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Untitled-1 by techgnotic




















The X-Files by JeffLafferty


X-Files Has A Return Date


Sunday, January 24, 2016, is the date just released for the USA premiere of the new X-Files series starring the original actors, Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny, as Scully and Mulder. That's the Truth that was out there we were looking for.







death vigil 1 full issue- cuz it's a good day :) by nebezial


Death Vigil for Everyone


nebezial is releasing all four issues of Death Vigil to everyone, for free! Get all the details you need in this announcement and be sure to show your appreciation for this amazing artist.











How Do You Like Your Lollipops?


DeviantArt's Believe it or not: There is a 1200-year-old tradition of making hyper-detailed lollipops and it is called Amezaiku. The art form is being kept alive today in the most amazing of ways by artist Shinri Tezuka. These pops don't suck.







Engagement :3 by PygmyOwls


Happy News


Over the weekend PygmyOwls not only celebrated her birthday, she got engaged! Join us in congratulating her.







Constantine by tycarey


Constantine Was Cancelled But They're Not Giving Up


Both, Arrow's Stephen Amell and Star Trek's William Shatner, have taken to Twitter to try to help revive the show elsewhere. Amell has said if the show gets picked up he will guest star as the Arrow on it. Who do you think would be the best host for the show? Netflix? HBO? Showtime? Tell us in the comments below.







Polymer Clay Swedish Princess Cake by LittlePurpleCloud


Get Crafty


The team at ArtisanCraft have announced their May Creative Craft Challenge and the focus is Polymer Clay.







Lungs by ton-dieu-noir


Does Cuba Have A Vaccine For Lung Cancer? Does America Want It?


Cuba has been testing a lung cancer vaccine and the tests have shown such great results, that America wants in as quickly as possible. Those ferry trips to Cuba can't start soon enough.







Monday is Awesome by roberlan


It's Monday


Let's take a cue from roberlan and try to pretend that Monday is the new Friday. Share something positive in the comments below and we'll all make it through Monday together.











Sunset On Mars!


The Rover has been on Mars for nearly 1000 Martian days but this is the first color photo that gives us a look at how the sun going down on the Red planet's surface would look through human eyes.







I Love My Hobbies by JordiHP


In the Forums


Gro-ggy wants to know what sorts of hobbies you have outside of art. Share yours here.







Han Solo by CrisDelaraArt


Han Solo May Be Coming To A Game Console Near You Soon


Visceral Games and the co-creator of Uncharted seem to be working on a Han Solo, Star Wars game. We don't know when in his life the game will be set, anyone have any suggestions? All the same, this is great news, we just want it now.







Urban Lights at LACMA by leographics


Conceptial Artist Chris Burden Dies At 69


Chris Burden's "Urban Lights" sculpture outside the Los Angeles Count Museum of Art has become a landmark in the city of dreams. A fitting tribute for an artist who inspired so many. His final sculpture, a tribute to the 1901 first dirigible flight around Paris's Eiffel Tower by the Brazilian aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont, will be on show for a month at the Museum beginning on May 18.







Reflection by yuumei


Happy Birthday


It's yuumei's birthday today! Join us in wishing her an awesome day.
























Screen-Shot-2015-04-10-at-12.03.22-PM by techgnotic







TWR Interviews: On Writing






Together with our Mentorship Project, we'll be releasing a series of interviews with experienced writers and members of our community. They will all have a different focus, according to the parts of the Project they are paired with.




This being the first article, it will contain some general advice on writing. It will be updated as more deviants contribute to it, so keep an eye out!








Participants


The deviants who so kindly shared their views with us for this article are:










What's your ideal writing environment, if any?










I enjoy writing on my laptop, leaning back (all right, slouching) into my living room couch. My cat keeps me company, warming my lap. While he gets in my way, I enjoy his company, so I'll add him to my "ideal writing environment" setup.









Wherever I happen to be. Seriously. Sometimes I write in bed in the middle of the night when I can’t sleep. Sometimes I write at a coffee shop surrounded by middle schoolers who just got out of class. Sometimes I write while watching Law & Order. Sometimes I write with my writing group somewhere quiet. I don’t think there’s an ideal environment. Only an ideal mindset: focused.









Absolute quiet, like at 4AM in the morning. No distractions, no interference, just me and my writing. Which is super hard because no one in my house likes to be quiet. Which is okay, I can write while there are things going on, but I prefer the quiet.









Quiet. I prefer not to have all kinds of crazy going on when I'm writing. Which is actually pretty hard to accomplish in my house. So I tend to do writing either late at night when everyone's asleep or on weekends when it's just me and the dogs and I'm able to hide in my bathroom with all the doors locked and ear muffs on so I can't hear the dogs whining on the other side of the door.









In my room, with my music on (typically, only instrumentals). I appreciate the peace and quiet that my room allows me. It’s my safe haven and it’s where I write the most often. Trying to write anywhere else typically messes up my vibe before I can even get started because the noise is often too distracting. With that being said though, if I fall into a funk or too much of a routine I will switch it up and write somewhere else.









I write most effectively in the dark, at night, with headphones on listening to ambient music. Lots of electronica and soundtracks, music that drowns out all distractions without providing any of its own. Other than that, I don't require a special place or magic socks, or anything ritualistic like that. I do require coffee however, lots and lots of coffee.









...where I am inspired to write... and that is one of these:




  • Walking through an art gallery with a notebook. I can and do come out the other end with poetic sketches that I sometimes publish exactly as captured 'in the moment'.

  • Sitting in a coffee shop, or at a place called 'Heavens Pizza' with their amazing pizza, a bowl of greek salad and a half carafe of red wine (it's cheap there!). I sit by the window, and they have a candle burning. I often like to peruse a poetry book, and sketch out some of my own writing.

  • Sitting in a park with a notebook.




  • At home, sitting in front of DA. Other artistic works nearly always inspires me. I also love to type fast with 'raw' inspiration straight into DA and press 'submit'. Sometimes this is followed by a very quick update before anyone sees that typo, or I throw the deviation into storage if I don't think it works. I especially like this at night in the dark with only computer screen glow, red wine and candles. I think I crave a past century gothic writing scene!

  • In the middle of the night, or in the shower, or at work, or driving or... any place where some perfect words rush into my head and nothing will give me peace until I have made whatever mad dash is necessary in order to find a piece of paper and write it down.











What is the most difficult thing you had to learn about writing?










I used to abuse adverbs... a lot. The devious little things still manage to sneak into my drafts on a regular basis.









That sometimes it’s not about you, it’s about the market. And I don’t want to see anyone using this as an excuse not to revise and rewrite and work hard. But the thing is, sometimes publishing isn’t ready for a certain style, and sometimes a certain genre isn’t selling well, and sometimes you have to shelve a project and work on something new because, even though you know it’s a great project, you can’t sell it right now. And that’s okay. Be patient. Work hard. Always be working on the next thing.









That I will write well and I will also write terribly. I had to learn that not everything I write is going to be amazing, but at the same time not everything will be horrible. I will love things that I write, but I will also hate them. That doesn't mean they are worth less or more because everything you write is a learning experience.









Description. For years, I included horribly too much description and as soon as I realized it, I cut out almost all description. Which is equally as bad. There has to be a happy medium with description and I'm still working on getting it right.









Oh my. The most difficult thing I had to learn about writing was to let go from a technical aspect. For a long while, after I first started writing, I refused to stray away from rhyme schemes and things of that nature (Not necessarily fixed forms, but just rhyming). I was afraid that my free verse would sound too much like prose—not that that’s a problem, but not what I was aiming for. I eventually got better at letting go. It’s freed up my creativity leaps and bounds compared to when I first got started, and my voice and writing also carry so much more confidence than what it used to.









Conceptualizing within a fixed word count. I write predominantly flash fiction, pieces of roughly 600 words. I struggled early on trying to carry too large an idea in too small a space, and conversely, trying to take too small an idea and make it last longer than it realistically could. I've gotten much better at conceptualizing pieces that are ideally scoped to the word count I'm writing in, be that 6 words, 100 words, 600 words or longer. It's something I'm still working on, but it was a very difficult stage to get through.









Something that I've learned, and sometimes have to relearn, is that not everyone is going to love everything you write, even if you think whatever you've just written is a masterpiece. And sometimes you'll think you just created a steaming pile of shit, and people will love it anyway. In either scenario, it's easy to feel frustrated and down on yourself; the challenge is to keep going, to use these reactions as fuel to make yourself a better artist. And the other thing you have to remember, of course, is that it's not about you: Your art and your audience's reaction is not a referendum on you as a person, even if it feels like it. People are reacting to a thing you made, not you.









English language syntax. Applying theory to poetry strips the creative impulse for me. I haven’t learnt much and I still need to learn a lot.









What is it that you still need to learn about?










I need to practice my perseverance and discipline. I have so many ideas but I need to finish them. I start, but finishing is another thing. I need to conquer that challenge if I ever hope to accomplish any of my writing dreams.









Everything. There’s nothing that I’m done learning!









Simply put, everything. I think we're never done learning, even with the things we know about because we have habits and sometimes we're forgetful beings. At least I am. :P Though plotting is probably my weakest point and writing long-term. I have a tendency to push longer projects away or get overwhelmed with the length of a project. Those are both curable with the proper structure and the right push to actually get it written.









Sticking with a story and finishing it. I often tend to latch onto an idea, take the time to plot out the details, write half of it and then... stop. I don't know why and I always have an excuse for it but it's still unacceptable.









Possibly relearning things about fixed forms (on the technical side of writing) as well as just writing more prose. Learn how to “bend” and “move” characters in ways that I envision in my head; I also need to continue to learn how and when I can most effectively incorporate different poetic methods to keep readers guessing. That’s something I always have to continue learning about.









Effective narrative and expositional monologue. Both are deadly in short fiction, but necessary in longer works, and I lack practice in that regard.









The thing I still have to learn is technical: I'm still learning how to push my writing perspectives outside of my characters' heads so they can feel like real people who live in a fully visceral world, where they see and smell and touch things in a way that is unique to them. I either fall back into the rut of writing staying inside the character's head or including too much extraneous detail, but I'm working on it!









Have you ever had a mentor and what did you get out of the experience?










I've never really had a mentor. The closest I've had are my various school teachers, but none of those spent any extended one on one time with me. I can see where a mentor would be helpful and wish I'd had that experience.









Yes. My mentor Jessica Lee Anderson was also one of my first critique partners. She taught me a lot about the publishing industry and  has always been right at my side for every single bump in the road. She’s given me a lot of insight on writing YA, on developing believable characters, and making sure I keep the tension high in every single moment. She’s amazing. You should read her books. I highly recommend BORDER CROSSING and CALI.









Not a mentor per se, but my English teacher in 10th grade really, really pushed me as a writer and encouraged me to keep writing. She was always praising me when necessary and showed me how to fix the mistakes I'd made. She was truly interested in seeing me improve and that did wonders for my writing.









A true mentor? No. Individuals that read my work and offered me good honest critique? Definitely. I've valued that information over almost everything else I've ever learned simply because it pertained solely to me and not a class of students or broad spectrum of self help readers.









I never have actually. Not in theWrittenRevolution context or any other context, for that matter. The only “mentors” I had were my parents and grandmother but I’m not sure that really counts. Haha. But because my grandmother and dad, my writing has also flourished.









I haven't had a mentor for writing, although I've had people take a consistent and focused interest in my writing over a period of time, providing constant feedback and encouragement, which is a component (I believe) of mentoring. I found that feedback mechanism extremely valuable, and it pushed me to advance more quickly than I think I would have otherwise. It's easier to motivate yourself to improve when you feel like you'll be letting someone else down if you don't, and having someone constantly course correcting you as you go is very beneficial.









When I was in college, I majored in creative writing (short fiction), so my mentor at the time was my thesis advisor. It was amazing, first of all, to be able to work one-on-one with someone who was truly, unselfishly interested in helping me learn and grow as a writer. That aspect of the relationship was just as important as anything I learned from him — and man, I learned a lot, probably because he's a very different writer from me. The only way to describe his work is expansive — huge themes, enormous canvas (he's a born novelist), lots of emotion and heart — and my work is what he called a "silent screech." :lol: Although he supported my own style and the themes I wanted to work with, he also encouraged me to look beyond what I was familiar with, to broaden my scope in every way. That balance — the push and pull between what I was doing and what I could do, based on his own experience — made him a great mentor.









I wish it were so, but no.









How much is giving/receiving critique important, to you, to improve your writing?










Critiques are so very important. We should always listen to our readers' thoughts and advice, although we reserve the right whether or not to change our work. Others may have unique perspectives and insight that we may not have considered. They are potentially mentors, offering free advice. It would be a horrible loss to ignore that resource.









I find that critiquing others has been integral to learning to critique myself. And while I’ll never be without critique partners, it’s now easier to look at my own writing as if it’s someone else’s to see what’s wrong and, as they say, kill my darlings.









Receiving and giving critique is exceptionally important to do, as you can learn just as much from giving as receiving. Whether you are taking a critical eye to someone's work or your own, you are still gunning for the same end goal—improvement.









Devastatingly important. Receiving critique is obvious for improving writing but giving critique is just as important. Often we're able to spot flaws in others' writing better than we're able to spot it in our own; so by pointing those out we're able to learn things and hopefully apply the faults we see in others' lit to our own work. In addition to the faults, we're also able to see what is done well and work that into our own techniques.









Not very important, in truth. I rarely give critiques (I have to be directly asked to do so) and I don’t ever ask for any critiques. It’s not something I place value on because as a writer, we’re constantly growing and evolving in an art form that doesn’t have set “standards” about what quality is and isn’t. It’s all subjective so I rely on the natural changes and shifts in my style as opposed to any formal critiquing of my work.









Incredibly important. Critically important. It's hard to objectively view your own work, however in reading other people's work critically, you can learn a tremendous amount about your own writing and issues. I'm a better writer and editor without a doubt for the time I've spent reviewing and offering insights on other people's writing. I'm also very much indebted to those who have taken the time to read and critique my work, either reassuring me that what I'm doing isn't complete trash, or offering detailed feedback on what worked and didn't work for them, and how I might improve. I don't always make the changes people suggest, and often they are stylistic suggestions, and my style is my style, but I always take them seriously as that critical feedback helps me write more accessible and engaging work in the future.









I like receiving general feedback, and I like receiving creative suggestion. I’d still like to distance these things from ‘critique’ though. I’d feel horrible having someone spend their time analyzing my writing if I am not prepared to instigate major changes! (Usually I am not prepared to instigate major changes, it's just not the way I write. If I dislike something I wrote too much, I don't bother with it and just move on to the next thing).


If along the lines of feedback and creative suggestion I can really see where something could benefit from further work, I’ll take it on board. (Creative suggestion may sound vague. An example of creative suggestion is when someone once suggested I should take five poems about five photos and combine them into one piece. I turned it into an overview through a camera obscura and it became loads of fun, and added a lovely bent to that set of writing).


If I am really struggling with something I will ask for help.










How much is reading important, to you, to improve your writing?










I consider reading to be the most helpful tool for a writer. We learn (consciously or unconsciously) from our reading materials. This is most useful when we view our reading as an opportunity to learn: learn the authors' mistakes and successes.









It’s the most important thing. You need to be reading twice as much as you’re writing, if not more. This is where you learn new things. In your genre, outside of your genre. The more tools you have in your tool box, the more options you have as a writer.









SUPER, SUPER IMPORTANT. You need to read as much as you need to write because you're never done learning. You are always evolving, changing, and reading helps you learn new things, maybe even pushes you to try writing something you normally wouldn't.









It's essential, but I don't hold it as high as actually working on writing. It's important for the same reasons why giving critique to others is important. We can read literature and at the end decide what we liked and didn't like. What worked and didn't work. This is especially useful if we're reading in the same genre that we're writing.









Extremely important; about as important as consistently writing in itself. You can always pick up on little intricacies in someone’s writing, pick up on unique oddities that separate one writer from the pack of others with a similar niche, and even try new forms and styles because you read something similar elsewhere. Reading is extremely important and at the very least, I try to skim everyone’s works as often as I can. Reading has greatly improved my style, personally, so I believe it can be tremendous for anyone also seeking to continue growth in their writing.









Reading is equally as important to writing in my mind. I read all sorts of periodicals to keep me up on current technology and trends, and to keep feeding the idea machine. I also read a large amount of fiction, as the more time I spend marinating in the language of good writers, the most of that rubs off and invariably leads to better writing.









Extremely important, and I don't do nearly enough of it. If you want to write, you should read everything you can get your hands on: product copy, newspapers, screenplays novels, short stories, poetry, longform nonfiction, you name it. There's always something to be learned from a different form that you can use in your own writing. And make sure that you're not just reading — you have to think about what you're reading. If you like it, what's working? If you don't, what isn't? Even bad writing has something to teach you. Take what you like and leave the rest.









Reading expands the mind. Considered thought is a practise in itself. The mind is trained in certain ways when one reads. The considered thought comes in that moment when you stop to absorb what you have taken in. Writing for me is like breathing back out what I have breathed (taken in).









Who's your go-to writer for quality writing (it can be off DeviantArt, too of course) and why?










I adore Stephen King. He has a way with details and immersive characters. While I may not love every one of his works, each one has always impressed me.









I have about one million of these. But if the writers that I will try to read every time they have a new book out are Francesca Lia Block, Meg Rosoff, Douglas Coupland and Louise Glück. I also try and make sure that I just go and browse lit magazines and chapbooks at my local indie book store. Take a chance on new stuff!









raspil and for off DA I go everywhere. raspil has this amazing way of always striving to improve herself further and it shows in everything she does. Off DA I say I go everywhere because I don't just go to one writer, I go to multiple, because there are so many great writers out there and I haven't read them all yet.









On DA I go to thorns, TheTerrorOfTheDeep, linaket, IrrevocableFate, squeezelouise, reechy and Sammur-amat. Off DA, I tend not to read too much modern literature. I have a thing for period dramas so I stick with Austen, the Bronte Sisters, Gaskell but recently I've gotten in Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series. I think, again, it's because it's set back in time. Oh, and Shannon Hale, but not the Ever After High books. No no. I leave those to the teenage girls and stick with the Austenland books she's written."









That’s a tough one. If you put a gun to my head, I’d pick Lissomer. Her writings are the ones I understand and feel and “see.” She and I have discussed it at length and it probably makes so much more sense in the context of one of those conversations but she is absolutely phenomenal. Whenever I need extreme quality in every aspect of writing, she is the person I go to. She’s one of the best on deviantART in my humble opinion.









Neil Gaiman, William Gibson, Robert Morgan, and Ian Rankin. I value a varied diet of prose, and those four authors are incredibly engaging, both in their ideas and story telling abilities, and their effective use of language.









I've given this cliche answer probably a bunch of times, but my writing idol is F. Scott Fitzgerald, especially The Great Gatsby. That book is so precisely written, so precisely structured, that there's absolutely no fat on it. Everything does something. And yet, it's one of the most beautifully written, most poetic bits of prose I've ever read in my life. That's the kind of clean, aesthetic writing I aspire to.









Matsuo Basho; Kobayashi Issa; Rainer Maria Rilke; Ryokan; Richard Brautigan; Jack Kerouac. This listing is in no particular order. Oh, and for non poetry C.S. Lewis.









And finally, what piece of advice have you been given that has helped you the most?










Read. Read some more. Keep reading. I cannot express how much this advice has helped me. Reading allows us to view other authors as they practice their (and our) craft. It allows us to see how what writing practices work and which ones don't.









All writing is rewriting. I don’t think I realized HOW true this was until I’d been rejected about a million times. And then I revised and rewrote and revised and rewrote and started to see acceptances. The second most important advice is to be present – go to conferences, introduce yourself, mingle. Put yourself out there. Sometimes being in the right place at the right time can lead to good things – if you have the goods to back up your swagger, so to speak.









I'm going to repeat this a lot so I will keep it short "don't think you're ever done learning.









You're never done learning. No matter how good you think you are, you can always improve. Which is exactly why more experienced writers need to be helping less experienced writers. As long as we're always giving back, we can all improve at the same time. Because isn't it odd how sometimes we can give better advice than we write? We can learn by helping others.









It’s actually a piece of advice I allude to quite often (maybe too much), but it still means the world to me. My dad once told me that “our senses never fail us, only our judgment.” I rely on my intuition a great deal because of that and it’s not yet steered me wrong and I’m grateful for that.









Kathy Kachelries, who founded 365tomorrows with a group of friends, told me this early on about writing concisely and editing mercilessly; "Cut out everything you know you don't need, and half of what you think you do." It's that advice that makes it possible for me to create very contextually dense pieces within a very small footprint, something I wouldn't have been able to do before I became hyper aware of cutting out filler, before I was willing to destroy every single word I wrote without remorse.









The best piece of advice I've ever been given is in the form of a question: "But what does it do?" When my advisor asked me that, about anything (the setting, plot points, characterization, word choice, even how long or short I decided to make my paragraphs), what he meant was: How does this serve the story? How does it support the message or theme you're working with? And if I didn't have an answer, it had to go. When people tell you to kill your darlings, that's what they mean, I think -- get rid of the things that aren't actually doing anything for the story.









Well, it wasn’t said to me, but a common phrase is ‘just type’. We should never be scared of the blank page. If you jump the thoughts about “I can’t…” “I don’t know” and put your fingers to keyboard (or pen to paper) something can and will come out.









Conclusion






This concludes our first article of the tWR Interviews. I hope you enjoyed reading this, and that it gave you some good insight on writing. (: it wasn't meant to instruct on anything specific, but simply to give you an idea of what other writers found hardest to overcome, what they did overcome, what helps them and what doesn't. As you have read, everyone is a bit different! So maybe after all, there isn't a fixed RIGHT way to do things, there's the one that works for you and the one that works for me.



It's all about finding it.



All of the deviants interviewed here are definitely worth watching. You won't regret it.










Untitled-1 by techgnotic



















Explore ‘Game of Thrones’


Do you enjoy Game of Thrones? Of course you do. So do we! That’s why we wrote this in-depth look at the show, its importance in the cultural zeitgeist, and its origin as well as the origins of other shows of its ilk. Get your fix here.








Tom Hardy To Star In 3 More ‘Mad Max’ Films


So here’s some interesting news: Tom Hardy has announced that he’s committed to doing three more Mad Max movies after Fury Road, which comes to theaters next month. The trailers we’ve seen for Fury Road so far look absolutely stunning, and we’re cautiously optimistic about the prospect of having three more Mad Max films. On the one hand, we love Mad Max, and we love Tom Hardy, but on the other hand, is three more films bordering on too much of a good thing? Let us know what you think in the comments below.








Autumn Afternoon


Attempting to describe this beautiful oil on canvas piece by eddiecalz is leaving us breathless. Just take a look for yourself and enjoy the experience of it.
























‘The Muppet Show’ Returns?


So a project is currently in development that would closely resemble the old Muppet Show that was on TV back in the late 70s and early 80s. If you’ve never seen The Muppet Show, it’s pretty hilarious, and it spawned any number of classic bits still widely-known and referenced today. The show still has a way to go before being greenlit, but the success of the recent Muppets movies provides some hope that this is a project audiences will be eager to watch.














Surrealism


When life is too absurd to be depicted in realist forms, Surrealism enters to search for the truth by bending the nature of reality. Find out more about the movement championed by artists like Salvador Dali in our profile of Surrealism.








What Is DeviantArt?


If you’ve ever found yourself wondering how to put what the DeviantArt community is and what it means into words, check out this amazing journal from our very own Heidi.











Why is Dad So Mad?
by Seth Kastle



Post Traumatic Stress Book


Post Traumatic Stress Disorder affects people all over the world, but it can be difficult for friends and family of someone who has it to understand what that person is going through. This is especially true for children of adults with the disorder. That’s why Seth Kastle, a US Army veteran who suffers from PTSD, decided to write “Why Is Dad So Mad,” a children’s book that seeks to explain the disorder to children. Kastle, a father, wrote the book about his struggle with PTSD to help his daughter understand what he’s going through. You can learn more about the book or order a copy of it here.








How To Train Your Wind Waker


This is a crossover that we’re 100% on board with: How To Train Your Dragon and Wind Waker. Major props to TsaoShin for creating this beautiful piece.








Play-Doh Movie


People seemed to really like The Lego Movie (it grossed approximately $250 million US) when it premiered last year, which means that any and all children’s toys remotely similar to LEGOs that can be bought by studios and turned into movies will be bought and, you guessed it, turned into movies. This trend is kicking off with Play-Doh, evidently, which Deadline is reporting Paul Feig may direct. Feig’s involvement could spell good things, as fans of Bridesmaids and The Heat can attest, but a lot could happen between now and the film’s premiere. We will refrain from holding our breath in the mean time.








Luther Strode Sequel


The Legacy of Luther Strode is drawn by Tradd and colored by sobreiro. Issue #1 will be available April 8th! Check out a preview here.








Ads & Art


Can advertising be art? That question is the theme of a community discussion that we’re hosting here. If you’ve got an opinion on the subject, we want to hear it.








Minimal Challenge


CRFractals has announced their minimalism challenge for April! Learn more about it here.








Cute Collection


This collection of cute by Andorada is sure to put a smile on your face. Sleep in all weekend and hang out with these adorable images instead of getting up.








Painted Programs


LunaticLenny is seeking recommendations for software that are good at achieving a "painted" look. Help him out with your suggestions here.





















Here’s a short film


Whoa, this short film, called Burnt Grass, is really cool. Basically it’s about a couple who find a way to duplicate any organic matter. In the first scene, their dog stumbles into it and is instantly cloned. Then things begin to get dark. If you’ve ever thought about what life would be like if you could clone yourself, we highly recommend watching this eleven-minute film.



















Untitled-1 by techgnotic


















Disclaimer


First of all, we want you to know that you can believe everything you read here, even if it is April Fool’s and we might have told a fib or two elsewhere on the site. Consider the News Desk a hallowed ground. We’ll only tell you true facts here. We are indeed going to show you some of our favorite April Fool’s pranks from around DeviantArt and around the web, but we won’t try to fool you with any of these headlines. Thanks, as always, for reading.







APRIL FOOL’S WRAP-UP


Here are a few of our favorite April Fool’s pranks.








Book Club


The CRLiterature book club has “announced” their book selection for the month of April. Some may call it smut, but 50 Shades of Grey is the official selection so if you haven’t read it by now, this is the best excuse you’re going to get. April Fool’s! The real selection will be announced tomorrow.











Harnessing the Force
CERN physicist Valerio Rossetti



CERN Discovers The Force


Researchers at CERN posted confirmation that they had indeed discovered The Force (yes, the one from Star Wars) as a part of a Star-Wars themed April Fool’s prank. The press release, which you can read here, went heavy on the references including allusions to Yoda, Ben Kenobi, and “Dave” Vader. Considering the breadth and scope of the research currently being done at the Large Hadron Collider, we think it’s a good sign that they know how to have a little fun.









Nature: Dragons Are Real


Another of our favorite April Fool’s pranks came out of the science world today, as Nature.com confirmed the existence of dragons. Citing some ancient texts and a correlation between global temperature patterns and references to dragons in literature, nature.com’s April Fool’s prank is one that we wish were true.








Premium Island


You may be wondering where the money from your premium memberships go, and this April Fool’s prank has the answer: that’s right, you’re looking at the DeviantArt island. Again, this is one that we really wish was true.











Amazon.com
by Amazon



Amazon Redesign


Some of the best April Fool’s pranks are the ones that offer an experience rather than try to fool you. Yesterday we told you about Google Maps’s Pac Man feature, and today we are giving some major snaps to Amazon, who threw back to a super 90s version of their site in honor of this hallowed internet holiday. They also loaded the homepage with a couple of jokes, but then allow users to quickly navigate back to the real site so that they can get back to browsing prices on Lord of the Rings blu-rays with ease.








Learn To Art In A Day


seniormentors has launched a new tutorial series called Learn This and they intend to post one EVERY HOUR! The first one is about Photomanipulation and Digital Painting. By the time they’ve posted a few more, we should all be masters of art.






NEWS DESK HEADLINES


Back to your regularly-scheduled programming.











Amazon Button
by Amazon



Amazon Buttons Are A Real Thing


First Amazon giveth and then Amazon taketh away, apparently. While we commend them for their April Fool’s efforts, the online megastore has also announced that it will be making branded buttons that automatically order household items that you commonly run out of. With the devices, you can put a little Tide button on your laundry machine, and when you’re running low on detergent, you press the button and in two to five business days you receive some more. The announcement was viewed as a joke by many because of its proximity to April Fool’s and also because holy cow have we really gotten to the point as a society that we are too lazy to even walk to our computers or god forbid get out our phones to place online orders when we run out of stuff? I mean they already have one-click shopping on Amazon, why do we need this? Excuse us as we bury our heads in the sand for the rest of the day.








It’s Poetry Time


Calling all aspiring poets! Today marks the beginning of NaPoWriMo is ON! Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to write a poem every day for the entire month of April. If you’re staring at a blank page, not to worry, SingingFlames has posted some prompts to help you get started.











Suicide Sisters
by Kevin Mellon



Hero Challenge


autodesk-sketchbook has announced the April Hero Challenge with Kevin Mellon, who has been working as a professional comic book and storyboard artist since 2007. He has a comic book called Suicide Sisters, and does storyboards for the TV show Archer. Get information on the challenge here!























Interstellar Honest Trailer


The folks at Screen Junkies have given a pretty spectacular and not entirely undeserved sendup to Christopher Nolan’s 2014 blockbuster Interstellar. We aren’t going to lie to you, we thoroughly enjoyed that movie, but as usual Honest Trailers does a pretty great job of pointing out some of its fundamental flaws. Plus, it’s just hilarious.














What To Wear?


griffsnuff is looking for some feedback concerning her new avatar. Share your thoughts here. (We think it looks great, for what it’s worth).








Which Tablet Are You?


This tablet review by saally may prove to be helpful when deciding what tool is going to suit your needs best.








Color Contest


Knitting-and-Crochet has announced a contest celebrating Pantone's colour of the year: Marsala. Get involved here.











Vesta Tour
by NASA



Hang Out On An Asteroid


How is NASA so cool all the time? Probably because they’re dedicated to exploring and understanding space. We’re mildly freaking out over this virtual tour of Vestra, the second-largest asteroid in our solar system. The tour interface is reminiscent of Google Earth, and has some snazzy features that let you explore and see all there is to see on this huge space rock. This is just so cool.








Forum Feature


Looking for constructive critiques on your digital art pieces? Check out this thread.








Birthday Patrol


It’s no April Fool’s joke, today is FelipeCagno’s birthday. Say hey and happy b-day!























Untitled-1 by techgnotic

























New ‘Mad Max’ Trailer


Warner Bros. has released the first full trailer for Mad Max: Fury Road and this movie just keeps looking better and better. The costumes, sets, cars, and explosions are all looking top-notch in this trailer, which illuminates a little bit of the film’s plot. The movie will be released in May.














Comic Advice


Do you have questions about the world of indie comics? nebezial shares his tips and insights, as well as information about the work he’s currently doing.








Now’s Your Chance To Get
A Batman PS4


Sony has announced a limited edition Batman: Arkham Knight bundle edition, featuring a seriously cool looking PS4 with a Batman silhouette on it. Customers who purchase the bundle will also get exclusive access to some bonus downloadable content like bonus missions and custom skins for the Batmobile. Pre-order has already begun on this limited run, so you know, purchase now or forever hold your peace.









Anglo-Saxon Alchemists Vanquish Drug-Resistant Bacteria


So a microbiologist and an Anglo-Saxon scholar get to talking about ancient alchemical recipes. No, this isn’t the beginning of a supremely esoteric joke, it’s the story of how an ancient remedy for eyelash follicle infections was discovered to have some useful modern-day applications. After recreating the recipe, scientists examining it realized that it had self-sterilized — killing off the bacteria that were introduced by its own ingredients. Next, they tested it on some skin cells infected with the drug-resistant bacteria MRSA, which is known to plague hospitals around the world with very few viable treatments. The potion killed 90% of the bacteria in the sample. Researchers have yet to discover why exactly the old remedy seems to work, but if and when they do, it could be the foundation of new drugs that would be instrumental in treating patients infected with antibiotic-resistant MRSA. Yay science!








Catching Feels


This poem by miserabel will strike a familiar chord with anyone who’s ever wished they could turn their feelings off. It’s called “Wanted: Heart Transplant” and we can definitely relate.








Cards Against Humanity Scholarship


So the creators of Cards Against Humanity, a game that would best be described as Apples to Apples for perverts, are creating a scholarship fund for women looking to get a college education in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields. Women are hugely underrepresented in these fields at both the academic and professional level, which is why the creators of Cards Against Humanity have decided to do something about it. The scholarship will be funded by sales of a limited-edition “Science Pack” version of the game, which is on sale now. Potential scholarship applicants should sign up to get more information here.








Video Journal


Omar-Dogan has posted a video journal that covers the tools he uses, how to paint backgrounds, how he got into @udoncomics and more!











Pac-Man
by Google Maps



Google Maps Pac-Man


Go to Google Maps and start playing Pac-Man on any street, anywhere in the world using their special Pac Man feature (which is an early April Fool’s celebration, we think). This is so much fun. So much for getting anything else done today.








Artistic Upkeep


Taking care of your artistic tools — pens, brushes, pencils — is important! This great tutorial from projecteducate will teach you how to makeover your pencils so you get the lines you want when sketching.























Van Gogh Even More Of A Genius Than Previously Realized


This video from TED Ed — from the same group that brings you TED talks — demonstrates the unexpected princples of math and physics that exist in Van Gogh’s “Starry Night.”

















Outkast: ATLiens
by DL Warfield & Frank Gomez



Forum Feature


Basement-Aviator wants to know what your favorite album cover art is. Share your pick here.








Earth Getting Greener


There’s a glimmer of good news where the future of our planet is concerned. Satellite data shows that the amount of vegetation growing on earth has increased over the past decade or so. It’s nice to hear this because plants absorb carbon-dioxide, the levels of which are steadily increasing in our atmosphere, trapping in warmth. This news comes as something of a consolation prize, though, and global warming is as imminent a threat as ever. So while more trees and plants aren’t going to solve our climate crisis, they certainly isn’t going to hurt anything!








Birthday Patrol


As March draws to a close, say a heartfelt happy birthday to DynamiteHearts!








‘Mulan’ To Become Live-Action Movie


Disney, after discovering with Cinderella — which has grossed $149.6 million so far so far — that it can successfully recycle content by taking beloved animated fairy tales and turning them into live action films, has announced a live-action Mulan film. Of course there’s been a Beauty and the Beast live-action film in the works for months now, but you can expect to see Disney repeat this formula with at least one or two more properties (The Lion King, we hope).








Write Poems


NaPoWriMo begins on April 1st! If you're unfamiliar, NaPoWriMo is when you challenge yourself to write 30 poems in 30 days. IrrevocableFate has posted some information, resources and tips to help you get poetic.








McDonalds To Test All-Day Breakfast, Possibly Causing A Rift In Space-Time


Starting in April, McDonalds is going to test out serving all-day breakfast at certain locations, in order to determine logistical obstacles and profitability. So if a location near you begins selling breakfast all day, please don’t ruin it for the rest of us — go and buy all the Egg McMuffins you can afford.








Introduce Yourself


Hidden-Winter wants to introduce you to this beautiful and amazing person.











Custom Electric Motorcycle
by Andrews Collection



You Can’t Resist This ‘Tron’ Light Cycle


Yes, it costs $25,000, but can you really put a pricetag on being the coolest person you’ve ever met?








Digital Aesthetics


Digitalism is a feature of remarkable Digital Art collected by the group at Digitalists. The latest edition was just released — take a look and see what you think.








Adam West To Become Batman, Again


If you think broody Batman is overrated and campy Batman is your favorite Batman, we’ve got some good news. Adam West and Burt Ward confirmed yesterday that they will reprise their former roles as Batman and Robin (respectively) in an animated feature that we hope is full of shenanigans quotable quips. The film will be released next year to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the seminal original TV series. If you are wondering why we’re so giddy over the return of Adam West as Batman, look no further.








Easter Pixel Challenge


Have you seen the Pixel Challenge for this week? The theme is Easter. Learn about the rules and how to get involved right here.








Forum Feature


Operia is challenging you to "choose your own adventure." You can play in the forums, if you’re feeling adventurous.








‘Doctor Who’ Alum To Continue Traveling Through Time On Different Show


Arthur Darvill, who was on Doctor Who as a companion of The 11th Doctor (Matt Smith), will be joining the cast of the upcoming Arrow/The Flash crossover series as Rip Hunter, a time-traveling hero. This might be the first time in TV history an actor has been typecast for his ability to move through time, and we’re very curious whether Darvill is a method actor or not.








‘Twin Peaks’ Book


In case you haven’t heard, the weirdest thing on TV in the 90s, Twin Peaks, is coming back to TV in 2016. In the meantime, the co-creator of the series Mark Frost is releasing a novel that details the events that have transpired in the town of Twin Peaks in the years between when the show was last on television and the present. Let’s just hope that this little mountain hamlet hasn’t gone-a-changin’ on us too much.








Project Porkchop Artist To Watch


filbarlow is an Australian animator who makes some wild-looking creatures, among other things. Take a look at his gallery. You can find more artists featured by Project Porkchop here.











Tidal
by Jay-Z



Jay-Z Launches Music Streaming Service


Rap artist and music industry mogul Jay-Z has, alongside some other notable musicians like Alicia Keys, Kanye West, Daft Punk, and Jack White, relaunched an online music streaming service called “TIDAL.” The service’s defining feature is, if you feel like you can afford to shell out $20 a month, high-definition (lossless) streaming. If you’re really, really in to sound quality, this is definitely an appealing feature, and something you can’t get from other online streaming services. They are also offering a $10 regular streaming subscription, the price point of which is comparable to Spotify Premium. Otherwise, TIDAL will have high-definition video streaming, and is artist-owned. Presumably, that last part is a nod to the frustrations many artists have voices over Spotify’s low payment rates for the artists whose music it hosts. You can learn more about the service here.








Birthday Patrol


Look who’s celebrating a tandem birthday — none other than endosage and E-V-IL!























Untitled-1 by techgnotic





























Arkham Update


The release date for Batman Arkham Knight has been delayed until June 23, and every moment in the mean time is slow, silent, torture. While we wait though, a gameplay video has been released. And if that isn’t enough to tide you over, check out this video that explores Batman’s evolution on the silver screen.













McFly


It's been 30 years since Back to the Future first hit theatres and this evolution of Marty McFly brings back some great memories





















Blomkamp Joins Leviathan


Neil Blomkamp, the director of District 9 and Chappie, has signed on as executive producer to the space whale adventure we told you about last week. In addition, X-Men writer and producer Simon Kinberg is also on board as a writer. In other words, oh my goodness when is this movie coming out already.





















Color For All


Valspar, the paint company, is working with lens developer EnChroma to create a special lens that allows people with colorblindness to see shades of color they could not previously perceive. Watch this video to learn more about the project, but be warned, you’re gonna feel some feels.





















Send Healthy Thoughts


markiplier had to have emergency surgery last night, but fortunately everything looks good! We wish him a speedy recovery.















Costa Rica: 75 Days of Clean Power


The Central American nation of Costa Rica has cleared a hurdle on their path to becoming a carbon-neutral nation by 2021: powering the country with clean energy for 75 days in a row. Costa Rica uses a mixture of hydroelectric and geothermal power sources, among others, to provide itself with energy without the need for fossil fuels.









Back A Project


Hey everyone, JessicaMDouglas has successfully funded her Kickstarter project, but that doesn’t mean it’s too late to support her. You can make a pledge now and get a special print reward!


























Going Clear


HBO is releasing a documentary about Scientology, the ambiguous and always-interesting religion of choice of celebrities like Tom Cruise and John Travolta. So far the film is getting very positive reviews, and we are intrigued by its cryptic, slightly terrifying trailer.















Forum Feature


Does your online persona differ from how you are in real life? LilPhantomHorse has sparked a conversation here.




















Fly Geyser


A failed attempt to dig a well has created something really spectacular. The Fly Geyser in Nevada is a gorgeous formation in Nevada with vibrant colors and huge spigots of hot water that periodically erupt from its top.













Math Meets Art


projecteducate will be exploring the beauty and complexities of Fractal Art. Learn more about this artform born out of math! View the intro and schedule here.







Birthday Patrol


Today is Berneri’s birthday! Let’s fill it with well-wishes!




















79-img-og by techgnotic












One of the most unique holiday films ever made was originally inspired by the juxtaposition of Halloween and Christmas holiday decorations


that iconoclastic director Tim Burton saw in a store window. The Nightmare Before Christmas was first conceived in the form of a poem rather than a screenplay, composed by Burton in 1982 while he was working as an animator for Disney.


The story centers around Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King of Halloween Town, who stumbles upon Christmas and decides it looks like a lot more fun than what has become his tedious task of leading Halloween festivities every year. What he finds out is that taking over someone else’s holiday, without truly understanding it, much like anything else, is a recipe for disaster.


Disney at first considered the story “too weird” and “too dark for kids,” keeping it shelved until Burton finally said ‘You guys don’t really want to do this, let me take it elsewhere.’ Not wanting to risk the project being successful elsewhere, Disney finally gave the green light.


Taking 3 years to complete with one minute of film needing roughly a week to shoot, The Nightmare Before Christmas made its debut in 1993.


Disney’s decision to release the “too scary for kids” movie under their adult “Touchstone” banner crippled the film’s debut, but the DVD release in 1997 turned the film into a cult hit.  It has since been re-released several times theatrically, including in 3D, and is now considered a “Disney classic.”


The long struggle for Tim Burton’s twisted fable with a heart of gold to be born, and then be given a chance at survival, proves that there is a space in Hollywood for truly visionary artists, but only space enough for the most dedicated and most doggedly determined to survive.


The darkly baroque look of the film was highly influenced by the art of Ronald Searle and Edward Gorey, as can clearly be seen in the set designs which were heavily modeled to look like the artists’ ink illustrations.



Long before “Nightmare” became a holiday classic, Jack was making secret cameos in films.


Jack first appears in the movie Beetlejuice on the top of the carnival hat that Beetlejuice wears, look closely at the Mad Hatter’s tie in Alice in Wonderland and you’ll spot him. He's as an egg yolk in Coraline and a pirate in James and the Giant Peach.


The Nightmare Before Christmas is now a holiday classic that is a Halloween movie as much as it is a Christmas movie, which means doubling your opportunity to find someone to snuggle with by the fireplace, popcorn bowl at the ready, in preparation for perusal of a “Nightmarish” gallery of frighteningly festive fan art. Enjoy!












Role Models: Then and Now

Fri Dec 26, 2014, 12:00 AM
Img-05 by techgnotic













There was a time when childhood heroes were real life human beings people dreamed of emulating when they “grew up.” There were sports heroes, famous astronauts, war heroes, political figures, the leaders of social and humanitarian causes, etc..


Then came “Star Trek” which is thought to be a prime mover behind student interest in scientific, especially space, exploration.  Here the role models were Captain Kirk and First Science Officer Spock – fictional characters entirely, with no connection to our living breathing actual astronauts and scientists.



This trend in fictional TV and movie heroes serving as our youth’s role models, completely displacing actual living heroes, has become a near absolute. Even boxing as a career is now driven more by emulation of Rocky Balboa than by Muhammad Ali.


In 1981 a bullwhip-brandishing archaeologist named Indiana Jones became a new hero and role model on our movie screens. While Archaeology Departments in our nation’s universities appreciated the sudden surge in students declaring archaeology as their major, Indiana Jones is not the role model that legitimate archaeologists want student wannabes seeking to emulate. The Indy Jones character is the worst sort of historical faux-archeologist – really just a looter of indigenous people’s cultural heritage who does more to vandalize and wreck our understanding of the ancient world rather than carefully and respectfully decoding it.



“Iron Man” (2008) and his alter ego Tony Stark, played by the irrepressible Robert Downey, Jr. in the movie, is the latest questionable role model hero, driving interest in young people to become maverick entrepreneurial inventors and engineers.  As played by Downey, Tony Stark uses his immense wealth, political connections and pop star fame to skirt the laws regulating his rogue operations.  Hopefully the “Iron Man” movies will inspire the world’s youth to emulate Sir Richard Branson or Steve Jobs in translating their entrepreneurial expertise into the creation of innovative inventions bettering life on our planet.  The worry is that the Tony Stark character could just as easily serve as a role model for “Franken-food” production and fracking and tar-sands pumping and all sorts of other planet-killing albeit profitable “innovations.”



“Avatar” (2009) is probably the best “role model” movie in recent years.  Not only is it anti-militaristic (in the sense of the military not being a defensive home force, but an invasion force against weaker nations), but its scientists – mostly cultural archaeologists and botanists – are respectful of indigenous peoples’ culture and genuinely seeking knowledge rather than artifacts to loot to fill museums.  The scientists as portrayed in “Avatar” (i.e., ethical and caring human beings) are the best sort of role model cultural and natural world explorers – the ones who leave their bullwhips at home.











Your Thoughts




  1. Are your personal role models at present more likely to be actual human beings or fictional characters?
  2. Which living human being has been your most important role model and why?
  3. Which fictional character has served you as an important role model and why?
  4. When a lifelong beloved role model suddenly disappoints in a spectacular fashion, how devastating is the experience to your emotional/mental health?  Is this why some people prefer fictional role models who never disappoint?
  5. Has anyone ever told you that you are his or her role model?










Collection: Each Chapter's End

Thu Dec 25, 2014, 10:19 PM
52-img-00 by techgnotic








Context is everything. The same photographs and paintings of airport terminals and train compartments and subway platforms that seem so cold and forbidding in contemplation of one’s traveling out into the world, somehow become reassuring in their hard functionality and durability – when thought of as the pathway to the journey back home. Faces of travelers photographed in airports often exhibit muted “Mona Lisa smiles,” masking the direction (to or away from home) that they are headed.











Art Weapon For The People

Fri Dec 19, 2014, 6:33 PM
Phone by techgnotic








As you explore the possibilities just opened up to you by the DeviantArt Mobile App, you should all be asking more than just “how can this app entertain me,” but instead, how can this tool and the network of arts enthusiasts, fandoms, and creators that it represents, help me do my part to inspire and change the world?


You are now connected, we are now all connected, with DeviantArt wherever you are and whenever you want. Art is still humanity’s most powerful, magical and non-suppressible agent of change. Don’t believe the hype. You can make a difference. The arts, all of the arts, are one of the only means we have left to really do that.


As advertised, the DeviantArt Mobile App does indeed place the “world’s largest art gallery” in your hand. But the DeviantArt Mobile App is so much more than just a daily respite, a visit for a few minutes to an artistic oasis during a break time. It’s that of course, but let me be your witness to this app’s mind-blowing potentials.

















sharing aid, comfort, advice, tutoring, critiques and friendship. Through status updates, comments and, very soon, person to person messaging, what we have now been given in this mobile app is the ability to support any artist on DeviantArt with encouragement as well as the ability to ask a question, talk commissions—or find teams of artists for special projects. For the last couple of months, I’m probably on DeviantArt 10X more since having access to the app everywhere and anywhere I happen to be. I must report to you that the experience of being a part of this community, well, it just got exponentially, cosmically... deeper. Just wait until you download this thing and spend your first day “together” with it.


The ability to be responsive to events in our world in a creative way has been increased a thousand-fold with the power of the mobile app. The potentials for the future being opened up through this mobile app for our deviant storytellers (writers and poets needing artists, artists needing writers) are absolutely mindboggling. The increased reach and immediacy is even more impactful for curators, bloggers, culture fiends, publishers, producers and anyone in need of a creative jump start at any time of day in any place.

















When they were first implemented on the site I think the initial less than enthusiastic reaction of “What? Is this Facebook now and we post pictures of our food and the jacket we just bought?” was justified as a quick impression. Facebook is the defining point of reference online for a “Status Update.” But as soon as Status Updates launched on DeviantArt, this community started to change what they were. When I roll through Status Updates every morning on DA, what I find is a quick tip on drawing faces, an invitation to an Artgermination chatroom where you can improve your line art skills, a link to a new writer discovered just the night before, a wrap up to a community-sponsored challenge, a famous quotation paired with relevant pieces of artwork or a link to a newly curated collection that could change the way we think about art in any given category. This is a whole new way in to our ongoing conversation.


Being a part of this community for the better part of eight years, DeviantArt has always meant for me the creation, discussion and understanding of the world through a special art lens where, unlike anywhere else, there remains the ability to “speak” of our needs, concerns, hopes and dreams with great clarity and truth. The Arts have always been our great translator of truth beyond what mere words can express.




As the largest and most influential community of culture creators and culture responders in the world, we must cherish and make the best use of our grander visual and textual proposal as we artists and art appreciators continue on the ever-evolving arts journey we have chosen and that connects all our lives.
















  1. Do you consider yourself to have an “art lens” and can you make art out of anything that flies by in a day: a passing car, a tragic event unfolding in front of you, a simple gesture of thanks or love between people or animals?
  2. Living in public with a declaration of being an artist has just become easier. You now have the weapon. What statements will you hope to make?
  3. Are there places you go to just sit and browse art for inspiration? Do like quiet places or ones filled with people?
  4. Photographs can be art and art can be photographed. What art have you captured and shared on mobile and why? Give us link in the comments below.










Animals Within, Spirit Animals

Wed Dec 17, 2014, 5:34 PM
71-img-00 by techgnotic













There has always been this obsession with the others we share this planet with.


We communicate with them on certain basic levels and yet they inhabit a plane so different from ours: savage, instinctive, a life of sheer survival. At the same time they can do things beyond human abilities: fly through the skies, swim the oceans, apply the physical strength of a dozen strong men. They survive and thrive where we would perish. Yet animals cannot tell tales of their experiences. When we speak of an animal, even our beloved pets and friends, we can only imagine their emotions, thoughts, and inner lives.


Is it then any surprise that from cave paintings to cereal mascots—animals and art are inseparable?



From the beginning of recorded time, animals have been immortalized in pottery, statues, been worshipped as gods, and had fables and myths created in their image. Seventeen thousand years ago, in a cave shielded from the sun, a Cro–Magnon artist raised her bundle of split reeds, dipped them into charred black soot, and began illustrating an opus of animal life: stags, cats, bears, birds. Five thousand years ago, Egyptians integrated animal features into creation myths, and used them as hieroglyphs, adapting the recognizable forms of vultures, bulls, cobras and lions (among others) into a communication system.


Today, in every culture across the globe, animals serve as mascots for sports teams and cereals. We have Tony the Tiger and Toucan Sam. Anthropomorphized animals star in movies and comics. My Little Pony has amassed groups of Bronies. Animal cosplay is mainstreaming into mass culture. It all still begins with a child given that first crayon who immediately begins to sketch the familiar forms of cat and dog.


Animals are intrinsic to creativity and art—but why are they so satisfying to observe, mimic, and draw? What is the power they maintain over us to the extent that so many feel an actual spiritual connection with a particular species of their own extended family—cats, dogs, wolves, dolphins, raptors? While so many feel this connection, artists seem particularly sensitive to the presence of their animal spirit kindred and guides.












Why are artists so drawn to animals?


Visually, animals are beautiful and compelling subjects.


Animals are an efficient subject. Identifying characteristics can be drawn and recognized easily— cat eyes, elephant tails, butterfly wings, bunny ears: all unique visual traits. Powerful physical capabilities lend themselves to artistic expressions of motion. The long fluid moves of a deer, expressively captured with a few expert lines. Quick brushstrokes sketch a hyperactive monkey. Heavy pen lines suggest the static power of a stoic elephant. Physical similarities help artists develop a quick visual shorthand for a specific species—but unlike humans, animals that look alike often behave similarly. While anyone who’s ever lived with a pet knows animals have individual personalities, it’s not over–simplifying to state that each type of animal has its own range of specific behaviors and attitudes. It’s this species–by–species predictability that draw individuals to become fond of a particular animal. Just as an artist may prefer certain subjects or materials, so do artists become fascinated with the idiosyncrasies of a species.



Emotionally, animals express primal urges and desires.


Animal personalities are predictable. Tigers are fierce, squirrels are nervous, sharks are stealthy, hippos are lazy. Compared to the complexity of human behavior, animals are simpler beings. They behave according to instinct, not reason. As such, they serve artists well as ciphers for emotion. It’s not just art that allows us to connect spiritually with animals. It’s easy to observe, in ourselves and others, subconscious similarities between personal behaviors and the characteristics of a favorite animal. We’ll call a clever person a fox, or a stubborn child a donkey. A sweet guy is a puppy dog. A sexy lady is a minx. An angry, stubborn man is a bull. Animals serve as elements of our visual and written language.


Humans explore our own instincts through animal art.


Using animals in art, we recognize the most beautiful and terrifying parts of ourselves—our instincts. Society and language are important for humans, but when we feel urges or emotions beyond what is widely accepted or understood, both of these creations fail us.


When we talk about “spirit animals,” it can be in a magical sense, the idea that an essence we can’t see is guiding us through our lives. Or it can be an affinity for a species we find our instincts connecting with. Perhaps we have a fondness for the way they move, finding them fun to draw. Maybe we can imagine the world through their eyes, running, flying or swimming at top speed. But perhaps we see something more than the animal. We see ourselves.


Animals provide a bridge between the alien and familiar, allowing humans to recognize ourselves in strange forms. We can represent our fears and our desires expressed without reserve. Through animal eyes, we can acknowledge the oddness and the fallibility of humanity. Featuring animals in art, we can interpret many spiritual aspects: the primal and the innocent, the beautiful and mysterious. As long as we share a planet, artists will look to our Earth companions for inspiration and understanding of ourselves.






Community Thoughts



I personally have been drawn to animals my whole life and my earliest pictures were always of wildlife. I think artists see the world through different eyes than most and the things that fascinate us speak to us on a deeper level. Animals are an enigma, they have intelligence and their own means of communication and yet we can only hope to understand and be a part of their world. If you've seen my gallery you know I clearly have a fondness for big cats, I find everything about them to be beautiful and awe inspiring. My art is a way for me to get close to these animals in the only way possible, I’ll never be a zoo keeper (because I know myself and I wouldn’t be able to respect the boundaries they do and I’d get eaten—that’s a fact) and I’ll never own one because it goes against everything in their nature to held in captivity as a pet. It can be a very intimate experience to draw an animal in detail and it makes me feel close to them and privileged to show a side of them that others may not see. Any great animal art in my opinion has to come from a deep love and respect for the subject first and foremost by the artist, and what follows is their tribute.”


:iconheatherzart: Heatherzart






I think people gravitate toward depicting animals in art because they are simply aesthetically stunning to look at. Humans are very visual beings and we have always enjoyed striking colors, beautiful patterns, flowing lines and powerful forms. All animals have something which can be appreciated. Like for example dramatic plumage, or the intricate silver and black patchwork that is the coat of a snow leopard. To capture that on canvas is something many artists find alluring.”


:iconailah: ailah