An Artist's Inspiration

You may know him as Avery, DarkRapier, ReqiuemDemonic, or a Wizard101 Central Graphics Champion, but whatever the case, you've probably seen his artwork. Now take a look at his personal journey in the world of art and internet gaming, and the effects Wizard101 have had on him.

My name is Avery, better known around the community as DarkRapier, as that is the name I sign my artworks under, or RequiemDemonic, my Twitter username. I am an artist who has been around in the community for quite some time. Despite no longer being active in the Wizard101 game itself, I feel that being in the Wizard101 community in general has shaped who I am today as an artist.

In the Beginning

Before getting into the Wizard101 fandom, I had already taken an interest in drawing. I remember looking at every single thing that looked visually appealing to me and going "I want to draw that." Needless to say, most of the things that I would say "I want to draw" for, never made it on paper. Drawing wasn’t at the forefront of my mind. It was an on-and-off activity that I sometimes did to impress my friends. 

I believe it was in my last year of secondary school that I stumbled across a commercial for Wizard101. I remember looking at that screen and them immediately jumping online to make an account. To my disappointment, the miserable piece of rubbish called "my computer" was unable to run the game. 

I did however manage to draw a piece a fanart based off of screenshots. I wasn’t exactly proud of that drawing, though.

A Change of Pace

Cut to high school. My parents decided to move me to the United States where I began to see advertisements for Wizard101 basically every weekend I turned on the television. Spurred by the obtainment of a new computer and the isolation I felt by relocating, I decided to give the game another go.

And it worked. I blazed through Wizard City and Krokotopia in roughly a week. Then I hit Marleybone. I remember steering my character through the Marleybonian church doors and being taking aback completely by what I saw. A night sky dotted with glowing stars, hot air balloon gracing the skyways, beautiful architecture lining the cobblestone. The atmosphere created by the warm lights on cool blues of the night along with the sheer activity that I saw in Reagent’s Square pulled me into the world. 

I remember telling myself the same thing that I told myself many times before: "I had to draw this." And this time I did.

The drawing that started it all

Now the anatomy of the Marleybone piece was, in retrospect, quite terrible, and the perspective, quite skewed. I look back at this now and think to myself "Wow, I thought that this was actually decent back then?" But the aesthetic of the piece isn’t what made this drawing significant. It was the fact that this drawing started it all. It started my entire Wizard101 drawing rampage, and most importantly made me more motivated to pick up a pencil. I had never before done a finished piece of this caliber (and some may argue that I never have never quite been able to measure up to this again).

The Spark

I posted the drawing on DeviantArt and Wizard101 Central, and the warm reception that it got completely shocked me. It was the first time I had gotten so much attention online for my artwork, and it motivated me to draw more. 

From there, I decided to open up a request thread on Central. There, I was able to draw many different types of characters, wearing a variety of different clothing. Many of my requesters also had female wizards, which forced me to focus more on female anatomy and facial structure for the first time. In the time when my requests were open, I was able to use it as an opportunity to experiment with many different poses, media, and expressions. Requests also gave me a purpose to draw. It is one thing to draw for yourself, and only have yourself as a critic and a cheerleader. It is another thing to draw for someone else, to read the messages of appreciation that they send to you. It may not seem like a lot, but the kind messages that I received in return for my drawings often made my day. 

I continued to post my drawings on DeviantArt, the website that I would consider the base housing for my works. Through DeviantArt, I met many outstanding artists who have influenced me in many ways. 

Personal Growth

I would consider myself to be the type of person who is afraid of risk. I tend to stay confined in a small box of expertise, and refuse to come out and try my hand at new things. I do not know whether it is because fear of failure or complete laziness, but it has hindered my artistic progress significantly. Being a part of an artist community has aided me significantly in overcoming that. It was through the Wizard101 artist community I picked up digital art (after the persistent suggestion from a fellow artist) and it was through the community I picked up several techniques that now embody my work today. Without the constant push of everyone who has supported me in my drawing, I would, no doubt, be a very different person today, perhaps less motivated. After all, half of the reason why I strive to be better is for myself. And while I hate to admit this, the other larger part strives to impress. 

As I have mentioned earlier, I have quit playing the Wizard101 game itself almost altogether due to lack of incentive to go on endless farming cycles for gear that gets harder and harder to obtain. But in terms of contributing art to the community, I am still very much alive, but mostly because of my original characters. Although they are called original characters, I am aware that they are not very original at all, because everything “original” has already been done. But it is still very satisfying having characters who you can call your own, to spin their lore and design their personalities and ideals. 

My original characters. I spent a lot of time developing their backstories and appearances.

I was inspired to create my own stories based on Wizard101 after reading some magnificent fan fictions from the community. The life that the writers are able to breathe into their characters by simply using words has become a subject of envy for me. Although I have not gotten a project quite off the ground, one of my biggest goals is to one day tell the story of my characters via comic format. Or perhaps altogether diverge from the fandom and weave a new story in a universe of my own creation. 

Lex, my Pyromancer, and my most developered original character

It is without doubt that being in the community has pushed me to experiment more with my art. And through that, I have gained more confidence with my abilities. I now draw more than ever, always carrying a sketchbook wherever I go. I also carry the dream that one day I will be able to pursue what I love professionally, but that is perhaps a dream better left a merely a dream given the impossible competition in the fields I oh-so desire. But the prospect is always there, and perhaps one day when I feel bold, I may decide to abandon logic and chase after my daydreams. But for now, I will stay as a simple teenager who loves to draw.

For more of this amazing work, check out his DeviantArt page HERE, or follow him on Twitter @ReqiuemDemonic. A big thank you to Avery for taking the time to write this post! Thanks for reading and see you in the Spiral!

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