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So you want to join the dA lit community? Part II

Journal Entry: Tue Jan 8, 2013, 6:19 AM
Welcome to deviantART!

A Tutorial for New Deviant Writers


Greetings, all! WELCOME TO DEVIANTART! I'm so excited to welcome you to a community I have been a member of for going-on 8 years. I started this
tutorial specifically because I know the literature community is difficult to find, so I wanted to create a kind of quick reference guide for writers who have just joined dA (or returned to it after a long haitus) to let people know how things work, where to go for critique, contests, help, DD suggestions, or just friendly conversation!

In this guide, I would like to talk about how to submit literature, critiques, Daily Deviations, people you should know, the literature forum, and groups.

This tutorial began life as a single article. About halfway through the first section, I realized there was no way I could fit all the information that I think is important for new members to know into a single guide without creating an impossibly-long article. So, I'll be including links to the other parts of this tutorial in the comments section at the bottom.

Part II will address will begin to address the complexities of critiques, including a bit about premium memberships and what the official critique system is.

So let's get started!

1. Let's have a talk about Premium Memberships

I wasn't quite sure how to address this topic, but since there will be different options for things if you have a PM, I thought it would be useful simply to have a quick discussion about what PMs are. If you're new, you probably won't have to worry about what goes on with premium memberships for a WHILE, but it doesn't hurt to have a working knowledge of what is involved in case you hear people chatting about them.

For starters, I suggest you check out a few faqs relating to PMs:
FAQ #28: What are the benefits of becoming a Premium Member?
FAQ #90: How do I customize my profile page?
FAQ #569: What is the "Give" button on profile pages for?
FAQ #62: How do I use Journal skins?
FAQ #95: What is the Critique Feature and how do I use it?

There is also an official group specifically for premium members: :iconpremiummembers:

I will say this: although premium memberships are really lovely things to have, THEY ARE NOT NECESSARY TO A POSITIVE EXPERIENCE ON DEVIANTART.

They are not necessary to join groups (though you can only admin 3 if you're not a PM), they are not necessary to get constructive feedback from people, and they do not restrict your ability to submit pieces. At least once a year, dA has a day (or week!) when they give everyone the chance to see what it's like to have a premium membership. If you're really interested in one, wait for one of these days to come around and see if you like the features it gives you. If so, go ahead and buy one or start a donation pool to get one. OR, go find one of the tons and tons of giveaways specifically to grant people premium memberships.

But again, you can have a very rewarding deviantART experience without one.

2. The Official dA Critique System

You can only request an official deviantART critique if you have a premium membership. However, you do not have to be a premium member to give a critique. If a premium member has asked for an official critique, you will see this box below their artist's comments:

Critiques 1 by AzizrianDaoXrak

Simply click the "Write a Critique" button, and you're on your way! The official critique box looks like this:

Untitled Drawing by AzizrianDaoXrak

The top box (with the smudgies) includes the piece you are critiquing. BE FOREWARNED if you want to copy-paste any selections from the piece, you cannot select any text in this box, so either highlight and copy the selection beforehand, or open the deviation in a second window so you have better access to it. The big white box is where you will add critique. HOPEFULLY, the writer you are critiquing will have included some questions to guide your critique in their artist's comments. Even if they don't, deviantART suggests four main areas for you to critique:
1. Vision: Does the artwork present or reflect a point of view, theme or idea?
2. Originality: Is the artwork fresh or new in its style, execution or approach? Is it something you haven’t seen before in its particular genre? Does it surprise you?
3. Technique: Was the artwork skillfully created? Does the artist exhibit advanced knowledge of the medium and/or bring special focus to the craft of the medium used?
4. Impact: Does the artwork resonate with you or evoke strong emotions? Does it make you think? Does it blow your mind?

The stars next to each of these categories listed on the right will all be averaged for the "deviousness" score of each piece, which is one of the first things that will be visible about the critique. Many people ignore the stars as an aspect of the critique, and simply concentrate on evaluating the piece through these (or the artist's) guidelines.

Since you can't edit a critique once it's been sent, I suggest using the "preview" button (5) to make ABSOLUTELY SURE everything will appear as you intend it to before hitting the "send" button (6) to deliver the critique to the deviant.

Congrats! You've now submitted a critique! The box where you originally started the critique process on the deviation page will now look like this:

Critiques 4 by AzizrianDaoXrak

As soon as you have posted the critique, it will be registered in your account. You may include a critique box on your profile page to show some of the critiques you completed in the past. This is an example of how it looks:

Untitled Drawing by AzizrianDaoXrak

If you are the person who requested the critique, you will receive the critique as a message in your inbox. It will look something like this:

Untitled Drawing by AzizrianDaoXrak

Notice the "fair" and "unfair" buttons at the bottom of the critique. As the author of the deviation, you can read through the critique before it is posted to the deviation page. If you click the "unfair" button, it will not be posted on the deviation page. BUT the critique will still be posted in someone else's critique box - it will not simply cease to exist. Therefore, make sure you are clicking the "unfair" button for the right reasons!

If you click the "fair" button, the critique will appear on the deviation page just under the artist's comments and will be visible to others. Other deviants can vote on whether the critique is fair or unfair, and this reflects on the deviant who writes the critiques. Deviants who tend to write solid critiques are deviants who will likely be asked to critique others work, so do your best! I'll talk a bit about what writing a good critique means in the next section.

DeviantART FAQ has a lot to say on the topic of the official critique system. If there's anything you think I did not cover here, you should take a peek at FAQ #95: What is the Critique Feature and how do I use it?

And that's it!
In the next tutorial, I will finish up my introduction to critiques, including how you can write critiques if you DON'T have a premium membership,  resources for new critics, and some groups for you all to consider if  you're looking for in-depth critique.

If there's anything else you think should be included in this tutorial, or a topic that you think should be covered in a later one, let me know! I
am open to suggestions (and will not pretend my guide is perfect ;) ).

Hope you enjoyed,

XOXO,

 Untitled Drawing by AzizrianDaoXrak

Table of Contents:
Submitting Literature Deviations: [link]
Critiques Part I: An Intro to Premium Memberships and the Official Critique System: Present!
Critiques Part II: Critiquing for Everyone Else, Plus Resources: [link]
Daily Deviations: [link]
People you should know: (coming soon!)

Hi, everyone! This was actually inspired by a comment from the Complaint Challenge Phase 1.
"My biggest complaint deviantart from the moment I joined the site was the lack of guidance given to newcomers. Not in art itself, but with site navigation. Of course, I did join quite a while ago, so I don't know if things have changed. However, I was completely lost when I first joined this site. I had no idea where everything was. I had no idea how to do anything on this site. I guess it is a thing you learn over time no matter what, but it seemed to take a much longer time for deviantart. I still don't fully understand plz accounts etc. =P I think it'd be nice if the site itself gave some more guidance for site navigation."

*AngelRide


Now, I'm not exactly a site admin or anything, but I thought the least I could do was take my years of experience on dA and put them to good use for new deviants, especially considering how hard it can be to find the heart of the dA lit community. SO I'm putting this together as a submission to Phase 2 of the contest.

I would LOOOOOOOVE comments on this from other lit members. Even simple grammar edits are most welcome.

Hope you enjoy! Please pass it on to new members! ^^
:iconblack-sweater:
Black-Sweater Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
WWOWOooaaahh
I'll go find sum new members now X3333
Reply
:iconazizriandaoxrak:
AzizrianDaoXrak Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Oh, yay! Please help spread it around ^^
Reply
:iconblack-sweater:
Black-Sweater Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Alright ^^
Reply
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