Nostalgia Time: Oekaki, Deviantart, & Old Internet Friends

For those of you who don’t know (which is probably everyone reading this blog post), an oekaki is a browser-based drawing application. You draw directly on the website and post your images to an imageboard, where other people could comment on them. I remember some oekakis (perhaps all?) recorded all the brushstrokes you made, so you could play back the recording like a speedpainting and see how someone drew their pieces.

I spent a lot of time on oekaki boards in 2006 & 2007, then started growing out of it in 2008. The very last image I drew on an oekaki was actually in 2010. By that time, I’d primarily switched to drawing in GIMP, and the main oekaki board I used,, was fairly dead. There’s very little evidence of the website ever existing on the internet nowadays.

All of my artwork was posted to Deviantart from early 2007 to mid-2016. I actually found out about Deviantart through Neopets, and ended up friends with the same people on both websites. I don’t think any of them have actually been on either website since 2012.

I genuinely haven’t been able to find most of the people I used to talk to on Deviantart, or Neopets, or any oekaki board. Either they’ve distanced themselves from their old usernames and teenage/young adult social media accounts (which is understandable, as I did the same thing) or they’ve flat-out stopped using any kind of social media entirely.

Wherever those people are, I hope they’re doing well.

3 thoughts on “Nostalgia Time: Oekaki, Deviantart, & Old Internet Friends

  1. Hi Jay! I have similar thoughts, however, I still have contact with some of them through Facebook. A few of them pursue a career related to art. Many have University Art degrees. Some started families. We all grew up, and unfortunately have less free time to spend on entertainment (or sometimes even sleep πŸ™‚ ), so it becomes hard to find some free time even for drawing.

    Those were good times, but there are other places we can join and meet other people that share the passion for drawing, such as facebook groups (or from what I saw – communities on Amino). I hope these groups will have a similar impact on young artists as the Oekaki had on us – and encourage them to learn more about art and drawing.

    Best regards, Anna

  2. I actually just stumbled across your blog while searching for any crumb of Neoartists left on the internet! Weird to see something that was such a fixture in our lives wiped out, and I did a terrible job holding on to art and writing from those years. But then oekaki was ephemeral even in it’s heyday — I remember how easy it was to lose hours of work to an accidental refresh, hence all the “safety saves.” πŸ˜› I don’t know if we ever crossed paths, but I went by maira/mairabew back then. Best of luck on your creative pursuits Jay, and I hope I get an invite if there’s ever a NAO reunion…

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