In this journal I shall reflect on my DA activity, my purposes of using DA and my struggles in accomplishing what I aim for. I shall also provide my 'history' on my 'art sites' memberships in order to bring everything into perspective. This is the very first time I'm going to share my whole story, I've deliberately kept my accounts separate. Every time I started a new account I felt like approached 'the purpose of using art sites' differently than before. As if I needed a new chapter in my life. Looking back I'm not proud of having had around 5 different accounts on mostly two sites. I'm not proud because in the end all is connected to each other and all parts of it are worth sharing. By starting a new account it was easier to dive into something new - to be different and to focus on drawing different subjects than I was used to. However, by doing so, I hide a part of myself, of who I was. I no longer wish to do so. It has become very important to me to understand and philosophize about my activity on DA, but also my previous art site activities.
In 2006, when I was fifteen, I joined an art site for the very first time. I don't remember exactly how it started. I might have been searching for a community to share my most recent hobby - anime - or I might have specifically searched for sharing art online. Either way, I ended up making an account on theotaku.com. For several years I kept the same account and I reveled in it. I was excited that people found my work and thoughts interesting enough to comment on it. I discovered that I could share a part of me that I hid in real life. I could be vulnerable, I could be insecure and I could experiment with my art that I'd never dared to do before. All was possible because a loving community was kind enough to embrace all things me.
After a while I realized that drawing anime fan art was fun, but it was not enough. I wanted to create something original and the anime style felt too outlandish and difficult to create some anime OCs. I loved fantasy so I drew my first dragon. Before I knew it I was drawing many, many dragons. I couldn't stop. Because theotaku.com generally shared anime I felt a bit out of place with my art. I needed a community that shared my passion for dragons and thus I found DA. Any art form that I've been ever interested in can be found on DA. In other words, the inspiration is endless and I felt at home sharing my love of dragons.
After some time I became less and less active on DA. At that time I did not really know what the cause was - did I become less interested in drawing? Did I make enough friends to always want to come back? Did I simply find a different hobby that caught my attention and time? Looking back I think it was a combination of things. I missed my old friends from theO (what I had built over 4 active years was now replaced by something empty I had to continuously work on to get where I wanted). Anyways, I had a long period of inactivity. After months I felt the compelled to try again. DA is fun, art is fun, why not become active again? Coming back to that first account felt weird. I did not know how to pick up the pieces that I had left, so many months before. Thus I decided to create a new account. It went well and I enjoyed it for a time again. As you may guess, I became inactive AGAIN. I returned to that account several times - trying in periods to become active again. Since DA did not work out I tried to become active at theotaku.com again - having made a new account there. Yet that was not it either. I joined a few other art sites as well - most of which I don't remember because I never was really active.
A major difference during the tough time of staying active was that I had started university. I left my parents place, moved to a new city and found a new life. I felt free in my new environment. I felt at home. I felt I had finally met the people in life that had a similar mindset. I could finally pursue the 'me' I always wanted to be but did not know how to. My environment showed me what I loved and how to get there. What this meant in regards to art sites - is that I found a community with whom I felt completely at home. What I once could only found online I could also find it in real life. With the start of university life I also found new hobbies and passions. Thus, art moved to the background and at times it felt like I had completely forgotten about it.
As it may be, art proved to be still important to me as it called to me over time. I only drew about 3 weeks in a row per year. ... years ago I made this account, wishing that once and for all I could continue to draw and stay active. Aaaand then I had a period of inactivity. When I started art a few months ago I was extra determined to keep it up. In my daily life I become more and more aware of how sticking to a long term goal is much more powerful than having many short term goals. I evaluated all my hobbies and came to decide that if I had to choose to stick to a long term goal it would be art. It always came poking around the corner, always tugging at my sleeve to pay attention to it after abandoning it so many times. In addition, I realized that I could also practice my communication, networking, writing and marketing skills with DA. This is why I am so keen on staying active.
Staying active on DA is tough for me because:
- I draw only periodically
- I find it difficult to get to know people --> I no longer enjoy the superficial relationships with people --> i crave for deeper connections
- DA is huge (which make it:
- difficult to get to know people - you don't bump into the same people over and over again until you know them even if you don't talk to them (which happened at theOtaku.com)
- endless possibilities = your goal can feel endless = feel you'll never reach the goal
- activity has no bounds = if you become more active, you must become more active to keep up with all the notifications
- easier to be picky to whom you befriend --> you became friends because you want to on first or second impression /meeting - not because you meet several times and discover you like each other
- people are less interested in the individual - they appreciate comments/favs/etc a lot - but may find that the 'community/popularity reaction' is more important than replying to the individual
- each time I use DA I'm confronted that I'm not really finding what I'm looking for / I don't understand what I'm looking for / I set my goals to high what I want to 'get out of DA'. Basically - I'm taking it too seriously which means I should simply focus on the fun
- I have other hobbies that are easier for me to pursue
If you've read the whole thing - woah. Or even a part - thank you so much. I'm glad I have written this journal entry! It has given me insights and I've made another step in the direction I want to go - active on DA
The next step is to continue to comment on all your lovely submissions... I'll get to it (even if it may take a while)!