DeviantArt was one of the first art-hubs of it's kind on the internet, teeming with a huge variety of artists.
Since then it's changed a lot, and unfortunately it's not quite the place it once was.
It's not down-and-out yet, but there are now alternatives out there that you might consider using instead.
The best alternative to DeviantArt, for fantasy and science-fiction artists, is ArtStation.com. For graphic designers, artists in advertising and editorial illustrators I would try Behance.net, and for artists with an asian aesthetic I would recommend Pixiv.net
Artstation is the place to be for fantasy and science-fiction artists.
Since you can easily make a professional looking portfolio on ArtStation, lots of digital artists use it as the primary place to host their best art.
Because of this, a lot of art directors and other industry professionals browse ArtStation, looking for badass artists to follow or even hire.
From personal experience, I've been hired a couple of times by art directors who were browsing ArtStation and came across my work.
How does ArtStation compare with DeviantArt
ArtStation doesn't put much focus on community interaction, so you won't find the same level of engagement in comments and likes as you might on DeviantArt.
ArtStation also doesn't have any sort of forum, unlike DeviantArt.
Despite these downsides it's still very possible to network with other people on ArtStation, it just has a smaller focus and requires a bit more effort.
If you are a fantasy or science fiction artist who wants to grow artistically or professionally, ArtStation is a great alternative to DeviantArt.
ArtStation is also "safer", for the lack of a better word, than DeviantArt - DeviantArt is still running into issues with censoring explicit artwork.
ArtStation strictly monitors mature content on the website, so you won't see any 18+ art by accident.
ArtStation basic overview
Using ArtStation for free:
- Unlimited art uploads, and the ability to like and comment on posts
- Sort your art into albums/folders
- Build a basic portfolio website, powered by ArtStation (different from your ArtStation profile)
- You can sell digital goods, like brushes, on the ArtStation Marketplace
ArtStation Plus (6.99$ month, billed annually) additionally offers:
- Full access to ArtStation Learning (art courses made by industry professionals)
- Your own domain name for your ArtStation-powered portfolio website
- More visual control for your portfolio website
- Ability to hide some of your art albums/folders, and leave others visible
- Create an ArtStation-hosted blog
ArtStation Pro (9.95$ month, billed annually) offers all of the above as well as:
- Analytics and tracking
- You can hide ads on ArtStation
- Appear at the top of searches on ArtStation
The downsides of ArtStation compared to DeviantArt
There are a lot of very good artists on ArtStation - it looks and feels like a professional website, for professional artists.
I've heard many artists say they find ArtStation intimidating, and feel discouraged by all of the amazing art there.
I implore you, try not to let the incredible artists on ArtStation intimidate you, let them inspire you!
Similarly, because there is so much incredible art on ArtStation and everyone uses it as a portfolio, uploading unfinished work or art that you don't consider your best can feel like a crime!
To work around this, organize your art into specific albums for sketches and WIPs - one ArtStation post can contain multiple images, so you can use a finished piece as the main image, and add sketches and progress images after.
Lastly, your view-count and likes-count are public on ArtStation - some sites, like Instagram, removed this because it's hard not to compare your stats with other peoples, and feel down about your lack of popularity.
Still, for the fantasy and science-fiction digital artist, ArtStation is the best place to be at!
Behance is more aimed at professional designers, giving them a place to showcase their portfolio, but has a wide range of traditional and digital artists that use it.
The most common kinds of art on Behance are graphic design, editorial and fashion illustration, marketing images and photography.
How does Behance compare with DeviantArt
Just like ArtStation, Behance isn't very focused on community and engagement, but rather on showcasing your work and creating a portfolio
Because of the emphasis on portfolio, potential employers browse Behance looking for artists to work with.
Similar to ArtStation, you can post your projects (multiple images, videos, animations, etc), follow other artists, save their work in mood boards, comment on their projects, view their appreciations (the Behance equivalent of likes) and "appreciate" projects yourself.
What's rather discouraging about Behance is that excluding the search bar, there is no other easy way to discover artists.
The 'Discover' page is only for featured artists, chosen by a team of curators, while on DeviantArt, and ArtStation, there are more ways to browse around and find less-curated content.
Behance tackles posting unfinished art with a special 'Today's work in progress' section, that works similarly to Instagram stories, and you can browse this section using hashtags.
But even the art in this section usually consists of finished, design-centric art work. Most of the rest of the artwork on the site is highly polished, finished work.
Behance also has a streaming section with some artists who make their work live, but it is currently invite-only.
Behance basic overview
Using Behance for free
- Unlimited uploads of projects
- Follow artists, 'appreciate' art, and add art to mood boards
- View the projects, appreciates and mood boards of people you follow
The downsides of Behance compared to DeviantArt
The user base of Behance definitely leans toward design more than drawing and painting - some art styles definitely find more recognition on Behance than others.
Like ArtStation, your view-count and likes-count are public on Behance - it's hard not to compare your stats with other peoples, and feel down about your lack of popularity.
Lastly, I wouldn't recommend trying to use Behance to grow your audience - people don't really 'browse' the site just to look at cool art like they might on other sites, so growing a following is unlikely.
If your art has a strong graphic design element to it, Behance might fit you well.
It's possible that you haven't heard of Pixiv, depending on where you come from.
Pixiv was designed first and foremost as an online community for Japanese artists.
Lately, it's also gaining popularity with American and European audiences, and getting more international users.
How does Pixiv compare with DeviantArt
Of the 3 recommended sites in this article, Pixiv feels like the most similar to DeviantArt.
You can browse art, check out artists that Pixiv recommends to you, see daily rankings, popular tags, events and more.
Not to mention that beyond 2D art, there's also plenty of manga, ugoira (animation) and novels posted on Pixiv.
In contrast to ArtStation, Pixiv does not have such a strong focus on professional work and building a professional portfolio.
It's a great site to try out if you don't mind that it's primarily designed for japanese users.
Pixiv basic overview
Using Pixiv for free
- Unlimited art uploads
- Commenting, liking posts, etc.
- Pixiv Sketch and Pixiv Sketch live (free drawing and painting apps!)
Pixiv premium (458 Yen = around 4.50$ per month)
- Sort posts by popularity and genre, or by bookmarks
- Hide ads on Pixiv
- Access your browsing history
- Mute tags and specific users
- Sort your artwork into folders
- Access your analytics and schedule posts
- Update your uploads without having to make a new post, keeping bookmarks and comments
The downsides of Pixiv compared to DeviantArt
Pixiv is not for everyone, as the site is overwhelmingly filled with anime/manga style art. If you don't fit this aesthetic, I don't think you'd get much out of being on the site.
Like ArtStation, your view-count and likes-count are public on Pixiv - it's hard not to compare your stats with other peoples, and feel down about your lack of popularity.
Lastly, I should warn you that Pixiv allows hardcore pornography on their site (with the proper censorship applied, based on Japanese obscenity laws).
If you make art with an asian aesthetic like manga or anime, Pixiv is probably the site your art will best fit.
Other alternatives to Deviantart you could try
If the above suggestions really don't work for you, there aren't many other alternatives to be honest:
Dribbble is geared towards graphic designers, but it's invite only - most artists would be wasting their time trying to show their work there.
CGSociety does have some 2D art on it, but it's mostly for 3D artists. If you focus on 3D art, definitely check it out.
Check out all these different sites and get stuck into the one that appeals the most!