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How to: Create a Feature

Fri Sep 2, 2016, 3:00 AM

So you want to create a feature? Keep reading!

Making a feature isn't as easy as you might think it is. You don't just drag and drop pieces into a journal, it is kind of like creating art!

There are some questions that get asked a lot:

Rainbow Dot Bullet - F2U! Why is my feature getting so little views?
Rainbow Dot Bullet - F2U! Am I doing something wrong?
Rainbow Dot Bullet - F2U! Why aren't people commenting on it?

And a bunch more just like these!

The answer to these is not simple. Thing is, your feature might not be getting much attention because maybe, you're not posting them regularly, or maybe they look like a hot mess, or maybe you're featuring the "wrong pieces."

In this article, I will tell you all about how I work when I create a feature, what I think is important in a feature and some handy tips and tricks for writing a feature. 

What is a feature?

A feature is often posted as a journal here on DA, most often for the purpose of giving artists and their artworks more exposure. Features come in many shapes, sizes and forms. Some people choose to feature a single artist, others go with a theme, a gallery category, underexposed works, and so on. The sky truly is the limit on all the different features!

How can I make a feature?

First off, and one of the most important things to me personally, is to make sure you're doing it for the right reasons. 
Don't do it because you want more attention. Do it to expose artists, works you like and want others to see. Be honest with yourself about this! If you want more attention, there's other ways to do it. 

Second, decide if you want to do this just once, or if you want to make it a series. If you want to make it a series, how often will you be posting a feature? What will the series be named? When will the features be posted? Are you going to go with a single artist, a theme or maybe something entirely different? 
These are all things to decide before you start your feature! Also think about things like; will I have enough time to keep this up? Will this be fun or a chore? 

After you've decided on all of that, it is time to get started! I am going to be taking one of my feature series as an example:

I decided to do "Feature-Fest" once a week, on Thursdays. "Feature-Fest" will be focusing on either themes or (sub)categories. 

So, let's say I want to do an issue on cute animals. This means I will likely spend hours browsing DA looking for my material. Will these cute animals be photographs, paintings, artisan crafts? I think I will go with photographs! So, let's go searching...

Finding works to feature

Since I have just decided I will be creating a feature on "cute animals", this is what we'll search for. When you enter "cute animal" as your keyword in DA's search, you will automatically be switched to the "Popular All Time" section of DA.

099ac73728[1] by Yuukon

This is nice if you're looking for something that has likely been there since 2009, but it's better to swap those sections. Instead, try selecting "Undiscovered"...

2ed989380a[1] by Yuukon

Now that is a completely different look, isn't it? However, it's still not quite what we're looking for... Since I decided to go with photographs, I will be navigating to the "Photography" category in the right sidebar.
If you can't find what you're looking for in Undiscovered, try going with "Popular 1 week"...

8a9fbd525e[1] by Yuukon

This is all a whole lot closer to what we're looking for, and I already see some potential candidates!
To narrow things down even more, remove your keyword, and just navigate to Photography > Animals, Plants & Nature > Domesticated Animals (because the cute often hides in domesticated!)

020b2c4aaa[1] by Yuukon

As you can see, right now there are a lot of awesome works displaying on our screen. This is a good place to start collecting works!

Making your feature

So, we've found where we will be looking for works, now let's collect some!

reflection by vularia  Guardian by Wolfskuss  Time for a pignic! by Marloeshi  The saddest kitten in the world :) by Katrin-Elizabeth
Little Fuzzy by Daykiney   Oli by shadddow

Now, I have simply "dropped" the thumbs in here, and it is quite the hot mess. Not something people really like to look at either. It's messy, unorganised and there is no flow whatsoever in it. Let's see how we can change that...

Little Fuzzy by Daykiney The saddest kitten in the world :) by Katrin-Elizabeth Oli by shadddowreflection by vularia Guardian by Wolfskuss Time for a pignic! by Marloeshi 

I have put these in an order, white bunny - white cat - grey cat - warm colours cat - warm colours dogs - warm colours guinea pig; see the flow? I have also resized the thumbs to make them all the same size, which makes them much nicer to look at!

To find these pieces, I browsed "Photography > Animals, Plants & Nature > Domesticated Animals" with no keywords, set to "Popular 1 Week".

However, the "Popular 1 Week" supply is not endless if you're looking for quality artworks to feature. If you run out of pieces there, you can always swap to "Popular 1 Month". 

Why use "Undiscovered", "Popular 1 Week" and "Popular 1 Month"?

The reason is simple: all three of these sections feature recent works. Recent works means they are new, that the artist is very likely active and thus they will see your feature, since they get a notification of it in their inbox. 
Recent works also means that they haven't been featured a lot yet, they often deserve more attention and not every member of DA hasn't seen them yet. 
These sections also house some of the better quality work on DA, unlike sections like "Newest" for instance. 

"Undiscovered" shows you works that have a potential to become popular, but are still underrated. "Popular 1 Week" and "Popular 1 Month" show you works that have been popular over the last week or month, these two kind of speaks for themselves.  

So now what?

You've picked your feature's name, how often you will be doing it and so on, made a selection of works and put them in in a nice and organised manner, then what happens?

You can choose to post it right away, or you can choose to hold of for a little. Especially if you're going for a series, and will be posting works regularly. Earlier, you picked a day. Stick to that day. So don't post it a day earlier, or a day later right on your first issue. You've picked Thursday, now be patient and wait for it to be Thursday. 
However, if you're unable to get online on a Thursday, don't sweat it. Post it a day later or earlier, but don't make that a regular thing. 
Some people choose to notify their watchers if they can't make it for their regular day, others don't. That is a choice you need to make for yourself.

If you're a core member, you can schedule your feature, you can pick nice journal skins, and so on. If you're not a core member, you will not be able to schedule and you'll be stuck with the standard, blank journal skin, but that also has possibilities! 

Whether you're a core member or not, creating features is never impossible. You have to learn to work with what you've got, and even with a boring white journal skin, you can still make your features look nice by for instance sizing the thumbs a little bigger, putting them in the centre of your journal, and so on. The possibilities are (almost) endless!

Some Do's and Don't's

Bullet; Red Do not update your feature over and over again.
I am especially talking about updating and notifying your watchers. Every time you update that way, your watchers, but also the people you featured, will receive a notification in their inbox and/or on their phone if they have the DA app. Now you might wonder, what's the harm in that? Let me be blunt: it's annoying. If you've already seen something, say, an advertisement, you get tired of it if it keeps showing up over and over again, right? It's the same thing with features. If it shows up in your inbox, you look at it. If it shows up again and again and again, it can get very annoying. 

Bullet; Green Make your feature nice to look at.
Don't just toss in thumbs, that looks messy and unprofessional. I am often very likely to move away from a feature if it is a mess, because it's unpleasant to look at thumbs in all shapes and sizes, and mostly, it looks like you've put in no effort, while we know you did! So, put them in a nice order, make them the same size, and so on. 

Bullet; Green Feature recent works

The newer the work, the more chance you have the artist is still active. I have a rule for myself: No works that are older than a year. If you're in doubt, check the artists gallery to see when they last uploaded. Has it been some months? Then it's often best to find another piece. Have they just uploaded a week or a few days ago? I'd definitely add the piece!

Bullet; Red Don't force people to look at your feature
You made a feature, and chances are you're proud of it. But don't shove your feature down peoples throats by forcing them to look at it. People will enjoy it much more if you for instance suggest they look at it, or if they find it (in their inbox or somewhere else) by themselves. 

Bullet; Green Look for people that reply to comments

These are also the people that are most likely to post a comment on your feature! If you feature an artists that never replies to comments on their work or page, chances are, they will not be commenting on your feature either. Find friendly, active people for your features. And of course: reply to any comments you get on your features! If someone says thanks, tell them it was your pleasure, and so on. 

Bullet; Green Be picky
Don't pick the first works you come across, but take the time to browse and look for what is right. Don't feature people because they ask you to feature them, because asking for a feature is just rude! Being featured should come forth from people liking your work, not from people asking to be featured. So, pick the things you like, and showcase them. I promise you that it will be much more fun that way!

Bullet; Green Favourite the works you feature
You pick the works because you like them, correct? The least you can do is save them to your favourites. It's also a good way of keeping track of what you've already featured.

Some good examples

Thumbhub Favs Vol. 2Hello and welcome to a weekly feature that  aims to bring even MORE amazing artwork to your attention! The moderators of #ThumbHub chat collect artwork shared in the room each week and compile the best of the best to dazzle the senses and appease your need to see AWESOME ART!
Using a chat command called !myfavs, deviants can share artwork they have recently favorited, giving them the chance to show others what they are interested in and open others' horizons to new artwork on a daily basis.  So sit back and enjoy the scroll down to the bottom. And if you haven't yet, come visit #ThumbHub chat and try our art-sharing bot!

  APN Adventures, Vol. 64
APN is the acronym for the Animal, Plants, & Nature photography category at DeviantArt. These recent APN deviations span vast skies to tiny insects. Our planet is truly a magical place. Each week this feature is hosted at the APN group, AnimalsPlantsNature. Be sure to check it out and join!
Hopefully the following feature will inspire you to browse the  APN Category or to even pick up your own camera and capture some of the world around you. Be sure to check the end of the feature for APN Community news- updated weekly. On to the artwork!


Be like a peacock and dance with all of your beauty. - Debasish Mridha

  Neat Street Features =Issue Twenty-Nine=May I present another issue of..

Image by Canankk Winner of The Header Contest 2016
Hello and welcome to the latest edition of Neat Street Features!  Sharing and commenting on the works you like of others is such a rewarding and insightful experience! Thank you so much my followers for all the amazing support and insightful comments your give on my work. Now I love to support all the amazing work in street photography that happens here on a weekly basis.
I've been studying and gazing upon of a lot of Henri Cartier-Bresson Photos lately, I'd like to share one of my absolute favorites:
Quai St. 1932

Now for this weeks features! :la:

  Crafty FeaturesHere's some recent submissions to the Artisan Crafts gallery that I found interesting and think they deserve more attention :) (Smile) I hope that you'll enjoy them, don't forget to fave, watch and comment on anything you like!
We will have an Artisan Crafts Week on projecteducate on August 8-14th and we're looking for articles. If you're interested in writing (no experience required!) send Talty a note.
Also check out these amazing contests and events. If you have anything that you would like to see here leave a message:
Artisan Crafts: Dresses by CRArtisanCrafts Deadline: August 31stCrafts and stock: Summer contest by CRArtisanCrafts and StockandResources Deadline: July 31st for the stocks submission. All arts: Art block by ChaosFay Deadline: September 1stAll arts: Summer fun by ThumbHub

Fantastic Fan Art Friday - 08-26-2016

Fantastic Fan Art Friday Monday!
Hey there and welcome back to another fan art feature! I apologize for the delay - I was at a friend's wedding this weekend and couldn't get the features up on Friday.  So here they are to bring some happiness to your Monday!
This week we're taking a look at some incredible fan pieces inspired by Steven Universe!  Created by Rebecca Sugar, Steven Universe is an amazing show that follows the lives of Steven and the Crystal Gems.  I wasn't sold on the show initially thinking that it was just a quirky slap stick comedy about a kid who tried to hard to fill big shoes but holy crap, does it get good fast.  There's a level of real mystery and depth that is quickly introduced into the story that has you coming back for more.  If you haven't seen it, give it a shot!  Definitely inspires some beautiful artwork
  The Unseen Stock - August (II)Heart If you like this feature please add it to your +favs to spread the stock love ! (:

2015 Maddie 002 by deathbycanon-stock DSC 0017 Military Odyssey by wintersmagicstock The daydreamer by QueenWerandra
Green dress 1 by Amarie-Tinuviel black rose9 by Amliel STOCK - Hurrem by Apsara-Stock Princess Chloe 010 by deathbycanon-stock
Downtown040 by deathbycanon-stock
Across the rainy lake by QueenWerandra
  Macro Spotlight Vol. 210 
Spotlight Vol. 210
The Spotlight
by Mars-Hill
Happy Birthday Eve!
by Mocris
by petrwolf
Week 29 / 2016
by Z-Nous
Large Pine Weevil (Hylobius abietis)
by Azph
Into her eye
by JohnAckerley
Tube shot
by 1001G
Img 861
1. the act of reflecting, as in casting back a light or heat, mirroring, or giving back or showing an image; the state of being reflected in this way.
2. an image; representation; counterpart.
3. a fixing of the thoughts on something; careful consideration.
4. a thought occurring in consideration or meditation.
5. an unfavourable remark or observation.
6. the casting of some imputation or reproach.

I searched recent photography submissions with the keyword Reflection.

Enjoy these varied interpretations in a range of genres.

Add a Comment:
Amanda-Kulp Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2017  Student Digital Artist
Is there a way to make the thumbs larger in the feature?
Yuukon Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2017   Photographer
When you hover on the thumbs, you can drag it by its corners!
Amanda-Kulp Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2017  Student Digital Artist
Oh lol so simple IMing: D'oh 
Katrin-Elizabeth Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2016  Professional Photographer
Thank you for this useful article! And thanks for that you have illustrated it by our photos! We are very pleased that you like our works! :rose: :love:
Yuukon Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2016   Photographer
Glad to hear you find it useful!
Katrin-Elizabeth Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2016  Professional Photographer
TsaoShin Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2016  Professional Digital Artist
Very well done and informative!
Yuukon Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2016   Photographer
Thank you Eric!
SumtimesIplaytheFool Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2016   General Artist
One question, if I may: is there anything in particular you have to do in order for people to be notified that their work was used in a feature? Reason I ask is because I recently made my first one and someone I know who's work I included said that there was no notification and I just want to be sure people know where and why their work is displayed so everything is on the up and up.
Yuukon Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2016   Photographer
Normally, it should happen automatically. However, sometimes, when you post a lot of works in one journal, you hit some sort of limit and it doesn't notify everybody. I don't know for sure about this limit and how much it would be, but that would be my only theory as to why it might not have worked :)

If you want to be certain people get notified, it helps to just post a message on their work or page to let them know you've featured them!
SumtimesIplaytheFool Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2016   General Artist
Fair enough. Thanks very much!
TanyaSimoneSimpson Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2016
Great advice :aww:
Yuukon Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2016   Photographer
Thank you Tanya! :aww:
lucytherescuedcat Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2016  Hobbyist Photographer
Wonderful! :huggle:
Yuukon Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2016   Photographer
Thank you!
lucytherescuedcat Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2016  Hobbyist Photographer
You're welcome! :-)
OneSerendipity Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
I now have my spoilers available! :la:

Awesome job, as always, Monique! :clap:
Yuukon Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2016   Photographer
Thank you!
MarcosRodriguez Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2016
Nice article!! :clap:
Yuukon Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2016   Photographer
Thank you Marcos!
Andorada Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2016
Excellent! :clap:
Yuukon Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2016   Photographer
Thank you!
Malleni-Stock Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2016  Hobbyist Photographer
Great article! Thanks for using my feature as an example :hug:
Yuukon Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2016   Photographer
Thank you! GLad you enjoyed it!
Add a Comment:

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