As of November 2nd 2020, my deviantART account is 10 years old.
It’s kinda weird seeing it roll over to double digits- after all, this is my oldest online account (that I still remember, at least). But what feels even stranger to me is looking back and thinking about my different mindsets at different points in time while I was on this site.
When I first joined I was in middle school. I was a tiny child who dreamed of becoming a world famous mangaka. Like all 13 year olds, I was naïve as hell and frankly probably shouldn’t have been allowed online. I would only listen to VOCALOID and was in love with Higurashi, CLANNAD, Pokemon, and Yu-Gi-Oh!. (It’s funny how, aside from listening to VOCALOID all day, these interests still hold true now since I’m a visual novel developer… but I digress)
Art from 2010
I was terrible at making comics and never even tried to hold a consistent schedule. The concept of “deadlines” on hobby projects was foreign to me and would be foreign for several more years. But still, I fully believed I’d become a master mangaka some day. After all, my interests would never change and other mediums didn’t exist.
Art from 2012
When high school started I was much the same, albeit a slightly smarter and somewhat a better artist- I was still full weeb, but all of my middle school friends had either moved away or had vastly different schedules than me so I only had a couple of IRL weeb friends. My interests expanded to video games and I started watching Lets Plays every day, namely Markiplier and Achievement Hunter (side note: Unus Annus is ending in like 11 days from me writing this and I’m highkey sad). I tried making a webcomic called The Witch in the Forest but failed to finish it despite getting to the end. I made new friends online, but I was still lonely IRL due to the changes.
Art from 2014
In the second half of high school Zexal was in the tailend of airing and I jumped in, watching several of the Barian arc episodes live by staying up until 3-4AM. I made a lot of friends that way (several who I’m still friends with!) and got reinvested in the YGO franchise. I’d been watching Lets Plays for a couple years by this point but one day while watching Mark play an RPG horror game (either Ib or The Crooked Man) it clicked. I knew I couldn’t draw webcomics good but I still wanted to tell my stories via a visual medium that combined writing with anime art. I dove head first into researching video game development with barely an inkling of an idea of what “Unity” was.
Art from 2016
In 2016 I graduated high school and entered college timidly as a computer science major. I knew I wanted to make games but I wasn’t quite sure on if I wanted to make AAA games or not. My mom was a computer science major back when COBOL was a primary language so I went into the field too- after all, by this point I was able to throw stuff together in Ren’Py so basic programming didn’t scare me. I went to community college for a year and a half, getting my basics out of the way for free at the cost of having no social life IRL.
Art from 2018
After that I moved on to the biggest 4-year university in the state and loved it. No one knew who I was and as I was now an adult with Determination and Passions and Opinions I could make a new name for myself. I instantly became branded as the game dev person in the CS building but I wasn’t done yet. I went to tons of clubs and events, trying them all out, and eventually whittling it down to a select few I enjoyed. By the time senior year started I was only a member of the Esports program on campus and the Entrepreneurship program.
Despite me not being in the business school, they welcomed me with open arms and didn’t try to discredit the idea of video games being a sustainable business. I learned a lot from both my mentors there and my fellow classmates on being business-minded. This mixed with the not-so-stellar release of my first commercial game, That Which Binds Us, lead me into marketing, something I found I have a big passion for once I realized wasn’t just advertising to people. I started working at Studio Élan as their second PR person, a freelance job I love which has surrounded me with even more super creative and hardworking people. Through the Esports program I gained some good friends who I still talk to every week. One of the most important things (to me) about my college experience was that I got to meet a lot of people with different backgrounds from me; I met some of the smartest people I’ve ever met; and I met so many people who had a strong passion for something, whether it be computer algorithms, setting the landscape for future Esports events in the South-Eastern Conference, or building their own business from the ground up. I graduated this May in the middle of the pandemic so I wasn’t able to finish off my college years the way I had hoped, but I’m still thankful for being there in the first place.
Art from 2020
And now, here I am, with a college degree in computer engineering, several games released on Steam, working freelance marketing on a couple of projects. I’m still an artist with big dreams.
I hope the past 10 years have been kind to you as it has me- we’ve all had ups and downs but we’ve all made it past every one of those bad days so far.