I haven’t been writing on this blog in ages! I know I’ve got plenty of content to write in this blog, however, I don’t have that much time to devote to writing reviews on a daily basis or even share some of my therapy art on the gallery. 1 However, an unidentified spark came within my completely dormant artistic flair into making art – both digital art and analog art. 2 Anyway.
So, where did it all start? Actually, I used to do digital art sometime in the early years of this decade, but I started learning how to make them using Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator back when I was still in college. I know they were expensive as heck, but I’m a bit impatient when it comes to learning curves of other software. Plus, my hands are already used to the Photoshop and Illustrator tools inside those pieces of software. Long ago, Adobe was King of art and graphics software. Today, there are plenty of cheaper alternatives, as well as free ones, but once again, the disadvantage for me with cheaper and free alternatives are the learning curves. That’s why I ended up having a subscription to use Adobe software.
As time goes, so does the software evolving with a lot more fancy features. In fact, there were features that were already there from the beginning but never really learned how to use them or just didn’t know they even exist. I stumbled upon a number of video tutorials on how to create actual digital art (from pencil art, ink art, painting, etc.) and realized that they introduced a lot of the features I didn’t know even existed in the first place. I watched some of them, did some experiments using whatever photographs I had in store, and next thing I knew, my artistic flow suddenly returned.
MADKID Fangirl: FC member, fan site dev… fan artist
I’m currently back into J-Pop again, and ever since my some 10-year hiatus from the fandom back in the late 2000s, I pretty much forgot why I loved J-Pop in the first place. I’ve pretty much crossed out some of items from my little “fangirl bucket list” except for that one thing that I really wanted the most: creating fan art for my favorite group and members within that group to furthermore contribute to the current fandom. For this, I posted my first two digital fan art pieces on Twitter and I did get some praises (and followers) from fellow fans and even some of the members of the group. Because of that, I opened a separate Instagram account for all of my MADKID fan art.
If you’re interested in checking them out or if you’re also a fan of MADKID, please check out my fan art IG.
My deviantART history
I have a very old deviantART account that has been around for over 10 years. I was into so many fandoms then that I wanted to share some of my graphic designs, photo edits, UI/UX designs of future or potential website projects, etc. I remembered that I posted a digital pencil art of one of my favorite cosplayers created using Photoshop and categorized it as digital art. Apparently, a few of the “artists” in the community saw it and “accused” me of cheating and a fraud and it shouldn’t be called “digital art,” but a “photo edit,” since I based the artwork from a photograph. 😒
In my own definition, the featured image of this blog post is an example of a photo edit. I changed the colors a bit of the original pic and added text in it with some less opaque background. That is what I call a photo edit.
But, if an art piece has the effects of a pencil, ink, watercolor, oil, etc. and it doesn’t look completely “photographic perfect,” then that is digital art. I didn’t spend hours, days even, making those pencil art of my favorite cosplayer only to be called a “fraud.” It’s not as if I plan on selling any of these fan art for a side profit, but seriously, a fraud?
Generally, I didn’t care what these people said about my artwork. However, I was disillusioned then that most of the people in the devART community are a bunch of stuck-up snobs. I rather receive criticism on the art itself, not get criticized with how I made it. Other digital artists used the same method as I did with theirs and no one came to call them as “frauds.”
I mean, the keyword for deviantART is “community.” Community means we’re all gathered together with one major interest (art), we share our art, share tips on making better art, and simply just support each other and all of our hard work for making wonderful art for everyone to enjoy. Back then, it didn’t have that with deviantART and I didn’t want to deal with all that “fraud” criticism just because it’s digital art based on photographs. That’s why I abandoned it and never went back since then.
In addition, I was also disillusioned that digital art is not “real art.” Art based on photographs was not considered “real art” if it’s made by Photoshop or some graphics software. Not only that this made my motivation go down, but this also hurt me as a hobbyist artist.
I’ve already known Pixiv for quite awhile now. They are known as a Japanese art community featuring mostly anime/manga-style illustrations. I’ve always gone there for inspirations and also to “borrow” some fan art images for some graphic design edits and also for website designs. 3
Some years later, a friend re-introduced me to Pixiv again and convinced me to sign up for an account, since there is now an English version and that they expanded their categories to general illustrations (meaning any form of art, not just original anime/manga character art), original doujinshi manga, 4 and they also accept original novels and (possibly?) fanfics, so they also accept non-artistic medium too.
The members are still mostly Japanese, but my friend said that some do leave comments and critiques about the art itself and don’t really care how you made it. Apparently, I learned that some of the digital artists in Pixiv create their original art the same way as I’ve been doing it: using original photographs as their templates. I got excited and having hopes of being seen as an actual (digital) artist again by a wider community, I signed up for a Pixiv account.
Unfortunately, due to lack of motivation and time constraints, I never added anything in my Pixiv account and left it in the dust.
Reviving Pixiv and devART
Going back to my newly-rediscovered artistic flair in creating digital fan art of my favorite J-Pop idols and artists, I decided to expand again by sharing all of my digital fan art on the two communities I abandoned: Pixiv and devART. Several years since I left them, so many things changed, such as more features, subscription pricing (I decided to subscribe to both Pixiv and devART), and most of all, the members of both communities are different. So, I gave myself and my fan art a chance to get showcased once more.
I started with Pixiv first, since it’s a completely empty account. After making MADKID fan art, I also started to make fan art that’s MADKID-unrelated. I think it’s impractical to open another IG account just for the non-MADKID fan art, so I decided to go back to my old abandoned art channel accounts. I went with Pixiv first because I feel that many of those (Japanese) artists may be J-Pop/J-ent fans, and I would probably get some attention (and followers) from the community that way.
So far, I have been getting some attention. I wouldn’t say huge attention, but I’ve gotten some likes and gained some followers. I followed them back, of course. The ones who came and liked my fan art were all digital artists. Sure, not fan artists, but digital artists nevertheless. They use similar methods as I do with Photoshop or whatever software they use. I finally gained my confidence again and I started to dolly up my account with original custom profile graphics and stuff. As for my Pixiv header, that’s temporary. I plan on changing it to something original at a later time.
For devART, I wanted to do something a little more different by replacing a lot of my old info from my profile. My website links posted there no longer exist, so I have to update them. Most of all, I finally have the drive to make my own custom profile graphics and not be called a “fraud” like those years ago.
I’ve made a few progresses, but if you are interested in checking out my art accounts, please visit. If you are also interested, please follow me too. Let me know your accounts so I can follow you too:
Some notable art/graphics software
My main arsenal for digital art and graphic design are Adobe CC. To be more specific, Photoshop and Illustrator. That’s it.
I’ve tried other alternatives out there, mainly the free/open source ones like GIMP and Inkscape. I actually love the fact that there are cheaper alternatives existing, but at the same time, there are learning curves in learning how to use those types of software. If you want to get into digital art, going to alternatives is the best way of starting out.
Rather than listing out the list of software alternatives here, I’ll link to you another blog post that has everything you’re looking for from Creative Bloq.
If you are using Adobe CC software to do your digital art, you may also be interested in checking out (and purchasing) some toolkits, mock-ups, and action packs to cut down the time you spend working on your art. If you’re ambitious enough and want to “contribute” to the digital art community, you can also create your own toolkits, mock-ups, and action packs if you become very familiar with the software and sell them for an affordable price and earn some profit. Not only that this tip would benefit you, but it will also benefit other digital artists as well.
Soon, I’ll be uploading all of my MADKID fan art on both Pixiv and devART, mainly because Instagram doesn’t fully show the actual size of the original artwork. The sizes shown on Instagram were just the “thumbnail” versions and aren’t the actual sizes. If you guys want to use any of them as wallpaper or something for your desktop/laptop or mobile, you will have to get the original sizes and resize them somehow.
Please stay tuned for more blog posts about my digital art. ☺️
- Like Zentangles, mandalas, etc.
- Analog refers to traditional handmade art. It’s common to just refer to it as traditional art, but “analog” is the antonym word for “digital.” It only made sense.
- I used for graphic design such as banners and profile pics, but never really used them for website designs unless if I was making mock-ups as part of my web dev process.
- fan-made manga based on an existing series. It’s the artistic/visual version of writing a fanfic.