There are tons of articles out there that describe what you should do to get noticed on dA. The advice contained pretty much comes down to "if you are active, people will notice you":
- fave other people's art - they might fave yours back
- comment on other people's art - they might return the favour
- use your comments to actually talk to the other artist; don't just say "wow", but tell them why you liked their art; give critiques
- use the chats & forums
- use your own journal to its full advantage (tell people about yourself / art features / ...)
- take care to make your userpage nice-looking and informative
- give out llama badges
- find some groups to submit your art to
- and don't forget to actually post something to your gallery regularly
While all of this is certainly true (seeing as when you don't put your name - with the attached link to your page - out there, no one will have a chance to find you to begin with), the question that remains for me is:
Why do you want to get noticed?
What about you should others be noticing?
Why are you here?
Are you here for your art? Do you think it could use some improvement? Yes? Then you probably want to get noticed to get some help and encouragement or simply some feedback which doesn't necessarily need to be novel-length comments with tons of useful critique - sometimes a "great work" comment can make your day, too.
Or maybe you are here to find some likeminded people; friends at best, or "just" some acquaintances to share your hobby. Maybe you are someone who likes to help others with their art or with the site or by providing resources.
I'll go out on a limb here and say that most of us are here for a combination of art feedback and friendships.
But of course there are also those of us who have made art their profession (or plan to at least) and for whom dA is more than a "I show you mine, you show me yours" platform. They are here to promote their art on a completely different level. They use dA as a portfolio, as calling card and digital mark. And sometimes as a sandbox for new ideas to test if they work for a broader audience (or if they just work in their heads). Some focus more on their art while others also put a big emphasis on interacting with their watchers and viewers.
All of the above is what has shaped this site into what you see today. That is why you can get into conversations over giving llama badges or share muro doodles or have the ability to give critiques through a special feature. It's why you can customize your journals to suit your personality and it's the reason there are so many different sub-groups on dA that each have their own unique communities. It's why we have the Commission feature or the possibility to upload Premium Content. The reason we have a Stock & Resources section on this site and so much more.
deviantArt is ALL of this.
Not just one aspect, but all. However, the individual deviant will always choose the aspects of the site that are most important to him or her:
- If you are here to admire art and support others, you probably will not upload a whole lot of art yourself or the kind of art you upload shifts toward resources and deviantArt related items.
- If you are here because you want to improve your art, you will probably want to concentrate on creating art and sharing it with a more select group of people so you can get the feedback you are looking for (think beginner groups with challenges or a focus on tutorials / resources).
- If you are the type who loves chat rooms (and have the free time), then of course you will jump at the chance to use the dAmn network to find others to interact with (art, friendship, laughs - whatever topic, there's something for everyone).
- And if you have something to sell, then you will surely put great emphasis on a neat looking userpage and concise journals with information on how to contact you, what you have to offer etc.
I could go on endlessly, my point is this:
Everyone comes here with something in mind and the part where you try to get into contact with the rest of the
community often is not so much about getting yourself noticed than about finding your place on this large
site. A place where your very personal needs are fulfilled and not some generic
"ideal" of "getting noticed" just for the heck of it.
I am talking about all of this, because I have the feeling that more often than not, people on here forget why they came here in the first place. And suddenly, we have users wandering about the site with only one big goal: becoming more popular. To them, popularity is the be-all and end-all. They do everything they do just to get more watchers / faves / comments / pageviews, but why they want that so badly, they couldn't say.
So the question remains:
Why are you here?
I know this article is does not deal with every last aspect of why people can be here, what they (may) seek here and why they might think "becoming popular" (whatever that may mean) is the biggest goal. It does touch the main aspects as far as I can see at this point though and I would very much love to discuss your view on this in the comments, but before you jump in, please finish reading.
Some more explanation on why I am picking this topic up
(please read if you are interested in joining the discussion):
My personal view is that I cannot be happy in this community unless I find out what I personally want from it. For me, it has always been a mix between
- showing others my art (which in real life, no one is interested in as much as the people here are - that's not to say my friends and family don't care, they do, but they have a different approach to this and I am very glad I have people here who share my hobby),
- helping those new to manips (because that is what dA has done for me and I want to give it back) and
- trying to keep a circle of friends here who appreciate my critiques / feedback / comments as much as I appreciate theirs (because giving random critiques is unbelievably frustrating when you try to give one to a deviant who can't deal with them, no matter how sensible you are -- I found I do not need the drama).
Those interests can also change with time, for example when I first got here (and had more time for dA) I loved the chat rooms - today, I don't recognize the names of those sitting in my favourite ones (provided they still exist). But it is okay: my life has changed and so has what I want/need from this site.
What I have never been able to understand (and maybe someone wants to enlighten me) is why "being noticed" for the heck of it is so important. I'm not talking about seeing a piece receive many faves and enjoying the feeling - I'm talking about those groups people can join where you can swap or even buy watchers / faves / comments (using points). If you are only doing something because you either want the points or because you also want another watcher / fave / comment, then what does the fact that you just got a watcher / fave / comment mean when you get down to it? To me that could never be as flattering as getting any of the above just because the other person saw my art and spontaneously felt the need to watch / fave / comment, but it seems to me to others this matters a great deal more. But why?
I have the feeling that those who do feel so strongly about "getting noticed" by any means necessary are not as many as it sometimes feels like. I think some people have just never asked themselves what they want from this site - why they are here - and kinda just "go with the flow". This being a very large site with countless sub-communities it is easy to get lost and think that once you become popular, you will stop being lost. But in my opinion, unless you find out where you want to be, this feeling might always sneek up on you, no matter how "visible" you are on the outside.
I hope I'm making sense here and I'm very much looking forward to your comments!
What are your thoughts on this topic?
Why are you here?
PS: I'm a bit behind on answering your comments, but I will get to every single one - promise!
Articles and Links
Photomanipulation for Beginners an article about what photomanipulation is and what you need to try it - and on the ever so important issue of "where do I get pictures to play with?"
--> read article
CopyrightOf Copyright & Premades is an article that strives to explain what copyright means, who it protects and that simply putting work into something will not make using something without permission okay.
Know your Basics - article series:A series of articles that try to explain some basics in art that you may or may not have heard of before but didn't know what to do with them. All of them are written especially for photo- manipulators, but the principles should hold true in any genre.
--> Know your basics - Colour Theory
--> Know your basics - Composition
--> Know your basics - Perspective
--> Know your basics - Textures