Project Educate: Handhelds & Icons: Day 4
Today, I interview `FantasyStock, Co-founder of #Free-dAvatars and part-time iconist.
1. Firstly, please tell me a bit about #Free-dAvatars and how it started.
#Free-dAvatars is a group of artists that make free (general use) avatars for members of deviantART to use. People who watch our group get to enjoy a rich selection of freebies.
Like a lot of good things at dA, the idea originated in a journal entry. I was contacted by ~avarator to see if I'd like to help run ~avatar-inc as a club. Eventually, ~avarator had to take a hiatus from dA, and I wanted to do things with the club that would have changed his club, so I started the ~FreeAvatarProject.
Not long after that, dA instituted a new Groups system, and our club members voted to keep the project account AND to create a new group. (We saw benefits to having both.) This is how #Free-dAvatars was born.
2. Obviously, avatar icons for deviantart are restricted to 50x50, so what in your opinion makes an icon stand out from others?
Originality is #1. We don't accept avatars in our gallery that contain any video game screen shots, CD covers, movie posters, etc. It's all 100% original art work in 50x50 format. We're mainly there to grow as artists, not copiers.
Only slightly second is skill. We have a Hall of Fame in our gallery that shows some of our group admin's favorite things that can be found in our group. These are deviations that took time, skill, and creativity. They show off some of our members' bravado, some iconist chutzpah, if you will.
3. Do you think the quality of avatars has improved over the past year? If so, how?
Yes, I do. Everyone that is actively making these little icons is probably also increasing their skills. This means that more and more "high quality" avatars keep showing up.
4. Show us a few of your favourite avatars and why you chose them.
by =AcidKitty3 is a cool concept. I've seen a lot of bottled avatars with all sorts of things inside, but I've never seen anyone bottle EVERYTHING. That's priceless.
by =angelishi is amazingly detailed. It's awesome for so many reasons. It emotes so much gruesome emotion in such a small piece of art that it's difficult to tear my eyes away.
by *Adkage I like the delightful shininess of this. Some static avatars are so perfectly done that animation would somewhat detract from the whole thing. This is a good example of that.
by =medli20 has a fabulous little walk cycle. This is a trick that kind of scares me as an animator; I've never perfected a walk cycle of my own, so I'm always kind of fascinated (and a bit intimidated) when I see one this cute.
by ~Lazarus-D has been one of my favorite free avvies for a long time. I like how the concept was executed with the little drumming noises animated into it like comic art.
by ~LadyAway amuses me so much! Ok, so we make exceptions on the originality thing for some dA memes, and this is one of those exceptions because it's just so freaking silly and creative. I love it!
by `CookiemagiK is a really good emoticon avvie in my opinion. It emotes a very specific feeling... LOL, let's just say I relate to this poor, adorable emoticon lately.
by ~ArtNerdEm As mentioned, we welcome fan art into our group, but it should be original work. This is a wonderful example of that. It's cute, it's well crafted, and it's 100% original.
by =Mini-Umbrella I don't feel it's biased of me to say that #Free-dAvatars has one of the BEST selections of free food and beverage avatars found anywhere. This is just one example of why I can say that.
by ~RoseSagae is a fun animation made for the World Cup. I'm not a huge football fan, but the animation mesmerizes me. It's hypnotic. I like it when an effect like this can draw me in even when I'm not particularly interested in the subject.
:thumb181471582: by !nilhilium07 I think this was one of my top three personal favorites from our last Halloween challenge. I can't find a single thing I'd change about it. In my personal opinion; it's perfect!
by ~j-mullen is just cute. I like the style of the shading, the dreamy quality. It's like a pixel painting. It's got a nice, peaceful vibe to it. Even without the benefit of animation, I see a lot of motion in the scenery.
by *etNoir The detail and shading are a lot of fun in this set of free avvies. The moon shows up in a lot of free avatars, but these are exceptional in my opinion.
by =pjuk is excellent because of the creative concept and the overall minimalist execution. An avvie like this doesn't need a lot of sparkles and action. It's exactly what it needs to be to deliver the message.
by =oOLuccianaOo ...A worthy meaning in a really adorable piece of pixel chibi art. It shows that just by wearing a sign of support for a cause with a little link in your signature can help make the world a better place.
by `Hardrockangel Remember floppy disks? No? (Feeling old now.) Anyway, this is a simple avvie without a lot of bells and whistles, yet I find it utterly charming.
5. How important do you think it is for da avatars to get DDs?
Very. Especially the free ones. Free avatars artists often dedicate a lot of time when crafting these 50x50 pieces of art for other people to use, and they don't ask much in return. It's good work without any pay. There should be some recognition for the best of them.
6. What inspires you in your icon creation?
Most of the time, I get inspired by other avatars from our group. Like, I noticed a trend of bottled avatars that inspired my to try making my own series of bottled stuff. That's also what inspired me to try making a few emoticon avatars.
Our monthly challenges inspire me because each month's theme usually makes me want to come up with something new.
Thank you, Sara!