Every two weeks, we will be interviewing commenters and volunteers at ProjectComment, specifically revolving around their life on deviantART and, the purpose of ProjectComment, constructive comments.
We sincerely hope you enjoy reading the eightieth interview of this series with RetSamys! If you have a spare moment, feel free to the news article, too.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Ret. I am a librarian. Well, an apprentice librarian. I work in a place of wonders (some of the people there are actually quite wondrous).
I'm a bibliophile (i.e. book freak ), I enjoy animation (animate means "to make alive" - Frankenstein, anyone?), I like working with software (hardware is too hard core for me - sometimes even literally, as experienced by my toes when kicking in frustration) and I consider myself an artist (work in progress, I'm getting better at being one very slowly).
Why are you on DeviantART and what makes you stay?
I'm a big fan of the Google image search. It is a massive tool now and a few years ago, it was practically the only tool strong enough to satisfy my curiosity. No, not that kind of curiosity. It was the kind of curiosity that could (perhaps) kill Schödinger's cat with melting watches. The kind of curiosity that made Jackson Pollock look like Picasso. To be more accurate, I was into contemporary Surrealism and into abstract digital art. It was much easier to go through Favourite folders on deviantArt. There were people out there as crazy as I was!
Two years later, I joined deviantArt. I was super active. Which means, it took me a year to come back.
I uploaded my mediocre works - drawings edited with MS Paint (!) and German poems. For me, it was just a place to upload and manage my art. Until the juggernaut of online community took its toll on me. I learned how to use the GIMP and more art tools. I learned how to find things I'm interested in. This started with Daily Deviations and became a roller-coaster experience when I discovered Groups. And now, people comment on my deviations, I help others learning stuff, I provide services, there are challenges that keep me busy! YouTube and dA have become my two main social networks.
What kind of feedback do you prefer and why?
In this order: comments, watches, favourites, features, Llamas. I like quantity over quality. Judge me all you like. I'm really comfortable with the way I am.
I love comments. They are pretty much universal, you can find them on any social network. And they are versatile, they range from emoticons to questions to thoughtful comments to walls of text . The better the comment, the better my reply. I enjoy questions the most. Which surprised me a bit. I enjoy telling some fun facts about the artwork and explaining my steps towards the result.
Why do you comment?
There is no "like" button on deviantArt. No, seriously, most of the time, I don't want to put it into my Favourites, but I still want to show the artist that I appreciate their work. But about 10% of my comments are (supposed to be) thoughtful and about 50% have at least some amount of feedback besides comment à la "Ugh, I like!". Another 10% are questions.
What do you always bear in mind when commenting?
I always kill with kindness. At least, I try .
I always keep in mind that anything I write is publicly available. This means that I have to behave . I have to imagine that people could think of me the ignorant fool I am even 10 or 100 years in the future. And there's no way I will let you think that!
What is the difference between a constructive comment and a critique in your opinion?
There shouldn't be one. A constructive comment should always contain a critique and a critique should amount to a constructive guideline.
The way I see it, a comment can be shorter than a critique. By shorter, I don't just mean the total number of words, I also mean the length of thought put into it. And the nature of a comment demands to be directed at the artist, to be specific in its objective, to be engaged with the subject at hand. In contrast, a critique is directed at the art and at other people, it shouldn't have any extra objective and it takes the subject at hand into account, but there is no interaction with it - nor is interaction with the artist expected.
What has been the best and worst experience for you in terms of comments?
The worst experience was a troll. Duh. It's a lot of work hiding all those comments with a dedicated, multi-account idiot.
The second worst was spam. It's sad that some of those bots make it to my comment section...
The best experience was a large quantity on to of my animations. One specific experience was someone wanting me to write a tutorial (which I wholeheartedly did - the tutorial is now one of my most successful deviations).
Do you have any future plans in terms of DeviantART and such? Any ongoing projects currently?
Oh. Oh, yes, oh, yes. I do. I always have projects. Most of them end like one half of my socks... lost in my socks drawer... never to be looked at again...
However, there are a few strong ongoing ones. I challenge myself to make a new pencil sketch every day. I offer free CSS coding for Journal Skins. I am building a theme-specific group called Flying-Islands-Here. I create and participate in monthly theme challenges hosted by Dreamers-Welcome. I participate in the 52 Week Comment Challenge hosted by .
The biggest project is the oldest one. It kindled my creativity and inspired others. I am part of a youth group called Lese- und Schreibwerkstatt (it's German, it translates to "reading and writing workshop"), a club centred around a library (literally, the room we meet in has a children's and young adult's library as its core), reading, writing, creativity and (most importantly) fun. Two groups meet weekly and the colourful program has so much to offer!
And my future plans for dA are fame and success. And world peace. Maybe some more tutorials. And definitely more artwork. Giving as many comments as I have page views. (I did it once. Once.)
And I really need to get back into programming so that I can make ActionScript templates and browser extensions and stuff like that. I want to get people to use my work. And maybe one more font? And... oh, so many ideas...
Can you offer any tips to commenters?
Think. Then, write. Write a lot. It will either force you to be more detailed and structured or to blather on about nothing at all. In the latter case, think more.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
I would like to thank this group for interviewing and featuring me.
Do you have questions? Any questions at all? About deviantArt, about commenting, about Journal Skins or CSS, about how I made certain deviations or even tutorials, do you need help with the GIMP, do you want to know how to make an animated GIF, do you need my opinion on something or simply need to talk to someone? Do ask. I like answering questions that are directly directed at my direction.
Thank you RetSamys!
For more interviews, please click here.