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Submitted on
February 15
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 I know this horse has been beat to death (and by beat to death, I mean guides have been made on the subject) but I feel the need to insert some words of compassion rather than to simply say “you shouldn’t care about becoming popular here, it doesn’t matter” or “follow these steps and you’ll be dA elite overnight!”  The fact of the matter is we all long to be loved and liked in just about everything we do. We all want acceptance and validation from our peers. And when that acceptance and validation is nowhere to be found, the feeling is really not great at all.  We all know that feel bro.

I tend to believe what most people longing for popularity on dA are really after validation and friendship. RockstarVanity beautifully wrote about the subject of popularity on dA (or rather the desire for it) in her essay “Popularity…A Refreshing View” check it out here:

Popularity is ok I suppose, but it’s not all there is, and I don’t think it’s a good motivator when you’re looking for friends or even an enduring audience.  Rather than shooting for popularity, let’s begin with looking at some reasons you might not be getting the connections you’re looking for.

Of the most common answers to those who are confused as to why they don’t have the number or pageviews or watchers they’d like is that their art is not “good.” There are many, many, deviants who exist as “unknown” artists on dA who possess absolutely brilliant artworks in their galleries, yet they are unseen. How can that happen? Well for one, there are millions of deviants, it’s not hard for someone to blend into the crowd. But secondly, and this is quoted from RockstarVanity’s essay:

We're ALL unknown artists at the beginning, and we all have the same opportunities to become popular or known or whatever it is that whiney people aspire to around here. So there's no unfairness really. Just impatience.”

She goes on to further explain her reasoning in this way:

I'd like to state for the record, I am aware that mass-appeal subject matter DOES have an effect on the amount of attention that you or your work will get around here. Certain things - fan art and artistic nude photography spring to mind - will always have more viewers due to the nature of the subject. Please have the decency NEVER to gripe at someone "You're only popular because you take pictures of naked people/draw Naturo fanart/paint pictures of Sonic the Hedgehog". Everyone has the right to create art that they enjoy creating and they shouldn't be made to feel bad about that simply because lots of people like what they're doing.”

My point is that your gallery cannot always speak for itself. Only making art for the sake of popularity can easily lead to this:

And I can’t think of an artist alive who would want to take on the role of pure entertainer. BloodshotInk wrote “be an artist, not a number” in her journal entry titled “Pageviews and Popularity – The Real Deal.” Don’t sacrifice your integrity, artistic goals, or artistic quality by chasing something as illusive as popularity. Check out her blog here:

 That now leads us to this question: how can I get an audience, let alone friends? Well, there are plenty of ways to do that! The easiest way to connect to fellow deviants is to talk to them! Visit the chatrooms, check out the forums, browse the journal portal, then comment! You meet friends online similarly to the way you meet friends in real life: by putting yourself out there! Other than engaging in the public meeting places on dA such as chatrooms and the forums, groups can help bring people together. Nearly all of my close friends here on dA were connected to me through groups! The others? Friends of friends!


Another problem is comments on your artwork. I can tell you that I rarely get comments on my work, maybe one or two. I’ve found that the best way to get comments on your work is to expose it to a larger audience by adding it to group galleries. There are hundreds of groups out there dedicated to commenting, but there are two that I believe have a really dedicated group of deviants who will give you not just one word comments, but even critiques! Those groups are :iconprojectcomment: and :icongetwatchers:. GetWatchers only exists as a way for you to gain a wider audience, but it also exposes you to hundreds upon hundreds of artwork and deviants you may not had been able to discover on your own! Pretty awesome, right?


Another reason to think about getting involved in a group is to discover the sub-communities existing within dA. While it’s awesome to talk to creative people in general (and those who admire the arts are certainly in that group too) it’s even better to talk to those who are also involved in the same kind of art making!  It’s easier to strike up conversations when you already have things in common too.  There are many groups dedicated to certain concentrations, rather than a collective of all media. Browse groups at!


Now here’s the part you’re probably not going to want to hear: finding companionship, gaining an audience, or acquiring watchers will take time. How much time varies for each person, and how active they are on deviantART. However, this should not discourage you at all! All good things take time, and often times you enjoy them more when you’ve had to wait a little for them to happen. So what should you be doing in the meantime? Complaining? Feeling bad? No! Let’s summarize some of the ways you can become more acquainted with the community as a whole in addition to making art!

:bulletred: COMMENT! See something that catches your eye? Let the artist know why!

:bulletred: BROWSE THE FORUMS AND LEAVE A COMMENT! There are a whopping 29 forum categories!

:bulletred: BROWSE THE CHATROOMS AND LEAVE A COMMENT! There are vast numbers of chatrooms to check out, dive in and strike up a conversation!

:bulletred: JOIN A GROUP! Joining a group and submitting work to one will not/does not equal instant attention, but it does lead to broadening the number of people who can see your work and thus opening the threshold for conversation!

 So you see? There are plenty of ways to connect to your dA community, and unlike the general criticism that dA is a faceless entity, dA does indeed love you; dA is made of people just like you and me. If you’re still not feeling the welcome and love, head over to communityrelations for information, events, contests, features and general good vibes to see how the community as a whole is run. Plus, you can meet (and greet) Community Volunteers! Who/what are community volunteers, you say? The old name for CVs was “gallery moderator,” however, that is only part of what our CVs do! Here is an official description of what a Community Volunteer does via FAQ#85:

:bulletpink: Helping run community challenges and educational projects

:bulletpink: Supporting community events

:bulletpink: Helping moderate featured chats

:bulletpink: Helping moderate forums

:bulletpink: Being part of the #help team

:bulletpink: Being part of the team that moderate #devart and other official chatrooms

:bulletpink: Liaising with Moonbeam13 and fourteenthstar on community matters

:bulletpink: Bringing rockstar deviants to your attention via features, articles and Daily Deviations

A list of the current Community Relations Team can be found here: communityrelations.deviantart.…

 Now that I’ve discussed what you should do if you’re seeking attention, I would now like to touch upon things that should be avoided.

  • The first thing that should most certainly be avoided is hostility. It is totally understandable to be bummed out because you’re a little envious of someone, but turning that into anger or vicious behavior is a huge no-no. I’ve seen photographers and fanartists harassed on dA simply for belonging to genres that happen to be popular. I am a close friend of both a fanartist and a photographer, and I can assure you that neither of them chose those careers for the sake of so-called “popularity.”


  • The second thing you definitely should never do is leave desperate self-advertisement comments (aka attention-whore) on Daily Deviations (or anywhere else that receives heavy traffic like site wide announcements) such as these: “check out my gallery at!” “Please watch me!” “If you watch me, I’ll give you a llama/watchback.”  You might indeed get an uptick in your pageviews for those stunts, but chances are it will not be a positive outcome.

  • A third thing to avoid is drama. Don’t start fights, do call-outs, or bully. Don’t intentionally find controversy and whip it up. Don’t harass, or knowingly irritate. Don’t troll for attention. Trolling is an absolutely horrible way to earn attention, and the only respect to be gained is from others who go down that path. I’ve seen people grow tired of starting drama, and essentially leave dA because they were tired of being mean. It’s not cute, it won’t earn you real friends, it’s not good for your art, and it doesn’t pay off, do not do it.

  • The fourth thing to avoid is making art meant for attention grabbing. This can be from making fanart you aren’t connected to, to shocking and transgressive art, to simply starting to work in a new medium for the sole purpose of garnering attention. Never do anything with your art just for attention. Your artwork is one of the most personal and self-fulfilling things you can do don’t cheapen it.

  • The final thing to avoid is throwing a pity party. Before I go any further on this subject, let me first say that I am in no way making light of or generalizing depression (that includes other types of mood disorders, mental illnesses, or physical problems/illnesses that lead to depression) or low self-esteem. Each of those things are not a crutch or excuse and are not to be confused with this subject at all.  I’ve personally struggled with anxiety and depression, so I am in your corner if that is your battle. What I am talking about is a self-centered “poor me” outlook. An overall mopey attitude towards your dA experience will not help your cause in any way, plus negativity rubs off on others as well. There is no reason to be a curmudgeonly sourpuss.  


Phew! That’s a lot of info to digest! But I feel that it’s important to get it out there to you all! If there are articles, images, or words of wisdom you would like to add, please include them with your comment in the comment section below! If you don’t take anything else away from this blog, remember this: deviantART loves you!:heart:




Just a bit of my own :twocents: on the subject of pageviews and popularity on dA. Discussion is encouraged as always!
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Aneksunamun Featured By Owner Edited Aug 1, 2014
Love your articles, very well-written! And these gifs... :D
Xadrea Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
^ ^ thank you for your kind words! The gifs are my favorite part of writing these blogs :giggle:
Aneksunamun Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2014
And they are my favourite part while reading! :D You use them perfectly, they are adding to the text so nice!
Xsign-of-fireX Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you for writing this - Your points are good and valid, and it's nice seeing someone explaining this sort of thing so eloquently. It's helpful to me. I will shortly be spamming you with faves, so I apologize in advance. ^^
Xadrea Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
:XD: I don't mind the fave spam lol. You're quite welcome! I'm glad I was able to help you and clear up any questions you might have had :)
Art-of-DarkElegance Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2014  Professional General Artist
Peoples concerns over popularity is not always about "attention seeking". Popularity/Views=exposure=bigger audience=higher chance of "the right" people seeing your work=(possibly) furthering your career.
To say we all have the same Reality is that we do not. The person that doesnt work on improving, on polishing their work, does not have the same opportunity as the person devoting hours and hours a day to their work.

What I find disturbing is how people are painting those with concerns about their views/popularity as somehow being lacking. Perhaps not technically(artistically) But somehow personally.
We denote a value for art...but devalue the feelings of the artist.
If all art is valuable and deserving...shouldn't all artists be?
Shouldn't their feelings(good and bad) be as valuable?  
Some, when reaching out with the "what am I doing wrong..." or "how can I be move popular", arent "whining" they are genuinely reaching out hoping someone will point them in the right direction. Tell them "if you do XYZ you can gain a better audience/improve your work/ up your (proverbial) game"
To paint them with a brush of "whining", devalues them, their feelings, their frustration.
Each person on here from the beginner to the advance professional counts(or should). For them to count, means they should be taken seriously. Not put down, or devalued.

That doesnt mean cotton coating things(one place I hold a gallery at is Epilogue, not know for being easy to get your work into. Trust me the hard knocks I received there helped me tremendously.) But it does mean actually realizing, -every- artist here has a face, feelings, frustrations, and are seeking to gain from their work and exposure here. Be it professional or personal.
Xadrea Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
This blog is not an xyz checklist to "improve your game." I never in any way devalued the emotional aspect of feeling ignored. In fact it was the the very first thing I addressed in the opening paragraph (not sure how you missed that?)

I approached this subject from the point of view of deviantART as the potential audience. Many deviants are not actively seeking a career as an artist, but that does not mean they don't care about having an audience. If I were writing this to artists seeking to promote their work outside dA, this blog would be written very differently. 

I don't agree with your statement: To say we all have the same Reality is that we do not. The person that doesn't work on improving, on polishing their work, does not have the same opportunity as the person devoting hours and hours a day to their work. There are more things factoring into people seeing and liking your artwork than artistic skill. Most of the great masters who we revere were not "discovered" until many many years after their deaths. That doesn't mean that we should not strive to make our work better, but it does mean that simply getting better at your craft doesn't mean you'll immediately have an advantage to get seen. 

Art-of-DarkElegance Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2014  Professional General Artist
This is true. Many of the "masters" were starving, ignored artists in their time. It does not negate their talent nor technical prowess.  To say someone on here uploading pencil sketches that are rough, unpolished, quick and with out technical merit has the same opportunities as the person that is spending hours honing their stills and furthering their education(be it personal/self taught or within an educational body) is not reality. Talent is one thing. But when you do not push further, No you will not have the same opportunities as someone pushing further, harder, etc. THAT is reality.  Not all artists will have the same opportunities in life. Be it due to lack of actual interest in furthering their work, lack of interest in building the ground work to a career or (hate to say it) not being at the right place at the right time.
That is REALITY. Anyone that has been in the business for any length of time knows that. Whether you are in the business for a week or a decade. Whether you are in the business full time(I.E. studio work or employed by a company) or as a freelancer doing "your own thing". You find out very quickly that not everyone has the same chances.

When I made the note of "xyz checklight" I didnt say that you had noted that. That was -my- input on how some artists are reaching out. When they are "seeking attention" -at times- it is because they are wishing someone to actually help them. To actually go "hey here is what you can do to improve..".
It isnt always about attention seeking or pity parties or anything else.

The quote you noted about "... whiney people aspire to around here...", "whiny people"...THAT is how members are viewed? how members reaching out, frustrated, wanting help, input, instruction...anything to help them gain what they are seeking is seen as "whining".

A way to devalue and put a negative slant on it.
THAT was where my issue came in.  Its not always whining. Its not always attention seeking(in the negative sense). Sometimes it honestly is an utter frustration, hopelessness, desperate reaching out to a community to get help.
Sorry...if I just do not see people on here as "whiny".
But instead I see people trying to get what they are here for. Views, attention and learning.
Anyone saying they do not care about views...why then are you posting publicly? To share, right? To let your work be seen. But if it is not being viewed, then it is not being seen. You want your work seen. That is why you are here

We all care about it. Each of us should be treated with the same respect and our feelings valued. Not painted as "whiny". 

I have seen too many people here (in DA) pushed out of the site by comments like that. To many young and up and coming artists get utterly disheartened by comments like that. 
Xadrea Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Ok, I can tell that you didn't really read the entire quote (which wasn't mine) and the explanation of what the use of "whiny" even meant. Everything you're arguing about it addressed in this blog. This journal is about deviantART, and the communities here. It is not about practicing your artwork. I did not talk about "practice" or other things of that nature because that is not what this journal is about!
We all care about it. Each of us should be treated with the same respect and our feelings valued. Not painted as "whiny". I have seen too many people here (in DA) pushed out of the site by comments like that. To many young and up and coming artists get utterly disheartened by comments like that. 
I am imploring you to actually read, what I wrote. Please stop skimming and read it. 
red-jello04 Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Quite true. If you're actually really good, you get the tendency to have your artwork stolen. Sometimes it's nice to know that there are those who would notify you about it and even made the initiative to raise an Art Theft to the moderators. It shows that they are concerned for you. :)

Everyone who joins at Deviantart always starts with no views. But with effort in putting art, reaching out to other fellow artists, share ideas, you will be "popular" in your own way without resorting to do anything horrible to your fellow artists. 
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