If you’re a fan of art, and are active in the online community, you’ve probably heard of online art platforms like DeviantArt, Art Station and Japanese art site Pixiv. Maybe you even have an account for one or all of these sites? But simply having an account and making submissions every so often isn’t guaranteed to get you noticed, and it can be hard to know where to start. Today we’ll be going through some points we think will help you boost your popularity, and get your work noticed on these platforms!
Recently online art sites have grown in popularity, and it’s no wonder, considering they’re a great way to get free exposure and to show your work to the world. It’s also a great way to find fellow artists to collaborate with, and exchange critique, advice and comments about your work. Art sites are even used by anime and manga editors in order to pick out new talent, so using the sites to the best of your ability is a great way to further your career and get maybe even get noticed by a big company!
What sites are available?
Of course it’s great to promote your work on all kinds of social media, but focusing in on art and illustration based sites will help find the right audience for you. Let’s have a quick rundown of some of the most popular art and illustrations sites that you can use to get exposure!
Founded in 2000 in America, DeviantArt might be the most famous art site among Western anime and manga fans. All kinds of art styles are shared here, from classic and traditional styles to modern styles like 3D rendering.
Users from all over the world gather here to share their work, and exchange art advice and comments, making it a warm and vibrant art community. There are even built-in options to sell merchandise and prints, so DeviantArt is a great choice if you’re looking to monetise your work.
ArtStation is a platform run by Epic Games, and as such you will find more “realistic” three dimensional work here, including a lot of 3D CG. But there is also a vibrant anime and manga art community to be found there!
Founded in 2005, Pixiv is the most popular illustration site in Japan, with over 70 million active users. It’s extremely popular not only with casual artists, but also with professionals, who use the site to connect with their fans.
All kinds of genres or art are uploaded to Pixiv, and the community also frequently holds both official and user-organized contests. Be sure to get yourself and account with Pixiv if you’re looking to get your work noticed in Japan! You will need to create an account to view the site, but there is English support, and creating an account is totally free.
These are the “big three” illustration sites that we recommend taking a look at. Take your time checking each site out, and find which one suits you and your art style best. Of course there are many more options around, so feel free to do your own research too! The points we are about to mention will help you boost your popularity on all different sites, not just the three mentioned here.
What can I gain from using online art sites?
Getting involved with an art community is one of the best things you can do as an artist. Using these art sites is a great way to communicate with fans and fellow artists, showing them your work and also exposing yourself to the work of others.
The more “likes” and followers you get, the more people will see your work. Not only that, but you can get advice from fellow artists, and help each other grow!
Recently anime and manga producers use these kind of sites to find artists for their books/games/series, so the more popular you are on the platform, the more likely you are to be chosen. Companies are more likely to choose artists who already have their own audience, so they can be confident that you will bring your own fans to the franchise. Even artists who aren’t looking to debut as professionals will sometimes be invited to projects, and even if you end up turning it down, it’s certainly a great confidence boost!
How can I raise my popularity online?
So, how exactly can you get noticed in these art communities, and stand out from the millions of other users?
In all honesty, both talent and sheer luck play a part is what causes a buzz online, but there are things you can do to boost your chances of success!
1. Never speak badly of other artists online
Even if you see a piece you don’t like, try to avoid leaving any negative comments. You want to leave a positive impact on the community, and help other artists feel good about their work! Speak positively and pick out things you love about other artists’ work to comment on. Of course creative criticism is sometimes ok, but only ever give creative criticism to an artist who has specifically asked for it! This is an important point that many people forget when commenting online.
Being a polite and positive member of the community will mean you make more friends who will come and support your work in return!
2. Make regular submissions
This is true of all social media platforms, but regularity really is key! The internet and online binge culture means people’s attention spans are getting shorter and shorter, and with endless artists to choose from online, fans will drift away to more active artists during periods of inactivity.
Making regular submissions is key – even if it’s just a quick update on a piece you’re working on, that’s totally fine!
Working too hard on reaching a perfect quality can hurt your follower count in the long run, so try to find a good balance between quality and quantity. Rather than posting one super-polished piece 2 months, it’s better to post one or two rough sketches per week, with the addition of some higher quality pieces whenever you can mange them.
If you post regularly, you should see a slow and steady increase in likes and follows!
3. Never give up! Don’t be discouraged!
Like we mentioned in number one, there are unfortunately some people who forget their manners when they’re commenting online. Some people even seem to get a kick out of ruining people’s day. But don’t let negative comments bring you down!
If the negative comment is constructive criticism, it’s fine to take that on board, but sometimes negative comments can just be put down to a difference in opinion or style. So never let this affect your motivation to keep drawing!
Remember, for every negative comment, there’s someone out there who loves your work!
4. Assess and praise other artists’ work
Once you start out on one of these art sites, you become part of a vibrant artist community. Use this to your advantage! You have free reference material all around to help you learn and improve, so look at as much of it as you can!
Check our other artists’ work with a critical eye, and find points that you would improve on, and also points that you find impressive and would like to use in your own work.
And remember – positive comments!! Find areas that you loved? Tell the artist! Everyone loves a compliment, and if you’re lucky they might come and take a look at your work and leave some positivity in return.
If you comment regularly on your favourite artists’ work, they might be kind enough to leave you some helpful advice on your work!
5. Finish what you started!
This is a little bit of a contradiction to what we discussed in number 2, but try to keep up a certain level of quality in your work. Posting sketches and “work in progress” pieces is great, but make sure to follow through with the final piece eventually! And you never know who might be watching your page, so make sure you never post anything you’re not happy with. A good balance between regularity and quality is key.
You might see artists posting what looks like sketchy “draft” pieces, but they have actually put a lot of work into the linework to make it look effortless and rough. Try to make even your rougher pieces well planned, and well thought out.
We are not suggesting that you “never post unfinished work”, rather that you “finish every work you start”! This kind of determination will help you make progress too, as you will be forced to work hard on areas you might want to give up on.
There we have it! The 5 points that we think will help you on your journey in the online art community.
The word “community” is key here – make the most of the wonderful art community you are now a member of, and reach out to as many fellow artists as you can! It can be lonely working as an artist, so being able to depend on your community for advice and support is huge, and will really help your motivation and mental health.
Not only that, but being a valued member of the community will help you boost your popularity, and maybe even get noticed by a manga, anime or game production company!
And remember, our online courses will give you the skills you need to create beautiful pieces that will catch the eye of new fans and followers!