We're all here for attention. For some it helps us earn a living and people's attention means cash. Others are still working their way towards turning pro and seek support on their journey. And some just seem addicted to the idea of gaining watchers and llama's in some imagined popularity contest.
Hell, if updating your ID picture on a daily basis fulfils some need within, then carry on having fun. But you may want to stop reading here because the whores I'm addressing have an artistic purpose behind their attention seeking...
So, you're here because you want get your art out there in order to better yourselves, make a living, and enjoy the community.
And how's that going?
Whatever your answer to that question is, I bet the majority of you are feeling like a small fish in a very big pond. I'm also sure most of you feel quite humbled by the awesome art on DA. You probably believe there is way more artistic talent around here than yours. Ironically, it's often those artists - who's talent we so admire - who are the worst offenders at wishing they were as talented as the artists they admire... And on it goes...
Clearly you guys are here because you believe, deep down, secretly, that you have something to show. And you would, of course, be right. From the most professionally finished piece, lovingly honed from many years of artistic experience, or that WIP that's been kicking your ass since you decided to give it a go, you are here to share your art. But let's face it, this isn't exactly an altruistic exercise, is it? The whole point of sharing your stuff is for the return of comments, crits, commissions, and canvas sales, and, yeah, maybe a few inevitable llamas along the way too.
But I'm preaching to the converted here, right? I mean we all know this already, right?
So, how come so many deviants have trouble getting feedback? At least, that's what many people I've spoken to have said. They join groups, they have watchers, yet somehow it seems like their art is rarely seen and hardly ever commented on. It's a big complaint.
There are two questions to consider here. Firstly: 'Am I doing something wrong?' Secondly: 'What am I not doing that I should be?'
Let's explore the first question with a couple of things to avoid:
"Watch me!" "Fave this!" "Y u no comment on my stuff?" As much as I admire directness, this is not good Public Relations. This is 'pushy salesman' territory. If you throw a party do you demand people attend, or do you send out invites and hope people show? And anyway, if people aren't leaving comments on your work, they aren't that likely to respond to a demand as to why.
You're about to leave a restaurant and the owner rushes over and slaps a customer satisfaction questionnaire in your hand, demanding you fill it in, what you gonna do?
Yup, run away...
"But, I'm just not comfortable with selling myself like that." Newsflash - You're not selling yourself. Your art may be an extension of yourself, but once it's done and it's up and it's waiting for crit, or the print to be bought, all you're selling is a product you have created. However much it means to you, however personal the piece may be to you, it's not you. You're just the shopkeeper who also happens to be the manufacturer as well. As dry as that sounds, that's the bottom line. So try not to think of it as selling yourself because, aside from everything else, you're priceless.
These are just a couple of examples of the little mistakes anyone can make when stumbling around DA. You're sure not the only one trying to find support, or wrestling with the ethical dilemma of getting your stuff out there without feeling like a total tool.
So what is an artist to do?
Whoring for Dummies. Or: How to Gain the Right kind of Attention and Still be Loved in the Morning.
1. Give into greed and join as many groups as you can. They want you to join and fill their galleries with all your lovely art. Say hello to the admin and introduce yourself as a new member, see how long it takes to get a reply and what kind of welcome you get. You'll soon figure out which groups you can concentrate more of your time in, show them support, join in, and in return become part of their community. Aside from being fun, it can help lift the profile of your art.
2. Think KARMA! Reaching out to other artists and supporting them shows you are approachable and is an invitation for the same in return. It's also very bloody helpful and a worthy pursuit just for the warm n fluffy feeling it leaves inside... Being supportive rocks! It just does!
3. Remember the three R's - Reading, Riteing, and Roving.
~ Read the journals and updates. Getting to know what other artists are doing opens yourself up to potential commissions, comments and awesomely fun and supportive friendships.
~ Rite (or write) your own journals. Let people know you have a new piece out. Leave a link to it. If it's part of an ongoing series explain it for those wandering in for the first time, and again, leave appropriate links. That way people can orient themselves quickly to your work and will be more likely to choose to follow it. Your product is unique and unique things generally require an explanation.
~ Rove around. Go play in the awesome galleries out there, get completely lost as you stumble from one to another, saving all the stuff you like as you go. Once you have finally found your way back to your own profile, you can enjoy your saves at leisure and leave comments as you browse.
4. Change the shop window dummies. Your page is the shop window to your work as well as, to some extent, who you are as an artist. Your page is there to show your art and/or other peoples art. Decide what you want to do with it and arrange your gallery with the browser in mind. Also, write a little about yourself to let people know you're approachable.
5. Utilise all the other tools at your disposal such as the poll widget, and of course be generous with your llama's and constructive comments.
6. The art of communication is key. Most of our communication is non verbal so by relaying on the written word we are already at a disadvantage. It's even worse for those who already struggle with the written word for many reasons. Just be clear, but also be kind and find a way to let people know you're smiling.
Emotions give us context and help us remember things, or people, or their art... By all means cheat and throw the emoticons around like confetti.
7. Be imaginative. Get people tempted with polls like this [link]
and journals like this [link]
Run competitions as big or as small as you like. Aside from being fun, you become more involved with the community and as such you'll be more likely to fulfil your artistic needs.
8. You know you can put yourself forward for Daily Deviations right? In fact, it's actively encouraged. Take a look at the DD guidelines here. [link]
9. Work it, work it... Yes all of the above does require some work and will take up some of the time you could be working on your awesome art. Get over it, get used to it, get on with it. With time and patience it will be worth it when you reach your goals.
10. You could also try cutting down on the use of the word 'only'. I only do fanfic. I only do manips. I only do wallpapers. I only do *insert genre of choice* Well don't!
There is no food chain on DA, no caste system, and the only lower forms of life you ever see passing by is only the occasional troll. It doesn't matter if you have just uploaded your first doodle or your latest masterpiece, you're creating stuff. Being the creator of stuff is an awesome thing to be!
So there you go, a basic how-to guide for pimping out your awesome art. For more in-depth information on anything in particular, please comment here.
If this was helpful to you I would appreciate it if you could drop by and let me know. If, however, I'll be doing everyone a favour by not writing anymore stuff like this, by all means stop me!
If you have another complaint related to getting your art out there, please let me know what it is. Also please leave a comment here with any words of wisdom you may have to help your fellow artist.
And finally, if you want to get really proactive in improving the lives of your fellow deviants and yourself, go take a look at this seriously positive competition. [link]
Be quick! You have until Feb 9th to enter.
As always, you guys rock!