12 Years On deviantArt & How To Get Daily Deviations

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I needed to reflect about that matter when I received my 10th Daily Deviation in February and to be honest, it is astonishing how time flies. It feels like it was yesterday when I posted my first work on deviantArt in November 2002.
At that time I only regularly posted to Epilogue as well and both were lively communities.

The site was greener in its early days, and flat design was hip as well!
When I signed up on deviantart as user number 305258 way back in 2002 it was already big and no one knew it would be going to be that huge in 2014. Now user numbers range above the 30 million mark - that´s crazy, for an art-community - I mean.

Current events such as the death of the online CG community CGHUB makes me think of how we spend our online time. When it comes to opinions about which is the best, I hear many people rave about this and that, but what still is there and will ever be is deviantArt, like it or not.

When the co-founder Yellow Alien - Jark left the boat in 2005 many artists as well left the community and hissed that dA will go under but they were wrong. One really gifted artist and community friend called Khrass was one of the yellow-alien supporters who left for good and never came back, which is still sad - especially because Jark came back, at least as senior member.

The problem with communities such as CGHUB, GFX-Artist or 900px that were all shut down in the last couple of years, is that they were all great communities, ambitous and with a great userbase, but in the end people come and people go and if there´s no commercial force behind it, it will not last.

Boy, how many people have I seen come to deviantArt, remained a while... I could fill a book with conversations we had - and then POW, they´re gone. You know what? That´s life, new friends come as well - some stay longer some not so long.

Below is a very personal piece I did in my early time on devArt as a tribute to all the friendly people who accepted and pushed me as an artist and person.


Some are still active there, but at least 50% or more are gone. Links are in the description.

It is interesting that when I have a discussion about deviantArt, many are astounded to hear about how many professionals are showcasing their work and participating in the community.

When it comes to the overal impression of works displayed on the site one can have for sure the opinion it is full of anime/manga and scum, and yes it takes time to find gems and outstanding artists, the list below is by no means complete. But it shows professional artists have their works on dA and when you start to look at their favorites, you´ll have a good day with lots of inspiration.

Just highlighting a few that are big names in various art scenes, (in no particular order) go check them out:

Andrew Jones
Jason Seiler 
Jason Felix
Wojciech Fus
Anthony Jones
Bobby Chiu
Kevin Eastman
Michael Kutsche
Stanley Lau
Serge Birault
Sam Nielson
Zhang Jingna
Cyril Helnwein
Gottfried Helnwein
David Rapoza
David Palumbo
Jana Schirmer
Evan Campbell
Chet Zar
Thierry Doizon
Adam Hughes
Pascal Blanché
Mark Brunet
Max Sauco
Brad Rigney
Charlie Bowater
Clint Cearley
Alex Garner
David Revoy
Peter Mohrbacher
Lois van Baarle
Dan Dos Santos
Michael C. Hayes
Donato Giancola
James Ryman
Dave Dunstan
Matt Dixon
Tran Nguyen
Jon Foster
Aaron Miller
Goro Fujita
Svetlin Velinov
Jia Lu
Annie Bertram
Nekro
Dan Luvisi
Marta Dahlig

Panels on Comic Conventions have also many Marvel and DC artists who stretch the importance of taking the dA community serious. And I do recommand this as well.

How to get daily deviations
Now to the interesting guide you came for, how to gain popularity on deviantArt is covered in many journals, even in offsite wikis, such as this one.

The reason I write about how to get daily deviation features was due to the question from Lo-gi, who asked if I´ve got a subscription;)

Unfortunately no, there is no such thing as a subscription, but I can now refer to some information, that I believe, make it easier to understand how to eventually get a DD. All the artists in the list above have at least one DD in their gallery, some could have more if they were more active. I got 10 which brings me in a position to talk about that matter.

Some of the hints you´ll read below are so common sense that they are often overlooked, but everything from the list below IS important, I can´t stretch that enough. And here is a Cookie for you: it does not only apply to dA, but everywhere else:

  • Be kind, be cool and be yourself pretty 100% of the time.
  • Don´t chase a DD, you either get one or not, you can´t force it, you can just do the other stuff mentioned in this list and try to not think about it too much - let it be
  • Think about what you really want. Do you want pageviews, do you want to reach out to people, then attach a message to your work that spreads and not just a pretty image
  • You don´t need to answer every favorite and push your works in the forums as others may suggest. Just label, tag and describe your work correct - anytime, don´t be lazy.
  • If your work is excellent, it will be seen and be featured, but it can take time
  • The main criteria for a DD as for any other award is: Originality & Execution 
  • You don´t always need to add your most polished work, you can sort that with the features in the gallery, a sketch and a polished work just need to be labelled correctly - then everything is fine
  • Upload regularly, I only do once a week or once a month - could have a lot more pageviews than just these 340.000 but I don´t care. This number is not so important for DD´s as others may think.
  • The number of your image views that you can find in your stats however, is important, my images were viewed nearly 2 million times, that means a lot of multiplicators and many chances for DD-suggestions as well along the way
  • Be useful; if you have tutorials, relevant informations or can point to sources that you have used in your works, that is an advantage that puts you and your work into favor
  • Be an inspiration, for that it means that you need to push yourself as an artist, see where you can get better and do it. Get better and show it, show your progress and keep people involved - they´ll take notice
  • Get in touch with moderators and staff, engage if possible. You don´t need a position as moderator because that is a lot of work, but you can help with commenting, reporting inappropriate images and so on, just don´t overdo it.
  • Push the boundaries. Online communities often experiment with tools in beta phase, so it makes sense to give useful feedback and use these features. Be bold and try something new.
  • Use all parts of the site, be a beta tester, give feedback, get a premium membership, get a powerful looking profile and connect with other artists, engage with polls, journals and the forums.
  • Don´t devalue your work with watermarks embedded, also don´t use the dA watermarks, show close-ups of your images or hi-res versions
  • Make wallpapers of your work and submit to popular categories, wallpapers are harvested like mad and if you can stand out - you´re in luck.
  • In the end it is all about connections and to show up, dress up. Do that often and talk or better listen to what people say about your work and people will take you and your work serious, but again, don´t overdo it, your work is not so important to others as it seems to you.
There´s a lot more to it, such as persistence, patience, intrinsic motivation to keep things up and so forth and especially the goal to connect with people should be inherent.
Not to mention the good manners and etiquette that includes not being rude, not starting flame wars and only showcasing your own original creations and don´t always return a favorite or a comment just for the sake of it -it will be a fulltime position to do that.

And most important question the reason you do it, read Jon Schindehette´s post about chasing recognition may open your eyes.
Other´s have covered this topic probably more than enough, so these are just my two cents as a senior member with a print subscription until hell freezes over and 10 Daily Deviation features.

I love deviantArt, and not just for the numbers, but as a community!
Everyone who tells something different, may have their reason and they are probably valid, but they also may have not tried hard enough to make dA the community for them that it could have been.

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Oliver aka Fantasio is a creative blogger who likes to share his insights about art, marketing and social media. Follow Fantasio on twitter or facebook

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