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  • Do you think fanart is dying out?

    A few years ago, it seemed like the fanart community was thriving so much. There were tons of active sites around, with lots of high quality art to be found on them. When I go through my favorites these days, though, it seems there are so many that are gone or inactive. It's sad to go to sites and see that they're either no longer there or haven't been updated in months or even years.
    Do you think fanart is dying out? Do you think fans are moving in a new direction with fandom? Thoughts on the matter?
    16
    Private -- It's too easy for art to be taken thru google without anyone ever seeing our site.
    0.00%
    0
    Private -- Art stolen to be put on ebay products is a problem.
    0.00%
    0
    Private -- People join to see the fanart and stay because they are now members.
    12.50%
    2
    Public -- Our art is awesome and people will join and participate if they see it.
    56.25%
    9
    Public -- Prefer it private but we need to try something.
    31.25%
    5

  • #2
    A fine question.

    It has been especially DEAD lately. I remember many years ago when something similar happened on here, but not to this extent. It rebounded like crazy, but there hasn't been this seriously intense lull before. Not to the point where only four of us actually respond to challenges anymore.

    My instinct is to say that this might be a lull in "fanartist generations." Like the older crowd is moving out, moving on, and the newer generation is coming through. But then again I see some newer artists, but not as many as there used to be. And only a few of them are true blood fanartists. I'm sad to say that most of my interactions with the newer generation (I keep saying that like there's a huge age gap, but you know what I mean!) is a sense of laziness with them. Few people have actually endeavored to go through the labors of learning, and I might be biased because most people come right out and say, "How do I do this? How do I do that? Can I use this as a base for this? Where did you get that? Show me? Can you just make this for me?"

    No. Go learn your damn self.

    That's just my personal experience, although I might just be a bitter old fanart hag anymore, and it turns me off to finding new fanartists. I remember doing that when I first started, but there is a difference between asking a how-to and nagging, as well as getting upset when someone says no. Maybe I have no patience. Or perhaps I've just had a bad run of people contacting me lately.

    Another issue, I think, is the quality gap. Either you see really amazing HQ walls, or you see people clearly just beginning, and maybe that's discouraging?

    I do think Tumblr has played a large part in this too, anything Tumblr-art related. It's smaller, simpler to make and easier to follow. I think fandom-related stuff has shifted more towards that arena.

    I guess what I'm really saying is, "I don't know."

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    • #3
      I agree with Bre on a number of points. First of all I am sorry but the laziness issue. When I first started out I had people tell me that I am lazy for not wanting to learn how to draw but instead spending my time just pulling some pictures together. And those people had a point. Creativity is hard and in my opinion it should be hard,you should put blood sweat and tears and hours into your work and good fanart does that. Lately though there is this sense of doing everything super fast and I think part of the problem of new fanartists staying away from fanart is that good work does not happen really fast. I have been at it for I don't know close to five/six years? and I am still mediocre, which is better then I was but still it took time. So I truly think most people just don't want to spend that kind of time on fanart anymore just like more and more people don't want to learn how to draw. In my opinion the same thing is happening to writing where your fanfiction now can be turned into a million dollar book sale......just no.

      The other thing is where I also agree with Bre is that fandom moved to tumblr, which i think partly has something to do with the 'laziness factor' tumblr art is faster I am not saying it is easier to make per se, some of the art on tumblr is drop dead gorgeous and you can see the amount of time people put in it but I am sorry some of the art on tumblr (a lot of the art on tumblr) is a collection of pictures put to grayscale mode. But Tumblr has a lot of things going for it as well, the blog is more personal the art circulates which is nice and there is a lot of material and art accessible really fast. So I think that in terms of art yes fandom moved to tumblr.

      For me personally it has been more of a creative shift towards writing combined with a lack of time but I miss puling pictures together so I am hoping to get back into it.

      I don't know maybe opening the fanart section, making it public, would help as far as this forum goes or allowing those 'this is my art' threads. But if I am honest I do kind of feel that fanart in the way I knew it when I started out is kind of dead
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      • #4
        *sigh* This is sad. I love fanart dearly and seeing this forum so dead is just...

        I think what's happened is: 1) "older" generations of fanartists have moved on; and 2) newer folks, instead of replacing them on forums and personal websites, are accumulating on tumblr, because that is where the fandom is nowadays and where the modern styles of fanart are forming. And I agree with Mara; while many "edits" are just photos made grayscale, there are also makers that create complex and interesting things, and have amazing creativity too. Tumblr as I see it is not more lazy than BuffyForums have been 10 years ago, it's just younger, with a lot of people coming through the stages of their creative development (skills, trends) that we had passed some time ago. They reinvent some things from scratch too. I feel there's just not much "succsession" between "generations" of fanartists from older fandom and tumblr.

        Personally, for some time I've been making both wallpapers and tumblr sized graphics (cause I love both) and tried to keep the balance between the two, even though I admit the response on tumblr has been better than here, because, well, tumblr is a lot more lively. (But I'm not ready to just drop making/collecting wallpapers altogether. I need wallpapers in my life. :P)

        Right now I'm not making any art at all though, due to tough RL situation - I'm in Donetsk and my muse kinda fled when the separatists started shelling my city. :\ I'm just too stressed to think of fanart. But I hope to return to it when the situation gets better.

        The only thing I can think of that could help revive this forum is to try and make it public. And probably promote it, too, because I fear at this point not many people would even know of it, otherwise. But I'm not sure how helpful that can be.
        [ ...In my exile. ]
        LJ; Tumblr; Wallpapers

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        • #5
          Yikes, Olga, stay safe!

          I agree with you both that an option would be making the forum public again. And promotion, for people who have websites and/or Tumblr and want to put in a throwaway link to BF.

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          • #6
            I'm with Mara and Zugma; this fanart section is slowly dying because nobody sees us. I understand very well why the mods decided to hide this section but instead of protecting the little fanart community it's killing it. People only find out about this section after they decided to join the forum; a forum about a show that ended more than a decade ago. I'm not sure about others but I joined this forum because of the fanart section; I mean I liked Buffy but there are more (and bigger) Buffy forums around. It's the fanart section that made this place special for me. A few years ago this place had the best fanartists posting their art here. It's scary to join a forum with so many great artists but you also want to be part of it. When you look at other fandom forums with an fanart section you can see how high the level is at BF.

            Outside our own forum I don't think that the fanart community suffers. Yes the focus is on 500x700 graphics and not wallpapers but Tumblr is probably the best thing what happened to the community. Not only is it a huge place with many active members but the 'reblog' botton is a blessing. It's such a great way of sharing art, finding out about new artists and creating a database of lovely stuff made by some of the very best (fan)artists online. Where DA is only for fanartists; Tumblr is for everybody. So even if you can't do anything in PS you can still have a beautiful blog filled with amazing art without stealing or reposting art made by others.

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            • #7
              What everyone else said.

              Many people have moved on and tumblr exploded. I really think it is that simple.

              Some of us go way back to the BuffyWorld days. We're talking around 2000. That's a long time. We've picked up some people along the way and lost others, but we were never really a HUGE community anyway. There's certainly never been a lull as bleak as this one so time will tell if this is just a phase. Overall though, I definitely think there are less wallpaper makers these days. Smaller sized tumblr art is the clear trend.
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              • #8
                I've been thinking about this for a while now and I agree with everything that has been said up to now. My question though is what constitutes fanart in your eyes?

                I am active on pinterest and pin a lot of fabulous fanart. There may be a lot of art that is screen caps with words over them, or very little else done to the base images, but they are made with an idea in mind, want to show some love for the show and highlight or stress something they love about it. How is that different to how we all started out? Ok maybe not all of us but a lot surely?

                When I look at my earliest pieces they were no more than that, I have progressed to better work because this was an encouraging place to show your work. The nature of Tumblr and Pinterest is not to feedback and pass on advice and so those thousands and thousands of people making fanart that is simpler in nature are less likely to move past that.

                I don't think fanart is dying out, I think its changed. To me the size of the art is completely irrelevant, and in a way the effort involved, it's the feeling that it evokes that's important to me. So I don't see tumblr as a lazy art I see it as beginners art. I imagine some will get better and start making fabulous stuff and others will fall away because they dont have the time, skill or patience to improve.

                I do completely agree that there is a gulf between the art that is seen here and elsewhere, and that may be the difference in age and ability. I started arting because I was inspired by this place and that most if the art posted was good but achievable. Now I feel that we've all got to a point that to be a brand new artist and posting your very first stuff is scary because it's so below the quality of everyone else's. In a way it's almost as if we're actively discouraging new fanartists. I mean when was the last time a new tutorial was posted, I used them all the time when I started and I think they're still the same ones.

                I agree the fan art section should be open to guests, but I wonder if there are other ways we could arrange it to encourage new people to art? Maybe a section just for beginners, with new tutorials and advice given from the more established fanartists? I wondered whether it would be worthwhile having a kind of "Great British Bake Off" style competition for new artists? (Like I said I've been thinking about this for a while)

                Loraine

                *by the way if anyone wants to look at my Pinterest boards I'm ciderdrinker69*
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                • #9
                  Originally posted by ciderdrinker View Post
                  I agree the fan art section should be open to guests, but I wonder if there are other ways we could arrange it to encourage new people to art? Maybe a section just for beginners, with new tutorials and advice given from the more established fanartists? I wondered whether it would be worthwhile having a kind of "Great British Bake Off" style competition for new artists? (Like I said I've been thinking about this for a while)
                  We should certainly start thinking about helping people who want to start working with PSP or PS. New tutorials for beginners sounds like a great idea IMO. When I just started I wanted those so badly and there are only a few. Perhaps it's an idea to create either a section or a sticky with a masterpost for beginners. A post with links to all the good tutorials for beginners we can find and for the things we can't find a good tutorial we make our own to complete the list. If we also add some of the best sites for screencaps, promos, textures and brushes to that post we've a nice welcome to new fanartists.

                  And I agree about the challenges; we need to make those more accessible for new fanartists as well. Only I'm not a huge fan of beginners-only challenges because in that case you need to decide who a beginner is and who isn't and we already have only a few active fanartists at the moment; if we split them up each challenge will have even less entries. Perhaps it's an idea to either start challenges with a bigger focus on creativity and good ideas. Or perhaps we should only give feedback and stop with ranking the pieces and awards. Feedback (the real deal, not the polite "I really love your wallpaper" stuff) helps everybody while being placed last in a challenge can hurt people. Besides awards bother me for another reason; lately almost nobody bothers to come back to a challenge and thank the host for the awards.

                  Another idea is asking a few fanartists here if they want to be mentors. People who add a new tutorial now and then and who will answer questions. In that case it's perhaps less scary to PM a question for a beginner. Although this could also be done by opening a Q&A thread for beginners. There is usually somebody around who helps out.
                  Last edited by Nina; 16-08-14, 12:26 PM.

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                  • #10
                    The whole forum is dying, unfortunately, not just the fanart section... the online community has shifted to social networks such as Tumblr, Twitter or Facebook, making message boards a bit obsolete.

                    Personally, I gave up fanart because after my old computer died a couple of years ago I couldn't get a hold of Photoshop anymore. I was never a great fanartist anyway. I don't think my stuff completely sucked, but I was never going to become any better than that. So even if I miss arting sometimes I don't really feel the need to get back into it. I guess I have moved on, since I hardly ever check the fanart section anymore!

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Francy View Post
                      The whole forum is dying, unfortunately, not just the fanart section... the online community has shifted to social networks such as Tumblr, Twitter or Facebook, making message boards a bit obsolete.

                      Personally, I gave up fanart because after my old computer died a couple of years ago I couldn't get a hold of Photoshop anymore. I was never a great fanartist anyway. I don't think my stuff completely sucked, but I was never going to become any better than that. So even if I miss arting sometimes I don't really feel the need to get back into it. I guess I have moved on, since I hardly ever check the fanart section anymore!
                      its a valid point about the software. Photoshop is very expensive and all of the tutorials online are for the higher most expensive versions. If you've never used it before you won't know how to get round the bit that doesn't come with your cheaper version. I know there's GIMP that's free but starting out you need to know how to use the software as well as art techniques.

                      And time of course, I definitely don't have the same time to spend arting as I did say 5 years ago. But then I could push out 2 or 3 pieces in a day because I didn't spend anywhere as long deciding on which images, colours, stocks etc to use and the hours stressing about whether it's any good. Then I just was happy to throw something together.

                      I'm not sure that the forum is "dying" but certainly there is less new people registering and then being active than there was. That could very well be because the reason to come here is for a show that's been over for a long time. That's a shame in my eyes because the reason I'm still here after so many years is not for Buffy but the fanart. There's simply nowhere online that I've found that has anything like what we have here - multi fandom, quality art, challenges and a place to meet new people who are like minded.

                      Loraine
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                      Peter Capaldi is the 12th Doctor

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                      • #12
                        I am going to voice something that has been playing around in my mind a lot, and that is how about we stop the challenges for a while and keep the battles. Or we focus more on the battles then on the challenges? When I started to do challenges it was extremely scary my art was nowhere near the others I was just starting out and it was scary seeing your art next to that of others. But back then the challenges worked. I mean that there was a lot of feedback and not that many awards. I feel like now it is the other way around. Personally, I think that when you enter a challenge there should be a winner and there should be losers. I don’t think that everyone in the challenge should get an award but I do understand that it is difficult to not give an award to everyone if there are only four participants in the challenge. No one wants to hurt anyone else’s feelings and I am going to be a bad bad evil person and say that that motivation is wrong. If you enter a challenge, you should expect to sometimes end up last. It is how challenges work. I am suggesting to let go of challenges for a while because there are not enough people active right now to keep the challenge fun and make it what it should be, a competition. God I sound awful. I don’t mean to come off as harsh but I do think that challenges should be made into a competition again, it is just one opinion though.
                        Battles on the other hand have a lot of benefits in my opinion, you get to choose your opponent which is a challenge in its own way because I personally tend to choose people that I look up too that are higher than me in skill and art level and.... well anything. Battles have room to get to know the person you are battling with; there is room for feedback the solid feedback that Nina is talking about, you get your own challenge in every round with the requirements and you get to look at your art in different ways and try things you wouldn’t normally try. I can safely say I learned more when I finally got the guts to start asking people for battles then in all my battle free years. So I am a huge fan of the idea of focussing more on battles then on challenges.

                        I agree with everyone that the fanart section needs to be open. I think we should go back to how it was when I joined the forum when there was a list of basic fanart tutorials and also an option to ask another artist how they did a particular effect or made a particular wall. I remember that option closed or died out because people started copying but people copy on tumblr as well (I am not a huge fan of tumblr sorry), maybe we should have some rules but I do think that we need to make a better tutorial section. Maybe we all could make a list of our favourite resources/tutorials and contribute to a thread in that way?

                        The biggest thing for me is that there needs to be feedback. There was a serious critique thread a while ago I liked that thread.
                        Also, as much as I don’t like them maybe there should be ‘my art’ kind of threads. It is less intimidating to open one of those as a newbie then to see your art next to that of very advanced artists. Only I would like to see a ‘my art’ thread with regular updates and solid feedback in it.
                        I don’t know these are just idea’s I’d hate for this place to die out.
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                        • #13
                          Awesome thoughts and ideas here, y'all. When I started this thread, it wasn't really meant as a way of saying "How do you think we should do things here?" but there are some good ideas in this thread about how we could possibly try to garner some activity in the forum.

                          When I joined Buffy Forums, for me, it was definitely the fanart community that lured me here. I have been a member on other Buffy-related forums but none of them have had the amazing community of fanartists that we have here. And I love talking with all of you, but I love love love the challenges and battles.

                          I definitely agree that I think a lot of the newer generation of fanartists are moving towards Tumblr. I like Tumblr, but it just isn't something I have a lot of time for. I already keep a site, a Facebook page, and an Instagram account for my art site. I don't know that I could handle adding another service. I tried it a while back but I always kept forgetting to post there, so it was an epic fail. LOL However, Wordpress does have the option to publicize to Tumblr so maybe I could try again....


                          Lorraine asked an interesting question, too, about what constitutes fanart to you. For me, the size doesn't matter, but if it doesn't have some sort of artistic element, I don't consider it fanart. When I look at those gifs with some text thrown on, I don't think that's something that took someone a lot of creativity. But if someone makes something with beautiful coloring or textures, I appreciate the creativity and skill it took to make it. Even if someone is a "beginner", I don't consider it fanart if it doesn't have some sort of extra artistic element, such as textures or coloring or even just blending.

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                          • #14
                            I can't seem to stay away from this thread as it's totally touched a nerve on something that's been on my mind a lot!

                            Originally posted by Mara View Post
                            I am going to voice something that has been playing around in my mind a lot, and that is how about we stop the challenges for a while and keep the battles. Or we focus more on the battles then on the challenges? When I started to do challenges it was extremely scary my art was nowhere near the others I was just starting out and it was scary seeing your art next to that of others. But back then the challenges worked. I mean that there was a lot of feedback and not that many awards. I feel like now it is the other way around. Personally, I think that when you enter a challenge there should be a winner and there should be losers. I don’t think that everyone in the challenge should get an award but I do understand that it is difficult to not give an award to everyone if there are only four participants in the challenge. No one wants to hurt anyone else’s feelings and I am going to be a bad bad evil person and say that that motivation is wrong. If you enter a challenge, you should expect to sometimes end up last. It is how challenges work. I am suggesting to let go of challenges for a while because there are not enough people active right now to keep the challenge fun and make it what it should be, a competition. God I sound awful. I don’t mean to come off as harsh but I do think that challenges should be made into a competition again, it is just one opinion though.
                            I agree and don't agree with this. I think that the challenges could do with a face lift, that they're pretty stale in the current format but I don't think we should stop them. I do agree that changing the focus from giving awards to giving feedback would be of more use to everyone. I also agree that there should be a winner and not an award for everyone (which I am guilty of by the way ). So this leaves me a little conflicted, because I love the challenges. I don't enter all of them because I need to have the idea or theme to inspire me in order to want to participate and I don't, personally, find lyrical themes for example very interesting and unlikely to enter a lyrical challenge. But the challenges are basically all I have time to do these days.

                            As you will probably know I tend to put together challenges that are aimed at getting people to try something new because I feel that's what the challenges are supposed to be for. I think we've maybe lost that somewhere along the way and tend to fall into thinking up challenge ideas that are really just a "theme" rather than a challenge. Maybe we should differentiate between getting people to participate in a theme without a winner and having a competition where there are winners and losers? Fandomania does this thing called Fan Art Friday that has a weekly theme and people submit art, but only a few get posted onto the site. That's a win in itself a way. (http://fandomania.com/category/fan-art-friday/)

                            Originally posted by Mara View Post
                            Battles on the other hand have a lot of benefits in my opinion, you get to choose your opponent which is a challenge in its own way because I personally tend to choose people that I look up too that are higher than me in skill and art level and.... well anything. Battles have room to get to know the person you are battling with; there is room for feedback the solid feedback that Nina is talking about, you get your own challenge in every round with the requirements and you get to look at your art in different ways and try things you wouldn't normally try. I can safely say I learned more when I finally got the guts to start asking people for battles then in all my battle free years. So I am a huge fan of the idea of focussing more on battles then on challenges.
                            There's something to this, but with the lack of fanartists at the moment I'm not sure that more battles would be any more participated.

                            Originally posted by Mara View Post
                            The biggest thing for me is that there needs to be feedback. There was a serious critique thread a while ago I liked that thread. Also, as much as I don’t like them maybe there should be ‘my art’ kind of threads. It is less intimidating to open one of those as a newbie then to see your art next to that of very advanced artists. Only I would like to see a ‘my art’ thread with regular updates and solid feedback in it.
                            I miss the feedback and wish it was still a part of the section, however I guess the requirement to feedback it was taken out because it was stopping people from posting altogether. It's a no win scenario, unless you force it most people won't give it readily but then you stop people posting art because they don't have time to feedback as well. I would never be at the point I am without the feedback that's for sure, so it would be nice if it was still around in my opinion. However, it has to be good feedback, and I mean useful not just polite and that's hard for most people to do.

                            I've seen some "my art" threads elsewhere on the internet and have not been impressed. There seem to be hundreds of them on one forum and most have only 1 piece in them with no feedback other than "that's cool". I'd hate to see that here, but I do think we need a less intimidating environment for new artists so maybe the "my art" threads are a potential way if we can think up a better way of managing them.

                            Interestingly, I talked to my 21 year old daughter about this and she is very much of the opinion that fanart is totally alive and kicking. She is part of the tumblr and twitter crowd and in her opinion a lot of art out there is either very very poor or totally amazing, there's not a lot in the middle. She felt that there is a shift away from wallpaper based art to more "traditional" art as in hand drawn, painted, cartoons etc even if those drawings or paintings are done on a computer. She also said she though that it is probably growing rather than dying out in the social media world of tumblr and the likes.
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                            • #15
                              I'm going to step out of my lurking mode here now and risk voicing up!!

                              I never even knew about fanart when I started looking for people to talk to about Buffy after first watching it in 2010. I have often had a little nosey at the fanart threads on this site because they are of such a high standard so I always enjoy looking and appreciating them as pieces of artwork. I have even in the past shown them to my husband comparatively to other examples I see elsewhere when I've specifically talked about the high quality here.

                              I have very recently considered taking a new angle on my work front and learning how to use some of the CS6 packages I have, particularly photoshop. So something in my leisure time that would be supporting and testing/stretching the skills I want to learn would be great. Challenges are obviously a good way to take a prompt to start to have a go and try things out. If there were tutorials, and particularly links/suggestions/nudges in the right directions for pic resources etc, then I could see myself getting involved. Battles would be totally off-putting for a newbie. Well, they seem it for me anyway and probably not surprising as everyone else is soooo much more advanced. But my comparative lack of skill wouldn't stop me entering alongside a handful of people and I wouldn't care if I was always last and lost if the atmosphere was inclusive, enjoyable and constructive feedback of people's thoughts/opinions would definitely be a good and helpful thing.

                              I can see how beginner questions could be annoying but I think, if you want to gain new people, it is going to be difficult to avoid that. Set up tutorials and resource suggestions would be perhaps all the encouragement needed and perhaps a question thread where a query can be posted for anyone to respond who chooses to help would mean those who don't want to get inundated with queries can just avoid it. Opening the section up could obviously help and if there is some form of welcoming encouragement clearly set up like this I don't think it would necessarily need anything more. The key thing for new artists I think is whether there is a tone of encouragement. That combined with the inspiration of getting to challenge/feedback with a group of talented people may be all people need to see.

                              There is no doubt it is intimidating here because the quality is so high. Even for someone who is established on the site elsewhere and 'knows' a few of you, it is still intimidating to think of trying to join in. But the quality can also be an encouraging aspect that it would be worth all the initial embarrassment to try and get better too when you see so much skill displayed from those that have put in the hours to get better.

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