Not thinking in a straight line? Try DeviantArt

Final Odyssey by disavianThis article is reposted from an article I wrote for The Technique (official site, Wikipedia article), published on July 1, 2005. (html, pdf). You may also be interested in deviantArt’s official site, my deviantArt profile, or the relevant Wikipedia article.

Sure, a lot of people come to Tech because they can’t draw, and they choose Math or Computer Science or Engineering instead of a field that requires a broader range of artistic knowledge. However as I have discovered, there is such thing as art for the straight-line-impaired in the form of Photoshop, fractals and abstract art.

This journey brought me to DeviantArt, a popular site nearing its fifth birthday. It is a top-500 ranked website, with an average of 14 million page views from 750,000 visitors every day.

At the most basic level, it’s about posting and viewing art. With infinite webspace, you can post as many pieces of art as you please.

Sure, it’s nice to have a personally managed website. But with DeviantArt, you can go beyond the PRISM webspace limit, and have a professional-looking gallery.

Even if you do have all the skills to code something just as nice looking, DeviantArt gives you complex interaction with other users.

“One thing about DeviantArt that I like is that I have pretty much unlimited space for free! I have something like 160 high-quality photographs on there that I share with the world, and it didn’t cost me anything,” MSE major and DeviantArt user Nathan Johansen said.

If you are the type of person who wants feedback, there are plenty of people who enjoy giving constructive criticism and plenty more who will compliment you. If they’re a big fan, they’ll often elevate you in the site’s popularity ranking or use a feature of the site that automatically notifies them when you post more.

“I like it because it gives me a chance to get some unbiased feedback about my work… if people don’t have to look you in the eye when they talk about your work, they feel less obligated to cater to you so they give a more honest answer about how they really feel about it,” Tech student and DeviantArt user Mark Moreno said.

You can also browse. If you have a particular type of art in mind such as wallpapers, fashion portraits, or sketches, you can easily find something similar to what you’re looking for.

The site also lets Facebook addicts have their time in the sun with a chatroom, a Facebook wall-type display, a popular forum and a journal. If you’re not getting enough attention, just post a thumbnail of a few particular works in the thumbshare forum and many happy “deviants” will be glad to have a look. Or, if you’re having a bad day and want to rant, a forum and a chatroom for that purpose exists, as well.

If you (or your admirers) are ready to see your work on your wall at home, DeviantArt offers a prints service which lets you easily submit and sell prints of up to 30 inches by 40 inches in size as well as other art products. DeviantArt offers two types of print accounts, including a free one, which allows you to earn 10 percent of any profit above the cost of the print.

I found that it was worth it to simply buy several of my own prints; they make excellent gifts, you can buy your own prints at cost, and the print quality is very professional.

Also, DeviantArt has a subscription service that provides additional services such as larger thumbnails, faster browsing and no ads. If you become a serious addict like I have, you might find it worth the $30 per year investment.

Even if you aren’t on the path to selling artwork, DeviantArt has plenty to offer-you’ll be sure to find excellent new wallpapers, application skins and friends with common interests.

Andrew Guyton

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