The first time I sat down and talked with the CEO of what’s arguably the largest art community in the world DeviantArt, he immediately handed me a pen and a paintbrush. I told him, “I can’t draw.” My sixth grade art teacher told me it would be a waste of time for me to pursue it, although I truly loved to draw. Angelo Sotira, in the two hours I spent with him, inspired me to explore my artistic side again. He told me, “True art is about you truly expressing yourself, not about others.” It’s why, as he explains in the video above, he keeps an art journal with him at all times, and uses it even before meetings, to not only draw what’s on his mind, but to paint notes (in the form of pictures) for his meetings.
The talk about that journal has now evolved into the implementation of a publishing platform on DeviantArt.com, which combines the art of the word and picture. The 80th most popular web site overall in the US announced today that it’s teamed up with Madefire, which makes a publishing platform for comic books, to allow the DeviantArt community to create digital Motion Books™. So, they’re allowing their community to turn their art into money. It’s the latest effort by the site to allow its members to make money on its community of more than 26 million members. A couple of weeks ago, DeviantArt created a platform like 99Designs, which allows its community to bid on paid projects on the site called, Dreamup.
Allowing people to make comic books online is nothing new. I’ve seen a lot of opportunities from many sites, such as Pixton.com and Readwritethink.com, to even Marvel Comics. But it’s not just a matter of creating the opportunity for making the comic books, which artists are looking for, it’s also the opportunity to sell them, view them in a high quality format online, and have a large community to sell them to which are the real issues for artists. That’s why DeviantArt’s partnership with Madefire was so important to its community. Artists will be able to monetize their content. They’ll have the seventh largest social network in the US to share them with in DeviantArt. Plus, they’ll have access to a mobile viewer through Madefire, which allows anyone to take the books from the DeviantArt.com platform, and transfer them to the tablet or phone for easy viewing on the go.
Facebook could certainly learn something from DeviantArt on this front. It’s brilliant to create a partnership that allows users take their content they’re sharing with the community for free, and evolve it into something they can capitalize on with them. It’s even gotten me thinking about taking some of our top talent here at PandoDaily, and getting them on to the DeviantArt platform to create an amazing comic book that depicts Silicon Valley today. It doesn’t cost users a thing to create an online book. For the next month they’re allowing users to sell them through the platform for what comic books originally used to cost, which is 10 cents apiece.
Ultimately, there will be a higher price on books, likely there will be a price scale based on the type of book, number of pages, as well as the popularity of the author, I’m guessing. Deviant Art is still trying to determine the specifics. They haven’t even released what the revenue share will be between the authors and the platform. However, Sotira would say that it would certainly favor the author.