I first joined this site in August of 2005 so it's been 9 years this month! I joined because I was madly obsessed with Harry Potter (hence my dA name) and I wanted a place to share my fan fiction other than the other sites I was already using. I had been drawing for most of my life, mainly as a hobby but not seriously, until I started here. When I got bored with fan fiction I decided I just wanted to try drawing. I really enjoyed it and posting my work here and having people comment on it made me feel awesome, so I kept at it. Because of dA, I became the artist that I am today. I still only draw as a hobby, but I still love to draw and I would have never even TRIED to use MSPaint if it weren't for dA. The bigger programs like photoshop always overwhelmed and intimidated me and oddly enough, using MSPaint was relaxing and just my pace, so I developed my skills in it.
The very first picture I drew in MSPaint was this (awful lol) one: and it developed into things like this:
I can't express how much dA means to me and I literally cannot leave if I tried. I've met MANY friends here, some of which I still talk to and hang out with in real life. This website has taken me through obsession after obsession by giving me other people who like to talk to about the same things as I do. I used to have dev chats all the time and they used to get super crowded and it was great. But enough of the corniness, I'll just promote some of my favorite people and artworks now.