deviantART Versus tumblr: Which One’s for You?

In a perfect world, if you could have absolutely anything you wanted, how would you prefer to share your art and design work with the online community?

Unfortunately, this isn’t a perfect world, and no one has that kind of absolute freedom online unless they purchase their own domain. For those of us who cannot do that, however, there are options. Many social media platforms and creatively-oriented websites are available on the net to allow users to share their artistic content with others. Two of these sharing options stand out to me more than any others: deviantART [sic] and tumblr [sic].

But which to choose? Some people have difficulty deciding, and so because I’m a user of both websites, I’ve decided to share a little wisdom with all o’ y’all.

First, let’s begin with deviantART. Upon typing “” into the URL bar, assuming you are not already logged into the site, the page that you see is as thus:

(Saturday, September 20, 2014, 0815h Kingston time.
Windows 7 start bar removed from screenshot.)

The first page that you are brought to on is the browsing page. By default, it displays the artwork that is most popular from the past twenty-four hours. This consists of digitally-created images, traditionally drawn artwork, and literature. The header of the page contains a search bar and several options related to the site. At the top and side of the main window are another search bar and options to change your browsing display method and narrow down your search results.

But that’s boring. Let’s log into an account—for the sake of this demonstration, PorscheHandsPLZ—by using the Deviant Login drop-down menu and see what else deviantART has to offer!, signed in

(Saturday, September 20, 2014, 0835h Kingston time.
Windows 7 start bar removed from screenshot.
Disclaimer: PorscheHandsPLZ is an account owned by me, Tamarin Silver, under the pen name Miranda Z. Johnston. Main account: AWESOMEPANCAKES.)

As you can see, the images have changed because the page has been reloaded. deviantART updates its search page automatically, and depending on your search, that can be quite quickly.

But the point of signing in wasn’t just to reload the search page. There are more options in the header bar now!

Let’s have a look at PorscheHandsPLZ’s profile to get a feel for the non-browsing aspects of the site. To get there, we hover over the ‘PorscheHandsPLZ’ drop-down menu and select ‘Profile.’ profile

(Saturday, September 20, 2014, 0840h Kingston time.
Windows 7 start bar removed from screenshot.
My comment censored for privacy reasons.)

Wow, PorscheHandsPLZ doesn’t have very much on their profile! That’s because this is a “PLZ” account, an account used solely for the avatar image (top left; expanded at center right). PLZ accounts’ avatar images are used in comments made by other deviants, or deviantART users, to spruce up their comments.

But regardless, this profile is a good one to show the basic options available on a deviantART profile. The deviantID panel on the right gives information about the user. On the left-hand side is the Watchers panel, which would show the avatar images of any deviants watching PorscheHandsPLZ, if there were any. There is also the Comments section at the bottom right, and a user’s profile can be customized using the Edit Page button to include other panels as well. More panels are available for use if one has paid for the privilege of being a premium member.

Along the top of the screen are tabs. There’s the Profile tab, below which information is given about PorscheHandPLZ; the gallery tab, where any deviations—or art submissions—PorscheHandsPLZ may have posted would be; the Prints tab, where one can purchase “prints”; the Favourites tab, where any deviations PorscheHandsPLZ has marked as a favorite (or “favorited”) would be found, and the Journal tab, where one could read PorscheHandsPLZ’s published Journal entries.

But now I’m going to log out by using the PorscheHandsPLZ drop-down menu again, which will take me to this screen… logout

(Saturday, September 20, 2014, 0905h Kingston time.
Windows 7 start bar removed from screenshot.)

…And now I’ll move on to!

(Saturday, September 20, 2014, 0910h Kingston time.
Windows 7 start bar removed from screenshot.)

Wow, this already looks a lot busier than deviantART did! Let’s log in and see how it looks once a user is signed in. In this case, mirandazjohnston. That’s me, using my online nom de plume. dashboard

(Saturday, September 20, 2014, 0915h Kingston time.
Windows 7 start bar removed from screenshot.
tumblr feed censored for privacy reasons.)

This is the tumblr dashboard. It’s much less in-your-face than the initial log-in screen—this is because the login screen uses random images from around tumblr as a background. Sometimes it’s more understated. But the dashboard is always this color. The background is blue, and the main accent color is white. Along the top of the screen are options to make different kinds of posts, and down the side are blog statistics, recommended blogs, and a featured blog post. There are also more options for managing one’s blog and a search bar at the very top of the screen. The focal point is what’s known s the tumblr feed, where the posts from you and the bloggers you follow will appear. You can ‘reblog’ a post to make it appear on your blog and in your followers’ feeds with any changes you feel like adding—or with no changes, if you choose not to make any—and you can also like a post.

A tumblr blog can be extensively customized with the use of the HTML coding language and built-in appearance setting options. On a blog, one can view all the posts that the blogger has made or reblogged, send them fan mail, and in many cases, send them an ‘ask’—a question for the blogger to answer. A person can also create secondary blogs to post alternate content, and these blogs can be made private with password-protection or turned into joint ventures between two or more bloggers.

Searching in tumblr is different than in deviantART. You type your search term—in this case, ‘kittens’—into the search bar, hit enter, and watch as it searches first the most popular, relevant blogs related to your search term, and then the most popular, relevant posts. search

(Saturday, September 20, 2014, 1005h Kingston time.
Windows 7 start bar removed from screenshot.)

You can then scroll down the lists of posts, which will be vertically staggered and preview both the images, and any added text as well.

Now, I’m still relatively new to tumblr, but I think I’m getting a hang of it so far, wouldn’t you say?

So, now that I’ve shown you both deviantART and tumblr, dear reader, let’s talk about the differences between them.

Uploading deviations is done from a screen accessed via various ‘Submit’ buttons in a few different places around deviantART; uploading tumblr posts is done from the tumblr dashboard. deviantART messaging is done through comments or a private messaging system called Notes; tumblr messaging can be done through fan mail, asks, or reblogs. And I think that’s about it for tumblr. Time to sign out with the ‘power off’ button next to the search bar. That takes us right back to the initial login screen.

Uploading one’s written work can be more complicated on tumblr, as it must be input into a text post and often manipulated with HTML coding to get the desired formatting and appearance. In contrast, deviantART offers many venues of posting written work, such as journals, literature submissions of .PDF or .TXT files, and in the descriptions below deviation images. However, it is easier to get profile customization on tumblr, and you don’t have to pay for any of the awesome services they offer, unlike deviantART’s premium membership shtick.

deviantART is primarily a site for the sharing of artwork, while tumblr is also equally a social networking site. Blogs on tumblr do not have to contain any artwork at all; they can simply be used as an alternative to Facebook, Twitter, and the like. In contrast, deviantART is set up to allow for artistic critique in the comment sections beneath one’s deviations, and even in specially designed critique blocks with five-star rating systems on some premium members’ deviations, unlike tumblr’s ‘share it around’ sort of design.

Overall, I would recommend tumblr if you’re more social, you like having the ability to completely customize your artistic platform, you know HTML, and you don’t intend to post much literature. deviantART is a better option if you don’t mind the lack of customization, you don’t mind paying for extra features, you want advice and critiques on your works, and you do plan to post a lot of literature.

Bear in mind, though, if you’re planning to post any NSFW artwork or literature: deviantART has a strict policy against sexually explicit content. tumblr allows users to post whatever they want in that regard.

So now you know some of the more obvious differences of deviantART and tumblr. I’ll leave the choice up to you; you might even choose both, as I have. Each website has its own advantages and disadvantages for posting art and literature and for connecting socially.

And if you don’t care about posting art, and you only want to post literature?

(September 20, 2014, 1020h, Kingston time.
Windows 7 start bar removed from screenshot.)

There’s always! o  ̮ ~



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