Now this is my deviantART-Story, that is, of course, after the following announcement I put into all my journal entries these days..
PLATT-Land-Fluss is a free public festival dedicated to the Low German (Plattdütsch) language and will take place on 26 September 2014. I had the honour of doing the drawings for the placards and leaflets (which see on location for further details; they should soon be available all over the two towns, if they aren't already), and because this great project needs every support it can get, I put the above banner on all of my internet appearances these days.
If you happen to be near the St Ansgarii churchyard in Bremen or in Bremerhaven that day, you should really pay it a visit. You'll get a first-rate glimpse of the original language of Gundula un de Stuventiger, known to the anglophone parts of the world as Master the Tiger, there will be live music, shows, and much else, and remember it's free and open to everyone. While having some Plattdütsch skills would of course come in handy, they are not a prerequisite.And now for the story.
I don't really remember my first encounter with deviantART but it must have been in 2007 or 2008. I guess I stumbled upon it by reading webcomics, which was an entire world of fun and opportunities I'd just newly discovered.
You see I used to own nothing more sophisticated than a very old computer running (or rather tottering as it were) on Windoze 98 and with no proper internet connection and was quite content with it (I've still got it, and with the new motherboard and OS I invested it with at some later point it's still a great working tool). However roughly at this time I grudgingly upgraded to a slightly less elderly second-hand laptop as handling my university stuff became increasingly impossible without broadband internet. I'd heard of this invention before, of course, but to me a computer was just a better typewriter, and seeing all kinds of people around me use the internet mainly to download porn and play games, it didn't really strike me as anything I'd want to spend money on myself. I was especially reluctant because I noted that these (then not yet outlawed) file sharing programmes also brought their own cybernetic STDs, so to speak, and it seemed to me too much of a treat to my trusty typewriter for too little gain.
This attitude changed practically as soon as I actually had an internet connection of my own. One boring rainy day I desperately needed something to read, something to cheer me up, and I found webcomics. I got hooked instantly. This was just the kind of thing I'd been looking for years! Why hadn't anyone told me that the internet could contain anything that good?! - Well, they had, of course, they just didn't do it in a way I could seriously believe it.
I could soon see that if there was any way to publish some stuff of my own, this would be it, the chance I'd been looking for for so long. Writing and drawing had been my hobby as long as I can remember, but I'd never really gone anywhere with it, because, if you've got no audience, there isn't anywhere to go for an artist. After no more than a few days I knew wanted to do a webcomic!
However I didn't rush it, so I still spent the best part of a year rummaging through the existing material* and getting acquainted with the world of webcomics, reading them by the terabytes (or something that felt like it). I soon found that the vast majority of webcomic artists had a link to their DA profile page, and I could soon see why. DA provides a great way to post miscellaneous extra art that just wouldn't fit anywhere into the confines of a comic blog. My conclusion was that you just can't start a webcomic without getting a deviantART profile as well.
I didn't do much with DA in the beginning, I just wanted to post comics, and the navigation tools on the comic blog seemed to be better, so I used it for additional stuff only that didn't fit anywhere else. Also, I had DA down as slow, slow, sloooow. I later learned that it was to a large part because of my hopelessly outdated equipment when my first laptop gave up its ghost and for the first time was willing to spend some money on a new computer. The controls took some getting used to, too, although I seem to be the only one to have had that problem.
I really started posting stuff on deviantART when my comic hosting site became more and more bug-ridden. At that time I really noted a few important things about DA for the first time:
1. DA is better maintained and therefore much more reliable than certain other sites.
2. Just about everybody I know is there too.
3. The point when you seriously start posting stuff is the one when it really starts being fun. (Well, naturally!)
4. There's more feedback, and because you're notified of everything you don't miss it half of the time.
5. You can post a comic series on DA after all, especially if the episodes don't have to be read in sequence, as is the case with mine.
6. You don't have to deal with restrictions regarding size, format, content, and order of posting, which gives me a freedom I rather enjoy.
6½. You get to see how many clicks a single comic page gets.
Since that time, I think it was three years ago or something, deviantART has gradually evolved into my main haunt on the web, a process that was somewhat advanced by another breakdown of my other hosting site, but probably would have happened anyway. Today I get the tiger's share of my feedback here, and I got to know so many good pals on this site...
Heck, I don't know how I ever did without all this!Anyway: Happy 14th Anniversary, DA, and cheers to many more to come!
* The first parts of Master the Tiger were a long long time before the comic's official start date.