I can't believe I'm that old that this website was founded in February or 2003. I probably joined around 2004 or 2005 remembering they only had a year's worth of monthly special items. This website was a blast but went through some turmoil over the years of its existence.
GaiaOnline was a huge online community (early forms of social networking) that involved collecting 'gold' by doing various things on the website such as dressing up your avatar, joining in polls, playing games, or participating in forums chats. This was how I got to practice my social skills (which were still drastically lacking when it came to actual people) as well as my art and business skills. Due to my limited ability to be around people and having minimal chances to do so outside of school: this was my substitute for many interactive social events.
This was how I learned how to think like others and to put myself in other's shoes: to try and understand how they would think and react to various situations. To be careful of what and how I wrote things. This is where I learned about Original Characters and began to create my own. I would join groups or shops that even created and sold various hand-drawn pets that people collected and even fleshed out as individual characters. I was eager to be a part of this: art, business, writing, and psychology. Also, this is how I spent my summer turning my D in English, into a solid B+ level of writing. (From the bottom of my English AP class to 3rd in the class? Nice!) I spent hours writing and writing while roleplaying various characters and pets. Though some had more of a chance to be fully thought out while some pets were left simple. It increased many aspects of life and skills I now heavily rely on while just playing and having fun at the time. The effort was worth the reward and benefits.
I had gone through some hidden files recently and wanted to share some examples of these pets that I had 'bought' using in-game currency. This in-game currency was called 'gold' and could be obtained free by just roaming around the website, posting on threads, and playing games. There were opportunities to purchase items with real money which was how the website made its money and stayed in business. Individual members could open up their own shops and request 'gold' for their products: usually art either premade or custom.
Below are some drawn for me from throughout the years.
More art for me will be under the art page.
I also did art of my own avatars as well. Practicing different styles over and over.
That stemmed into creating my own Original Characters and living different possibilities with them. I started out a really deep story of a few of them, but sadly never got to finish.
First in the set is River. She was created during the new era of Naruto. Not intending to be in the same world at all and not held by the same rules. I had a whole world created for her which did involve three other original characters and two characters created by my friends and classmates of the time.
The second in this set is Jewel Krystice with a long backstory that also involves her brother Crowne Krystice. She appeared a bit later, closer to the end of my high school years, and worked on during my college days. She also shares her world with the next character in this set.
Third, is King La'Rence. He rules the kingdom that Jewel and Crowne are living in at the beginning of the story. The characters and world were heavily influenced by Tamora Pierce and her books. I loved them as a kid and held strongly to many lessons and morals that were shown. It also helped me add depth to my own characters.
So as you can see I really got into art: both receiving and creating. If you want to see the full set of art I have collected from GaiaOnline or while there, you'll be able to find them on our art page. The years went on and I went through domestic violence which took me away from anything I enjoyed. But while I was away, it seemed the website itself was going through a lot. Watch this video to see how crazy the life of this place went through.
Maybe one day I'll return? Maybe...Maybe...