When DDs Go Awry
Daily Deviations, or “DDs,” are frequently held in very high esteem on deviantART. After all, what artist does not want his or her work displayed for more than 20 million viewers to see and admire? The benefits of receiving a DD feature include increased exposure for your work and a day in the spotlight for you as an artist. Many people therefore view DDs as badges of honor, awards that make them proud and validate the time they spend in our community.
Be careful what you wish for!
Don’t get us wrong-- DDs are wonderful for the purposes listed above. But, they can also bring a lot of drama upon the artist, especially if they are controversial.
Let’s talk about some of the sources of this drama.
Some people feel that people who post art-- and especially those whose art is worthy of a Daily Deviation-- should have thick enough skin to accept criticism as well as praise. They argue that criticism is part of artistic growth. We acknowledge the sentiment but have two counterpoints to this argument:
Not everyone wants criticism, and that is entirely up to the individual artist to decide. It does not make someone weak or a “bad artist” to not want to hear negative things about the work they put so many hours into creating. It is not the artist’s fault that he or she received a DD feature. If the artist requests not to receive criticism, then the right thing to do is respect those wishes. Roll your eyes if you must, but be respectful and go about your business.
There is a dramatic difference between critique and criticism. While a well-worded, constructive critique can help an artist take an unnoticed flaw and turn it into an even broader understanding of his or her medium, a derisive cut-down can make the artist not want to create anymore. Should an artist be able to accept a fair, well-stated critique that comes from a true desire to be supportive? Probably. But again, some people do not want to hear critiques, and that is their right. But no one wants to be criticized.
And yet, there are people who find the urgent need to pick apart Daily Deviations, pointing out every flaw. And because not all DDs are “perfect” specimens of artwork for their media (nor are they SUPPOSED to be), some receive more complaints than others. If you receive a DD, please be aware that you can (and probably will) run into the Critic. Even though criticizing your deviation and trying to pull you down accomplishes nothing outside of giving them an odd sense of satisfaction, they will continue to do so. You have to have tough skin. You have to be able to say, hey, it’s not personal, and leave it at that. And you have to fight the urge to respond back and tell him where he can stick his ill-formed opinion because, if you do that and give in to the dArama, he has won. [Of course, for extreme cases, you should report it to the Help Desk; see FAQ #238: How do I report people for abuse, harassment, or another issue I think is a problem?]
The Critic is not easy to handle and, when paired with others of his kind, can really ruin your DD day. Don’t allow that to happen; choose to ignore him and know that absolutely none of his antics are personal.
On the other hand, if you do run into someone who is clearly well-meaning and gives you constructive critique, please keep in mind that supportive feedback is encouraged on deviantART and can enhance your artistic experience.
The Jealous (Ex-)Friend
We’ve seen it happen more times than you can count: You get a DD for your latest piece of butt-kickin’ deliciousness, and shortly thereafter the notes stop. The comments stop. The faves stop. No one leaves a message on your profile anymore. It’s like waking up and being on another planet.
Most of our friends would be happy if we received DDs, right? They would be glad for our success and thrilled to support us. But, this isn’t always the case. We’ve seen so-called “friends” launch all-out attacks on people who receive DDs. Why? From what we can tell, jealousy is the main reason.
The truth is, everyone wants to belong. Everyone wants a piece of the pie (in this case, the community’s the pie), and everyone wants to contribute and be acknowledged for their contributions. So, when YOU receive a DD, which makes you and your work more popular (at least for the day), the worst side of certain friends suddenly comes to the surface.
So, what do you do? Give up your DD?
No. You get better friends.
Just kidding. OK, well maybe not totally kidding. Your friends should be people who support you, who give you feedback and work with you to improve your art. If people are really going to freak out when you get recognition that you deserve, do you want them to be a part of your artistic life?
Maybe your friends need a couple of days to cool off and get the green-eyed monster back in check. Maybe things will be alright. Or, maybe not. We’ve seen people get trashed, having horrible things said about them, and their art ridiculed like crazy. We’ve seen groups of people decide to exclude people, refusing to support their art so that their pageviews and favorites decline completely. And we know it hurts.
So, what are you to do?
NOTHING. Be your normal, effervescent, and perfectly lovable self. Whatever you do, do not add to the drama by posting a negative blog or poll. Find other sources of comfort and support, from other groups or individuals who may not have run in your circle. And, here’s a thought, spend that time and energy on creating new and even better art. Above all else, and we can’t believe we are going to say this, but here goes: dA is not life. It may be a part of life, fine, but it is not life itself. If all else fails, take a break from the dArama for a little while (a couple of days? a week? a month?). We promise that, when you come back, it will be better.
The DD You Didn't Want (Yes, really!)
Every once in a while, someone gets a DD on a piece that they feel really shouldn't have gotten a DD for some reason. Perhaps they felt it wasn’t technically worthy of a DD. Perhaps it was only a personal piece, not meant for public consumption. Or perhaps the artist just didn’t want the attention to begin with.
Though CVs are well-intentioned when we give DDs, we simply can't read people's minds and know if someone does or doesn't want a DD. We have seen artists become so upset that they delete the DD’d deviation or put it into storage. Or more commonly, they will write a depressing statement in the artist’s comments expressing how displeased they are that they got a DD on that piece. In the end, it’s not a positive experience for the artist.
We’re sure most people reading this article are thinking to themselves, why wouldn't someone want a DD? How could anyone be disappointed or upset over something so great? The fact is that no matter how we perceive the situation, the recipient of the DD, for whatever reason, wished not to get it, and the best thing we can do is respect their feelings and not push them into feeling bad or guilty by telling them that they should want or enjoy the DD. Their feelings are perfectly valid and understandable, and it’s best to support them rather than pressuring them to comply.
So what happens if you find yourself with an unwanted DD? You waited all this time to get a DD, and now that you finally did, you are completely let down because it's on your least favorite piece in your gallery. Perhaps you have pieces in your gallery that you feel are newer and better? Let's look at ways we can potentially avoid an unwanted DD before it even happens.
Most CVs will make a point to read through the artist comments before featuring a piece, so if you'd rather not get featured for a certain piece you could simply add something as simple as, This is a personal piece and I'd rather not get recognition for it.
Also, most CVs do not give DDs to works in progress (WIPs). If you are not satisfied with the way something came out and you are looking for feedback so you can make it better, stating so in your artist’s comments will let us know that you’re not looking for a DD. Just saying you’re unhappy with it in general will deter us. Just let us know; we’re not psychic! We can’t always LOOK at things and know they’re WIPs or that they are not “good” in your opinion; to us, they may look fabulous unless you say something.
Self-suggestions! Yes, self-suggest the piece you want to have featured, and if the CV likes it and wishes to feature it, you'll not only have the DD you wanted, you'll have a DD on the piece you wanted!
In Conclusion . . .
So, there you have it: some figures you just might see in the shadows should you ever receive a Daily Deviation and some tips for beating them. We wish you the very best of luck with your creations and hope that this article has been helpful to you.
Astralseed and Aeirmid