The latest DeviantArt Eclipse update has left many artists feeling stranded, ignored, and in search of a new platform. But it’s a big world out there!
If you’re one of these artists, you might just be in the right place. Buckle up; this post is long, and includes 1. short summaries of social media, 2. a briefing on resources for artists, and 3. too many words. I suggest using ctrl + f (or an analogous search function) to look for the names of social media you’re interested in or curious about.
Preface: I migrated from DeviantArt over a year ago (not due to Eclipse, but due to the notoriously low commission prices wrought by the ‘points’ system and a few personal choices) and there will, of course, be some bias here. I’ll share my experiences, but take it with a grain of salt! My goal is to give you some alternatives and resources in migrating from DeviantArt and I would be happy to update this post and credit anyone who contributes with their own experiences or resources. Please let me know if you have anything to contribute!
A brilliant application that will post your art to social media for you! You can schedule posts so that they roll out at the same time each day, and you can post to heaps of different sites at once. It’s actually how I post (almost) all of my art. If you don’t want to stop posting to DeviantArt all together, but don’t want to navigate the new layout, this might be a great compromise for you. Unfortunately, it’s so easy that I am now fully dependent, and don’t post to sites that don’t support it - such as Instagram.
If you’d rather create an independent-to-social-media portfolio for your art, have you considered making your own website? Carrd is how I made mine (link), and I found it to be both responsive and affordable (free without your own domain, and cheap if you want one!). I’ve heard great things about Artstation for those looking to get their foot in the door of doing professional artwork!
Here’s a brief summary of (subjective) experiences on a few alternatives. Note: Sites with “more clarification needed” are ones that I have minimal experience with. Their pros/cons might be rather bleak as I don’t use the site personally; so please, feel free to share your experiences!
Not made for artists, but a popular alternative for its diverse range of fandoms and social groups. It’s right at the top because I’ve (personally) seen more artists move to twitter than anywhere else!
Pros: I’ve found it very engaging and quite trustworthy for selling artwork! It takes a bit to build an audience, but once the ball is rolling, it gets easier. It’s absolutely massive. A wide range of communities.
Cons: You might find yourself coming across a lot of politics and unwanted topics; fortunately, you can use block and mute features to hedge these. Being as huge as it is, there are some shady characters as with any community, but sites like blocktogether (link) provide the opportunity to stay away from ‘em.
A relative of sorts to Deviantart. Strong reputation for catering to furry and adult communities.
Pros: A close-to-home alternative for furry artists. (If you’re a furry artist, you might already be posting there!)
Cons: Not well suited to minors - adult art performs best on FurAffinity, so if you’re a minor, you might need to steer clear (unless you use appropriate filters). The human/anime/etc. art community is small here, although not entirely absent.
A very quiet, though perceptibly trustworthy alternative to FurAffinity.
Pros: If you’re not into hugely popular social media, Weasyl might be your jam; it’s very quiet.
Cons: Again, tends to serve a niche of adult artwork, so minors, be careful!
A sometimes notorious platform for, and long-standing home to many safe for work artists.
*You might have heard about the ban on adult content on Tumblr; whether this is a pro or a con depends on you (and your age!).
Pros: I have personally found the engagement fantastic here. Its tagging system is more involved than DeviantArt’s, so if you’re good with hashtags, you’ll like it! You can also customize your blog with a meticulous level of detail.
Cons: Like twitter, you might find yourself stumbling across drama or politics; but the tagging system makes muting keywords a breeze.
An up-and-coming blogging platform and, commonly, tumblr alternative. *Also allows adult content.
*More clarification needed.
Pros: Seems very cozy (pun not intended) and caters to user-made communities and artists.
Cons: It’s in its beta stage, so there’s a $5 registration fee. (Due to this, the platform might also be small, but I have not used it personally!)
Basically, an open-source social media. Social medias inside a social media. Not unlike twitter, but more moderated, and geared towards niches - basically, sub-twitters for different communities. (It’s actually so brilliant and precise that I’ve got almost no idea how it works - their site explains it best.)
*More clarification needed.
Pros: Looks to the short-comings of twitter and seeks to improve upon them. Safer sub-communities with heavy moderation and codes of conduct. From what I’ve seen, quite artist-friendly too!
Cons: A bit tricky to navigate at first.
A social media that solely focuses on posting images.
*More clarification needed.
Pros: Very popular and massive user base.
Cons: You can (seemingly) only post to Instagram from your phone, and not from desktop. Not super artist friendly, and some concerns have risen out of potential art theft on the site, as reposting images is common.
Although not intended for posting art itself, its forums make for a cozy community of like-minded character-creators and curators.
Pros: Fantastic for storing characters and the art you’ve obtained of them. Forums (and site) cater to those who like roleplay, commissions, adoptables, art games, and all things.. well, forum.
Cons: Requires a code to sign up (but you can find them quite easily by searching!) and fanart isn’t a common occurrence here. Might be a bit hard to build an audience. Art is only ever posted to character galleries or under forum posts, so interaction in the form of ‘likes’ is rare.
I’m bunching these together because they’re not technically art platforms, but many people use them to share art. Telegram (I have personally found) is very furry-centric, whereas Discord, being massively popular, is an all-rounder. Finding the right servers can score you a place in a comfortable community to chat and share art with like-minded people!
Pros: Heavily social, very popular. (Telegram seems like a very popular choice in commissioning furry artists!)
Cons: Hard to build an audience (e.g. a lack of a system of ‘followers’ (excluding channels on telegram)), very subjective experiences. Telegram is notorious for its occasional adult content, so I would suggest that minors avoid it.
A subscription service for artists looking to make money from their work. Used by a vast range of content creators from all corners of the net, it’s massive.
*More clarification needed.
Pros: Money! ...Also, the ability to use it like a blog - as well as to separate your posts, sharing some with your patrons. Some have used it to sell merchandise on a monthly basis - sending a pin, sticker, or even bars of soap to their patrons each month (example) (example). If you’re looking to branch out to merchandise, this might be your in.
Cons: Not very social. The messaging platform seems mostly for business - as does most of the site! - and interacting with other creators is not so much the priority as interacting with your patrons.
Once a platform solely used to tip artists, Ko-fi has now branched out to tweet-esque posts, as well as offering on-site commissions (for a subscription fee). It’s solidifying itself as a patreon alternative.
Pros: It’s geared toward tips and commissions, so it doubles as a potential social media/landing page for your art as well as an opportunity to make some money in the process.
Cons: Features like on-site commissions (unless you use a workaround (e.g. stipulating "3 ko-fis = 1 sketch", etc.)) are behind a paywall (monthly subscription).
Have I missed anything you’re passionate about? Comment or send me a note (if those are still possible) and I would be more than happy to include your experience. I'd also be more than happy to answer questions about these sites or my own experience to the best of my ability.
Artists are a resilient bunch. This isn’t a fantastic outcome, but we’ll get through it!