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Monday, October 3, 2011

Profiles of Artists on Social Media

Facebook, Twitter, and Deviantart are three of the biggest ways for artists to spread their work on the internet.  I would like to discuss two particular artists who use these services to reach their fans and customers.

First is Felicia Day.

  • Author and star of webseries: The Guild
  • Cameos, bit parts, and recurring roles on television such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, House M.D., and Eureka
  • Co-star of original web miniseries Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog
  • Voice acting for games such as Fallout: New Vegas and Dragon Age II
  • Vocalist for the songs (Do You Wanna Date My) Avatar and Game On
  • Is absolutely adorable at any and all times
Felicia, the Queen of the Internet, uses pretty much every form of social media there is. Her web series, The Guild originally ran on YouTube where it gained enough popularity that she was able to get sponsorship for the series from its second season on. Felicia has a facebook profile, but she treats it more like a fan page. This was the same way she treated her old myspace page. She is, however, a very active user of twitter. As seen in this video, maybe a little too active on twitter. She uses her tweets to announce projects she's working on and the release dates of those projects. She also does occasionally respond to tweets from fans (I personally got one a couple weeks ago). Another way to reach her fans is through the game, World of Warcraft. On The Guild's main site there is information on how to find the server and guild that the cast of the show plays on. Many people have joined that guild just to interact with the actors from the show and I can tell you from first hand experience that they are a total laugh riot (and she is a total potty-mouth).

Next up is Wen Yu Li
  • Lead art designer for Anima Studios
  • Does commission work on request
  • All around super cool guy who actually let me interview him for this project
Wen, or Wen-m as he's known on deviantart and the Anima forums, is an American artist who works for a Spanish company as well as does commission work for people from pretty much anywhere on the planet.  The key to Wen's current success is deviantart (which I often read as "devian tart" which makes me hungry for pastry). The head of Anima Studios saw Wen's work on deviantart and asked him to be an artist for his RPG project and ultimately Wen also became the lead artist for the miniatures line based on the RPG (some of you might remember two miniatures I posted a couple weeks ago for the dailyshoot about the color yellow, the one with the sniper rifle was his original design). 

The process of making the art is pretty simple. Wen and Carlos, the head of Anima Studios, chat on MSN messenger (morning in Wen's time, night for Carlos) and discuss what the character is like and any specific features he or she will have. Sometimes Wen is given free reign on what to design. Wen spends about 4 to 5 days making the image and then sends it to Carlos via ftp (file transfer protocol). The final approved artwork is given a release date usually intended to build up expectations for the final book and/or miniature associated with that artwork. Wen's commission work runs pretty much the same way. People drop him a note on deviantart and they discuss what should be in the image, a deadline, and a price. 

I feel that the main reason deviantart is superior to a lot of other art sites is because it lets people interact with each other whereas other sites seem to just be bland photo galleries with no personality at all. I have friends on my deviantart (shameless self-promotion) that I don't even have on facebook. Deviantart allows artists and art enthusiasts to find each other, share work, buy prints, and just talk to each other all built seamlessly together.

While most of the interview was weaved into the above paragraphs, I'd like to keep these last two parts in his own words.

In an alternate reality without the internet, how do you think your life would be? Would you still be a professional artist?
i think i would, like how artists tried to get jobs before, going to companies and showing artwork to them in person. 

Anything else you'd like to say on the use of the internet to spread your art or any social media you use in your career?
It makes some part of my work much easier, and enables some parts that would have been impossible other wise. like working remotely for an oversea company, or being able to send them an image in minutes, as opposed to a week in postal mail. 

To finish it off, I'll give you some samples that show the sheer variety of Wen's work and talent (taken from his previously linked to deviantart).

I always loved this dress. I asked Wen years ago if I could use this design for a wedding dress for whomever I end up marrying to wear. He probably thought I was joking.


  1. I'm very much pleasantly surprised that you not only mentioned deviantArt but also focused half your post on it. As an artist I use the site myself and do consider it a form of SNS alongside Facebook and Twitter et al, although specifically because of its art slant I find that people who don't have a connection/interest to art (or think they don't) often don't know anything about the site, especially in Japan (but you do have Japanese counterparts like Pixiv, which I understand is more mainstream so that's a good thing).

    It's really cool that you got a short interview out of the guy, and actually after looking through some of his works I find that I've actually taken a look at his gallery before! :) What a coincidence.

  2. I honestly feel that DA is very legitimate. I think it deserves just as much credit as the other sites (and to some extent, maybe more credit). It does occasionally get some big attention. For example, the current Pepsi and Mountain Dew logos are from a contest that was hosted on DA a couple years ago. Something like that would be nigh impossible (or at least nowhere near as smooth) on any other big social networking site.

    Wen was actually how I discovered DA. I got into Anima through their miniatures line (Anima Tactics) back in 2007. From the Anima forums I learned about his work and DA.

    About a year after that I made my own DA to preserve a song I wrote that I had lost my original written lyrics for (Autumn). I typed it up there from memory to try to preserve it. I then started posting other lyrics I wrote. I did recently do a bit of a purging of some of them that were about a part of my life I was better off forgetting. I do want to go back and upload more photos of flowers as I have a crapton of them on my hard drive at home.

  3. Awesome blog post, Steven. I appreciate getting to learn more Felicia Day. The way she's manipulated the social media space is quite impressive. Congrats on getting a tweet back from her. I understand that Otto Paertz is rather impressed by you accomplishment (and more importantly your promotion of that accomplishment).

    The second half of your post is even more stellar. Though I must admit that I didn't fully grasp the fact that you'd actually interviewed Wen Yu Li for your post. Perhaps it's due to the fact that I'm reading this at 5:00 in the morning. Also, the white text on black background fatigues my eyes.

    When you mentioned included the two paragraphs from the interview near the end, I tried going back to reread for a mention that you'd done the interview. I couldn't find it (but it's probably just oversight on my part).

    And yes, the images you've included are amazing. Thanks again for your effort!!

  4. great blog post. i enjoyed getting to know a bit more about who felicia day is, although i dont know much in general about these sort of things it was good reading