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What's this all about?

DeviantArt is a HUGE website and it's easy to feel invisible, especially if you're new (if you're new, hello, we're happy to have you here!). The aim of this guide is to help you start connecting with other artists and their work as well as sharing your own art and encouraging feedback and interaction. It would be impossible to cover absolutely everything in one journal, so consider it a starting point and get ready to go exploring! I've included a few helpful links under each section, so you can use these as springboards to help you bounce around and find out more.

:bulletgreen: Check out welcome for an introduction to DA
:bulletgreen: Introduce yourself in the Welcome Center forum


Get in the right mindset

The first thing to do is stop thinking simply in terms of what you want to get. DA, like a lot of places on the web, is a social experience. If you've been here for more than 5 minutes, you've probably read about our community. This is what sets DA apart from places where people simply post art then sit back and wait for something to happen.

Instead of thinking "How can I get more people to look at my art?", try thinking "How can I share my art with other people and enjoy their creations too?". Instead of "How can I get more people to watch me?", try "How can I broaden my circle of friends and get to know people better?". In terms of feedback, instead of thinking "How can I get more comments?", try thinking "How can I form connections with people so we can offer feedback and encouragement to each other?". You get what you give. You hit what you head for. Reciprocity is key!

:bulletgreen: FAQ #56: How can I get noticed on this site?
:bulletgreen: FAQ #26: What is the watch and how do I manage my watch listing?
:bulletgreen: FAQ #1: What is the Message Centre and how do I use it?


Introduce yourself, not just your art

Your profile page on DA offers all sorts of opportunities for you to share your personality as well as your art. This is your chance to allow people to get you know you as the fabulous being you are. Make sure you fill in your DeviantID. Post journals about your life, your opinions, your creative process or whatever you'd like to share with your watchers or people who stumble across your profile. You can even use your journals to shine a spotlight on art you love. Post polls to ask your friends questions. Let people see the individual behind the art. And what about when you run into someone who you find interesting as a human as well as an artist? Add them to your watch, talk to them and get to know them! That's how connections happen.

:bulletgreen: FAQ #90: How do I customize my profile page?
:bulletgreen: FAQ #4: Which options can I control under the Edit Settings page?
:bulletgreen: FAQ #100: How do I add, edit or delete journal entries?
:bulletgreen: FAQ #66: What journal features do I have access to?
:bulletgreen: FAQ #101: How do I customize my journal page?


Submit your work with extra thought

When you submit art to DA, it's important to place it in the appropriate gallery. This means that people looking for architectural photography (for example) can go to Photography > Architecture and find photos of architecture. It sounds obvious, but sometimes people put work in what they perceive to be a popular category or a place where lots of people will look, even if it's not the appropriate category for what they're submitting. There's no point in doing this, so please don't be tempted.

As you're going through the submission process, you'll notice that you have a space to write something about what you're submitting. Use this opportunity to share some information about your art - what inspired you to create it, details of the equipment you used or even what kind of feedback you're looking for. It helps people to engage with your art and also gives them a prompt if they'd like to leave a comment.

:bulletgreen: FAQ #163: Where can I find the description to a Gallery that I want to submit to?
:bulletgreen: FAQ #867: Is it possible to move deviations from one page to another in my gallery?


Share your work

"If you build it, they will come" doesn't really work on DA, what with it being the aforementioned HUGE website. There are millions of people here with even more millions of pieces of art. Sitting back and waiting for people to see your work, or relying on the possibility of receiving a Daily Deviation or some other front-page-ish appearance, isn't a productive use of your time. Luckily, there are other ways to share your work with a wider audience.

First of all, join some Groups. If you haven't encountered these before, they're areas of the site built around a common interest or theme and you'll be able to find one for just about anything artistic that you're into. You can search by focus, media, location, type (Basic or Super), number of watchers and how recently a Group was formed at Groups. Another great way to locate Groups is to find one you like then check out its Affiliates (lots of groups display Affiliates on their page). You might also want to check out what Groups artists you know are members of. If you're looking to do more than simply post your art and move on (which you should be!), make sure you look for groups with lots of recent activity and opportunities to engage with things like challenges and contests.

There are also forums and chat rooms specially for sharing your art. If you decide to use these, it's important to make an effort to look at and comment on other people's work as well as just posting your own (see the pattern developing here?).

:bulletgreen: Search for Groups to join at Groups
:bulletgreen: Don't forget to watch or join communityrelations and CRPhotography 
:bulletgreen: Deviation Thumbshare forum
:bulletgreen: Core Thumbshare forum
:bulletgreen: ThumbHub chat room


Engage with commenting and critiquing

Almost everyone loves getting feedback on their art and whether you're looking for specific advice to help you improve or you just want to hear what emotions your creations inspire, DA is a great place to do that. It doesn't happen magically by itself though. If you submit wonderful art to your gallery and post it in a few groups you might get a comment or two. If you dedicate time and energy to getting to know other artists and leaving constructive, detailed comments on their work, you're a lot more likely to find people commenting on your work too.

Nothing is guaranteed though and indiscriminately leaving a bunch of Nice pic :) comments probably won't get you anywhere. This isn't about keeping score. This is about building relationships. It's about giving without expecting something in return. Basically, it's about being someone who people want to connect with and then cherishing that connection.

Chances are you're already watching a few people who have been on DA for years, who seem to have lots of friends, whose art and journals usually have lots of comments. Take a closer look at their activity and you'll see that they consistently engage in positive community-minded behaviour. They probably also have a comment count reaching into thousands per year.

I don't want to give the impression that it's all about numbers (because it really isn't) but there's a huge difference between the experience of someone with a genuine interest in others, who spends time encouraging and helping, offering feedback and critique and generally dedicating energy to giving, and someone who does little beyond posting their own art, submitting it to a couple of groups, copying and pasting 5 short comments a week and complaining that no-one is giving them the attention they're hoping to receive.

:bulletgreen: FAQ #661: How do I post a comment?
:bulletgreen: FAQ #95: What is the Critique Feature and how do I use it?
:bulletgreen: ProjectComment is a friendly group built around constructive, detailed comments as a reciprocal experience. Go and join in!


In conclusion

If you've read this far and you're feeling a bit cheated cause you were expecting to find out how to get but you've actually just found out a lot about how to give, how to do and how to be, then my work here is done. This wasn't supposed to be a trick. It's straight-up honest advice. Not everyone has hours every week (or every day) to spend giving, doing and being on DA but the one thing I'm willing to say with the certainty of experience is that if you focus on upping the quality and frequency of your interactions and being an active part of our community, you'll have a much better time here.

Skin by Dan Leveille
Update: 28th December 2017

In the time since I posted this, it's been shared a whole heap of times in "welcome to DA" posts. So, if you're new to the site and you've found your way here, welcome! I hope you find the information and suggestions useful and that you have a wonderful time and meet lots of awesome artists :heart:




Blog, photography, creative writing and free books at TanyaSimoneSimpson.com
Add a Comment:
 
:iconthe-ponygem:
The-Ponygem Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
Oh! I actually don't check group deviantions that much, because they're a lot...
And I think that I should do that more. I used to, but I started to join to a lot of them xD
I will try to do it more. Also I don't usually give constructive critics (but I comment what I like and why, or what I don't like) because the artist doesn't ask for it. And there are a lot of ppl that hate noticing that they're doing something wrong, and I don't want them to get angry at me for the simple reason that I'm wanting to help...
Reply
:icontanyasimpson:
TanyaSimpson Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2018
Critique definitely isn't the only kind of valid feedback, especially if someone doesn't actively want it. Letting an artist know what you loved and why is awesome :aww:
Reply
:iconthe-ponygem:
The-Ponygem Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
I will try to do it more! I like when someone does to me, so, they will like it too
Reply
:iconanykos:
AnyKos Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2018  Hobbyist Filmographer
Perfect for people who just started Deviantart! =)
Reply
:icontanyasimpson:
TanyaSimpson Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2018
Thanks! I didn't write it for that purpose originally but it seems to be one of those things that gets shared with new people a lot so I hope it's useful :aww:
Reply
:iconcookiecam:
CookieCam Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
This was shared with me :D (Big Grin) 
Reply
:iconthestockwarehouse:
TheStockWarehouse Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
This is excellent advice. Invited into DevNews 
Reply
:icontanyasimpson:
TanyaSimpson Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2018
Aww, thank you! :hug:
Reply
:icondavidr1958:
DavidR1958 Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2017
So simple, so solid. :)
Reply
:icontanyasimpson:
TanyaSimpson Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2018
Thanks :aww: I wanted to keep it as uncomplicated as possible cause it seems to be one of those things that gets shared with new people quite often.
Reply
:iconyuukon:
Yuukon Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2017   Photographer
Great article Tanya, it's good for new people. :)

I noticed there's a bullet missing, though, at the fifth list you put in.
Reply
:icontanyasimpson:
TanyaSimpson Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2017
So weird about the bullet point! The code was there but it wasn't showing up. I copied and pasted exactly the same code, saved it, and it's showing up now :aww:
Reply
:iconyuukon:
Yuukon Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2017   Photographer
Weird indeed! I was actually looking for a typo in the code, but I couldn't find that either. Glad it's fixed now!
Reply
:iconpamonk:
PaMonk Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2017  Professional Artist
This so nice of this thank you so very much and This 😁 (( DeviantArt is a HUGE  this is the first Ever Great )) 😁
Thank you I will This 😁 and thank you....I used are today thank you....😁💗😁
Reply
:icontanyasimpson:
TanyaSimpson Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2017
:heart:
Reply
:iconcapndeek373:
CapnDeek373 Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2017  Professional General Artist
bender dance I'm adding this to my "Welcome to dA greetings". :ahoy:
Reply
:icontanyasimpson:
TanyaSimpson Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2017
Yay! :hug:
Reply
:iconmaryscribbles:
maryscribbles Featured By Owner Dec 14, 2017  Student Digital Artist
This is really helpful, thank you! :heart:
Reply
:icontanyasimpson:
TanyaSimpson Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2017
Glad it's useful :hug:
Reply
:icongarafalwie:
Garafalwie Featured By Owner Nov 18, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you very much for awesome guide
Reply
:icontanyasimpson:
TanyaSimpson Featured By Owner Nov 18, 2017
You're welcome :aww: Glad it was useful!
Reply
:iconemeteriax:
emeteriax Featured By Owner Edited Oct 19, 2017  Student General Artist
This is really helpful! It's so true, reciprocity is definitely key. Thanks a bunch! 
Reply
:icontanyasimpson:
TanyaSimpson Featured By Owner Oct 19, 2017
I'm glad it's helpful :hug:
Reply
:iconsensanasan:
SenSanaSan Featured By Owner Edited Sep 25, 2017  Student Digital Artist
this is amazing thank u for making this Lovely Shoujo Emoji (Huggy Hug) [V2] 
Reply
:icontanyasimpson:
TanyaSimpson Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2017
You're very welcome! Glad it's useful :aww:
Reply
:iconsensanasan:
SenSanaSan Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2017  Student Digital Artist
Amalia - Smile 
Reply
:iconanykos:
AnyKos Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2017  Hobbyist Filmographer
Awesome guide!  It's gonna help everyone including me get around.
Reply
:icontanyasimpson:
TanyaSimpson Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2017
I'm glad it's useful :hug:
Reply
:icondrcreep69:
DrCreep69 Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I'd really love to be giving more and more and having more social interactions, making friends here and stuff :la:
But I'm so bad at social interactions, it's hard for me to do it the right way, it always was ^^;
Reply
:icontanyasimpson:
TanyaSimpson Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2017
DA is a lovely place to be social, even when you're not feeling physical-world social :aww:
Reply
:icondrcreep69:
DrCreep69 Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I have the feeling I can more easily find people I would finally appreciate talking with here ! :happybounce: Even if it won't be that easy and that I'm really bad at meeting new people ^^;
Reply
:iconleevan3884:
LeeVan3884 Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2017  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks a lot for such a wonderful explanation. I'm practically new and it help me a lot.;) (Wink)  
Reply
:icontanyasimpson:
TanyaSimpson Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2017
I'm glad it was helpful. Hope you're having fun on DA! :hug:
Reply
:iconacerbical:
Acerbical Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2017  Professional General Artist
Greetings Tanya,

Thank you for the wonderful information posting herein.

I found that some of it was what I would consider 'new' information to me, while others were viewed as a refresher. I appreciate it.

:handshake:
Reply
:icontanyasimpson:
TanyaSimpson Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2017
I'm glad you found it useful :hug:
Reply
:iconky-th:
Ky-th Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2017  Student Digital Artist
oh I really needed this, I didn't even think of the forum aha!
thank you for taking the time to land a hand to us newbs Tanya Hug 
Reply
:icontanyasimpson:
TanyaSimpson Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2017
No worries! Glad you found it useful. And welcome to DA :hug:
Reply
:iconkocorn:
Kocorn Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
this was very very helpful onee-sama
Reply
:icontanyasimpson:
TanyaSimpson Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2017
Aww, I just Googled "onee-sama" and being referred to in that way put a big smile on my face :heart:
Reply
:iconthe-gloved-artist:
The-Gloved-Artist Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2017  Student General Artist
Thank you so much! I was so lost... Don't know what I could've done without it, keep up the good work! :happybounce: 
Reply
:icontanyasimpson:
TanyaSimpson Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2017
I'm glad it was helpful :)
Reply
:iconlisaawsome:
LisaAwsome Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2016  Student Digital Artist
This helps a lot thanks
Reply
:icontanyasimpson:
TanyaSimpson Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2016
You're welcome :aww: I'm glad it was useful.
Reply
:iconsilverkiller909:
SilverKiller909 Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2016  Hobbyist Artist
Thank you for writing this this it helps a lot
Reply
:icontanyasimpson:
TanyaSimpson Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2016
Glad it was useful :)
Reply
:iconcaprikrn:
caprikrn Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2016  Student General Artist
Thank you for writing this! I love that DA has such strong values.
Reply
:icontanyasimpson:
TanyaSimpson Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2016
That's part of the reason I love this place :)
Reply
:iconheartcrocher:
Heartcrocher Featured By Owner Nov 3, 2016
Great reading thank you!
Reply
:icontanyasimpson:
TanyaSimpson Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2016
You're very welcome :hug:
Reply
:iconmaddelinevanpaire:
MaddelineVanPaire Featured By Owner Nov 3, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you so much, this is very helpful!! <3
Reply
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