I hope this guide helps answer some of your questions.
What exactly is deviantART, and what is it for?
deviantART is a massive community of artists who come together to share their work. You have the option to "watch" artists, which means that you will receive messages that show when they upload new art. You can add work to your favorites and go back to view them at any time, leave comments, etc.
There are many different categories of art, enough to suit everyone's tastes. Feel free to browse the front page for what you like. You can toggle through "Newest" and "Popular" (whether it's the most popular from 8 or 24 hours ago, or from "all time").
Some new members may have trouble when it comes to uploading their first deviation. Which category does it go into? Which keywords should I choose?
When it comes to the category, you first select the type of art it is (photography, traditional, digital, etc.). Then, based on the subject of your art, you select the subcategories. If you're not sure where an art piece may fit, ask around before you upload it.
Keywords will help lead other members to your art when they use the search feature. Make sure to include major descriptive words. For example, you are submitting a photograph of a building. You'd want to include "building" and/or "architecture" as the first couple. The following keywords can be other descriptions of the subject; color, location, etc.
You also have the option to make your art into a print that other members can purchase (not sure what a print is? See FAQ #338 near the bottom of the article).
There are limitations to submitting art as well. If your piece contains mature content, you have to check off "yes" where it asks. This allows the content to be hidden from underage deviants. Please note, though, that only certain mature content is allowed.
FAQ #220: What is Mature Content?
What is a "premium membership"?
You are faced with the above term from the moment you join the site. Not sure what it is? It allows you to have a broad range of different features on the site that a regular membership does not have. You can view 120 deviations per page, request critiques (in-depth comments) on your artwork, have no ads when you browse, beta test new features of the site, post thumbnails of art in your journal, and much more.
The membership is available in varying lengths of time; 1 month, 3 months, and 12 months.
How do you get one? You may purchase one yourself, or someone could donate one to you.
How do I get to know more people here?
One of the best ways to get to know other artists on dA is by being an active member. Join clubs, comment art, take part in contests (for more information on these, please see a previous news article, "A Few Helpful Tips on Getting Exposure")
Also, you can remain in constant contact with other members through the messaging network; if you weren't already aware, there is a +forum and +chat. Both are great for having random conversations or sharing art. Just remember to always read the stickies at the top of each different forum. You don't want to post a thread in the wrong place.
It is also possible to send "private" messages, via notes. You go to the recipient's profile page and click "note" at the top. Only that person is able to read it. If you'd like though, you can have more than one recipient for one note (list all usernames with a comma and space separating each one).
Some do's and don'ts of dA
Be courteous to other members. If you're having a problem, make sure to report it to the Help Desk.
Try new mediums. It will help you grow as an artist.
Ask for help if you are ever in need of it. dA is full of willing staff and members who will gladly assist you.
Leaving rude comments - If you have something negative to say about an artwork, leave it in the form of a "critique." State what could be fixed, as well as the positive things about it. If there's something you don't like period about a piece, don't leave a comment at all.
Uploading another person's artwork - dA is not Photobucket/MySpace/etc. What you upload is meant to be your own. If you used part of someone else's work (with his/her permission), always give credit and/or a link to the original.
Taking offense - If someone leaves you a comment stating that something about your art needs to be fixed, don't be discouraged. It is only meant to help you. Just remember, there is always room for improvement.
Frequently Asked Questions</u>
(just click on the link to view the answers)
FAQ #106: What are the symbols in front of each deviants nickname?
FAQ #61: What is a Daily Deviation?
FAQ #338: How do I sell my artwork?
FAQ #112: How do I change my deviantART username?
FAQ #689: Where can I find a complete listing of the MOODS, used in the MOOD system?
Most of these are found at the top of the page in the tool bar (click "More" to see other links).
Help & FAQ (go here to look for the answer to a question you may have)
Today (recent activities of members - changes constantly)
If there is anything that is still unclear to you, please feel free to let me know. I will gladly set you right.