Yeah I've been dead. I want to draw some mega evolutions or just x y stuff in general but I've been sooper busy. I really have no idea how many people who watch this account even still use DA since I have been so inactive
I'm here still! Even though I don't actually dig through my inbox often, lately.
I know the feeling of wanting to dive back in after being inactive for a while! I've been halfway dead recently, and I'm pretty sure a lot of my old watchers have disappeared too, so it all feels a little empty and abandoned. From the looks of it though, you've still got a good number of folks still around! I'll echo the sentiment of getting to Tumblr a bit too; while it seems that the main crowd is folks in their mid/late teens, the art scene there and the fandom scenes are very strong regardless. There's a good variety of people on there, so it's nice to have alongside dA and all that.
I'm no expert on Tumblr, but I have been around the block once or twice; I have a couple blogs on there actually, so if you do cave in, I can help out a bit with some pointers. But yes, focusing on activity first is the best way to go; simply posting one or two new pieces every couple of weeks can be enough, I had a lot of success with posting new art on just about a weekly basis (and it helps if you're posting to groups and working on stuff within a fandom or particular subject, which you already do with your Pokémon art). You'll be right back on the ball in no time.
Ultimately I want to start a personal site/blog but that will be more competitive/vgc related than art though I want to put all kinds of things. It seems pointless to do it though if nobody really cares since I'd have to pay for a domain (I have one already but I want to uhh.. rebrand lol)
Yeah, I bought myself a domain to start working on a more professional-looking portfolio, but that ended up being a little premature. Still, they're not terribly expensive; roughly $12 a year for mine, if I remember correctly. Tumblr actually gives you a lot of customization with the pages of your blog, beyond the main blog-type feed; it's not as flexible as having your own site, but there's some decent options in there. It does also allow you to apply your own domain to it, so it can be integrated into an existing site as, say, a blog page. It might not be what you need for that sort of a project, but it's worth noting. And I feel your pain on rebranding! I kinda started to do it myself without meaning to, I started up a second online persona just for fun (more sexually-themed art, stuff I wouldn't feel comfortable sharing normally), and two years later, that account kinda gets the majority of my time and has the majority of my watchers, haha. And since the domain I own right now is tied in to this account and everything, which has kinda been left in the dust... I'll probably just leave it be when renewal time comes around again.
I didn't actually know you could do that with tumblr. The issue I have is if I'm putting a lot of work into something like that, I want to be able to collect my own ad revenue and I would assume tumblr has its own ads. (I consider DA a little different since I'm not putting that much effort--just reposting things I have drawn elsewhere and I don't write lengthy blog posts or comments)
Tumblr doesn't have any ads on it (they have sponsored posts), but as far as I'm aware you can't put any of your own on it either. You get what you pay for (which is $0). Still, it's a good place to promote your stuff; it can function as a "normal" blog, but it's really much more well-suited to posting short, sharable things, which can generate some traffic coming back to you as people reblog it. All in all, I've had good success with my other art account on Tumblr, but I can't really say it's earned me anything aside from one commission from a brand that was also using Tumblr for promotion. It's just convenient and simple. And doesn't place any restrictions on mature content, so long as your blog is properly marked. (though the Adult blogs don't show up in search results, last I checked; this makes it difficult for some artists with pornographic work to actually grow their audience. You probably wouldn't be worried about that though, haha.)
I read them sometimes...as for how active you should be on dA, the best part about dA being a voluntary thing (the same with fan art, being a labour of love more than anything) it's totally up to you. Any fan that gets "demanding" is generally not a very considerate person. Just live your life and if you feel you have something worth sharing...share it. I found after a long absence from dA, most of my watchers were quiet silent...and remain inactive in regards to my work to this day. But it's really no skin off my nose. I feel that whenever I post something, if someone else finds it and gets enjoyment out of it...that's good enough.
I consider myself inactive, however I do check my DA account every day. I just don't do anything. I'll look at some art or journals from people or groups that I watch, but I generally don't comment unless I feel like I should. I think it'd be a very awesome thing if you uploaded stuff more often!