From the archives of Mistdale University
I almost didn't want to write this. I hate talking about myself, and my emotional state is fragile at best these days. But, after reading some of the journals floating around out there, I felt I needed to join in, and not just for the badge.
deviantART has been a part of my life for five years, but my story begins a lot earlier, back in 2001, when at age five my family and I moved overseas from Australia to Sri Lanka. Being the only natively english-speaking kid (minus my brothers) at school, making friends was difficult. I didn't last a year at the school, and soon left to be home schooled by my mother, which really amounted to a lot of reading.
I loved books, and gobbled up anything I could get my hands on. I remember staying up till midnight reading Harry Potter
and memorising Calvin and Hobbes
issues back to front. Very soon afterwards, we moved to the Maldives, this time for five years. I never felt at home there, and often desired to go back to Australia, back home.
When you think of the Maldives, you think of sandy beaches and thousands of island resorts, and while there are tonnes of those there, I lived on Malé, the tiny capital island, and there was very little to actually do. What english speaking friends I could make would invariably leave. I played with Lego, I read my books, I watched any English movies and television series we could buy (everything on TV was from India/Sri Lanka). When we finally left to return to Australia, I was so excited.
And then, returning home in 2007, I came back to year six primary school. With the social skills of the five year old I left as. It was rough, and living with my grandparents one hundred kilometres from where our school was (we used to go there when we're still living here, so we went back) didn't help.
Then, because my grandmother worked there, I participated the Multiple Schlerosis Society's Read-a-thon. I recieved a copy of Triss,
and it actually sat on my shelf for three months because I couldn't get over Kurda's accent enough to start reading it. When I finally did, I actually loved it, and finished the book in a single day. After she saw how much I loved the book, my grandmother brought back a damaged copy of Brockhall
that they couldn't send out as pledge rewards, and I loved that too. I still have both books.
In 2008, secondary school began, and we returned to the home I grew up in. Things were better when everyone was new. I made friends, friends that would last until the end. And there, at the school, was a library, and at that library was a copy of Redwall.
The eponymous book. I read it, loved it, and found at the back a list of all the Redwall books. Tonnes of them. Going on wikipedia told me Redwall once had a TV show made about it, and through youtube, I watched it. Now I finally had faces to go to Martin, to Matthias. About the same time, I was reading Taggerung.
And then, when I was searching the web for fanart, just to see if it even existed, I found this.
Everyone who is a fan of Redwall on the internet knows this picture, I'd wager, or at least at the time. CyberCatMia, aka Saphamia
. Oh my god. I had found the mother lode
of Redwall fanart, I thought. Just looking over everything she drew made me want to draw, myself, much like Redwall had made me want to write.
And so I did. I made an account, and after a good ten minutes of trying to think up a username that was Redwall-esque, I settled on Acorntail. I always liked the squirrels.
As an aside, I have since learnt that Acorntail is the name of a character from the Warrior Cats series. I did try to read the series, but it didn't grab me like Redwall did. Sometimes I wonder if I robbed a Warrior's fan of a good username.
I joined deviantART on the 24th of July, 2009.
I started by uploading this:
Not quite the Taggerung that brought me here, but hey, I was 13, and had only really just started drawing. The artist's comments on this thing really highlight my fanboy-ism I had going on for 'Mia.
I had an inkling of an idea of what an art trade was, but I thought it was when an artist emulated the style of another on deviantART. I asked CyberCatMia what it meant after looking through her gallery and seeing a whole bunch of out of place (i.e. not Redwall or Guinea Pigs) pieces titled Art Trade. She replied by asking if I'd like one.
(Oh god why)
I was ecstatic to see Celen and Ferria in her style, as though they had come from Redwall itself. I really, really, really wanted to draw them now, and so I tried a meme.
And, then, an inconspicuous comment on that meme:
Having someone that I could talk to about everything and anything made me a lot more confident about myself. Having someone to collaborate with and practice with and write with made me aware of what I was doing wrong, but more importantly, what I was doing right. I improved in leaps and bounds, not uploading much, but every time I did, I thought it was an improvement over last time.
Some time in between was the Redwall Mossflower Movie project, that I joined as script writer. A misunderstanding between what the point of a script was meant I had to leave the project, as I was taking too long to write it.
At the time, I thought cinematography, audio, titles and animation were all tied into the script, when what Brev needed was just dialogue and direction. What should have been basically reading the book and putting it into type became a convoluted, exhausting and intimidating pre-production process. Now doing film studies at University, I am really annoyed at how misguided I was.
But, the few scripts I produced attracted the bulk of my followers - you!
Most of you guys came for the script, and stayed for the character creator (still my most viewed deviation - 11000 views!), but I want to thank you. Thank you for sticking with me through the endless hiatuses, and the abandoned projects. Thank you for making a home here for me.
After Mossflower, I wrote Miswoven, and really became friends with Saphamia
rather than a fan boy. After moving away from secondary school, I don't have a lot of friends left. Of those I do, I'd call Amy my only remaining best friend. She's listened intently to my crazy schemes, helped me improve my skills, kept me company through insomnia-ridden nights, and without her, I don't know if I'd had ever come back from that breakdown I had earlier this year.
And that brings us to now. I'm sorry I'm not on a lot, and making promises I can't seem to keep. University is hard, and I'm still not as mature as I'd like to be about it. I really want to share Aryala with you guys, after all you've done for me.
If there's anything I regret during my time here, it's that I don't actually know many of you. The only true friend I have on here is Amy, yet I have 127 watchers. That's not right. You've all been a part of me for years, and I've not done my part. deviantART made me into who I am today, and you guys are all a part of it. I really, really, want to know you guys better.
I may be the protagonist, but my deviantART story is written by you, and so far, it's been amazing.