How (not) to get attention…,

How to get attention on DeviantArt.com

In my tenure on deviantART I've been asked many times…

  • How do I get more popular?
  • Why don't people look at my work?
  • Is my art not good enough?

My answer always remains the same.

Popularity is a contest; a game, if
you will, and if you want to play it you might well want to know what
you're doing. There is nothing wrong with resting on the laurels and
merits of your artwork, but as is true in most cases: you get out what
you put in.
If you're interested in putting some effort in to reap the awards of
it, then please have no shame in doing so. I offer this for your
^Back to top.

1. Have good art.

It may be common sense, but all too often people go under the guise that
'People with art worse than mine have more pageviews than me, so
clearly quality doesn't correlate.' This is because they're
doing other things right, not because your work is that good. You need to
realize what your strengths are, and play on them. If you aren't
exactly the best (be honest, very rarely do people get tons and tons of
pageviews and the like on sheer art), you'll need to improve. Take
workshops; ask for critiques; buy books.
Art is a craft honed through your life. Talent may get your foot in the
door, but it won't walk you through the hallways and rooms. Remember
this and keep improving. You will get there.
#1. *DOH*

^Back to top.

2. Upload often and periodically.

If you have a lot of deviations, people who visit your page will have
more to look at. The more art they like, the greater the chance they will
add you to their deviantWATCH list; and the greater your chances of
receiving comments and favorites.
Pay attention not only to how often you upload your deviations, but how
long you wait between them as well. While it may be easier to batch
upload on the weekends, spreading it out to upload one deviation per day
will give you a greater chance to find a new audience. Since your art
will be appearing on the front page and in various groups Sunday through
Saturday, as opposed to all of them on Friday at Midnight, you'll
have a greater chance to grab those Tuesday browsers at work; or those
Wednesday browsers at school.
This staggered method also allows your watchers to look at your new art
in a more relaxed environment. If someone goes in to their messages and
sees you have 30 new deviations at once, they may not give every
deviation the time you feel it deserves.
#2. +1
^Back to top.

3. Visit the forums.

The forums are a wonderful tool for getting noticed, but the trick to
getting noticed is not to look like you want to be noticed. Just go in
and post in the forum of your choice. Be insightful; helpful;
intelligent. While there is a forum specifically for sharing your work,
more often than not threads in this forum will be under the guise of
'comment and I'll comment on yours'. If this is what
you're looking for, go for it (and scroll down to #6), but it's a
lot of work.
Just go out and have fun talking with your fellow deviants about subjects
that you enjoy. Naturally some people who converse with you will go to
your page to see what you're all about. If you've been following
rule #1, your art should immediately grab their attention.
#3. See #1. 😀
^Back to top.

4. Visit dAmn.

dAmn stands for the deviantART messaging network. It's the chat
system of deviantART. It's a whole lot of fun, and there's
everything from photography rooms, to general purpose, to role playing.
Whereever your interests lie you're sure to find something that suits
your needs.
Follow the same rules as you would the forums; get familiar with people
and have conversations! Many times all you need is some good art and some
face time with your audience and you'll be fine.
#4. Idem
^Back to top.

5. Comment comment comment.

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Search around
deviantART for some tips on leaving good comments (or just browse my
guide on critiquing in this deviation's description,) and you'll
figure out what people need to hear. While you can just spam 'This
is good' to every new deviation, and it is your right to do so, it
may not work as well as leaving thoughtful comments to artwork you
legitimately enjoy.
When commenting, remember that artists are people. Ask them how they did
techniques you may be interested in learning about. Ask them if that
kitten in their picture is from a reference image or free-hand. Most
importantly: be genuine. Genuity is a quality that will get you very far
on deviantART.
To find new and refreshing work, head to the main deviantART homepage. At
the bottom of the page are several links: 'Random Deviation;'
'Random Deviant;' and 'Random Group.' Use these
buttons as well as the Browse feature to discover new art and artists in
your style.
You may choose stick to the front page itself and refresh it as new
deviations come in. If you comment on these, you'll know people are
getting your comments quickly and promptly, as the deviant likely
hasn't logged off from submitting yet and may have time to reply or
even look at your work before they leave. The front page has developed
admirably over the years and is as customizable as ever; allowing you to
specify which galleries and sub-galleries you want to sample from.
#5. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” <- Agreed!
^Back to top.

6. Critiques.

Premium members can take advantage of the critique feature, which
functions as a more verbose method of commenting. As a premium member you
may opt to receive critiques from other deviants on your work for the
purpose of improving upon your work. Similarly, as a premium member you
may go to other deviations that desire to be critiqued and leave
The purpose of the critique system is an outlet for considered,
thoughtful, respectful criticism. The object is never as much to express
enjoyment of a piece (but you may), but rather to assist others and be
assisted through constructive criticism. The benefit (in as far as
popularity) to this is your critique will appear more pronounced and
above other comments, allowing a passersby the better opportunity to go
to your page.
#6. Maybe?
^Back to top.

7. Favorite with class.

Favorite people you like. They will appreciate it. However, don't
just favorite wantonly. Favorite in concert with a small comment, a
'This is great' if you're particularly lazy. People
won't always reciprocate an empty favorite. Very few things can be
more disappointing than receiving an empty favorite from someone on your
new masterpiece, only to look at their page and notice them having
thousands of favorites and little else of merit; all the while basking in
the glory of 'Thanks for the favorite!' comments and
As a particularly underhanded tactic, you can spam favorite and
unfavorite all sorts of deviations. Since they'll only see that
you've favorited, not that you've un-favorited, you will get
looked into by the people who you 'favorite'. I don't
nessecarily condone this tactic myself, but it's there if all
you're interested is cheap page-views.
#7. To fav. on DA = To like on FB. <- Only if You really mean it and yes time is always against us. 😉
^Back to top.

8. Use the Thumbshare forum.

I'm treating this as separate from rule #3, as the purpose of the
Thumbshare forum is contrary to anything else on the fora. Spend some
time in there and you'll soon find out how things are run. Spending
time in there will get you plenty of comments and pageviews, but it's
a bit of a chore to do. None-the-less, it's very effective.
As just a note, pay attention to the poster of threads. If someone asks
you to post 3 deviations, your newest, or specific styles of art, then
don't spam the thread with copypasta. Similarly, making your own
Thumbshare threads after you've gotten a feel for how things are run
is a good idea.
^Back to top.

9. Groups.

Groups exist for nearly every purpose. Whether it be writing, gay pride,
family guy, photomanipulations, pinay/pinoy deviants; there are groups
for old people, groups for kids, groups for popular and unpopular
deviants. Groups offer you a way to get your name out there. Most
importantly, groups offer a pipeline to connect yourself with more
deviants of a common interest.
With some experience you may enjoy starting a group, but it's no
small undertaking. Being the founder of a group will probably get you
more popular than just being a member, but it requires a heck of a lot
more work than simply joining one. It can be gratifying, however, to
watch a project of that nature come from nothing and perhaps gain a bit
of internet popularity of its own.
If you aren't the type of person who feels comfortable joining groups
(or perhaps you've joined too many already), do note there are many
groups that will allow you to submit deviations to them for both critique
and exposure.
^Back to top.

10. Contests.

There are contests for all sorts of art; whether officially supported or
unofficially supported. There's no harm in entering a contest even if
you lose, and if you win not only do you get prizes (usually
subscriptions), but you get recognition as well.
Holding contests can also be a good idea if you've the time to invest
in judging. You won't get as many comments or favorites as through
other methods, but you may get a watcher or two, and you'll
definitely get pageviews.
^Back to top.

11. Be an eyecatcher.

Whether it's a unique signature or deviant name; a flashy avatar; or
a charming forum/chat manner; you're going to want to have something
that says 'Ohhh, I wonder what that person's about.' This
will guide people to your page and, if you're following rule #1, will
hopefully keep them around.
#8. – #11. See #1.
^Back to top.

12. Community action.

Whether it's creating tutorials about deviantART (hint hint?); or
offering some sort of community service like making avatars; you'll
definitely get noticed. If you've become more tenured you can try to
volunteer for deviantART; or you can help other deviants run contests or
moderate chatrooms.
There's too many ways I could list here to get involved in the
community, but it suffices to say that: as you spend more time on
deviantART, I'm positive if you have the will, there is a way.
#12. Not a bad idea.
^Back to top.

13. Trick people.

Yes, some people get pageviews by tricking people. If someone asks how
many pageviews you have, say 'I don't know, I can't get to
my page.' They'll check and before they notice you've fooled
them, you're one pageview richer. Silly, no?��Or, nonchalantly
mention you might be female…
Please do this in good fun, and don't outright lie (like promise
something without giving) or malignantly trick people into giving you a
subscription, their passwords, or anything of that sort. At all times
please remember to follow the ToS and related materials.
#13. See #1.
^Back to top.

14. Give it time.

You're not going to become an over-night success. Some days
you're going to get 100+ pageviews; if that only happens once every
two months, don't complain about it. Don't whine to people that
you've only been here for three months and you've been doing
everything perfectly but you're still not there yet. You'll get
there in time.
#14. Absolutely.
^Back to top.

15. Keep it clean.

Don't spam. While this may get you a few hits, it's mostly just
going to be people there to complain about you. Eventually you'll get
banned or reprimanded, and there's really no purpose for working so
hard to get popular and stay popular if you're just intending to
throw it away. It isn't cute and it isn't funny.
#15. Attention is attention (no matter the type?), my *main* goal in life. :D:D:D:D
^Back to top.

16. Greet people.

At the top of every page there is a downward arrow that expands a menu.
On this menu is a 'Today' button. Click it, and on the sidebar
you'll see a list of new deviants (as well as other interesting
information.) Write yourself a little blurb for new deviants; perhaps a
welcome message, and some helpful information and FAQ entries. New
deviants will appreciate this help, and will instinctively come and check
you out.
Do note, however, that just spamming 'Welcome to deviantART, visit
my gallery,' to every new deviant you see will get you banned. You
must be helpful.
#16. Always a good idea. *waves his hands politely*
^Back to top.

17. Return to Sender.

Some people prescribe the theory that you should reply to every comment
you get. While I do not personally agree with this (as I don't like
to respond to comments like 'this is great' with just a :) or something), it does show your viewers
that you are reading and you care and will keep them coming back for
#17. If and only if you’ve got the time, mean what you say and if such activities don’t interfere with #1!
^Back to top.

18. Make people laugh.

Life's gotta be fun sometimes, it's wise to occasionally have a
deviation that makes people chuckle or giggle. This also applies to forum
posting and chatting. People want to laugh, and if you routinely make
them laugh, they're going to love you. If they love you, they're
going to visit your page.
#18. Absolutely!
^Back to top.

19. Share the Wealth.

What's the point of being popular if you can't share the wealth
of your popularity?
#19. Just don’t go overboard…
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20. Stamp collect.

If you're a subscriber you have access to a myriad of functions in
your journal, one being the ability to post thumbnails (stamps in this
instance.) Put stamps up on your page for things you support, and while
this will not directly help you in any way, it will help the rest of your
community and friends.
Similarly, you can take advantage of collections to collect stamps in a
more discrete location.
#20. Have subbed before.
^Back to top.

21. Feature people.

Use your journal to feature some less fortunate deviants or groups; or
just people you like. Eventually word will spread, and you'll get
watchers who watch you just to see who you're going to feature. This
particularly works best if you have good taste and some watchers to begin
#21. See #16.
^Back to top.

22. Recommend people.

If you see a person doing an art in a certain style and you've a
friend with a similar style, why not drop an appreciative comment and
give them a nudge to check out your friend?
#22. See #16.

^Back to top.

23. Play for the team.

If you often win contests, or do commissions, or sell prints, why not
give some of that back to the community? Sponsor someone's contest,
give random subscriptions, free prints, points, et cetera. This goes
double for donating to some deviant's donation pool. If you're
appreciative of someone's art or activities on dA, don't hesitate
to throw a few points into their donation pools.
#23. Be benevolent. <- But of course. 😉
^Back to top.

24. Badges.

Llamas (and therein other badges such as cakes) are all the rage these
days. There's groups for trading llamas, and llamas are (usually) a
great way to show appreciation for a work of art or a person. Some people
don't like receiving llamas so giving them out willy nilly is likely
to irritate some members, but giving out llamas can be a great way to
bring people to your page.
#24. Let’s stay focussed. @#1.
^Back to top.

25. Shout it out.- (Thanks to *reality-pfft for the

A feature tucked in the right of the chat page, and often times within
subscribers' (particularly more popular ones) pages, is the shoutbox.
This is pretty much the lovechild of a forum and a chatroom, and is
available for discussion. Occasional self-promotion is tolerated, but
excessive spamming is prohibited.
Posting an occasional 'Hi guys!' or a 'How are you
doing?' may yield a few pageviews here and there; once you've
got them to your page, wow them with your art. If that one pageview
turned into one watcher, it yields more pageviews, and favorites, and
And lastly, folks, if you're out to play the game, don't deny it.
This isn't really a tip for getting pageviews or the like, just
something for ettiquite. No one likes someone who's obviously
plotting for hits, and denies it.
#25. Nah, CAPSLOCK cruise-control still isn’t cool. But saying grace and giving sincere praise is…
#26. Then onto…

^Back to top.

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Last modified: Sunday, 19 Feb 2012 10:20 GMT

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