Art Advice #7: How to Ask for + Provide Critique

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Critique - if asked for and provided correctly - can be beneficial and doesn't have to hurt. Here, we'll talk about some things to keep in mind when asking for as well as when providing critique.

I.    For both the artist and the critiquer - Opening notes
II.   For the artist requesting critique / improvement help
III.  For the person providing critique
IV.   Closing remarks

I. FOR THE ARTIST AND THE CRITIQUER - OPENING NOTES


DeviantArt is a great platform for interacting with other artists and growing your skills, as well as helping others do the same. Critiques may be exchanged in many ways: in a forum or journal post, in the normal deviation comments, via private Note, or even via chat. Be aware that if you don't have a Core Membership, you can still ask for critique - just say so in your deviation description or make a post about it! :)

It's important, however, to remember that people on DA vary greatly from one another in terms of their art - by art genre, skills, and age, of course, but also by goals. Not everyone is working toward getting into art school or making a career out of art. However, people who make art for their own enjoyment often want to improve their art as well, and may ask for and receive critique. (Remember that the terms "amateur" and "hobbyist," just like the term "professional," refer to career, and not to skill level.)

Now, let's look at the actual process of critiquing...


II. FOR THE ARTIST REQUESTING CRITIQUE / IMPROVEMENT HELP


First, make sure you are honestly open to people pointing out mistakes in your work. People here sometimes confuse the terms "critique" and "feedback" - they're not the same thing. While critique is a type of feedback, the essence of critique is pointing out the work's deficiencies as well as its strengths. That said, comments that only point out a work's strengths are NOT useless, but this is not the topic we're addressing here.

More often than not, and especially in the forums, I see people asking for help like this: "Hello. I have been doing art for [amount of time] and feel like I'm not getting better. How can I improve?" And nothing more. Usually, without even a sample of their work posted in the topic. (SPOILER! By doing this, you've just wasted a chance at getting useful information tailored to you specifically.)

Asking for improvement tips is great, and many people here are willing to provide them. However, to better reap the rewards of this opportunity, you need to help people help you.

Topics where you are specific in your request are way more successful than more general ones, since they result in advice that is geared to your particular art level and goals.

Here is a list of things that you should include in your critique request to better guide your potential helpers:

CRITIQUE REQUEST CHECKLIST
  1. Post examples of your current work that show the problem you're having. This is really important! Use the :thumb: codes; don't just link to your gallery - the easier you make it for people to help you, the more willing they will be to do so. If you don't want to upload a work to your gallery (or scraps), use your sta.sh! :) You can still embed images as thumbnails if they're in your sta.sh - just paste the full sta.sh URL.

  2. Explain what, specifically, you do not like about your current work - what you want help with.

  3. Point out what you do like about your current work, so people won't tell you to change things you're happy with.

  4. Describe what look you want to achieve (your artistic vision). For example:
    • Are you aiming for realistic shading (which is not exclusive to realistic drawings, and can be - and often is - applied to stylized drawings just the same) or some other style of shading?

    • Would you like to make action scenes that show full body and full- and detailed-background/environments, or is your preferred type of art something else? Not everybody wants to make the same type of art - describe what kind of art YOU want to make.

    This is particularly important if you're asking the general public for help, since they're not familiar with what type of art you do and what type of art you like.

    If you don't describe what you're shooting for, people will have to rely on assumptions that might not suit you.

  5. If you want CC on a particular piece/drawing, make your request as specific as possible and state whether you're open to redlines.

  6. Also when requesting CC on a particular piece: Is there a certain mood you want the piece to have, or a certain reaction you want to inspire in your viewers (what do you want them to think/feel? "This is awesome!" doesn't count ;) lol, that's a given. ;p )


Finally, when someone responds to your request and spends time helping you, it's common courtesy to acknowledge their assistance. Let them know you really read what they wrote; don't reply with just "thx" [three letters, END OF MESSAGE!] ("k" :| ) or leave them hanging with no reply at all. People took time away from doing things for themselves, their family or friends (or even their clients) to help you; take a moment to reply to them.

Of course, the internet is full of trolls, and not everyone is out there to help you. The first C in "CC" stands for constructive, and it's supposed to help you, not be destructive. You sometimes get random strangers (they usually are) with things like, "This has mistakes" (and nothing else) "Learn to draw!" or "This is really ugly/Ew!/This is [insert expletive]" "Ugh, more [genre] trash" (I've seen all of these on DA). Those people just want to make you feel bad, and nothing else, even if they claim they're trying to help you. Just ignore them.

NOTE: This is off-topic, but it's worth reminding people. I often see people who think learning art is a quick process, that they'll learn it all and be good with just a few months' worth of practice. It doesn't work that way. Art, like anything else, takes time to master. Be patient with yourself! See: Art Advice Issue #3 - Advancing in Art: The 3 Ps


III. FOR THE PERSON PROVIDING CRITIQUE


A good critique points out both strengths and weaknesses, and takes into consideration context, content, and delivery. It is therefore important to try to understand where the artist is coming from, what they want to achieve, and to pay attention to what advice you give and how you give it.

Here are some things to keep in mind:
  • First, make sure that the person is open to critique. (Have they explicitly asked for it?) Unsolicited critique may be ill received. Even if you, personally, think everything that's posted should be critiqued, remember that not everyone thinks the same way, nor should they.

  • Be polite. A polite critique is not any less true or helpful than a roughly worded one (and is more likely to be received well, and, as a result, be helpful).

    An important part of any communication is delivery, not just content. It's similar to telling someone "Sorry! I can't go to your thing; I'm swamped with work," vs. "I don't have time for you; sod off!" It reflects badly only on you, to be honest. And if you're a jerk, it's completely warranted if the person doesn't thank you.

  • Remember that the rules you apply to your own art (eg: "X needs to be realistic/scientifically possible") cannot and should not be forced on other artists (eg: if someone, knowingly, wants to draw spines bending in ways that are realistically impossible, they're free to do it). Art is, after all, about creativity. You can mention it, if you want, to prod whether it was done knowingly or not, but if they're doing it on purpose, it's their right to do so.

  • Take into consideration the person's level, artistic preferences, and goals. Do not assume they're similar to your own.

  • Make sure you understand, as much as possible, what the artist wants help with and what they want to achieve with their art (in terms of aesthetics, and, if applicable, also in terms of purpose). Look at the checklist in Section II. above - if their request does not include these items, and you feel it would be helpful if it did, ask them to provide that information.

  • Be specific with your suggestions. General things like "Study anatomy/color theory/perspective/etc." are not helpful if the person cannot see what in their drawing made you say that. It's like a person not understanding the interaction between air friction (etc.) and a falling object (and not knowing that they don't) and someone replying with just "Study physics!" They'll be just as lost before that comment as they were before.

    Reply, instead, with something like this: "The left arm is too short for realistic anatomy. When extended, the wrist should reach the bottom of the buttocks." You can do this either just verbally or with the aid of a redline, if they're open to it.

    Then you can link them to a tutorial or book, if you want, but make sure you've given them some sort of orientation first.

  • Tell them what they're doing well, too. This is not "sugar-coating." Oftentimes, people don't realize what their strengths are (and they won't if no one tells them!), and may erroneously think they're doing those things wrong, too, and change them.

  • Critique does not have to be a one-way communication. If you want, feel free to sound ideas off of the artist, regarding their work, and turn it into a brainstorming session. Of course, this is up to you and how much time you want to or can dedicate to the activity!



IV. CLOSING REMARKS


By paying attention to both how critique is requested, as well as to how it is given, we, as artists, can both grow and help others to do the same. Communication skills are important. When engaging in critique sessions online, take the time to reread what you have written before you click Send, and put yourself in the other person's shoes. Does my critique request have the necessary information for people to help me? Is my critique open-minded enough to suit people with goals and experiences different from my own?


Thanks for reading, and I hope this article has been, in some way, useful. :heart: If you have any requests for future Art Advice Articles, feel free to either post it in the comments or send me a note.

Until next time!
Heart Balloon Emote 


OTHER ART ADVICE ISSUES:


Making Feminine + Masculine Features (Stylized)ART ADVICE ARTICLE #11: TIPS FOR DRAWING FEMININE FEMALES AND MASCULINE MALESI'm not saying that all female characters should look feminine and all males should look masculine, not at all! But the point of this exercise was to effectively convey a character as either male or female despite hair length, clothing, etc. Every so often, I see people working in anime style asking how to make cartoon/anime guys look male even if they have long hair, so I made this to help in these situations. For this exercise, we'll take the same base sketch (so, in this case, we're not changing either the hairstyle or the face shape), and then use certain visual cues to make one look female and one, male. The results are interesting. : D,BASE SKETCH. I started off with an androgynous face and hairstyle for the base sketch. This is the same sketch used in all the drawings in this article.LINEART. The first thing I did was vary the lineart style. This is optional, but we're just throwing all options out there, and it's interesting to see the difference it makes. ,For the middle one, I turned the line stabilizer ON and used smooth, curving strokes. For the rightmost one, I turned the stabilizer OFF and used straighter lines and more jagged edges.Before we even get to the face, you can see the difference the lineart style alone makes. Now let's add the actual facial features...,Here, I drew the face, using the same lineart technique described above. In addition, I used the following differences:FACIAL FEATURESThin, curves eyebrows vs. thick, angular eyebrowsCurves for drawing eyes (round, oval) vs. straight lines (rectangular)Upper lip vs. no upper lip Rounder bottom lip vs. more rectangular bottom lipSmoother jawline (it could have even been rounder) vs. angular jawlinePointed or rounded chin vs. square chinNeck curves inward to appear slimmer vs. straight lines for neckI didn't even add eyelashes and makeup or facial hair; it wasn't necessary. These items above, alone, were enough to make a difference.It's important to note that most of these in the list above are not actual, real differences between the faces of real men and women. Instead, they are ideas for stylistic decisions(*) to quickly get the idea of "female or male" across to the viewer.I kept the same face shape for this example to keep the base sketch unchanged, but you can, of course, vary face and bone structure, etc. In fact, this is encouraged!CLOSINGThese are not chemistry lab instructions - you can pick and choose what you do, do things differently, etc. and it won't blow up in your face. XD However, it shows several things you can do to make a character look male or female, without changing the basic character design.These are two articles I recommend reading in conjunction with this one. (*)The first explains what style really is (and walks you through finding your own), and the second explains why studying realism will help you make better cartoon/anime art:,Art Advice Issue #5 - How to Find your Own StyleAugust 16, 2016By far the most common concern I see people on DA,,The Misconception Behind 'Study Realism'November 28, 2020 ART ADVICE ISSUE #10 - THE MISCONCEPTION BEHIND(I'm sorry, I can't put them one next to the other)I hope someone finds it helpful. : )OTHER ART ADVICE ARTICLES:Issue #1 - Don't Let Anyone Make you Feel Bad About your Art: Assumptions & Artistic VisionIssue #2 - Dealing with Art Mistakes: How to Have a Positive OutlookIssue #3 - Advancing in Art: The Three PsIssue #4 - a - Basic Tips to Make your Art Look Better b - Advanced Tips for Photographing Traditional ArtIssue #5 - About Style and How to Find your OwnIssue #6 - Dealing with Art BlockIssue #7 - How to Ask for and Provide CritiqueIssue #8 - Random Traditional Art TipsIssue #9 - Debunking Common Art MythsIssue #10 - The Misconception Behind "Study Realism"You can also find these (and other helpful stuff) linked in the "Art Motivation Corner" (green) widget on the bottom right of my profile page. The Misconception Behind 'Study Realism',ART ADVICE ISSUE #10 - THE MISCONCEPTION BEHIND "STUDY REALISM"Most people who draw anime/cartoons have, while asking for ways to improve, at one point or another been told to "study realism." A common response to this is, "But I don't want to draw realism!" But, did you know that the purpose behind this suggestion is NOT so that you draw realism? They're not suggesting you change to a more realistic style. What, then?Let's look at this through an analogy: Say you don't know music yet and decide you want to learn how to play the Happy Birthday song. You're not interested in playing anything else, just the HB song, and you haven't started learning anything related to music at this point. OK, that's fine, and now we have our situation set up. Once you've decided this, you set yourself to learning the sequence of notes to the HB song. You practice and practice, and, after a while, you can play it really well without a hitch.After a few years, it starts feeling bland to you, and you ask, "How can I make my HB song better?" And someone tells you, "Learn all the other music notes," and "Study classical and other genres of music." And you reply, "But I don't want to play that type of music; I want to play the HB song!" (And that's FINE! It's valid; it's what you want to do.[*Footnote 1])But without having learned all the other notes and other types of music, you can't make a remix of the HB song, or an "epic version," or a hip-hop-fusion version; you've capped at the end of the first paragraph of this story. So drawing anime or cartoons is like playing the HB song, or any one song in our example. And here's where our misunderstanding comes in: "Study Realism" DOES NOT MEAN "Draw Realism"Yes, you'll have to draw it to study it (not only your brain, but also your hand needs to learn the skill), but it doesn't mean that's what all your artwork will look like. It is meant to give you more tools to make your anime and cartoon work stronger, more appealing, and more unique. How will it do that? The more music notes you know, the more types of music you understand and can play, the more original a remix/version of the Happy Birthday song you'll be able to make - and it will be unique. Because you will be able to take all that diverse knowledge and apply it to your song, making it stand out, and the next time you play the HB song, people will go, "Wow! This is a really cool version!"So now we can be clear: There is a difference between learning something and performing it. You can perform whatever you choose, but by learning all the things, your performance of your "Thing of Choice" will be stronger.What, Exactly, Will Studying Realism Teach You, Then?,I. VALUESIf you learn how to paint/shade with a full range of values (by learning realistic shading) that properly depict both volume and lighting, you will have no trouble simplifying that to cel-shading or gradient-shading in your anime or cartoon drawings, because you will at once spot when something is undershaded or the shadows are in the wrong spot. On the other hand, if you try to do cel- or gradient-shading first, you are way more likely to a) undershade, and b) have an inconsistent light source. And when these things happen, you won't be able to tell *why* your drawing looks "off" or bland.II. COLORBy studying realistic coloring, you'll be able to learn how color varies across an item (say, a shirt) that is a "solid color." Example: you're drawing a character with a pink t-shirt, standing in the sun, at the end of the school day. The t-shirt is solid pink, however, the colors on it will vary from orange-ish to purple-gray, with some areas almost a bright red (and that's not even considering items around the shirt that would bounce light back onto the shirt and change its color). But you'll only know this (and how to do it) if you study realistic coloring.Then you can apply that knowledge to your stylized artwork and make it stand out more.,Photograph of real pears, by @Daykiney | Drawing of a stylized pear, by me.See how studying realism can enhance your cartoon work.III. MAKE BETTER STYLIZED ANATOMYBy studying and learning realistic anatomy, you will be able to make stylized art that, for example, doesn't have one arm longer than the other, because you will have learned how to measure proportions, even if you don't draw realistic proportions. So that if you decide you want to draw unrealistically long legs (eg: Sailor Moon), you'll be able to make them look good and keep them consistent.You will also be able to draw figures in any position, because you will have learned how body parts are made up and how they move, as well as foreshortening/perspective.So when you go to draw a pose you haven't drawn before, it will be WAY easier.IV. UNDERLYING SHAPESAlthough this is one of the least-mentioned aspects of art-learning, it is, in my opinion, one of the most important, because when you learn to see underlying shapes (the quasi-geometrical shapes that build up a figure), couple with learning how to measure a form using other parts of the same form as reference (measuring the length of one body part by the number of times another body part fits in it, as mentioned in Section III, above), you will be able to DRAW. (Period.) You won't be able to draw just people. Or just wolves. Or just cats. You will be able to break down a new subject into its building blocks and come up with a very reasonable likeness. And whatever's different, you'll easily be able to make relative measurement to spot why and fix it.,Once you learn to identify underlying shapes and how to measure proportions in anything, you will also be able to pick up and reproduce any existing style without much trouble. For example, this was my first time drawing anything Peanuts. I didn't have to do practice-sketches for it (though there's nothing wrong with doing that). But I knew, from realism, that to achieve a good likeness, you need to measure body parts relative to other body parts, so I looked at Schulz's drawings and was able to determine: OK, Charlie Brown's head is roughly this shape, his body is so many heads tall, his eyes are this % of the head, the ears are this far in, the arms reach down to here, etc. I knew what to look for.V. FOR THOSE WHO WANT SEMI-REALISMIf you want to do "semi-realism," you'll have a way easier time of it by learning realism and then stripping it down as much as you like, than by starting off with "100% anime" and trying to build it up without knowledge of realism. People think the latter is easier, because it *seems* less intimidating, but it's like trying to drive to a store you've never been to without knowing its address: you'll be driving around forever trying to find it, and it will be frustrating. What people call "semi-realism" is stylized realism, and you can't really hit it without knowing how realism works.CLOSING NOTESIt also doesn't mean you should stop drawing anime/cartoons and focus solely on realism for X amount of time - you can do both concurrently. In fact, the most fun way to study realism is to do so on your favorite subjects; you can even turn your reference into your favorite character!Studying realism is also one of the best ways to help develop your OWN, unique style; one which, when people look at it, say, "Oh, that's [your name]'s work!" For more on this, see: Art Advice Issue #5: About Style and How to Find Your Own.*Footnote 1: It is fine as long as you are drawing for yourself. As soon as art is a job and you're drawing for an employer, you have to draw in the style they tell you to. So, in this case, it's to your advantage to be flexible. I hope this was helpful and helps clear up a common misunderstanding people go through when receiving feedback. OTHER ART ADVICE ARTICLES:Issue #1 - Don't Let Anyone Make you Feel Bad About your Art: Assumptions & Artistic Vision Issue #2 - Dealing with Art Mistakes: How to Have a Positive Outlook Issue #3 - Advancing in Art: The Three PsIssue #4 - a - Basic Tips to Make your Art Look Better b - Advanced Tips for Photographing Traditional Art Issue #5 - About Style and How to Find your Own Issue #6 - Dealing with Art Block Issue #7 - How to Ask for and Provide Critique Issue #8 - Random Traditional Art Tips Issue #9 - Debunking Common Art Myths Issue #10 - this oneIssue #11 - Making Feminine & Masculine Features (Stylized) You can also find these (and other helpful stuff) linked in the "Art Motivation Corner" (green) widget on the bottom right of my profile page. Art Advice Issue #9 - Debunking Common Art Myths
There are many phrases here on DeviantArt that get passed around and repeated like they're The Art Law. Usually, these pieces of advice are well meant, and they may have been relevant to the person who first received them, but they are usually not universal truths - what applies to one person may not necessarily apply to everyone else. Let's take a look at some of these and see what's really behind them.


Star! MISCONCEPTION #1 - THE GREATER THE LEVEL OF DETAIL, THE BETTER THE ART
That's like saying coffee with twenty sugars is better than coffee with just two. :XD: Some people might like some coffee in their sugar, but it's not for everyone.
The general idea behind this may have been that if an artist can put believable textures and details into their work, they've honed their skills well. However, this idea often gets misinterpreted, resulting in beginner artists believing tha
Art Advice Issue #8 - Random Traditional Art Tips
GENERAL
* If you draw or paint on a table, keep a paper tissue under your drawing hand to keep the oils in your skin from transferring to the paper (this happens even if you've just washed your hands), which may keep the pigments from being properly absorbed in some places.
DRAWING
* To check for errors in your sketch, especially those relating to symmetry, rotate your canvas and place it on each of its sides, step away and look at it. Also, take a photo or scan it, and do a horizontal flip on the image with your computer.
* To easily transfer your sketch onto watercolor paper, board, wood, or other surface, color the back side of your sketch (scan and print it onto regular printer paper if it's in your sketchbook) with a graphite pencil (2B works fine, HB is harder to transfer), tape it graphite-side-down to your watercolor paper, and go over the lines with a pen or sharp pencil. This works like carbon paper but th
Art Advice Issue #6 - Dealing with Art Block
There's something really important to keep in mind: "Art Block" is a mental state, and, as such, it is temporary and you can overcome it!

The term "art block" is misleading, because it makes you think it has one definition, when, in fact, it is a term used to refer to several quite different situations. Here, we'll talk about the different types of art block and how to overcome them.
Star!  TYPE 1 - I WANT TO DRAW, BUT I DON'T KNOW WHAT!
This is the easiest type of art block to deal with. DRAW ANYTHING! It doesn't have to be something spectacular; drawing an object on your desk or in your room will do; it will help you break out of this art block. Here are some ideas for you:
Ask your friends or watchers or random people for suggestions. You don't have to draw all of them; just take the ones that seem appealing to you.Draw random objects: dec
Art Advice Issue #5 - How to Find your Own Style
By far the most common concern I see people on DA mention is, "I wish I had my own style / How can I get my own style?" Hardly a week goes by when I don't see different people saying this. Because of this, I decided to write this article with some tips people may find useful, when searching for a style to call their own. This is what I did, ten years ago, when I was trying to find my own manga style; and I've mentioned this method to some other people and they found it informative and useful as well, so I'm sharing it with you all.
The first part of this article will talk about what is included in what we call "style" (did you know personal style is also found in realism?) and the reasons behind common stylizations (as commonly seen in anime and manga).
The second part talks about how an artist arrives at his or her style, and describes a method you can use if you don't want to wait for your style to surface organically ... in other words, if you wan
Tips for Photographing Traditional Artwork
A more advanced expansion on my "Basic Tips" article, Basic Tips to Make your Art Look Better. First, let us recap on those basics:
TIPS FOR PHOTOGRAPHING ARTWORK:
Make sure your picture is laid out flat, either lying flat on your desk or attached to a wall. Minimize wrinkles. Set your camera perpendicular (at a 90-degree angle) to your picture. You can use the paper or the canvas' edges as guides against your camera's display to align the picture properly.Unless you have a DSLR with an adjustable flash and are well versed in flash photography, do not use a flash.Take the photo in a well-lit area.
This probably doesn't work if you use a phone camera, but if you use a regular camera and your hands aren't steady enough, set your camera on a pile of book (or use a tripod if you have one) to keep it steady, and use the timer to take the phot
Basic Tips to Make your Art Look Better
This month's article is a two-parter; one with basic presentation tips for different media, and one with more advanced suggestions for photographing traditional art. For the more advanced article, see here: Tips for Photographing Traditional Artwork
This part s super basic and requires no skill whatsoever, but for people who do this, it REALLY helps your art look better, when displaying online, and minimizes rejections from Groups.
I. ALL MEDIA - MAKE YOUR OWN WATERMARK OR SIGNATURE

:new:UPDATE Jan. 2022: This section used to advise against using intrusive watermarks, providing examples as to why they make your piece less attractive, and offered more aesthetic alternatives. However, given the recent mass-scale wave of theft the art community is currently undergoing, I feel I can no longer advise against intrusive watermarks. Thieves have brought us to this. Do what you must.
SUGGESTIONS:
Art Advice Issue #3 - Advancing in Art: The 3 Ps
For people who are new at art, or new at a different medium.
Keeping what I call "the three Ps" in mind will help you power through and not quit before you've reached your goal.
I. - PRACTICE
It sounds cliché, but practicing is necessary; not just for art, but for everything. Much like athletes spend years in the youth levels, learning the skills, before they can become professionals... and then even when they're pros, they go to training every day, to hone their skills. Just like they do, so, too, must an artist practice.
Footballer fella (Sports) Da Vinci Fella (Artists)  
Practice can be anything. It doesn't mean you must shade so many spheres before you can-- no! You can shake it up! You practice and hone your skills with every drawing you make. You can practice drawing your OCs, your pet, your favorite piece of decoration in your house. Practice with s
Art Advice #2 - How to Have a Positive Outlook
When doing art, we know what we want something to look like. When it doesn't turn out the way we want it to, it's easy to fall into the trap of feeling discouraged. But don't!!
:bulletyellow: First, if it gives you some consolation, know the fact that everyone screws up sometimes, even professionals. People just tend to not show their screw-ups, so it's easy to make the false assumption that everything they do is wonderful and they never mess up. Just because you didn't see it doesn't mean it didn't happen. Mistakes and product the artist doesn't like happen to everyone at all levels. It's completely normal!
:bulletyellow: Change your outlook about mistakes. When we draw something that doesn't come out how we intended it, keeping these two things in mind will help you move forward:Every time something doesn't come out "right," we get one step closer to getting to the point where it does come out just the w
Don't Let Anyone Make you Feel Bad About your Art
INSPIRATIONAL ART ADVICE JOURNALS - ISSUE #1
DON'T LET ANYONE MAKE YOU FEEL BAD ABOUT YOUR ART + ASSUMPTIONS AND DIFFERENT ARTISTIC VISIONS

I see so many people with destructive rather than constructive comments on people's art or even general styles of art. In my [previous journal entry], I mentioned how, if you're doing art for your own enjoyment, the only person your art has to please is yourself, and I mentioned about people having different artistic visions.  Since my return to DA, I have seen many people being made to feel insecure about their art. Here's a very old anecdote that I'm using just for illustrative purposes here, and hopefully it will inspire you to not give up...
Back when I was in elementary school, I'd made this little painting for art class (the assignment was to paint whatever we wanted) and was insanely proud of it, thought it was


OTHER RESOURCE JOURNALS:
Common Questions by New DA Members, v.2.1,NOTE: This is for the web version of DA; things may look different on the app. 1. How do I get more audience engagement on my work?DA is a social site as much as it is an art site - talk to people!When someone leaves a nice comment on your art, reply; thank them. Many people won't leave a comment on your art if they see you never reply to the comments you do get; they might assume they're wasting their time talking into the void, so take a couple of seconds and reply to nice comments with a Thank you (as a reply to their comment on your work; leaving "thank you" comments on people's profile pages is seen as spam by some).Go out and comment on other people's art! Other people like getting comments as much as you do. 2. How to properly reply to someone's messageThis is not a question, but I see about half of new deviants doing this wrong (including myself, when I first joined). When you want to reply to someone's comment, be sure to use the Reply button, which ensures the other person receives your reply in their inbox. If you don't do this, the other person will not be notified of your reply, and will never realize you did so. 3. How do I get my art more visibility?--A. GROUPS There are many, many works submitted to DA at any given moment, which makes the chances of any one particular work being seen by a random passerby very small. To increase visibility for your work, the best thing to do is to join and submit your art to [Groups]. When a piece of art is submitted and accepted into a group, all of that group's watchers will see that piece in their inbox! The more specific a group is to a particular interest (examples: a particular fandom, a theme [common ones: cute art, kemonomimi, animals, nature photography], etc.), the more likely your art will reach people with interests similar to yours, and the more likely you will be to receive comments, favs, and watches. Some groups accept art automatically, while others require each submission to go through a voting process by their moderators. Be sure to read each group's rules before submitting art to that group.--B. FORUM You can post thumbnails of your work on the Thumbshare sections of the [forum] To post a thumbnail, simply copy-paste the URL of the Deviation Page (not image URL) into the body of your forum post. Everyone can post thumbnails in the forum, not just Core (paid) members.--C. TAG YOUR WORKMake the best use of hashtags so that people who are interested in things related to your work find it more easily. Things to tag:Your medium (eg: #photography #watercolor #fractalart #digitalart), and you can even go deeper (eg: #stilllifephotography #fashionphotography ) and use variants (#watercolour). Try to include tags that match the official DA [Topics] to increase your chances of your art ending up in one of them.Your subject (eg: for a fanart piece, tag the name of the fandom and the name of the character(s)). The general theme of your work (eg: #portrait #landscape #fantasy #animals). In general, think about what YOU would search when looking for artwork made by others. 4. What is "watching" and how does it work?"Watching" is DeviantArt's term for "following." You can add someone to your Watch list by going to their profile page and clicking the "+watch" button on the top right corner. This button, in the form of a text link, is also found on each deviation (artwork) page, right after the person's username, under the image. By +Watching an artist, you will receive a notification every time they upload new work, journals, and other information. You can view their new uploads by clicking on the "WATCH" link on the top left navigation toolbar. If there is new content for you to check out, there will be a green dot after the word "WATCH.",Once on the Watch Page, you can select what type of content you want to see, or click on "All" to view all types of uploads.,You can find out how many people you watch and how many watch you by going to your About Page, accessible from your profile, on the navigation menu under your cover image. 5. What are llama badges?Llama badges are just for fun, and are one of DA's traditions. They are free to give to others, and a great way to say "thank you" or "hi." As you collect more llamas, your llama badge "levels up" and the badge in your profile page changes in appearance. These are the different llama levels currently available: [Llama Levels]. 6. What are Points and how can I get them?Points are DA's on-site currency. They can be used to purchase commissions, premium content (only available on some galleries and deviations), and Core Memberships, among other things.You can obtain them in a number of different ways:Purchase them here: [Points Page]Win points by participating in contests that offer point prizesActivate the Donations Widget in your profile (go to your profile page, hover your cursor between sections on the right hand side of the page, click on "+ Add Section," select "Donation Pool" and fill up the required fields on the pool widget)Offer art commissions, by enabling the Commissions widget on your profile 7. How do I draw on DeviantArt?Even though DA does have a drawing tool, called [Muro], most users make their art either traditionally and scan/photograph it (to learn how to properly photograph your traditional artwork, look here: Basic Tips to Make your Art Look Better), or digitally using their preferred digital painting software, such as Adobe Photoshop/CreativeSuite, Paint Tool Sai, Corel Painter, Gimp, FireAlpaca, MangaStudio, Krita, or even MSPaint. 8. How can I get people to commission me?Activating the Commissions widget does not mean you will get commissioners - like any business, you need to market yourself. Join Groups and expand your audience (the more watchers you have, the more likely people will commission you). Post your commission info to groups that specialize in advertising and commissions, and in the forum (in "Job Services" if you're asking to get paid in real currency, or in "Projects" if you're asking to get paid in DA points). When setting your prices, be sure not to underprice your work; that is not fair either for you nor for other artists looking to make a living out of art.You can browse commissions made available by other people by click on BROWSE, and then on the COMMISSIONS tab on the right. 9. What do the different symbols after people's usernames mean?For full explanation and visuals, see [This FAQ topic].But, in summary:Orange, pink, or purple and white stars or a "core" banner denote paid (Core) membersBlack medals denote senior members (it's based on contributions to the community)Black hearts denote Community Volunteers (CVs select Daily Deviations or help moderate things around DA)Black DA logo denotes DA Staff (ONLY THESE are staff / work for DA) Beware of Notes from people claiming to work for DA who do not have the black DA logo symbol after them. Only those who have the black DA logo symbol after their username are staff! 10. How do I find and join a Group?First, go to [Groups] and use the search fields and filters on the left side to find groups to your liking. You can search by theme/interest, art medium, or even geographical region, if you like. Note whether a particular group just has their name listed like normal on that page, or if the group's name is followed by an orange banner that says "super" and has a little house icon ; this is important for finding the Join button later on.For a group that sounds interesting to you, go to the group's page, and read through their rules, which are usually posted right on their front page. Otherwise, there will usually be a link to them in their front page. Locate the Join button. (The Join button is only visible on the web version of DA.) Where this Join button is depends on whether the group is a Super Group (those with the orange banner in the groups listing page) or not. If it's not a Super Group, the Join button is at the top. If it is a Super Group, the group's front page will usually have an extra column on the left side... scroll down and you'll find the Join button in that column. Click the Join button (join as a Member) and, if the rules require you to provide any information in the text box, do so; otherwise, just send it in.You will automatically receive a notification in your message center indicating your application for membership in that group. Some groups accept join requests automatically. Others require each application to go through a review process. If the application is not approved automatically, leave the notification in your message center and check back later to see if it's been approved. 11. Helpful Groups for new members @DaWelcomeWagon - has lots of info geared specifically toward new DA members @projecteducate - publishes information about all forms of art, as well as tutorials, art-related articles, etc. @team - stay up to date on all official DA happenings and contests 12. What are Fragments and Gem Badges?They are a new (as of Nov. 2020) way to give recognition to deviations and comments.I have compiled a list of resources and info about them here: [About Fragments and Gem Badges] 13. One of my First Submissions got 100 Favs, but the Others Get Much Less; Why?New DA members get a boost through the "Welcome New Members" strip on the DA homepage, which highlights one of your deviations/submissions - that's probably the one that got that many favs. After a few days, new members are moved out of the New Members strip, to make room for newer members.Once out of the New Members strip, new members have to rely on the same methods as old members to reach a broader audience (See: Question #3)We (older members) also get these in our inboxes:,These messages are part of the Welcome New Member program, and they point us to a new user (or, technically, any user who's just uploaded their first submission) and one of their submissions. The submission in the message is more likely to get more interaction than other submissions in that person's gallery.MINI-GLOSSARY:Some terms that you're likely to see around DA and may sound confusing at first:Adoptable(s) - a character/character design that an artist is sellingBadges - aside from llama and gem badges, there are several badges you can collect by participating in certain activities. You can stay up to date on new badge-earning opportunities by following @team DD - short for "Daily Deviation," a feature of a work, selected by the gallery moderators (known as "community volunteers" and denoted by a ♥ after their username). A DD is the highest honor an artwork can receive on DA. DDs can be found by clicking on the icon circled in purple here: (this side navigation bar is found on the left side of the DA homepage/when you click on the DA logo),Deviant - a DA userDeviation - an art or literature submission to DAEclipse - the version of DA you're seeing now. The previous user interface is commonly referred to as "Green," "Classic," or "Legacy" DA, and is no longer accessible.Tools of the Trade - whatever you use to create artYCH - short for "your character here," when an artist offers to draw someone else's character in the drawn pose/templateCLOSING REMARKSIn addition, DeviantArt has a very comprehensive "Help & FAQ" section, which is found on the dark grey taskbar at the very bottom of any page on DA, and, also, here: help Also check out @JenFruzz 's awesome tutorials on how to find your way around the site: [Explore Eclipse]And below are some articles by me that you might find useful:ART ADVICE AND OTHER ARTICLES:Basic Tips to Make your Art Look BetterIndex of Art Advice ArticlesOther Useful Links

 You can always find a direct link to these articles in the "Art Motivation Corner" widget on the bottom right corner of my profile page and in the "Resources for you" section of my gallery.

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LavleyArt's avatar
I've done this wrong ALL the time! Thank you a real lot! :heart: I'll keep that in mind!