|Name:||DeviantArt (dA, DA, DevART, deviantART)|
|Dates:||August 7, 2000 - present|
|Type:||Artist Community, Gallery, Social Networking Site|
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DeviantArt (formerly stylized as deviantART) is a community site for artists. It is open to art in a wide variety of media, both original and fanart, which has its own category, possibly the largest multifandom fanart collection online. Artists can display their art in their own gallery, and there are site-wide categories and search functions for browsing all archived works. dA also has a shop where artists can sell prints and other printed goods, though anything labelled as fanart is automatically excluded from these commercial features to avoid copyright problems.
The site also has social networking features. Members can comment on art, add other members' works to their favorites, and subscribe to the updates of specific artists. The site also offers journals, collections, polls, and forums for discussion.
DeviantArt and Fandom
After its creation in 2000, the site quickly became a home for artists drawing both original art and fanart. Unlike Elfwood, DeviantArt didn't restrict or quarantine fanart, nor did it have strict quality guidelines, making it a comparatively welcoming environment for fanartists.
In December 2009, DeviantArt expanded its group functionality by soft-launching the Groups feature, creating "a way for like-minded people to find each other and connect creatively". This soft-launch meant that groups had not rolled out to everyone yet, but by 2010 anyone was able to create a group. Groups became a properly supported feature with group management tools, making it easy for anyone to form a community around whatever they liked. Fannish people immediately used the feature to create fanclubs and other communities for their favorite canons, characters, and ships. Anti-character and pairing groups also surfaced. The most popular groups often have tens of thousands of watchers.
Before groups became a site feature "Fan clubs" were the user base's way of supplementing the lack of cohesive community. These were individual accounts that would have a focus around a fandom, character or a subject. They would have other users join by commenting or sending a private message, then would give that account permission to re-upload certain artwork to said account. A few examples are the Yaoi-Fanclub (2007), the Terra-Fanclub (2004), and the Jojo-Fanclub (2008).
Users can display "stamps" (basically small banners) on their profiles that express their support (and sometimes disapproval) of certain fandoms, characters, pairings, concepts or non-fannish interests similar to how Fandom Scarves worked on Tumblr.
DeviantArt does prohibit art that they consider "pornographic or obscene", what constitutes those labels is based upon the discretion of the administrators. However, the site does allow for "artistic nudity", as long as the images are not of minors. What some of these labels mean is not always completely clear, but the fact that fans have the ability to post any NSFW art at all is sometimes a step above other sites.
Frequent Topics of Debate
Topics of discussion among artists on DeviantArt cover a wide range of issues. As some commentators on fail-fandomanon explained ironically:
"...continued referendums on whether tracing was a valid learning tool, accusations of art theft being thrown left, right and sideways, endless concrit wank, wank about lineart being available for coloring and the colorist not crediting the lineartists, commission price wank, continued wank over style and technique, Digital versus Traditional and intra-faction fighting thereof (Photoshop versus every other program; "Crayola crayons are fine!" versus "You absolutely need the super-expensive 30,000-color Prismacolor kit", that sort of thing), and of course, continued wank about style, technique, and whether one style or another is "superior"....
"..... and wank over watermarks. Necessary evil to prevent art theft? annoying thing that detracts from the art itself? No one can decide on that!"
"Pricing Wank is my favorite and least favorite kind. "Five-dollar commissions are selling yourself short!" versus "Two hundred dollars for digital art is unreasonable!".
I forgot to mention Commission-wank in general! Commission-wank can get ugly at times, though. People ripping other people off on both sides (as in artists taking the money and running and customers getting full inks/lineart and then not paying), wank over content of commissions (artists having lists of things they won't draw and customers asking for things on that list anyway and then more or less saying "I'm paying you money, why won't you draw this?"), and as I've mentioned, endless pricing/payment structure wank.Yes. Payment structure wank. As in whether to expect the whole payment up-front or split the payments up because not everyone can afford to pay up front, especially when you get higher in price."
In 2010, the introduction of the site's own virtual currency, the "DeviantArt Points", soured a lot of artists on DeviantArt, as the site encouraged the usage of these virtual points to commission artists. The virtual currency could only be spent on DeviantArt products and services and could not be exchanged for real money.
In 2019 DeviantArt began a major site-wide change called "DeviantArt Eclipse." This site update was in beta for nearly a year, with some users given a switch in the top bar that could be used to turn Eclipse on and off. Finally, in 2020 the update was taken out of beta and given to everyone. Eclipse has received massive disapproval and criticism for changing the site so drastically and for being buggy. Some users have also went on to say that, even after coming out of beta, Eclipse remained largely unorganized and glitchy. While most DeviantArt updates have received disapproval from its users, most of the time the userbase would quickly grow to enjoy or tolerate these updates. However, Eclipse has been widely disliked from day one, and despite being out of beta the userbase has been majorly in disapproval. There are several videos on YouTube critiquing Eclipse's design, from its positives to its negatives. One of the main negatives most users latched on to was that the update removed the ability to fully customize one's profile, with users seeing the website's new design as monotonous and a poor copy of ArtStation.
On November 11, 2022, DeviantArt announced its AI model that generates images from prompts. The app used images from users as a training dataset and the opt out option was disabled by default. This generated a huge backlash, with artists deactivating their accounts en masse and causing DA to retract their opt-in by default policy.
At one point, DA was host to a lot of explicit fanfic in fandoms that also had a lot of art: Hetalia, Homestuck, some others. DA was the #1 place to find Reader Insert fic in those fandoms. Then they started cracking down on "adult" content - this was before they had an adult filter option - and much of that fic was deleted; it seemed that some groups of fans were going out of their way to find and report it.
This may not have been before AO3 existed, but it was before most fans knew about it.
- deviantArt FAQ #743: Can I sell "fanart" as prints? (accessed 26 January 2009)
- fail_fandomanon, Archived version
- fail_fandomanon, Archived version
- fail_fandomanon, Archived version
- These were an awful idea.
- I don't remember the specific fandom(s) involved in this wank but it was around the late 2000s.
- So disappointed in Eclipse, DeviantArt status. May 8, 2020 (Accessed 7/23/2020)
- https://www.deviantart.com/team/journal/Create-AI-Generated-Art-Fairly-with-DreamUp-933537821 Create AI-Generated Art Fairly with DreamUp (accessed November 14 2022)