As some of you may know from previous posts, I feel very strongly about art education — specifically focusing on the education artists get the least of in art school but need the most: the Business and Mental Health info creatives need to build and sustain an art career that supports us without giving up in despair or burning out in depression or anxiety. To that end I write posts here, and also run a whole host of educational programs with Marc Scheff under our Drawn and Drafted project. And I’d like to celebrate one of those projects today: Happy 5th Anniversary, Dear Art Director!

I know many of you have visited the site since Dan is kind enough to link to it on the frontpage of Muddy Colors. But if you haven’t, then in short, DearAD is a website where anyone can post a question (either anonymously or not) and a panel of professional Art Directors (and a very business savvy professional artist or two who might as well be ADs) answer the questions under cute art-relevant code names. Why do we answer under code names? Because we A) can be more honest this way (sometimes real talk is necessary but we’re all softies and hate hurting your feelings) B) so our day jobs can have plausible deniability – many of us are spokespeople for our companies and it gets in the way of said real talk sometimes.

So I can’t tell you who each Agent is, but they’re not just from SFF, we have a wide range of industries answering under the masks of Agent Deadline, Agent KillFee, Agent Critique, Agent Thumbnail, Agent Moneypenny, Agent Negative Space, Agent Order, Agent PMS201, Agent Command-Z, and our less-frequent guests.

So over the past 5 years we have hundreds of posts, each with a snappy animated gif, and a ton of real world advice. If you haven’t checked out the site in a while, you should. Or, if tumblr isn’t your thing, every post gets tweeted at the @drawnanddrafted account so you can follow us there, or search the hashtag #DearAD. And while we don’t NEED more questions (we can barely keep up as it is) you’re always welcome to ask! But chances are, we’ve answered your question already, so check out our Top Ten Most Popular Posts, or our Most Popular Tags page. We try to answer the new and unique questions we haven’t already answered a few times as quickly as possible.

Here’s our very first post, from June 2015.

And here’s the list of our most popular posts — and I bet we’ve each struggled with most of these issues at some point in our careers (and lives):

Our most popular post has over 8,000 notes and reshares. Mostly because I don’t know a single artist who hasn’t struggled with that problem.

Since it’s our 5th year, and we have over 10k followers on tumblr, we’re planning some big DearAD projects this year, so stay tuned!

Thanks to all of you who have submitted questions, followed, and liked posts. And most of all, thanks to Kyle Webster for our Dear Art Director site mascot!