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PE: Digital Art VS other categories

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 6:49 AM
PE 2010 stamp by projecteducate

The category system within deviantArt has the purpose to organize the thousands of artworks submitted every day and group them together in accordance to style, media, genre and/or theme, etc. Imagine deviantArt without categories, it would be a chaos! Imagine yourself wanting to browse for photography only; without the system organizing every deviation by media, you would find yourself unable to filter artworks that aren't photography in your search results.

Thus the importance of categorizing your artwork correctly. By submitting your work to the appropiate category combined with a correct use of keywords, you're a step ahead of being discovered by people wanting to search for art like yours.

All this sounds so nice and all, but what happens when a particular piece could fit in several categories? The category system as it is now is very specialized and has literally thousands of different subcategories buried down tons of more subcategories, which is both a blessing and a curse. Having an specific category for almost every art media, genre, subgenre and theme is great... if you know how to use it. Unfortunately a system this specialized can also be pretty complicated, specially if you're new to the site.

I already gave a very superficial introduction to the different categories within Digital Art, which are mainly organized by media and genre. A Fractal is not the same as a Photomanipulation and that's quite evident so most people don't have a problem categorizing their fractals or photomanipulations... or pixel creations or digital drawings, etc. Today I'll touch a situation in which the category system is a lot more tricky.

Digital Art VS Comics & Cartoons VS Anime & Manga VS Anthro VS ... you get the idea

Maybe you could think that a drawing created in Photoshop should be submitted to Digital Art > Drawings, and reading that without any further context I would also agree. But before you click the Submit button, stop for a moment and think of your drawing. Think if Digital Art is indeed the most appropiate category for it, imagine yourself searching for a drawing like yours, would you search for it in Digital Art? or would you try in Manga & Anime or Anthro or Fanart?
Take this deviation as an example:
Magical Girl by Nardack

Which category would you submit it to?

If your answer was Digital Art then... you would be right, after all is an artwork created with a digital program.

But if your answer was Manga & Anime then... you would be right also. It's is clearly and heavily influenced by the Manga style.

SO WHAT TO DO THEN??! If both answers are correct then which should you submit it to?

Well, you don't have to choose between the two, this is why the Manga & Anime category has its own digital division, so the most accourate answer lies in:

Which btw also have other subcategories similar to the ones you can find in Digital Art, such as 3D, Vector, Paintings and Drawings. So if you think about it, if you create a Manga piece with digital mediums, there is an specific category for it as opposed to the general Digital Art category.

What's the difference then?

Technically neither of these options are wrong, the example deviation is in fact in the Digital Art gallery and even received a DD, technically is not a miscat. However if your artwork has a very specific style or theme that has an specific subcategory for it, consider submitting it to the latter as it offers a couple of advantages I'll continue to explain.

Easier to find

As I mentioned above, an artwork correctly categorized will be more easy to find. Imagine you're searching for a Jack Frost cosplay photo. Obviously, you won't search for it in Digital Art or Fan Art, for you'll get a great variety of deviations of Jack Frost... most of them drawings or paintings... but no cosplay.

 If you're searching for cosplay you'll obviously search for it in Photography (or Artisan Crafts) where you'll get a lot more accurate results.

So in this very obvious example, if you were to submit a photo of a Jack Frost cosplay and you submit it to Fan Art, potentially it won't be found by as many people as if it was in Photography, or not as easily at least, because the latter will be the obvious first stop.

Of course this is a very extreme example, but you get the idea. If you draw Manga, submit it to Manga! Not Digital Art. That way potentially will reach more people interested in the genre more easily.

Streamlines the DD suggestion and selection process

As you know (and if you didn't know I'm here to tell you, so now you know) in order to suggest a DD you need to send a note to the appropiate volunteer, for every CV is assigned to an specific gallery. What this means is that for as much as I like an Anthro piece which was suggested to me, I won't feature it. 

So, if I receive a suggestion for an Anthro piece, even if it was submitted to Digital Art, I'll have to redirect the suggester to the Anthro CV and thus, the selection process gets delayed. If it happens to be selected, the Anthro CV will now have to move the deviation to the correct category before featuring it.

If you categorize your deviations correctly from the beginning and if someone happens to suggest it as DD, it will more likely be suggested to the appropiate volunteer from the start, the whole process will be less confusing for everyone involved and also quicker.


I'm not saying all this is magical. Not because your Fan Art artwork is in Digital Art it won't get noticed, or it won't be elegible to be selected as a DD, or on the other hand that if you categorize every deviation correctly it will magically get a lot more of attention... but it helps.

 Think of it this way:

If you're looking for Manga artworks, where do you start looking? That's right! In the Manga & Anime category! Not in Digital Art. Same happens with Fan Art, Comics & Cartoons, Anthro, etc. So if your deviation fits in one of these categories, consider submitting to them. Sometimes something as simple as a category can make a huge difference!

Add a Comment:
kalistina Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2012  Student Digital Artist
I'm publishing my webcomic to Cartoons/Comics > Digital Media > Comics > Pages... But now that I think about it, it's not that obvious a categorization - Anime/Manga > Digital Media > Manga (comics) > Pages and Panels might be more precise.

Basically, I initially published it to Cartoons/Comics because of formatting issues - I work with Scott McCloud's Infinite Canvas postulate, which means my page can get very, very tall (15k+ pixels isn't unusual at this point). I reckoned Anime/Manga > Pages and Panels was specifically dealing with the idea of physically-determined pages (as in, pages made for printing), something my comic's page definitely weren't.

But from a stylistic point of view, my influences are way closer to anime and manga than they are to cartoons and comics... and I just noticed Anime/Manga > Pages and Panels didn't mention anything about a page's format.

Would you mind telling me what you think about it?
Thiefoworld Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2012
If you consider your style is more Manga & Anime, then M&A is your category. Both categories C&C>Pages and M&A>Pages and Panels are basically the same, neither of them are intended only for pages meant for printing, but also for pages intended to be published online, the difference is basically the style of the content.
kalistina Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Oki doki. Thanks a lot for the information!
Nameda Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2012  Professional General Artist
I have such a problem with my photos sometimes if I put it under photography and the matching subcategory or to digital darkroom *lol* it I dont ass heavy texture or only hdr-ed it a tad not overly its sometimes hard to decide
pica-ae Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2012  Professional Interface Designer

( I guess more complex problems come with Fan Art being posted in the wrong gallery :meow: )
Thiefoworld Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2012
phoenixleo Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2012
Stygma Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
The part I hate most is having to choose between drawing and painting... because I do both. I don't really know if my art is more drawing or more painting. For me, it's not drawing and it's not painting... it's a third form of art.
Thiefoworld Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2012
Yeah, there was a discussion recently about the differences between the two and I think we still don't reach a point where we can tell them apart :P and there are so many deviations that are in between :/
Emberguard Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2012   General Artist
mixed media.
Baosai Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2012  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
I thought this would be about how digital art gets almost all the love and next to no one appreciates the other categories ;-; Especially artisan crafts / plushies. All the contests I ever see are "DRAW THIS DRAW THAT: and I can't draw at all.. I can only make plushies :c

Pushing that aside though, informative article c: Never really considered that before.
leomon32 Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2012  Student Digital Artist
That's hard xD"
Thiefoworld Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2012
what's hard?
leomon32 Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2012  Student Digital Artist
To know where to classify stuffs, I know that it can be confusing, most of the time I'm stick with Manga & Anime / Digital Media / Drawings That cover a huge range xP
Thiefoworld Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2012
Yes, it can be confusing at times :B I hope this article helps at least a little though! :lol:
leomon32 Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Yep, I knew where to place stuff but yeah I can easily guess that it's confusing xD
rydi1689 Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I love your articles :love: and the gifs just add to what it's being explained xD
Thiefoworld Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2012
:iconfishyplz: thank you!
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