Common Questions by New DA Members

18 min read
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By barananduen
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NOTE: Locations of buttons, as mentioned here, are for the Green web version of DeviantArt. The app and Eclipse are laid out differently, and buttons may be in different locations or missing altogether.

1. How to properly reply to someone's message.  Whai hai thar :hai: 

This 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.

2. What are llama badges?  llama walk 

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

Even though llamas are free to give, some people may pay you points Points to buy them. These trade offers are visible, when available, in your badges page, on the far right side, under "Recent Offers." When one such offer is available, you will see a small table with a user's avatar, the number of points they're giving per llama received, and a blue "Give llama badge" link. If you click on the blue link and the transaction is successful, you will automatically receive the stated amount of points.

3. How do I get points?  Catch them points 

Points are DA's currency. You can obtain them in a number of different ways:
  • Purchase them here: [Points Page]
  • Win points by participating in contests that offer point prizes
  • Participate in the llama trade (see Question #2 above, "What are llama badges?")
  • Activate the Donations Widget in your profile (go to your profile page, click on the "Edit Page" button on the top right, and add the Donations widget)
  • Offer art commissions, by enabling the Commissions widget on your profile

4. How do I get my art more visibility? Gallery 

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.

You can post thumbnails of your work on the Thumbshare sections of the forum
The thumbnail code is found on the far right side of any deviation page, and looks like this: :thumb#######:

5. How do I draw on DeviantArt? deviantArt Muro Icon ultramini 

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.

6. How can I get people to commission me? :allmymoney: 

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.

7.What is "watching" and how does it work? Added to my devWatch! 

"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 is also found to the bottom right of each deviation (artwork) the person has submitted, right under the image.

By +Watching an artist, you will receive a notification every time they upload new work, journals, and other information.

You can find out how many people you watch and how many watch you by going to your Gallery Stats, accessible from your front page.

8. How do I find and join a Group? deviantART Groups 

  1. 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. :)

  2. 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 deviantART Groups ; this is important for finding the Join button later on.

  3. 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.

  4. Locate the Join button. 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.

  5. 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.


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 selling
  • 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). DDs can be found here: DDs Page
  • Kiriban - a prize offered by some members to someone who catches and screencaps when their visitor counter reaches a certain, specified number
  • Tools of the Trade - whatever you use to create art
  • YCH - short for "your character here," when an artist offers to draw someone else's character in the drawn pose/template


DeviantArt also 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


Other recommendations for new members:
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.

Identifying your work is important, but the DA watermark (although it is a nice service to have) is not the best way to go about it. Even though it is easy to apply, unless you have a huge following already, you're hurting yourself more than you're protecting yourself by using it. It's very large and in the center, hurting the visibility and appeal of your work. You've spent a lot of time on your drawing or phot
Pink Flower Irfanview -  Image viewer and simple editor (resize, convert, color hex codes, transform colors) -
Pink Flower Gimp - Digital painting and full image editing software; can use brushes made for Photoshop -
Pink Flower Unfreez - For making animations; small and simple program -

General Art Advice Articles:
Don't Let Anyone Make you Feel Bad About your Art

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
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
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.
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
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:
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
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
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.
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 #7: How to Ask for + Provide Critique
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
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 rememb
Art Advice Issue #8 - Random Traditional Art Tips
:new: June 26, 2019: Added a section on Colored Pencils. Please scroll to the bottom.
* 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.
* 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,

You can find other useful tips and advice journals here:…

© 2017 - 2020 barananduen
anonymous's avatar
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warriorcatzFrostfire's avatar

Hi, I have a question about the contests, and I hope you might know the answer. I drew something for the prizes in this competition,

and I have NO IDEA how to send the prize to the winner! can you help?

thanks, warriorcatzFrostfire

Nala15's avatar
1) Upload the prize picture to your Deviantart gallery or to your stash.
2) Send a link to your upload via note or comment to the winner.

How that helps. :)
warriorcatzFrostfire's avatar

thank you nala!!!! But can I make it digital instead if possible?

Nala15's avatar
You can make it whatever you and the winner decide upon. Make sure you always talk to them directly about what they want (notes or comments). :)
Nala15's avatar
You’re welcome. :aww:
Novarise367's avatar
Hey, quick question. Just recently my 31 day trial for Paint Tool Sai expired, so i went to get a license, and found that it was 50$! But nowhere does it say if it's like a monthly payment, or a yearly thing, and i was just wondering if you knew? Cuz i don't really want to spend 50$ a month on it! XD
barananduen's avatar
I wouldn't be able to tell you; I've never used SAI. :/
Novarise367's avatar
Alright, thank you anyway! :D
xxXDovewingXxx's avatar
Tysm this was really helpful!!
barananduen's avatar
xxXDovewingXxx's avatar
j45ony's avatar
Thanks its rly helpful.
barananduen's avatar
Glad to hear it was! :D
KorudoAmari's avatar
Tysm, this is really helpful!
barananduen's avatar
You're welcome! Glad it was so!
KorudoAmari's avatar
noelcorral's avatar
Super thankyou! :D
barananduen's avatar
Floral-Queen's avatar
A whole new world! Thanks for putting this out there for new people like me! :)
barananduen's avatar
You're quite welcome! :D
AntaDesgovernada's avatar
Wow, Thank you!! That was very helpful! Helped me a lot! :D (Big Grin) :happybounce: 
barananduen's avatar
You're welcome! Glad it was helpful! :D
MaLove00's avatar
Thank you!! This helps out a lot!!
anonymous's avatar
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