I am easily swayed by the promise of a pixel badge hahaha.
DeviantART is one of those sites that I've been on so long I don't even remember how I found it. My profile says I've been here for 11 years, and this is my oldest account! Around that time I was in high school, though I'd been drawing digitally with a mouse and gotten more serious about it about 2 years before that. I was still on oekakis and playing in MSPaint! These are some of my oldest works that I have saved from about age 14, stashed away in scraps.
I went through so many different aliases on oekakis in those days, and honestly wasn't great about updating my deviantART at all hahah. I was all about dat oekaki lyfe and gradually, slowly improved....
... and later, ran about a billion Gaia shops.
etc, etc etc
Art became a relaxing way to get away from the stresses of college life and struggling with what I wanted to do with myself, but I still didn't really connect to deviantART-- I maintained a portfolio here, but was anything but active!
After I graduated from undergrad, art remained a pleasant diversion and a way to vent..
.... but I didn't really start caring about staying active and keeping on top of my art and trying to keep drawing as much as possible until last year!
Before, I'd always cared about drawing what everyone wanted or what was considered the "right things" to draw, but I felt so much better and got so much more done when I drew, first and foremost, for my own pleasure. I've totally embraced that now and I hope to keep motoring forward with art as a stress-relieving hobby.
I've met so many wonderful people because of DeviantART who I hope I get to keep encouraging and in turn encourage me! Thank you for all of the support, whether it's been years or only weeks since we've met! uvu/
Happy 14th Birthday, DeviantART!