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: fav.me/dh02ui
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. KathrynODriscoll 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: fav.me/d3jilwo
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 and . 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 groups.deviantart.com!
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!
COMMENT! See something that catches your eye? Let the artist know why!
BROWSE THE FORUMS AND LEAVE A COMMENT! There are a whopping 29 forum categories!
BROWSE THE CHATROOMS AND LEAVE A COMMENT! There are vast numbers of chatrooms to check out, dive in and strike up a conversation!
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:
Helping run community challenges and educational projects
Supporting community events
Helping moderate featured chats
Helping moderate forums
Being part of the #help team
Being part of the team that moderate #devart and other official chatrooms
Liaising with Moonbeam13 and fourteenthstar on community matters
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 me.deviantart.com!” “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!