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An Introduction To DeviantART

Updated on April 5, 2012

What is DeviantART?

DeviantART is one of the major sites around the web for creating an online gallery, and I've been active there for a couple of years now. It's one of the largest 'artist' sites around - others include RedBubble, the now-less known Elfwood, and Artician. These sites are designed around displaying your artwork - whether traditional, digital, photography, stock or literature.

It is free (but offers subscriptions which allow you to use more features - and are how they make their money).

Painted in ArtRage, by Flynn the Cat
Painted in ArtRage, by Flynn the Cat | Source

How does it work?

Well, you open your account, choose a username - it's very popular now, so many good ones are taken. For example, mine is 'Flynn-the-cat'

This creates a homepage for you - a profile page - on the site, at (for me)

From here you get a gallery, which you can upload your images to for free, as well as a journal, a prints section if you offer that and a collection of 'faves' or favourites - other people's work that you have added to your favourites collection. There's also a scraps section, for you to hide your sketches, and in progress, and silly pictures in!

Start Making Awesome Digital Art (What I Use To Paint With)

What is deviantART good for then?

Well, as I said, there are a lot of people on it. A LOT. It is a good place to show your work, have an online gallery and to become known. It's also a place to get feedback - although this does depend on who's looking at your art! More people watch me on deviantART than anywhere else - from my gallery, I can link out to my Zazzle store, my RedBubble and my Squidoo accounts. It's a good place to send people to look at my paintings. The favouriting system works quite well for interaction and getting noticed and you can post journals easily. It's easier for them to watch me and keep track of me (and for me to keep an eye on others).

It's very social, and more - it's full of artists from 13 year old scribbles to mindblowingly awesome

professional artists. You can find any style you are interested in and I find it amazing for inspiration and learning. Also I am terribly competitive - so I just find someone slightly better than me and strive to do better and learn from them. Then I find someone else!

Traditional art - watercolours, pencil and ink, by Flynn the Cat
Traditional art - watercolours, pencil and ink, by Flynn the Cat | Source

Prints And Making Money

You get the option to sell your work as prints - DeviantART has certain size requirements and restricts the size of the prints (and other items) that you sell based on the file size you upload. They have a quality checking procedure, but usually they only do this when someone actually orders something (otherwise they'd be overwhelmed!). You do not have to sell anything as prints - and some things, such as fanart, you aren't supposed to sell anyway, due to copyright restrictions. People can also 'request' that a painting be made available as a print.

I don't advise trying to sell your work through deviantART in general, as - while they have changed the commissions so that the artist gets the same percentage - it is mostly full of other poor and competing artists! if you want to sell your work, look at sites like Zazzle or Cafepress, or Etsy. The first two are print on demand sites (PODs) - you can upload the image and create virtual products, which only get made when someone orders them. This saves you having to worry about printing and storing stock, as the site handles that!

Linearts, Tutorials, Stock Images and other Resources

Another very useful aspect of deviantART are the free (or mostly - check the artist’ s rules!) resources other people put up for you to download and use. Linearts can be downloaded and coloured in, tutorials for many things - from using a program to drawing an eye, an enormous stock image selection for reference and photomanipulation and even other resources such as photoshop brushes and ArtRage colour palettes (and of course, in Studio Pro, those brushes suddenly become useful!).

This photograph of a waterfall on Dartmoor is available as a stock image, and received a Daily Deviation
This photograph of a waterfall on Dartmoor is available as a stock image, and received a Daily Deviation | Source


There are a lot of contests on deviantART - most of them run by other artists. You can start your own quite easily! (But the trick is to get the word out or no-one will join). There are some quite good prizes and it is a very good way to practice and get your art out there. And when you start winning, you know you are improving!

Prizes range from features in journals, subscriptions, prize art (where they draw something for you), actual prints of their work to actual physical prizes.


This is how deviantART makes its money. Subscriptions open up a lot of extra features - fancy journals, the ability to browse with more images per page, no ads, an option to turn the ‘ critique me’ function on, fancier profile pages and various other things. If you just want a place to show your art off, you don’t need the subscrption, but the more involved you become socially, the more valuable it becomes.


People have run unofficial clubs on deviantART for a long time, and finally they recently created Groups. These allow people to submit existing art along common themes, and are a very good way to both fill up your inbox with more pictures than you could ever look at, and to get your art out to people interested in certain topics.

Each group is run by real people and they all have their own rules. You can start your own easily, if you can’t find one you like!

Mature Images

DeviantART also has an option to label images as ‘mature’ . This means that you can choose whether to view them - you also usually have to be logged in to see them at all (although this varies with the level of the warning the artist has added).

Learn About Other Print on Demand Sites

'Negative Space' ArtRage digital painting by Flynn the Cat, customised Guestbook image
'Negative Space' ArtRage digital painting by Flynn the Cat, customised Guestbook image | Source


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    • yougotme profile image

      Renz Kristofer Cheng 5 years ago from Manila

      It's good to know that there are fellow deviantartists here in Hubpages.

    • Liz Goltra profile image

      Liz Goltra 6 years ago

      Thanks for all the great resources. Voted up!

    • tnderhrt23 profile image

      tnderhrt23 7 years ago

      Excellent, informative hub! Thanks, flynn!