I don’t really remember when I discovered DeviantArt, but it was surely back when people used it for playing games since there was nothing better around. It was not love at first sight, and I only made an account in May 2011. No idea why, but I suddenly started a 100-poems challenge that was supposed to take me one year, but instead ended up as a five-year project. I am now at the end of my five-year poetry journey, but I do not want to leave this welcoming art community. I currently have 113 deviations that I am more than proud of. The website certainly looks pretty much the same as it did 10 years ago, but it has more submissions you have to look through in order to find the best ones. Whether you are a DA beginner or just someone looking to learn more about this online gallery, I’m sure that you can learn from my experience:
- You will grow. Your work will get better, professional, and much more appreciated. You will learn new skills whether you want it or not. In my case, I learnt how to write haikus and how to make stamps, such as this one.
- You need great content. More than anything, interesting, relevant, and viral content is essential. The most famous DA artists are all experts at their craft, and they make sure they offer only their best to watchers. If you are seriously thinking of becoming famous on DA, go for what everyone wants to see, and do it right. You don’t have to be a perfect artist to get recognition, but you do need to offer consistent works, to create your network of supporters, and to promote your work wherever you can, without spamming.
- You will never have enough time. Don’t expect to be able to work on everything you would want to create. You won’t even get the chance to check out all artists. Most importantly, be aware that you will lose your ideas. This is particularly valid for writers. Unless you put down your ideas as soon as you have them, you might end up losing entire pieces of literature. In addition, I would not recommend deleting any of your art. Leave whatever you wrote as it is and work with what you have.
- People do care about your work. You may not get thousands of fans, get hired, or make money out of your art, but you will definitely get to the heart of some DeviantArt users. People will comment, add your art to their favourites, and write personal notes to you, but you may lose those fans once they leave the website. Make sure you thank every single one of them for their interest while you still can.
- No matter what your passion is, you will find your place in DeviantArt’s community. It doesn’t matter whether you are into painting, photography, web design, sculpture, literature, graphic design, fashion design, or if you are just an avid art fan. You will surely find something to do on DA’s website. However, bear in mind that arts such as painting, photography, or graphic design do get more exposure and receive more interest than literature, for example. You will get to experiment with other types of art, and sooner or later you will find your true passion and talent. DA’s users are usually very encouraging of whatever your endeavour is. You’ll also develop new interests. In my case, I became obsessed with Pixel Art.
- You will obsessively submit your work to related groups. Don’t worry if you’ll find yourself spending evenings trying to get your deviations into various DA groups. This is a normal and actually required part of getting more exposure.
- Your work will change in time. This is, in fact, recommendable. You’ll go from noob to pro in a few years ( if not months), and you will be proudly displaying your past and present work in the same place.
- You’ll draw the same thing twice, write the same poem twice, and take the same photo twice. This is fine. Looking back at my poetry, I found out I had written two poems with the same title. Shockingly, they were very different in both structure and theme. You learn a lot about your work’s evolution from such coincidences.
- You will receive positive feedback, as well as constructive criticism. This is perhaps the best way for you to learn more about your field of interest and about DeviantArt as a community. Accept and take into consideration whatever people write to you. DA is friendlier and more welcoming than most other online communities. Personally, I haven’t yet encountered any cases of hate or defamation.
- You will collect llamas. ^_^ Yep! Giving and receiving llama badges is a part of DA’s fun features. There are even groups for llama badge exchange.
- Your profile will go from personal to public. You may start your DA journey as a shy beginner, but you might just as well end up as of one of the most appreciated artists around. Don’t expect too much, however.
- You will always return to your first passions. DeviantArt is one of the few things you will never truly get over. Boredom is not part of this community. You’ll use DA’s art as your therapy, and you will always come back to your DA profile in the same way you would return home after a long journey.
I would recommend DeviantArt to all artists. Just remember to choose your username wisely as you cannot change it without becoming a paid Core member (oh, the regret). Being the world’s largest online art community and gallery, being a DeviantArt member can only be an asset to your portfolio as it can bring additional experience and exposure.
Give it a shot! Thank you and I hope you’ll enjoy your experience as much as I did with mine!