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Valentine's Day Art Exchange 2017

Mon Feb 13, 2017, 12:01 PM
Og-preview by seoul-childBreak out the candy hearts and crafting paper, because the deviantart Valentine’s Day Art Exchange is back!


Valentine’s Day

Take part and spread love

From now until February 16th, deviations in the Valentine Exchange category can be sent as valentines to your friends and loved ones.

There’s still time to create and submit a valentine of your own! Just submit it to the Valentine Exchange category before February 16th so your fellow deviants can share it!

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Create your Valentine

Start now by creating a digital valentine to be submitted to the Valentine Exchange category.

Send a Valentine

From now until February 16th, a special “Send a Valentine” button will appear on deviation pages for deviations submitted to the Valentine Exchange category.

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Share the love

Share the Love

Your friends will receive the deviation you send, along with your Valentine message, in their DeviantArt Notes.

Heart filled hints
  • Deviations submitted to the Valentine’s Exchange category will be available for everyone to send. Avoid including specifics on your deviations - such as a deviant’s username, real name, etc.
  • Fallen in love with one of your previous designs? It’s okay! If you’ve included text suggesting it’s for a lover, you can change the design to look as though it were to a friend or from a secret admirer, and then resubmit it.
  • You can submit as many deviations to the category as you want.
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Watch Love Fly!

Og-preview by seoul-childWatch Sakimichan take on BandaiNamcoUS’s #TalesofBerseria and explore the benchmarks of creating such a rich world.
Worldbuilding in Tales of Berseria
Author: damphyr
Artist: KheilaHirai

There’s something truly magical about losing yourself in an engrossing narrative. It’s amazing how a story can call to the soul, or how we can sometimes feel like we know a fictional character better than the person sitting next to us. How to successfully craft a narrative capable of captivating fans has long perplexed studios and independent creators alike.

While countless have struggled to create this magical formula just once, the Tales of series has been crafting vivid, captivating worlds and characters for 20 years. Along the way, their creative team has picked up a few tricks regarding successful storytelling and applied them to each new title. Tales of Berseria, the 16th game in the main Tales of series, has been infused with hard-earned wisdom, which can be utilized by anyone who dreams of spinning their own tales about worlds and characters all their own.

Justice, Passion, and Vengeance: A theme to guide the narrative

Many a creator finds that their stories grow in the telling, becoming far larger and more complicated than intended. One way to avoid this bloat is to limit the number of narrative points within a story, ensuring every subplot and side quest somehow ties back into one of the central themes. Making use of recurring themes has the additional benefit of helping fans feel comfortable in a sequel or spinoff world by providing them with something familiar, even as they embark on an adventure in a new setting.

In order to craft a clear and focused narrative, each Tales of game begins with one central theme, which becomes the central pillar for that title, with plot and characters all growing from this idea. Each theme is decided upon by the game’s producer before any work begins, with inspiration drawn from current events and the global climate.

Originally, Tales of games tended to revolve around a theme of justice or faith, but bold new steps were taken when Tales of Zestiria decided upon a theme of passion. Tales of Berseria has deviated even further from tradition by crafting a story around the theme of vengeance. The game’s protagonist, Velvet Crowe, is a cursed young woman who must defy the alleged holy order of her world and seek to avenge her family, all while desperately trying to cling to what remains of her humanity.

The game’s protagonist, Velvet Crowe, is a cursed young woman who must defy the alleged holy order of her world and seek to avenge her family, all while desperately trying to cling to what remains of her humanity.

The main story of each game is supplemented by secondary subjects, topics which help expand the story and add a bit of variety and spice to the narrative. The struggle for peaceful coexistence between several races is a central theme in all of the Tales of games, and it appears once again in Tales of Berseria. The world of Berseria is one of turmoil. Humans are being infected by the Daemonblight, a mysterious sickness which causes both mankind and beasts to lose their minds, transforming them into savage, violent monsters. A group of humans, known as the Exorcists, have made it their mission to purge the land of these infected beings. In their quest, the Exorcists have enslaved a magical race of spirits, known as the Malakim, stripping them of all sense of self and using them as tools in their quest to purify the land. With forces powerful enough to start a holy war at play, one has to wonder… are the motives of the Exorcists truly as pure and noble as they would have humanity believe?

Soulcrafting: Creating characters with depth, breadth and personality

Because the Tales of games take a story-first approach, characters are not designed until after the narrative has been completed. With the personality and overall plan for each character solidified, concept artists set to work, bringing the faces of the newest heroes and villains of the Tales of universe to life. While creating their designs, concept artists are encouraged to play, explore, and push their limits in order to create unique and interesting characters whose appearance both reflects and highlights the essence of each personality.

The Tales of games have featured a wide variety of party members, male and female, human and inhuman, but until Tales of Xillia, all the protagonists had one thing in common: they were male. Tales of Xillia took a different approach, creating two lead characters: one male and one female. Milla Maxwell proved a very popular hero, and her success helped set the stage for Velvet Crowe, the first solo female protagonist in the Tales of universe.

Velvet and Milla may share the title of leading lady, but their similarities end there. Milla stood as a shining example of the typical Tales of protagonist: a swordbearer dressed in light colors, dedicated to protecting the world above all else. Velvet stands in stark contrast, shrouding herself in tatters of black and red, lashing out against her enemies with a fast, furious fighting style. She uses a combination of a lance and her crimson claw, the horrific deformation of her left arm, the first step of her transformation caused by the Daemonblight curse.

Passionate and driven by revenge above all else, Velvet is an unlikely Tales of protagonist. Her writers had to strike a careful balance in order to keep her a three-dimensional, relatable character. While Velvet may have a shadow over her soul, a kind heart still beats within, as revealed through her relationship with Laphicet. Despite a troubling start, Velvet comes to both love and respect the young Malak, even going so far as to name him after her departed brother. This rich dichotomy helps highlight the hardened-yet-still-human soul Velvet hides.

Character Interactions: The banter that binds

Creating complex, believable, relatable characters can be a challenge, and while it may feel counterintuitive, this process is often made easier by the addition of more characters. Velvet’s portrayal as a character with a shadow cast over her is made successful due to the bright souls of her companions. Protagonists who are standoffish or mostly silent often require a host of strong and verbose teammates in order to give fans insight into their thoughts and motivations.

Discontented with the tradition of relegating character interactions to cutscenes, the Tales of games allowed their characters to converse during battle, after battles, and even pioneered the “skit system” to provide their characters even more opportunities to chat. Skits play out independent of the main plot, and in Tales of Berseria, are composed of everything from deep discussion about the Daemonblight to intense debates about the all-important question: Which are better -- cats or dogs?

The Tales of series takes advantage of every moment possible to enable character interaction, including on the battlefield. Within this high-pressure environment, characters express concern for teammates who takes a particularly hard blows and thank friends who heal them. If characters have a strong-enough bond, players will occasionally be treated to a brief interaction between friends after a fight. In Tales of Berseria, this most often manifests as Velvet expressing concern over Laphicet after a harsh encounter.

Finding creative ways to allow fans to enjoy character interactions without hindering the progression of the story can be a challenge, but it is also incredibly rewarding. Surprising fans with charming, silly, or insightful conversations at unexpected times can help create a sense of camaraderie and dimensions to your characters.

The potent combination of story, character, and teamwork have helped the Tales of series craft many successful narratives over the years. With these tools in mind, how will you craft your next story?

How do you stay disciplined as a professional artist?

“Oh man, that’s a great question. Right now I’m more of a freelancer, and it’s very hard for a freelancer to keep up with a schedule. I do have a schedule now. I’ve learned from past experiences of sleeping at whatever hour I want, which to be honest, sounds great, but it’s not a great thing long term. It messes up with your head and your health as well. So definitely, I would recommend just sticking to having regular work hours.”

Where did your nickname, Sakimichan, come from?

“I have no idea… I was super into anime, so I wanted to make a Japanese inspired name. It was pretty random. I just came up with it - I had it on my Neopet account, so I just transferred it on my DeviantArt when I joined.”

How do you deal with art block?

“We artists, we all have our blocks. For me, there’s been times, but I guess I’m just the type of person that is a bit more positive. I get really sad sometimes when I can’t come up with an idea, but that doesn’t last too long for me. If I had any tips for those of you that do have art blocks and have trouble overcoming them, try to take a break, play some video games, hang out with friends, watch movies for inspiration. Sometimes, if I feel art block, I will just keep drawing until, well, I wouldn’t sleep, I’d just draw until I feel like ‘okay, I’ve got something here, I can work with that’. It’s like I’m trying to find new techniques.”

How do you know when you’re done with a piece?

“It’s a very complicated thing for me because I’m very picky and I usually spend more time refining it towards the end than the start. The start can be a lot faster. In the first three hours I would get maybe eighty percent done. And then I will spend ten hours after for the small details. It depends on if you’re a picky artist or if you’re not that picky.”

Do you have any tips for artists trying to learn anatomy?

“Yes, definitely. I would definitely recommend going to live drawing classes, just because I was once in a 3-D animation program. My teacher always said if you want to learn anatomy, you’ve got to observe it. So, live drawing is good. Also, anatomy books are quite good as well. If you guys go online and look up Anatomy For Artists, you guys will find so many anatomy books. To be honest, any of them are good as long as they have diagrams of anatomy that you can reference off of and practice.”

If you had to collaborate or try a different style for a day: what artist would you choose to collaborate with, or what art style would you try out for that day?

“I think as a digital artist, I would love to work with a traditional artist, have them teach me their ways, because I’ve lost connection with a traditional method. It would be great because I’ve seen some amazing Youtube videos of traditional artists and how they could work with watercolor that just blows my mind. I have no idea how they do it. And it would be really cool to collaborate with an amazing traditional artist, to have them show me their techniques.”

Watch the Full Interview Live Stream

Holiday Card Project 2016 Wrap-Up!

Tue Jan 31, 2017, 4:35 PM
The Holiday Card Project celebrated its 10th year of bringing smiles and joy to those in need this last December of 2016. The project was a complete success, with over 4,000 cards from 1,500 deviants and artists all over the world.  Our mailbox opened for submissions in November, and almost immediately, we were flooded with messages from across the world—ranging from delicately hand-made cards to inspired digital designs.

Untitled by madizzlee  Holiday Cards by madizzlee 
Holiday Cards by madizzlee  Holiday Cards by madizzlee
A selection of some of the cards sent to us!

A team of DeviantArt staff, including damphyr, danlevmakepictures, chris, likasmyles, Lunat1k15, and more helped me open every card and sort it according to the message on the card and which hospital it would go to. 

Untitled by madizzlee
The cards all sorted according to which hospital they'd go to, before moving them into gift bags. 

A couple days before Christmas, I delivered cards to hospitals across Los Angeles to USC Norris, Huntington Hospital, St. Francis Hospital, and Pomona Valley Hospital. 

Img 3191-1 by madizzlee
Img 0580.jpg by madizzlee FullSizeRender.jpg by madizzlee
Counter-Clockwise: USC Norris, Huntington Hospital, Pomona Valley

At St. Francis, I met Brother Richard, the person in charge of handing out the cards. He told me that he usually gives the cards to the patients in the psychiatric center, as they are the ones who are most often alone during the holidays. He also said that he leaves a basket of cards in the chapel, with a sign that encourages those who are alone during the holidays to take a card. He was so thankful for your card donations, and for all of the work that went into every single card.

While bringing cards to Huntington Hospital, we also got to experience one of their annual traditions—their staff-decorated Christmas trees!

Huntington Trees 3 by madizzlee
Huntington Trees by madizzlee  Untitled by madizzlee
Trees decorated by doctors and nurses at Huntington Hospital!

In addition to the cards given out across Los Angeles, our wonderful damphyr took some cards to Lewisville Independent Estates and Lewisville Assisted Living in Texas, where she spent the holidays with her family.

Untitled by madizzlee
Untitled by madizzlee

We also sent out cards to hospitals in Germany and Spain this year, thanks to the amazing help of deviants KimericalArtworks & Roiderjackl! They both went above and beyond to make sure their local hospitals received the cards that you all spent so much time on. 

Whatsapp Image 2016 12 24 At 19 48 23  2  By Kimer by madizzleeWhatsapp Image 2016 12 24 At 19 48 23  1  By Kimer by madizzlee
Unnamed (2) by madizzlee
Unnamed (1) by madizzlee

This year was also more personal for me, as my mom was in the hospital this Christmas with an infection. I spent Christmas Day in a hospital room with her and my grandparents watching Christmas movies. Some of the cards that were sent in had tree ornaments included, so I grabbed a couple of those cards for her and put the ornaments on the little tree she had next to her bed. She absolutely loved the cards, and commented multiple times on how beautiful they were. 

Untitled by madizzlee  Img 3290-1 by madizzlee
My mom's little Christmas tree, and me with my grandparents and mom on Christmas!

This year was a fantastic success, and the perfect way to celebrate the 10th annual Holiday Card Project. Thank you to every single artist who spent time creating a card for this project. 

Every person who sent in a card with their username on a separate piece of paper should now have a 1-month Core Membership! If you sent in a card and did not receive your Core Membership, don't fret—that doesn't mean that we didn't receive your card! Some cards didn't have usernames in the envelopes with them, and some usernames were hard to record (especially when they have 0's and O's or L's, I's, and 1's). If you didn't receive your membership and you sent in a card to us through the mail, please leave a comment on this journal with a description of your card and approximately when you sent it in to us!

Please note: If you already have an active Core Membership, the 1-month Core Membership has been added to that existing Core Membership, and will take effect once your current one expires.

Once again, thank you to everyone for spreading the holiday cheer!

Happy Holidays from DeviantArt!

Sat Dec 24, 2016, 12:57 AM by Heidi:iconheidi:
'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through D.A.
All the creatures were stirring. They were on holiday!
A cold winter's night, with some days off for break's
The perfect time for artists to cure those art-aches.

The artists were nestled with the tools of their station,
With scrolling hands ready to find inspiration.
There was one young artist logging on with a smile
To sit back and think of what they hadn't in a while.

'Twas 10 years to the day since they'd made this account.
If they'd only known then what surprises would mount.
The features, the layouts, the widgets, the glee,
the DeviantMeets, the app, and the community.

In a world brimming with art, competition seems tough,
and it's easy -- alone -- to feel not good enough.
But the community on DeviantArt is so vast,
A new artist is kindred, without needing to ask.

One's watchers bring support, encouragement, praise,
criticism with care, a rare sight these days.
And then there are artists you yourself get to find
who bring inspiration and tutorials of all kinds.

Our young deviant friend has grown these last years,
Making friends, asking questions, overcoming art fears.
And of course they've paid forward the community love,
When newbies come seeking answers from above.

Oh! Our artist's nostalgia must come to an end.
They need to deliver an art gift to a friend.
But they'll always cherish the community that gave them their start.
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good art!
╰( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡° )つ──🎨*:・゚

–Creatively crafted by LaurenKitsune

Our sincere thanks ♥

As staff members, we get to feel the love from the community every day, but it's always humbling to hear from deviants whose individual experiences over the years have brought them friends from around the world and shaped the artists they've become.

We'd like to thank the community for the gift you give us all year round -- nurturing and taking part in the site all of us love so much. After sixteen years, you're what we're all here for and it's the spirit of the community that keeps DeviantArt's running.

Wishing you and yours health and happiness this holiday season.

~Heidi, and the entire DeviantArt Staff

Deviant Spotlight: Meet The Artists

Mon Dec 5, 2016, 6:59 PM
Og-spotlight by marioluevanosDeviantArt and Laika Studios have come together to bring you the new Kubo and the Two Strings Story Within Contest! Create an illustration showing Kubo overcoming a difficult obstacle inspired by the movie trailer or your own personal experience for a chance to win a selection of collector Kubo items and cash prizes!

Meet The Artists

Learn more about the techniques and thought processes that went into creating these beautiful and inspirational scenes for the Kubo and the Two Strings Story Within Contest!

Tell us about your piece: What obstacle is Kubo overcoming, and how does the power of music and his friends and loved ones help him overcome that obstacle?

“Kubo is overcoming the obstacle of fear and embracing his heart for the sake of saving his village, family, and the world.”

How did you create your artwork?

“I created my piece with paper, watery acrylic and bleach.”

What was the thought process behind your artwork’s creative concept?

“My thought process was more on how much bleach I could use to create movement and contrast. I was trying to see how far I could take it before the piece could accidently become a big blurr cause to much bleach could ruin it. Everything else I was able to control well so the piece was able to come out to what i had hoped it would show.”

Tell us about your piece: What obstacle is Kubo overcoming, and how does the power of music and his friends and loved ones help him overcome that obstacle?

“I wanted to capture that feeling of being overwhelmed at the seemingly impossible journey ahead. I think it’s common to feel anxiety and doubt when there’s a looming responsibility, but I think surrounding yourself with positive influences helps keep you focused. For Kubo, he was given the task of stopping his grandfather all the while surviving against giant skeleton warriors, carnivorous sea monsters, and his crazy aunts but with the help of his family, he was able to overcome them.”

How long did it take you to create your piece?

“I’d hate to say it was kind of last minute, so I had about 6 hours the last night of the contest submissions. It was pretty fun experience though because a few friends and I all entered the contest so we hung out together while working on our pieces, and it’s awesome because most of us got in the top 25. Which kind of ties into my metaphor about having positive influences around you. I don’t think I would have had the same result if we weren’t in it together.”

How did the trailer for Kubo & The Two Strings inspire you to create your final submission?

“I wanted to keep the characters and symbolism from the movie while still trying to create an original composition. The movie is beautifully crafted, as to be expected from Laika films, so there was a lot to be inspired by.”

Tell us about your piece: What obstacle is Kubo overcoming, and how does the power of music and his friends and loved ones help him overcome that obstacle?

“The overall piece is about Kubo overcoming the hatred for his enemy, the Moon King. Throughout the course of the movie, we saw Kubo lose everything he loved to this man and his evil daughters, so the battle is justified with the kid’s hatred towards his god of a grandfather. In the end, though, even after losing his mother and everything he ever loved, he accepted his grandfather into his life when the god became mortal and weak, so defenseless. Rather than striking him down, Kubo’s maturity and humanity shone through in helping his grandfather find peace in this new body.

It is the love and humanity in Kubo’s heart that leads to such a fate for both he and his grandfather. Rather than slay the dragon, the knight heals it and peace is restored between foes. He doesn’t even defeat his grandfather with the sword nor armor, he uses his shamisen and the strings representing his loved ones.

Love is what saved him. It’s what saved them both.”

How long did it take you to create your piece?

“Longer than I expected, but mainly because I was working with vibrant colors I don’t usually dip into. A few days, perhaps 8 to 10 hours?”

How did you create your artwork?

“With patience, carefulness, and understanding — just kidding. I just sketched, prayed, looked up color references (a lot of festivals and city buildings at night actually helped with this), and every character / prop done on their own separate layers so they can be manipulated easier.

Most times I draw the linework along with a light sketch and place the colors and effects under it, just to save the final “over details” for last (which are usually the most fun parts).”

Tell us about your piece: What obstacle is Kubo overcoming, and how does the power of music and his friends and loved ones help him overcome that obstacle?

“The obstacle that he is overcoming is being there for others when things are scary and unknown. I chose to keep his instrument next to him as sometimes you gotta give up some things that you love to help others. Sometimes to help you gotta make your own sacrifices, even when things are getting uneasy and scary. At the top where Kubo comes from, the light is soft and more happy while the bottom is darker, more ominous and not sure what is lurking at the bottom. Its scary sometimes to help others, especially when you are risking your own happiness and safety. Though for those that we love, we would willingly go in head first smiling just to save them or keep them happy.”

What story are you aiming to tell with your final submission?

“No matter how scary and hard things get, keep pushing forward with a smile!”

How did the trailer for Kubo & The Two Strings inspire you to create your final submission?

“A lot of the scenes in the trailer had something difficult that Kubo had to overcome yet he always had a grin. Especially in one of the posters he had a grin, and I feel that the trailer showed a lot that he was a kid that would do anything to help the ones he cared about, and no matter what it was he would go in smiling.”

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