Art Forums - Resources for Artists

An Introduction to Art Forums and Art Groups on the Internet

Find out about Art Forums and Art Groups on the Internet.

For artists who want to commune online there are different places and communities which suit different people. This overview of art forums and art groups shows you where you can display your art and have discussions about art and art media. There are also some tips on how to check out a forum prior to participation

This site will be adding new groups to the list on an ongoing basis.

TIPS: Checking out an Art Forum

Some tips for checking out an art forum prior to participation.

Most forums have very many more members than active members. Obviously people can move on and find other interests, whole others always prefer to observe rather than participate. However one of the reasons why the membership may be dormant is because the forum might also lack activity. On the whole activity generates more activity.

Check out the following to find out if it's worth investing your time in a forum

Size

Forums usually provide numbers for threads and comments in each sub-forum. Checking the size of those numbers gives a very good sense of what type of art is popular on the forum as a whole and/or how established a forum is.

Active or Dormant?

Try to work out whether a forum is active or tending towards dormant. A very active forum will have lots of new threads every day and lots of people commenting. One that is dying on its feet and in need of the art vet tends to have lots of very old threads with very few comments.

You can check activity by looking at the dates and times that new threads were started and when the last comment was made. Less active forums also tend to be the ones with least active moderation.

Purpose of the forum?

Identify if the purpose of the forum is clear. Is any statement of purpose actually fulfilled by the content of the actual threads in the forum? Forums which are clear about their purpose and keep 'on topic' tend to be less muddled and more helpful.

Some sub-forums on some sites have clearly lost their way over time - again a sign of moderation which isn't working.

Navigation - how easy is it to find what's there?

If you're interested in learning more about media or technique, can you find out what you want to know really easily?

There's lots and lots of good content on various art forums - but they differ very markedly in how well they signpost its existence to new members and, in some case old members as well!

Membership Agreement

If you think you've found a forum that you're interested in then check the membership agreement and rules about how to post carefully and you won't fall foul of the 'do's and don'ts for that forum.

Copyright

You first need to decide what sort of level of comfort you need about the copyright protection of your images and what sort of support you want from a forum. Look in particular at what any agreements says about copyright, for example look at how your rights are protected, what rights (if any) you're giving up and what sort of approach the forum takes to helping you protect your copyright. Not everybody reads membership agreements and thieves rarely become members so look also at what sort of messages about copyright protection the forum display to casual visitors to the website? How easy does the forum make it for other people to download your images?

Traffic comparison: Deviantart and Wet Canvas

Monthly Traffic to deviantART in April 2013 was c. 4.5 MILLION visitors from the USA only (compared to 4.6 million visitors from the USA only inApril 2012)

Monthly traffic to Wet Canvas in April 2013 was 67,501 visitors from the USA only (compared to 76,320 visitors in April 2013 from the USA only). This is a tiny percentage of the equivalent traffic to Deviantart - and traffic appears to be declining over time

The Unique Visitors metric only counts a person once no matter how many times they visit a site in a given month. Unique Visitors are typically used to determine how popular a site is.

Art Forums - the big and active ones

deviantART is by far the biggest art forum on the Internet.

Art Forums and Online Communities - Smaller forums

The difference between smaller forums and the more popular and active groups sometimes boils down to whether or not they use forum software. Some of the groups are larger and more active than some of the forums listed below.

All the websites listed below are communities which use forum software. This means they may have

- specific forums within the website for specific topics

- threads for new topics which can be started by anyone

Forums are typically moderated.

Find out about Art Groups on the Internet

Some of the most active communities of artists on the internet can be found in groups on larger generic sites (eg Flickr, Yahoo Google) which promote the formation of groups.

Characteristics of groups

Lots of groups are open access - which means they can become huge and there is very little sense of community if interests are very diverse

Some groups are invitation only - your only chance of admission may be if you get an invite. Such groups tend to be very specific as to purpose and check out whether you have a demonstrable interest/expertise before letting you join

Some groups are private - you might not even know they exist

Some groups require you to be a member of another group to access them. They exist within the groups network but don't advertise themselves as being open for new members in public.

My Tips

I recommend only joining groups which you can see are active and 'on topic'. Groups, like blogs, are often formed and then 'die' - however they continue to be listed. Check for the date of the latest activity - use the latest activity filter if available

The best sites are quite often those which have some form of active moderation and some sort of filter about who is accepted as a member.

Groups with lots of members aren't necessarily the best groups if you're seeking an active community focused on your particular interest. It's often very rewarding to do your research and be very picky!

Below you can find some suggestions as to some of the groups you can find online...including some which are public as to their existence but which restrict membership to those with a genuine interest

Your tips

If you have suggestions as to active and well run groups let me know by leaving a comment below. I can add those which I can access online otherwise I'll need to be able to check out the group in other ways before it is listed here.

Sites which promote Groups rather than Forums

Generic sites like Flickr, Yahoo Google promote the creation of groups using images and enabling discussions.

On some sites members read posts via email subscriptions rather than by visiting the group's website

Webware for creating groups

An overview of some of the webware which are used by artists to create online art groups

Drawing and Illustration Groups

Also see the forums section above for some forums which are dedicated to drawing

Coloured Pencil Groups

This section is for active coloured pencil groups on the Internet

Anybody can comment however all comments are moderated before publication and all html is stripped out of comments. Spam is not published.

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Comments and Feedback - comments are welcome - but please do not spam 7 comments

RussKeith 3 years ago

Thanks for the information. I ended up joining Deviantart today to try and help get my artwork some exposure.


PinkstonePictures profile image

PinkstonePictures 3 years ago from Miami Beach, FL

Useful info


John Dyhouse profile image

John Dyhouse 6 years ago from UK

thanks for the information, a real goldmine. I have so far played around with groups rather than forums but I wonder if I should try the latter. This lens has certainly helped to put me on the right track


anonymous 7 years ago

@FlynntheCat1: I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


FlynntheCat1 profile image

FlynntheCat1 7 years ago

Ah, also, I didn't notice the Ambient Design forums on here - for ArtRage users.http://www2.ambientdesign.com/forums/index.php


FlynntheCat1 profile image

FlynntheCat1 7 years ago

Very handy, thank you. I was looking for pages like this, and this is a good one!


anonymous 8 years ago

Hi Katherine. I scanned thru the lists above and didn't see two forums I belong to. If I missed seeing them and you would like to check them out, here are their urls:http://toadhollowstudio.com/drawing-club/index.php...

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