Almost anybody who uploads their artwork on an art site appreciates attention be it for fun or for more professional reasons.
Here I have compiled a small list of ways you can help yourself network through dA a.k.a building your own empire. This is just based upon my own experiences and witnessing other's doing. This is by no means a how-to on being that front page artist. You either have be be beyond elite and catering to the popular genres of art OR become a well known hack doing the same thing over and over again.
1. First things first, improve your artwork FOR YOURSELF!
Your first goal is to stop worrying about getting exposure. Oh the irony of that first step. You need to be your own artist discovering things for yourself on top of improving your techniques. Enjoy your process of artwork, you'll be surprised at how much better your end product looks versus a piece of work you did just to do it and get it uploaded on dA real fast. Do not compare yourself to other artists that are better than you. Do not compare yourself to artists that are better than you. Do not compare yourself to artists that are better than you!
2. What are you selling?
Decide what kind of medium you want the most exposure. If you love traditional artwork, by all means fill your portfolio/gallery with traditional pieces. Try to refrain from uploading something that is "just a doodle I did at the coffee shop....took 5 mins". You'd be surprised how fast your gallery can get diluted with lesser artwork when you really want your best pieces getting the most attention. A dA example of just that is dA stamps. There are a lot of people who LOVE to make stamps but actually have a gallery. You may find that stamps actually do not bring better art appreciators. You'll find it disappointing to see a stamp that took you five minutes to produce get more favs and comments than a piece of artwork you spent hours on and it get overlooked.
If you ever decide to switch mediums, like go into artisan crafts, please remember that you'll need to rebuild a entirely new audience for that. The people who watch you for your illustrations may not hop on board very readily to your new craft. Don't be disappointed, its no different than starting fresh. And always keep this in mind, its all about you. You do your artisan crafts because you want to.
Be badass at whatever new artwork you do!
3. dA groups, gotta love 'em!
The best evolution of Deviant was when they FINALLY made legitimate group accounts. I remember when members on dA spent their time and effort creating new dA accounts to convert it into a group to help archive specific artwork. Now that the group system is up and running, it has made exposing specific artwork that much easier for all of us. Groups are your best friend But keep in mind, you're not the only person submitting to the same group, so just make sure what you're submitting is the best of your best. Also, this is just my personal opinion, but try to submit to topic specific groups. Groups that just "accept everything" is very very diluted with submissions and as such, have alot lesser quality artwork filling peoples inbox. You're more at risk of sending artwork to group members/watchers that just turned off those submissions from that group from ever populating in their inbox. So, with that said, its more helpful to submit to a group that has a submission cap and some sort of quality control.
4. Appreciate your watchers.
You don't owe anybody anything, however this is where it all starts. The very people that watch you/visit you play a big role in exposing your artwork. Do simple things that don't tax your time such as journal features or simply post journal entries that spark a conversation. Its no surprise how many people love to talk about themselves or their pets or artwork. You will easily find some cool dA art friends to shoot the shit with.
5. Avoid drama. Attempt to stay fairly neutral. Not saying to not actually have an opinion just spread it around smartly.
I actually do not have issues with drama. This may be why I do not. I apologize for not having a better solution for anybody that is having issues.
6. Be an awesome personality, be engaging and helpful.
Never be afraid to offer advice to someone that is having issues. I always stalk people (yes, I'm stalking you. You see me, I see you right back). I occasionally come across a journal of theirs that state they're having an issue. It means so much to someone to gladly offer very helpful advice or better art direction.
^. Get a DD.
I bet you scoffed as soon as you read that. Its true, acquiring a DD does make a significant difference. Don't ever ever ever be too ashamed to suggest yourself to a CV. Heck, every CV page I go to they make it super public that it is encouraged that you suggest yourself. Sheesh! Then do it!
Avoid DD suggesting groups like the plague. These groups have a different set of standards. Why on earth would you let a middle man like that cock block you? You were better off sending your suggestion straight to the gallery mod. What the DD groups decline, I later find that very piece get a DD in the near future. So please, just go straight to the CV. I only point a finger at DD suggesting groups because I have sent handfuls of suggestions to them to have every one of them declined. However, I've had more luck sending my suggestion straight to a CV and getting the artwork in question featured. I dont want your own feelings hurt because a group declines you and therefore make you feel your work wasn't DD worthy.
$$$. Got cash to drop? Buy AdCast before you buy a sub. A pretty journal isn't doing for you nearly as much as an advertisement on everybody's dA page. Spread like a plague!
Now go forward and build your empire!
And there you have it! A legitimate list of how to better your exposure! Next up, the list of the sneakier ways of getting exposure >:]