 million registered deviants!) I'd say we should all be very proud of all we have achieved together. 

So goals for the next 10 years? I'd like to pose that question to the community, but first I'll give it another try.

:bulletgreen: :bulletgreen: :bulletgreen: 

I think artists en masse will be making their livelihoods on deviantART directly, or as a result of it. More schools and professional companies than ever will learn the importance of our deviantART Profiles, Search Results and features that permit access to artists of every kind. When we began in 2000, I said many times in my journal that I felt that artists were stranded on all corners of the globe, lacking a well-lit path to follow to earn their living in the arts. We all felt this, because it was true.

In 10 years time people all over the world, of all ages will have easy access to every tool, every artistic lesson, every imaginable support group to provide a well-lit path from a humble beginning, to international stardom in the Arts.

These are bold, revolutionary words to me witnessing the Arts at the forefront with all of you. But I believe we all know in our hearts that this is how quickly society is changing, and that this is possible. And because it is possible, and because we all want this; it will be true.

:bulletgreen: :bulletgreen: :bulletgreen: 

So, if I haven't said it enough, thank you for sharing this special day with us, and thank you for making deviantART possible. Be sure to swing by our hq for some devious festivities, art contests, and we even have some presents for you to help ring in our 13th year. We're feeling pretty lucky. 

And by the way, if you were born on the same day deviantART was, August 7, 2000, then welcome to your first day on the site ;)
I'm in Love

pepper-1 by spyed

It isn't just the incredible honor of having a Traditional Pepper drawing by Stanley " Artgerm " Lau, which in itself keeps me and everyone around me gazing in to her incredibly beautiful eyes.. 

pepper-2 by spyed

... No, that's not the only reason. Owning a Pepper is a real treasure. This International Woman of Mystery has captured the hearts of some of today's most highly regarded digital artists. Her creator, Artgerm is easily the most popular artist on the Internet. His Gallery is filled with blockbuster art pieces. He achieves position #1 on the home page of deviantART with almost every submission to the site:

Chunli Style by Artgerm Wonder Woman Return by Artgerm Pepper Smile by Artgerm
Three Kingdoms - Xiao Qiao by Artgerm    Pepper Robot II by Artgerm    Poison Ivy Sideshow Art by Artgerm
Pepper Freedom by Artgerm Batgirl 12 by Artgerm Pepper Delivery by Artgerm Windrunner - DotA2 by Artgerm


Not to mention, I have access to some pre-release tech here at deviantART that allows me to see the demographic responses to art pieces. I've looked closely at Artgerm's Gallery, and it achieves something we see rarely; His audience is as Female as it is Male. Almost a 50%/50% split on pieces that involve Pepper. Your typical Pin-Ups and Comic Book Covers tend to skew remarkably Male. This doubles the size of Artgerm's audience potential, generating grand slam after grand slam chart topping digital art masterpieces. So why do women love Pepper so much?

Pepper Groove by Artgerm
Pepper Freedom by Artgerm


... Some might say it's because Pepper isn't just the most beautiful woman in the world, she's also a strong, confident figure to be admired. Artists all around the world have come together to try their hand at drawing her for The Pepper Project

Simply-Pepper by PepperProjectPepper Retro Junky by PepperProject
pepper by falk2021Pepper Tech by PepperProject
Combination Pepper by PepperProject
Pepper-station by PepperProjectPepper and seafruits by PepperProject


So perhaps my love is justified? Yes, but I'm not even done yet. This piece in particular has special meaning. First of all, this year at Comic-Con we had the great pleasure of Artgerm coming to Artists' Alley to see his fans and accept Traditional Commissions for the first time. That's right, check his Profile, he's accepting traditional commissions for the first time!! Artgerm joined us on our Business of Fan Art panel: 

Untitled Drawing by spyed
-1 by spyed

Meanwhile, my beautiful girlfriend Viktoria came to Comic-Con with her friend Diana to show off some leg (hehe), and cosplay as Sonic the Hedgehog and Amy Rose! 

Comic Con 2013 62 By Makepictures D6egnbe By L by spyed

She spent weeks on her costume, so as a fun side note I brought this Sonic head back in the car with me, and I happened to drive Artgerm back to Los Angeles so he could catch his plane to Singapore. He saw the Sonic head in the back seat... 

yo by spyed


And so we have Sonic Pepper:

pepper by spyed

She's not only the first ever Traditional Commission of Pepper by Artgerm, she's also the perfect encapsulation of the best Comic-Con year that deviantART and I have ever had!  The deviantART tattoo on her left arm is the ultimate finishing touch. The cherry on top. I'm truly humbled..


Dear Artgerm 

Thank you. This was an incredibly kind thing to find at hq this past Monday. It was fantastic to see you and I look forward to the next time we get to hang out. Also, thanks for geeking with me about dA, and answering a million questions that I pummeled you with the whole drive back to LA. hehe

Your work is so inspiring. I've been staring every day at this Pepper and her absolute radiance as she pops off the paper, seemingly alive. Her eyes are focused on the viewer of the piece, you have to walk far to the left or right to lose her gaze. Guests to my home all stop to take notice and ask about her.

Why? I think I know.

Her lines represent a perfect gateway into popular culture at a global scale, capturing the essence of the most popular style of artwork in current times. To me, Pepper is the face of now, and the face of the future.

Sincerely,
-- :spyed: 
If you participated in Artists' Alley this year on the floor of San Diego Comic-Con, in the far left corner of the Con by Hall G, then this is a journal especially for you. It's also a journey for readers, or members of deviantART who want to get a glimpse into something incredible deviantART's community does each year.

The event this year was brilliant. We are so incredibly proud of every exhibiting artist in the alley. And today, we're just as war-torn and beaten up from all the action as you are. This is my first productive cycle on our first day off in a few weeks. I probably should be doing what I imagine our other teammates are doing, relaxing! Instead, my heart is pounding, my mind is racing, my jaw clenching at times. Some things just need to be said and I can't rest until they are.

We're also proud of the patrons who visited Artists' Alley and either spoke with artists about their projects, commissioned or purchased illustrations, comic-books, etc. and supported the ~200 artists who came from afar to further their careers, perhaps shake a hand that could provide their next big opportunity. As a patron you are literally watching artists struggle and fight to realize their dreams. 

It's beautiful! It's humbling. This is the story of why this year was even more meaningful than others.



San Diego Comic-Con is a cultural pillar that has a deep responsibility to protect its most important asset: The Heart and Soul of Artists' Alley.  


Long before deviantART, San Diego Comic-Con and specifically Artists' Alley were home to the Frank Miller's and Kevin Eastman's of the world. This is where they'd go to take their ideas and their characters and give audiences a shot to try out a brand new story, meet a new set of characters and potentially get their first fans. From this they might get enough attention inside the industry to get a deal. This was one of the only ways to pursue the dream. The significance of Artists' Alley is a book to be written in the pages of history. Many of the stories we love owe their success to the Alley in a big way. It is where quite a bit of the magic behind THE CON comes from.

It's our 3rd year sponsoring Artists' Alley, and by sponsoring I mean providing carpeting, cushioned seats to protect artists backs, awesome jumbotron screens to draw in people that the Alley has never had before, and a deviantART Lounge where passers by can draw on Wacom Cintiq's using Autodesk's Sketchbook and deviantART Muro while others watch. It is all situated on the sacred ground of Artists' Alley; the Heart and Soul of Comic-Con.

If it were up to us, Artists' Alley would be in the center of the Con surrounded by Small Press, Mid-Sized Publishers like IDW, Dark Horse, Image, etc. and the big media companies on the outer perimeter. The big companies would be the first thing you'd see as you walked into Comic-Con, giving them the great exposure they deserve and pay for. As you continue to walk the Con, every fan, even on their very first visit, could deduce where the heart is and where the respect should be paid. 


This is My Garden and These Are My Flowers. And I Nurture Every Single One of Them.


For nearly three decades a woman by the name of Clydene Nee has been deeply involved in Artists' Alley. As lead volunteer for many of those years, she's responsible for the artists: who sits where, what is and isn't allowed, who gets in, who doesn't... She leads volunteers that enforce the rules, keep the aisles clean, and people moving. Set up, take down. The meat and potatoes. The grind. The work. The gears behind the Alley that keep it running smoothly. 


Artists' Alley at SDCC in 2010 was a ghost town. As I do at all Cons, I went to speak to the artists one by one. Hi. I'm Angelo Sotira. I run deviantART. I just wanted to say hello. How is the Con treating you? How is deviantART treating you? My standard fare. I love these conversations, they usually go quite well. 

Just not in San Diego in 2010. These people were angry. And it didn't take many of these interviews to understand why.

"The carpet ends right before the alley, so people don't come here." - Anonymous
"We're like some kind of ugly step child." - Anonymous 
"I can't afford this! It costs money to come here, they're raising rates every few years while providing us with less! I can't justify this for next year, no one comes by our booth so what's the point?" - Anonymous
 "These chairs are breaking our backs. It's 5 days for the Con. I'm 57 years old, I can't sit in a chair like this for 5 days. I go home early, and I'm in pain for a month after I leave." - Anonymous  (This person in particular was IRATE. Yelling. Red in the face.)


Four years ago, Clydene Nee and I were introduced by our mutual friend, DeevElliott, on the floor of the Alley. Like today, my jaw was clenching. Clydene was stern. She was expecting me. I started with my youthful arrogance.

"What is going on here? These artists are angry. I can't tell you how upset I am. This is ridiculous. Why isn't there carpeting? Why don't these artists have decent chairs?" -  
She didn't hear a word. Her stare completely shut me down. I didn't know what to make of her. After a long pause and a deadpan stare, we started to walk. She raised her arms to the side, palms up..
"This is my Garden, and these are my flowers. And I nurture every single one of them. Do you understand?"
What are you supposed to say to THAT? I looked at DeevElliott for comfort, he gave me the raised brow look. It wasn't comforting. It was clear that I was alone now, all Dave could do was bring me to her. He had no intention of stepping on any boundary beyond that.

Needless to say I didn't get a word in edgewise for the next 30 minutes. What became entirely apparent, however, was the strength and commitment of this woman to Artists' Alley. As we walked, I noticed a deep humbled respect given to Clydene by each artist booth we passed. And for the first time in the Alley, just by walking the floor with her, I saw artists extend a sliver of that respect to the guest she was walking with, as well. It was humbling.

A chill came over me as I started to realize the significance of this woman. I connected for the first time to the roots of a community on the floor of Artists' Alley, the depths of which I hadn't scratched. Curiosity. Respect. Intrigue. God, if there's one thing that I love in this world it's the value that a strong community can create for people. 


Comic-Con 2013 - Artists' Alley


It is our third year now sponsoring Artists' Alley. Yes, the deviantART community itself is ultimately responsible for these contributions. The difference is night and day. Just read the comments to this Journal from any participating artist this year. The traffic to the alley is off the charts, the chairs for three years now are comfortable. The black carpeting lines the Alley from wall to wall. Brilliant jumbo-tron screens rotating the artwork and names of the artists in the alley high above. The jumbo-trons are strategically positioned in the aisles so that all the way on the other side of the con, you can see them. This draws people in! And with the greatest pride, the deviantART logo flies high above the deviantART Lounge inside the Alley, inviting artists to come learn and participate.


We're proud to say, this is what Artists' Alley looks like now (in 2012, still getting shots for 2013 which are even better!): 

Comic-Con-ABCs-V by spyed

A pretty bad shot from the entrance to Hall G, but you can see the droves of people: 

SDCC-floor-Alex-Wilson by spyed

The artists point of view, their tables swarming with fans: 

ArtistAlley by spyed


Packed. Absolutely packed! Exactly what deviantART is about; Entertaining, Inspiring and Empowering the Artist in All of us. In this case, we brought the jumbotrons and the carpeting and the seats... the environment in which artists could be empowered, attracting people, creating traffic and therefore allowing artists to thrive. It's basic stuff, but it just wasn't there.

A garden was nourished that had nearly died.



We Love Artists Alley!!!!!


We'd like to thank Comic-Con International for all of the progress we've been able to make together. The Con is swamped each year, and we can understand that help is needed if we're to make things better for the Alley and for Artists. We're thrilled to continue helping to make Artists' Alley the best it can be.


Meanwhile, as Clydene and I embraced in the Alley this year, tears streamed down our faces. There is much that still needs to be done... and we do need your support. So if you were in the Alley, I'm looking for you in our comments area here on this Journal. What was your experience? Share your stories.  

Clydene we want you to know: The deviantART community is here to help water and nurture your flowers. With all of our hearts, we love you and Artists' Alley. You are legend to us. And we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for standing strong, and brave, as you are.


Angelo and Clydene by makepictures

A photo from 2011 with me and Clydene Nee. A backpack presented to me by her, signed by all the artists in Artists Alley.

(It's now framed in a glass case at deviantART HQ.)


What was it like?


I'm thrilled to announce that later this year we're going to dig deep in to the roots of SDCC Artists' Alley so we can share the wealth of history in its past. +Watch depthRADIUS for updates on this! 

Check out our updates right from the Con! 



Please Share Your Comments!


All comments are welcome, but also this is a special invitation for all artists participating in Artists' Alley each year. I encourage you to share your experiences here on this Journal in the comments area. Share your stories of the past, tell your tales of the present, as we all look forward to Comic-Con 2014! 
Update: I met George R.R. Martin at San Diego Comic-Con! - I got to share this Journal with him, and he confirmed how much he loves MarcSimonetti and the art works he makes, not just the throne but generally. I agree. -- Awesome! And Congrats Marc!! (I can't find the photo of he and I, I'll post it soon!)

Update 2: Turns out, MediaBistro had actually beaten me to the punch on this scoop. Legit!


I'm about to share with you some Game of Thrones awesomeness we discovered thanks to my friend Anand Kishore, but ... first: If you were gracious and responded with the kind of passion many of you did to my deviantART v999 Journal -- Then you should know that to be just as gracious, I've asked danlev and his team to review every response, dive deep to understand exactly what everyone means, and then respond officially to your suggestions. So, thank you! And know that we're taking your feedback very seriously.

Game of Thrones Awesomeness: 

As it turns out, Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin has a blog titled Not a Blog over at LiveJournal. About a week ago, he posted about the Iron Throne and how the HBO series (which he says he loves) doesn't quite portray the Iron Throne the way that he saw it in his head. Here's a snip from his blog: 

Untitled by spyed


The Iron Throne is DEVIOUS!!!!

It should come as no surprise at this point that deviants are behind the concept work for just about everything in entertainment. The depiction of what the true Iron Throne should look like is no different, with our very own MarcSimonetti (deviant since November 2006) as the artist behind George R. R. Martin's official reference for what the Iron Throne should look like. 

The Iron throne by MarcSimonetti
"This Iron Throne is massive. Ugly. Asymmetric. It's a throne made by a blacksmiths hammering together half-melted, broken, twisted swords, wrenched from the hands of dead men or yielded up by defeated foes.." - George R.R. Martin, Author, Game of Thrones

For the record, the wide majority of our team here at deviantART are gigantic fans of the show. Nommy smile mini

Game of Thrones Tyrion Lannister by imaginism Game Of Thrones - Daenerys Targaryen by DaniNaimare 
George R. R. Martin by lost-angel-less

 





Spyed La
 




We're working on deviantART v999. So far, it's a lot of prototypes, concepts and color explorations that are waiting for clarity on some technologies coming out of R&D. 

A lot of you probably wonder where the hell our mobile apps are. I do. Quick answer: They're trapped under a bigger project. It's worth the wait, but we're far overdue on release. The biggest problem has been the Message Center, whose architecture, look and feel, etc. simply doesn't port over to Mobile & Tablets. For these, we need to streamline the incredibly powerful experience of deviantART's message center, so that it can be consumed on smaller screens without having to click lots of buttons.

Activity Feeds are supposed to be the obvious solution. But at deviantART, people love their Message Centers specifically because they aren't feeds. Each item from your +watch list, or Feedback area comes in as an item. Each item must be removed from the Message Center by you. This is great because it allows us to be especially supportive of the artists we +watch. Even if we're gone a week, we don't miss a beat on replying to art posts, journals, or pieces that need critique, etc. 


Exploring Activity Feeds: 


Earlier this year we prototyped "Activity Feeds" based on the people you watch. We wanted to see how the data felt when experienced this way, especially when Comments were added in from the people you are following.

 (Disclaimer: little user interface work was done on this, just function)

Screen Shot 2013-06-25 at 5.56.17 PM by spyed


Screen Shot 2013-06-25 at 5.51.30 PM by spyed

Playing with my +watch list using this approach was really nice. The biggest benefit was the comments, I found myself in conversations I didn't know were happening previously. And deviantART felt incredibly inviting to me as a result of that. You will definitely see Comments from people you +watch accessible to you in deviantART v999. But we recognize that Activity Feeds aren't necessarily the right solution for us, and that preserving the best aspects of our current Message Center is a *must* for deviants around the world. 

We're going to begin by improving the look and feel of our current message center. And we'll likely release an activity feed in our first Mobile apps later this year.


Next Up:


Personalization, More Like This, and how they tie together to produce a beautiful deviantART especially for you.


Questions:


How do you like your message center?

What works the best?

What isn't working so well?

What would you like to see? 

:spyed: 






A collection of pieces featuring Nas, by members of deviantART: 

Nas by helenesse

Nas markers by thevilbrainKING NAS t-shirt by Cloxboy
NAS by forillynilly
Nas by Graffiti-Artist    Nas - Hero by Hella-Sick

nas by alexlartwork22
Nas Hero by Oni0n-HeaD
Nas by K1lluminati
Nas by Tecnificent
NAS Article by DiabeticMinority


NAS aka Nasir Jones by face-art
Nas: Hero by Illmatic94Nas - Queens Bridge by BwsHustla
Nas by Nostalgic2001

NAS by HH753
nas by geowarriors20
NAS by shureoner

Nas Wallpaper by onemicGfx
Nas by GabyS11NaS by MrHSingh
Nas Abstract by Graffiti-ArtistNas by djghosttrain
Nas by ideoteqa
NAS wallpaper by m4Rkogfx
Nas Wallpaper by K1lluminati
NAS Blowing Smoke by psicko
nas by Cobra-Kahn
nas-the thief's theme by eugiboogie
Nas napkin by JOSHic
Nas by Cyber-AL


Nas by RawGraff


nas by aniaania2001
Nas by tee00











I am very excited to announce a strategic partnership between deviantART and Madefire, the leading Motion Book application in Apple’s App Store.  (iPhone & iPad)


Together with Madefire, we are releasing the Madefire Web Reader on deviantART in a new category on our front-page called "Motion Books.” You will immediately find a dozen Madefire Motion Books there, with more books released each Wednesday.


Browse Motion BooksTM













deviantART & Madefire are undertaking an epic journey






In the coming months, you will see many more Madefire Motion Books on deviantART as deviants gain access to Madefire's Motion Book Tool. When Madefire integration on deviantART is fully complete, deviants will be able to make, read, sell, and buy books and comics, and transfer them to mobile devices -- all within the deviantART experience.




We have every imaginable comic and book format on deviantART and the most advanced community of comic book artists, writers and storytellers. One of the Madefire founders, LiamSharp, has been a deviant for six years and represents both an artist in need of this solution and one of the driving forces behind its creation.






Madefire's Motion Book Tool





Treatment - Tokyo: Episode 1 by MadefireStudios Captain Stone is Missing... - Episode 1: Chess by MadefireStudios Mono - The Old Curiosity Shop: Ep. 1 by MadefireStudios The Engine - Episode 1 by MadefireStudios The Irons - Hybrids: Episode 1 by MadefireStudios The Engine - Episode 4 by MadefireStudios





The Story So Far...




For years we have been searching for the right way for deviantART to enable deviants to tell their stories. We have such incredible stories here on deviantART, and few true story telling tools to aid our Literature community and our Graphical community to come together in unity and develop stories together. We've been asked with great passion by our members to bring such a capability to deviantART for a long time.







Many solutions we reviewed are backward focused on print strategy, where formats for publishing stories mirror the needs of paper printing. One of our challenges is that deviantART is a global, digital community that thirsts for great tools that enable digital story telling first. Digital-first means that a book is created for the purposes of being distributed digitally. Yet all digital-first tools didn't seem to take full advantage of new platforms.


We were immediately enamored with Madefire and its digital-first approach. It just looks so fantastic, exploding cells off the ‘page’ with the pop vibrancy that the comics style had always suggested, but never achieved until now.


Madefire's Motion Book Tool is Web-based, which inherently provides collaboration capability. DeviantART is obviously Web-based, and our new Sta.sh cloud storage solution already features Sta.sh Muro and Sta.sh Writer which will now be joined by Madefire's Motion Book Tool. Using Sta.sh, all of your files are easily accessible to you and (soon) your collaborators as you build Motion Books. You can easily use the deviantART Premium Content Platform to sell the books, and the stories you will create can be truly brilliant, limited only by your imagination!






Let Me ExplainHow It Will All Roll Out




  • The Motion Books category is live now on the front-page of deviantART.
  • The Madefire Web Reader is available now, with the Premium Content Platform integrated.
  • Various books available inside of the Madefire iPhone & iPad App are released on deviantART now, with more books each Wednesday.
  • The Madefire iOS apps including iPad and iPhone are available for download.
  • Very limited access is available for the Madefire's Motion Book Tool which is just not ready for full release to an audience as expansive as deviantART. We will allow more and more creators in as the creation software becomes ready for the big time!




  • In two (2) months time an initial larger group of members (hundreds) will be given access to the tool for testing. These members will be selected randomly.
  • Based on feedback we will roll out the tool to thousands and then millions of deviantART members.
  • To gain access to the Motion Book Tool, simply +watch the MotionBookTool group and hang tight! Work on your comics and books as you have been, we will be reaching out especially to deviants who are posting their stories on deviantART already!






Ultimately, Madefire software will be available to all members for FREE and will permit you to convert existing static comics or books into Motion Books or create fresh new books using the tools! All books can be formatted for Web (deviantART), iPad and iPhone with support for other devices coming in the future. Unfortunately, Android is not currently supported. We decided to do "Web" first!






Houses of the Holy - Episode 1 by MadefireStudios Mono - The Old Curiosity Shop: Ep. 2 by MadefireStudios Captain Stone is Missing... - Episode 2: Ada by MadefireStudios Treatment - Tokyo: Episode 2 by MadefireStudios The Engine - Episode 2 by MadefireStudios The Engine - Episode 3 by MadefireStudios




You will be able to make your Motion Books available for FREE or you will be able to use the Premium Content Platform to set a price and make money though the deviantART My Earnings interface.  With the same free software, you will be able to simply convert your static books to the Madefire Reader. And soon, following the roll out plan the full Madefire's Motion Book Tool will be available to members, again for free, through Sta.sh so you will be able to build Motion Books from scratch.


You will then have the option of publishing Motion Books both on the web through deviantART and on mobile for the iPad and iPhone through Madefire.


I am really proud that deviantART is once again at the lead edge in giving artists the tools they need for extending their creative and financial career possibilities in the arts, while liberating their artistic independence through the ultimate collaboration with other artists.





The walls of traditional commerce that limited the practical distribution of your work and imagination are burning down. Now you can join with other artists and writers to build fantastically illustrated worlds, populated with the coolest characters engaged in the most exciting story narratives, coming to life with incredible sound and fury, and make your storytelling career a reality – without the benefit of massive personal financing or winding your way through the maze of the traditional publishing world.


After you’ve had a chance to sample Madefire Motion Books come back here and let us know what you would do with this medium or share with everyone who you would most like to see tell a story with a Motion Book. I have a few favorites of my own that I’ll drop into the discussion once its gets started. For now, enjoy a great read.


Browse Motion BooksTM
















Our team has been testing an early version of our brand NEW Commissions portal. On the Commissions Portal you can find ALL of the (currently) 26,000 available Commission offers from artists, neatly categorized by Style, Type, Price, Popularity, etc. It's awesome! 

When we launched Commission widgets on Profile pages a few months ago, I personally didn't find them to be very helpful by themselves. Without a directory of available artists for commissions, and what commission options there are from across the whole community -- I couldn't be sure that I was buying the right thing.  

Untitled Drawing by spyed

The new portal (which will be accessible right from deviantART.com's home page) has added an incredible value to my life since I've been playing with it: The ability to easily commission artists! 

Because the commissioning process exists in-line on the Commission area, I was able to facilitate 5 commissions in an initial 2 minutes and 30 seconds for a total of ~2,000 Points ($25) which I want to discuss in a second. But, yes, you read that correctly. Two minutes and thirty seconds to commission 5 artists to make custom stuff for me. I did have to have a Note conversation later on with each artist, bringing the total time spent on these commissions to about 10 minutes of discussion. One of the commissions failed to complete due to misunderstanding that I think can be avoided. But about a week later I have the four final results to share.  

Pngwx by spyedSpyed by Tobsen85English Setter by yochan91spyed icon : commission : by xaxiko


I gave artists very simple instructions like, "This is awesome! I want one! Just make it Ninja-styled like my Avatar!!" or, "OMG it would be amazing if you could draw an english setter [link] that had just gone through a stinky garbage bag!" -- (Because Bentley, my English Setter, did this a few weekends ago when I left a garbage bag on my porch for a minute before taking it to the trash. GRR! hehe) or, "This is great!! Could you draw me like that?

Simple, easy instructions to get us started. Which is what you should expect from 100-500 Point ($1.25-$6.25) commissions. This way, artists who are either learning or interested in perfecting a style of work can just facilitate an easy commission that motivates them and inspires them, plus adds a couple bucks in to their pockets. 

Here are bigger versions of the results:

Spyed by Tobsen85English Setter by yochan91
by Tobsen85 and yochan91 respectively. 


spyed icon : commission : by xaxiko
A ninja avatar made in a style xaxiko is working with. 



Pngwx by spyed


And a Spyed Chibi by MiniWoopWoop which is interestingly very similar to the avatar made by xaxiko if you look closely! 


I'm extremely happy with my purchases!!! I not only feel happy to share these with you but also with my friends and family. I feel as though I got a great value for $25. And I also feel as though I supported artists by giving them fun tasks to work with in exchange for the fees they requested.

I do want to say that I believe this portal is going to assist greatly in raising prices that are charged, as artists see what other artists are able to charge and what they offer at those price points. 

If I had one message for deviants using the Commissions system it would be: RAISE YOUR PRICES! Your time is valuable, your work is valuable. If you're a young artist and learning, incorporate price points in to your learning. Sure, offer 100 Point Commissions for fun, but please don't form any beliefs that your work and time should be worth $1.25.

Minimum wage is ~$9 an hour in the United States. That's 720 Points an Hour. Your work is skilled work, so especially as you develop as an artist you can charge much more than minimum wage. Please consider the time you are taking. It is fine if you want to discount your time because you feel you are taking longer than a Pro would, but if you spend multiple hours please value your time. Professional illustrations and the like should range from $250-$5000 a piece depending on your skill level. Professional Logo Designs can range from $250 to $50,000 a piece but tend to average about $1,000. Know this! 

We are very excited about Commissions on deviantART as we believe we will be able to assist a growing community of artists and clients to find each other. We are equally excited to nurture professional artists who grow up on deviantART so that they can be invited to join our new professional commissioning platform known as DreamUp.com -- Rates on DreamUp start at $200 per Commission, whereas on deviantART you can find any price point even as low as 10 Points from developing artists. Additionally all artists and designers are welcomed to our Commissioning Platform on deviantART! 

If you are an artist who accepts commissions on deviantART, set up your Commission modules on your profile today so that you can get commissioned by our Staff and an increasing number of clients who we are giving access to over the following weeks and months! (Full public launch is yet undetermined, but within 3 months.)  

Visit EDIT PAGE on your Profile: 

Untitled Drawing by spyed

And add the Commissions Module from the Misc category!

Untitled Drawing by spyed

Then, follow the instructions on the Commissions Module. You will automatically be indexed and promoted inside of the Commissions Portal! 



Some Questions: 


  1. Why are deviants setting prices at 10 Points or 100 Points for Commissions like the ones above? 
  2. What is the right price point for these types of Commissions in your view?
  3. What types of art or design would you like to Commission from artists or designers on deviantART?