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Hi everyone,

most of you who've been a watcher of mine for the last of years know that I haven't been very active here on dA for quite a long time. It's only recently that I've taken up creating art again and I find that very pleasing although I don't have much time due to my day job.

But I have gained some more insight into dA now that I'm back in the art realm again: I find that dA has changed a lot (well, at least the photomanipulation community has ;)) since I've uploaded my last artwork. Browsing the photomanipulation gallery, you can mostly see stuff done by professionals. There are hardly any hobbyists anymore. I don't know why. Maybe it's because they've given up knowing they'll never stand a chance among those pros or maybe it's because they've moved onto doing something else (their day jobs probably?!). Sadly some that I was good friends with have left :(.
Another thing that is closely linked with my above point is that they are not only professionals, but they are just a small group of elite artists. I'm not going to name any of them, but I'm sure you know who they are. This is makes the photomanipulation gallery very one-dimensional, also because everyone else tries to imitate their style.

What do you think? Do hobbyists still stand a chance here on dA (it's just the the photomanipulation community I'm talking about, mind you)?

Take care and have a great time

- Simone

What happened to 3-month premium membership??

Journal Entry: Thu Jun 13, 2013, 12:02 AM
Hi everyone,

I just wanted to extend my premium membership (and I usually chose the 3 month option), but you can only buy 12 month premium membership now, in case you don't want to switch to automatic billing. WHAT IS THIS :no: ?! Is dA trying to commit their members to them? Now this is a rip-off of the grandest kind!!! I'm thinking of not extending my premium membership now because I'm really tired of this greedy place here!

CSS Journal Coded by FleX177

The future of photomanipulation

Journal Entry: Sun Mar 17, 2013, 8:28 AM
A lot has changed in the photomanipulation community and genre since I created my first manipulation - and not necessarily in a very positive way.
Lately, there's been a tendency which makes it harder and harder for non-professional artists to create high-quality artworks because...

1. You are no longer allowed to use sxc.hu as they recently released an official statement saying that artists like photomanipulators aren't allowed to take images from sxc.hu and alter them UNLESS they have the original photographer's permission to do so, but even that is tricky because you very often aren't allowed to display the final result on websites like dA.
Now since sxc.hu was one of the leading sources for us photomanipulators to get high quality images, and above all a huge selection of photos to choose from, it's very hard to find something similar.

2. High quality stock images are expensive . If you want your photomanip to be unique, creative and individual (and I'm sure that you want that), you'll have to pay for stock images because like I said previously, high quality stock is rarely freely accessible nowadays, and you have to go to places like istock, dreamstime or depositphotos and purchase your stock photos. This is costly, expecially if you are a non-professional artist and/or produce artworks frequently!

3. Stock images on dA are often subject to too many restrictions. There are lots of very good stock images on dA, and it'll probably be the most reliable source for photomanipulators in the future, but unfortunately, stock artists very often have too many and sometimes very odd rules for the use of their photographs, and you just get tired of following them all.

4. Art theft . Although this topic is a little worn thin and personally, I'm really tired of discussing it, it is indeed a big problem and it's really sad and annoying to see artists having to cover their artworks in watermarks (and thus, very often ruin them) to avoid their artworks being stolen.

I think there's no doubt that it's getting harder and harder for manipulators to create free high quality artworks that are both creative and individual (you know these stock images that are used over and over again in different manips, don't you?), and if you aren't a decent photographer yourself and can fall back on a bunch of friends who are willing to model for you, it won't get easier for you.
I'm not sure where this is going, but personally, I'm slowly turning my back on photomanipulation, even the community because there are too many rules, restrictions and discussions on those rules and restrictions.

CSS Journal Coded by FleX177

  • Listening to: Gregory Alan Isakov
  • Reading: Lorrie Moore

What's this thing with faving journal entries???

Journal Entry: Sat Feb 16, 2013, 1:21 AM
Browsing the list of popular journal entries on dA, I've noticed that people keep writing entries in which they ask dA members to fav their journal entries to win points, free poems, personal features, individually designed artworks AND dedications. I'm not sure what to think of this new trend, but it seems that people keep courting favs, page views and watchers at any cost :roll:.

I hate how dA is slowing turning into a market place.

What do you think?

CSS Journal Coded by FleX177

  • Listening to: Regina Spektor: All the rowboats

Copying on dA and what we can do

Journal Entry: Thu Aug 23, 2012, 8:39 AM
Very often 'copying' is used synonymously with 'art theft' here on dA but beware:  They are two completely different things. Whereas 'copying' means reproducing an artwork, 'theft' is using the artwork (that is not your own) in a new context without asking for permission and perhaps even selling it or benefitting from it in another way.

We're not going to talk about 'art theft' today (there are zillions of blog entries on this topic on dA), but 'copying'. (Side note: The type of art this article is based on is photomanipulation but there are tips for every other art/artist, too.)

Now, first of all, let me classify three different types of 'copycats':

1. A person who reproduces other people's artworks in order to learn and improve from it: Many of those are beginners in their genre/style and just want to get ahead and learn a few things by trying out someone else's style. Sometimes those people aren't even aware that the original artist might not be pleased.

2. A person who likes a certain artwork (or perhaps the stock images used) and wants to create something similar because they want to have that masterpiece for themselves.
An additional problem with photomanipulation is that there is always a limited supply of (high quality) stock images (at least if you only use those from dA) and very often, artworks look similar, although their theme/concept is completely different. This happens because two manips with the same stock model against two different backgrounds might still look similar.

3. A person who copies on purpose because they want to be just as popular/good as the original artist.

Let's move on to the next point:

What can you do?
- Use low resolution submissions of your work but the theme should still be visible.

- Make copying a contest: Pick out one of your artworks and ask people to copy it using similar stock and send them to you.

- Report copies if you see them even from other artists.

- If you're a moderator in a group, vehemently decline artworks that look very similar to others (even if people claim they've never seen the original before).

- Hint groups to copies of originals they've accepted (but don't do that too often, you might end up being the most hated person on dA ;)).

- When you see a copy of one of your own artworks, contact the person and ask to be credited as an inspiration.

- If you see other artworks copied, contact the original artist.

- Be tolerant once in a while! Remember copying is NOT stealing. At least the person has been creative, and perhaps it's you who is a bit paranoid. There might be a plausible reason that you'll know when you ask.

- Don't submit! Yes, you heard me. If you can't stand being copied at all, dA is not the right place for you. Keep your artworks on your hard drive.

A few final words
Quite frankly, sometimes I get a bit irritated by people who make a fuss about someone having made a copy of one of their artworks. It's not that their artwork has been stolen and is now sold as a poster for a lot of money. Remember that it's a compliment in a way, too. The copyist loves and adores your artwork and style and wanted to create something similar. It just wasn't the correct method.
Remember that you're now a respected and popular artist because your artworks are so creative and good that people want to do the same thing. You too were a beginner once and maybe you worked in a similar way.
And last but not least: Remember it might not have been you who had that blazing idea. Perhaps you've unintentionally copied someone as well.

CSS Journal Coded by FleX177

So you're a photomanipulation newbie? A few tips.

Journal Entry: Wed Aug 15, 2012, 1:21 AM
As a newbie in photomanipulation you certainly browse the photomanipulation category on dA very often, don't you? I remember when I got started that I browsed the all-time best submissions and just marvelled at the genius that is shown there (well, I still do but I've got over that a little bit :D) and I said to myself that I wanted to be as good as they are and work hard to become as good as they are.
So I got started and at first I didn't submit my photomanipulations because I was just ashamed of their poor quality. But I remember submitting one manip that I was very proud of at that time. It was a turtle with lots of different things on its back (a very popular theme as I know now) and I liked it but the very first comment I got (and I got very few comments anyway) was 'nice, but ordinary!'. This was so dishearting to me!
In order to save you unpleasant situations like that, here's a few tips that I learned over the years:

#1 Don't set your standard too high

Yes, it's good to have some aims that you want to achieve and some ambition to reach your aims but it can be very disheartening as well when you don't reach your aims within a certain period of time. Some even stop creating art because they think they'll never be good enough!
Yes, Lady-Symphonia is certainly a role-model but you won't be as good as her within a month or maybe even a year.

#2 Join newbie groups

Being a moderator in different groups and a former newbie manipulator, I learned that it's very important for newbies or starters to join groups according to their level. This is very important to gain self-confidence! It makes no sense to join groups with high standards and get declined time and time again and get frustrated over comments like 'you haven't reached our standard yet'. There are tons of newbie groups on dA such as GetWatchers or keepers-of-dreams and many more that are suitable for your level (therefore read the group's rules).
But it's important to be honest to yourself and recognize your own level! Don't overestimate your own qualities and be disappointed when others underestimate them!

#3 Don't forget to give back

I'm sure you want your art to be seen, get a few comments and favs on it. So don't just join groups, submit your works and then sit and wait for your comments and favs - give back as well!
Browse dA, look for artists of similar level as yours, comment on their artworks, give honest feedback on what you think (but be fair and friendly), fav artworks, perhaps even join a group as a contributor - you'll learn a lot about art, people... and dA. You can even make features with your journal!
You'll find that you'll make new friends soon who'll gladly fav your artworks and comment on them.

#4 Be and stay friendly

This may seem obvious but believe me, it's not. This is the internet, and it brings out the worst in people. I'm usually an open and friendly person but I'm convinced I'm very different online.
But being unpopular is always the worst thing, esp. when you're new and you rely on other people. So try to remain friendly and fair even when you feel you're being treated unfair. It will happen but in 99 of 100 cases it's nothing personal. Get over it and create new art!
If you are declined by a group and you don't like the feedback you receive, ignore it but don't start a fight! It's useless and you'll risk being blocked by the group!

#5 Read tons of tutorials

You can find tons of very useful tutorials and walkthroughs on dA: browse.deviantart.com/resource…. Pick out the best and read, read, read. Don't forget to experiment with your newly found knowledge.

#6 Ask!

Once in a while you'll stumble on manips where the artist used certain effects and you'll ask yourself 'how did he/she do that?'. Just ask! You may not get an answer (esp. professional artists, designers and the likes don't reply because they're usually not interested in the community on dA. They just want to get their art seen. Oh and of course, they had an expensive training and they don't want to give their secrets away for free) but you can always try, and very often they gladly share their tips and secrets.

#7 Don't (over-)use artistic brushes and filters

Manips crowded with custom hearts, circles, stars, glitter and fairy dust and two plastic filters applied won't be taken seriously by anyone because they're custom-made and not really original and everyone knows that newbies use filters to blend their stock images and perhaps cover up some mistakes. Applying tons of filters usually makes your artwork look awkward. Fous on the blur and sharpen filters. That's it. You won't need any more.
The same goes for the brushes: Concentrate on a few useful ones (hair, lighting, smoke, cloud, plant) and your artwork will still look natural!

#8 Credit your resources

Always credit your resources, every tiny bracelet, flower or grass brush you use has to be credited. Why? Because they're not your own. Someone else made them or took a photo of it and wants credit for it. Imagine some band used one of your artworks as a cover for their new CD but didn't give credit to you. You'd be pissed, wouldn't you?
It's best to just link to the photograph or brush (and it doesn't matter if you got it from dA or bought it at istock) in your artist's comment. You even have to credit your own resources (just say: the model and background are from my own resources).
If you don't credit, you won't get a DD and many groups will decline you artwork.

#9 Don't paint too much

Artists like AF-studios, ElenaDudina, Lady-Symphonia and LuneBleu started it: Applying paint to their artworks to give them a more painting-like style, and they look absolutely great and stunning because they know how to do it! Many of their admirers have started copying their styles and started painting...fiercely, but less successfully because they don't know how to do it and it just looks awful and awkward. So, if you're uncertain, leave it. It can really ruin an already good manip and you'll find that many artists are successful without overpainting their manips.

#10 Don't buy a tablet

Many artists (esp. the ones already mentioned) favour their Wacom Intuos tablets and rant that they will never create anything without it. Thus, everyone else wants it! It's around 300 € if you can afford it. Even the smaller Wacom Bamboo is around 90 €.
I once owned a Wacom Bamboo (got it on Ebay for 40 €), used it once, decided that I don't get along without, put it back into the box it came in and resold it. I only need my mouse and you do too. It takes some getting used it and it's not easy!

That's it! I really hope it's useful. If you've got questions, comments or even more tips, feel free to share them!

CSS Journal Coded by FleX177

  • Listening to: Natalie Imbruglia: Left of the middle
  • Reading: Amnesia
  • Eating: Chocolate

Finally on Facebook!

Journal Entry: Mon Aug 6, 2012, 1:06 AM
Hi my friends,

I've finally decided to get a Facebook profile: www.facebook.com/simone.held.1…

Add me if you want to!

CSS Journal Coded by FleX177

  • Listening to: personal playlist

Too many non-serious manips on dA?

Journal Entry: Sat Jul 21, 2012, 8:55 AM
wow, folks, it's been a long time since I've been writing a journal entry... I find I mostly write in my journal when there's something to complain about :blushes: which is a shame because dA is such a wonderful site with so many lovely people and stunning artworks.
Anyway, I'm just back from browsing the photomanipulation category and I just can't believe it: there are five body 'retouches' (you know the ones with the huge boobs, bottoms and bellies) and even one sex piece on the photomanipulation front page. On the second page there are eight (!) more freaky body retouches and one more sex related piece :omg:. What has the photomanip genre come down to? How come those nasty little rubbish pieces get so many favs? Is this slowly becoming a porn site?
Is it just me or are these non-serious manips on the rise and taking over???

What's your opinion?

CSS Journal Coded by FleX177

  • Listening to: personal playlist
  • Eating: apple pie
  • Drinking: tea

Great Contest at Sacred Space

Journal Entry: Sun Jun 10, 2012, 4:08 AM
Hi everyone,

I'm usually not one for promoting contests, but this time I make an exception ;): The-Sacred-Space is holding a contest right now.

It's called WHEN DARKNESS FALLS and it's for PHOTOMANIPULATORS only.

You can win lots of amazing prizes, such as plushies, premium memberships and dA points.

I won't participate as I'm one of the judges ;), but I'd be happy to see some of your artworks submitted there.

CSS Journal Coded by FleX177

  • Listening to: The Rescues: We're ok
  • Reading: magazines
  • Eating: strawberries

Photomanipulation Feature: Surreal

Journal Entry: Sat May 5, 2012, 6:13 AM
Wow, it's been ages since my last feature, but I've been really self-absorbed lately. Sorry sorry!!!
Anyway, here you go with some of dA's greatest surreal photomanipulations:

Lost Time by Vanleith Choices by DrumsOfWar The road to Karbala by StigmaChina Under The Last Moon by neodecay Deepration by samoshaver Random Reality II by vimark On an Island by Sidiuss

Mature Content

Flying by Cutteroz
Fear by ratpat13 Reversed by Alshumais Sulfur V by MarcelaBolivar

Mature Content

A Perfect Spot by Cutteroz





P.S. I've got something new in the works as well, but I don't know when it will be ready (hopefully soon).

CSS Journal Coded by FleX177

  • Listening to: Andi Starr: Leaving the white line
  • Drinking: tea

Break from photomanipulating

Journal Entry: Sat Jan 21, 2012, 1:28 AM
Hi my friends,

I'm sure you've noticed that I haven't been very active in photomanipulating lately. First of all, I don't have as much time as I used to have as my job is really time-consuming and doesn't leave me much time to spend on hobbies even at the weekend.
What's more is that I don't have the same inspiration either. I feel totally uninspired and empty at the moment. There aren't many interesting or high-quality stock images for me to use either, and I don't want to use the same stock photos over and over again (but I'm not willing to spend zillions on stock images at istock or dreamstime). In fact, I'm a little bit bored by photomanipulations at the moment: You get to see the same concepts and stock images over and over again! I just feel like photomanipulating doesn't leave you much room to grow artistically :shrug:!
So I decided to take a little break from photomanipulating although I can't control that because inspiration might hit me again sooner than I hoped for ;).

Anyway, I've always been a writer. I started writing poetry at the age of nine and kept on writing throughout my teenage years but more or less stopped for the sake of photomanipulating. I decided to take it up again and see where it takes me. I'll be submitting a few poems very soon so if you're interested in reading them, I'd be more than thrilled to hear your comments :eager: :D!

Simone

CSS Journal Coded by FleX177

  • Listening to: Heather Nova: Siren

Photomanipulation community slowly falling apart??

Journal Entry: Mon Dec 26, 2011, 7:34 AM
Hi folks,

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas with plenty of good food and great gifts that kept you busy for some time and there's no need now for you to hang out on dA :D. That's not to say that I didn't get some cool stuff but I'm using my time off to focus a little on art again and fav some cool new artworks and perhaps discover some new talents ;).
Anyway, when I came back here a few days ago and started browsing the photomanipulation category I found that there haven't been any *real* spectacular photomanips lately (so, there's not a lot to fav at all). Sure, photomanips keep receiving DDs but honestly, only very few made me go "wow!". The same thing goes for new talents who have been few and far between recently. I really miss talented folks who can come up with new and especially own ideas instead of copying others!
I remember about a year ago the "surreal" art folder was crowded with lots of top-notch artworks which kept receiving a lot of favs but there's not much left to admire :no:.

I don't know what it is but I feel like there are lots of good folks leaving dA. Even people like Lady-Symphonia, theflickerees or LuneBleu don't show up much anymore. The stars of the genre seem to be leaving, and including lots of my friends :(. Many people that I've been into regular contact with seem to have gone.

What's the matter with the photomanipulation community? I know, people get older and become busier but I don't really think that's the reason as you always hold on to your hobbies and stay into contact with people.

Tell me your thought on this!

CSS Journal Coded by FleX177

  • Listening to: Nadia Kazmi: My people

Season's Greetings and Photomanipulation Feature

Journal Entry: Thu Dec 22, 2011, 9:02 AM
Hi everyone,

it's been a while since I last posted a journal entry but I've been *really* busy (and I mean it!!!) but thank God, I've finally two weeks off in which I hope to find more time for some art (in fact I've got something in the making but it's not quite ready yet).

Until then, I hope you'll have an amazing Christmas with lots of presents :D and some peace of mind; oh, and a happy new year as well. I hate starting new years as you never know what they'll bring (yes, there's some excitement in that too ;)). Hope you've got awesome parties and lots of fun :singing:!!!

Here goes a new photomanipulation feature. Let's focus on conceptual manips this time:

Other Side by Mish-A-Man Truth by damnengine Tangled angels .I. by temporary-peace The weight of time by Julie-de-Waroquier :thumb82346389: Ignition by Alyz religion by nemorosus Twisted Freedom by Na-TuraL .: karma :. by GokhanKaraag desperation by ANTONINA-art :thumb75256314:

CSS Journal Coded by FleX177

  • Listening to: Beth Orton: Daybreaker

Featured in Musetouch Magazine

Journal Entry: Tue Nov 15, 2011, 9:06 AM
I'm so proud to say that I'm featured in the new issue of the online magazine "MUSETOUCH" :boogie:. I'm so honoured as there are overly talented artists alongside my feature.

I highly recommend leafing through the magazine. It's definitely worth checking out, as there are so many great artworks showcased.

Here's the link: musetouch.net/ (Just click on the magazine cover on the front page to open it up).

CSS Journal Coded by FleX177

  • Listening to: Katie Costello: Lamplight
  • Reading: Caught between cultures

Nasty behaviour on dA

Journal Entry: Mon Nov 7, 2011, 10:11 AM
You know, I always get annoyed when people start cussing and attacking others on dA, especially within groups. I do understand that people get frustrated when their artworks are declined over and over again but I absolutely don't respect offending or even attacking the people who run the group for a declined submission.

Just two days ago I was last attacked as I (among someone else) declined some drawing and provided feedback that the person wouldn't accept. Here's what he told me in a private note (side note: the dispute, in which he called me 'cunt' among other things, had been going on for some time already):

Do what you want its your reaction after what i said, go ahead, I have other groups, I have watchers by miself, Im going to keep going and growing and you always be an untalented fucker playing with photos, so go ahead block me its the best that tiny persons like you can do, I forgive you is not your fault being and feeling less. You have shown that from the beggining of this "dialogue". (btw, I didn't change the spelling or punctuation!)

Needless to say that this isn't the most talented person here on dA: He's got some comic sketches in his gallery but only sketches, nothing serious. I don't know where he gets his self-assuredness :confused:!

Anyway, whenever you are declined, swallow your pride and just leave it alone. There's no use discussing or even attacking people! You'll only reach the opposite!

In my opinion, it should be easier to ban rude people like him from dA completely. I don't think it's acceptable to be treated like this on a website that's supposed to be a place for artists, the most liberal people in the world...

P.S. The guy got blocked from the group :D.

CSS Journal Coded by FleX177

  • Listening to: Nicole Atkins: Mondo amore
  • Watching: Hanna

Photomanipulation Feature: Emotional

Journal Entry: Sun Oct 30, 2011, 3:04 AM
Hey folks,

I thought it might time for a new feature. It's been a while since my last feature but you know, I've been a busy little bee for the last couple of weeks. So, finally I've got some days off but I still need to correct a few class tests :p. Anyway, I can always make some time for features and dA in general so here you go:

Falling by b-lackdante home by MyBestGraysuit Requiem by elestrial :thumb105129897: LL001 - Kain's Bride. by Aphariel Renaissance by YasminaMoya The Untochable by ENZZOK Here You Are by djajakarta Answer by lady-amarillis Bliss by vacuumslayer

CSS Journal Coded by FleX177

  • Listening to: My personal playlist
  • Reading: Lord of the Flies

My second DD!

Journal Entry: Mon Sep 26, 2011, 8:05 AM
Hi dear friends,

yesterday I received my second DD for Next to You by simoneheld. Needless to say, I was VERY suprised but also very happy, of course :dance:!

Unfortunately, it's impossible for me to get back to all the favs and new watchers as I'm a little short on spare time at the moment anyway. I just pop in from to time to keep up with group submissions and personal notes that I receive. And oh yes, I check the new Daily Deviations every day :D.

That being said, I'd like to saya big thank you for all of your support, favs and watches. You're all greatly appreciated!! If you want to contact me or send me a personal note on anything, just feel free to do so, I'll always reply to those.

Lots of love :love:

Simone aka simoneheld

CSS Journal Coded by FleX177

  • Listening to: My personal playlist

Photomanipulation Feature: White

Journal Entry: Sat Sep 24, 2011, 8:06 AM
Finally, a new photomanipulation feature. Like I said, I haven't had much time and I'm still packed but I try to squeeze in a few dA 'sessions' now and then to keep me updated on art :D.
Anyway, enough about me. Here we go with the manips...

White beauty by CindysArt White Queen by BigBad-Red White Temptation by Queen-Uriel Sweet Death by Autonoe Fragile pictures of silence by LuneBleu White guest. by daunhaus Mystica by LVAMPAR

I am well aware that most of these artworks aren't completely white but I think they're much more interesting than completely white manips anyway :D.

CSS Journal Coded by FleX177

  • Listening to: My personal playlist

Less time for dA... and art :(

Journal Entry: Sat Sep 10, 2011, 4:03 AM
Hi my friends and watchers,

some of you already know that I've got a new job as a teacher :dance: and I'm starting on Monday after the big summer break. I'm really glad that I finally got this new job as this is the job that I've been waiting for for such a long time BUT my schedule is really packed (and I mean it!); in fact I've got more lessons to hold and more classes to teach than any other of my colleagues at school. The positive thing is that I get a lot of money (teachers in Germany are among the best paid teachers in the world) but the negative thing is that I won't have much time for anything beside school (at least not for the next three months, then my schedule is going to be reduced :pray:). This means less time for dA and what's even worse, less time for my own art.
I'll try to be online every day to catch up with your messages and group submissions but I certainly won't be able to keep that promise. I'll be online at the weekends, however. I've got some new artwork in the works but I'm not sure when it'll be ready to be submitted as I still need the final idea to make it perfect :). I really hope that this lack of time for my own art will earn me some new and creative ideas for concepts... this is what usually happens: you tend to get the best ideas when you haven't got the time for working on them :p.

Anyway, I really hope to get back to you as soon as possible. Take care.

CSS Journal Coded by FleX177

  • Listening to: Kris Delmhorst: Shotgun singer
  • Reading: Jan Seghers

CSnyder banned from dA permanently...?!

Journal Entry: Fri Sep 2, 2011, 1:50 AM
I just noticed that one quite popular and prominent fellow photomanipulator CSnyder has been banned from dA permanently. Does anyone of you have any background information on this? I'm really suprised because in order to be banned PERMANENTLY I suppose you need to be out of line seriously :shrug:...

CSS Journal Coded by FleX177

  • Listening to: St. Vincent: Strange Mercy
  • Reading: Steve Toltz
  • Watching: Championship athletics