Updated date:

Art Forums - Resources for Artists

Katherine is a well known art blogger who has been writing extensively on art on 'Making A Mark' for the last 10 years.

art-forums

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.

  • deviantART: where ART meets application!
    Art - community of artists and those devoted to art. Digital art, skin art, themes, wallpaper art, traditional art, photography, poetry / prose. Art prints.THE major player in the art forum world by a very long way (see Chart) is deviantART which has
  • deviantART Forum | Site profile | BoardReader
    deviantART Forum, http://deviantart.com - message board summarySite profile page for http://deviantart.com. This report page has aggregated and summarized the online discussions from the Message Board located at http://deviantart.com. This site profi
  • WetCanvas!: Cyber Living for Artists
    WetCanvas!: Cyber Living for ArtistsWC is a very large forum and some of the sub-forums can be very enjoyable and/or stimulating. However some - including me - would characterise the site as a whole as 'sprawling'.This site changed hands in 2007 and
  • WetCanvas! | Site profile | BoardReader
    WetCanvas!, http://www.wetcanvas.com - message board summarySite profile page for http://www.wetcanvas.com. This report page has aggregated and summarized the online discussions from the Message Board located at http://www.wetcanvas.com. This site pr

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.

  • Artist Network
    Art forum and communityThis site is part of the F+W Publications family which has recently acquired Wet Canvas.The Artist Network site has articles and community forums plus links to videos created by the magazine staff, blogs for each magazine writt
  • Artist Daily - American Artist Online Community
    American Artist is the place for representational artists who are devoted to the realism in art in various media - whether oil paint, sculpture, watercolor, pastel, colored pencil, graphite, printmaking, or charcoal. The new Artist Daily website is t
  • ArtandArtistry (Powered by Invision Power Board)
    Art and Artistry - An Educational Forum for Artists of all levelsArt and Artistry was started by a small group of ex-Moderators from Wet Canvas and has a small but apparently devoted following. It describes itself as an educational art forum. It rece
  • Art Community - Fine-Art.com
    Talk about ANY artistThe d'Art community forums have been around for a long time and are fairly active. Every forum has its own set of devotees but I personally find it difficult to find my way round this site and rarely visit. Some of the sub-forums
  • ArtPapa forum - Powered by vBulletin
    Art Lessons and Painting Workshops online: Stil-lifes, Portraits, Lanscape, Sculpture, Books and Videos, art instruction videoIn my opinion ArtPapathis tends towards a more traditional approach to art and has an educational slant. A.L.Antonov (the ow
  • Society of Amateur Artists
    The Society of Amateur Artists (SAA) is a UK art website catering for the hobby market. The SAA Shop manages to negotiate some good deals on painting supplies due to numbers (hence why I tend to visit!). It also has listings for professional artists
  • Drawn! Forums
    A Canadian group - fairly low key/low levels of activity - more for display than discussion.
  • About.com Painting Forum
    Welcome to the About.com Painting Forum! Do join in the conversation. Our motto is: "Each of us may not know that much, but together we become masters."
  • Artists Network - The Leading Online Fine Art Resource for Artists
    Artists Network is the leading online Fine Art resource of Artists. From Artist Videos to Instruction on Fine Art techniques, the Artists Network provides a comprehensive directory for all Art mediums.
  • Illustration Friday! - The Forum
    The Forum started for people participating in Illustration Friday! Low level of activity.
  • Drawspace forums (Powered by Invision Power Board)
    Forums associated with Brenda Hoddinott's Drawspace.com website - which is dedicated to drawing
  • Drawing Club Forum
    Carol's Drawing Club encourages everyone to learn how to draw through cooperative learning. The club creates a place for seasoned artists to talk to each other and help aspiring artists, and is a community that fosters creativity through drawing.
  • Paint My Photo - Where Photographers and Artists Meet
    A place where Photographers can offer their work as inspiration for Artists to paint from.Paint My Photo (PMP) Is for the sharing of reference photos for creating derivative Artwork without copyright worries. Members may only share photographs 1) tha
  • AMIEN Forums - Topics
    Matters relating to art media and the protection of artwork

National Forums - Forums where the focus is on art in a particular country

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

  • Flickr: Groups
    Groups can either be public, public (invite only) or completely private. Every group has a pool for photos and/or video and a discussion board for talking. There are administrators and members, and... that's about it!Flickr groups have discussion thr
  • Drawing Groups on Flickr
    Flickr is a major online photo management and sharing application which facilitates groups - as determined by membersThere are a number of drawing groups with thousands of members
  • Art Groups on Flickr
    Flickr is a major online photo management and sharing application which facilitates groups - as determined by membersThere are over 55,00 art groups. A number of them have thousands of members
  • Sketchbook related groups on Flickr
    Flickr is a major online photo management and sharing application which facilitates groups - as determined by membersThere are over 1,000 groups which relates to sketchbooks. The largest has more than 4,000 members
  • Art groups on Yahoo
    Yahoo! Groups offers free mailing lists, photo & file sharing, group calendars and more.Over 620,000 art groups on Yahoo - which means you need to be a bit more specific with search terms to find the one you want!The main problem with Yahoo Group
  • Art groups on Google
    Google gobbledygook as an index - not helpful!
  • American Artist - Member Groups
    Member Groups - Start a Group!Start a new group or put your existing group on American Artist. Easily create and maintain web pages. Run your own group blog, forum, and gallery. Manage and communicate with your members. Make your group public or priv
  • American Artist -
    Start a new group or put your existing group on American Artist. Easily create and maintain web pages. Run your own group blog, forum, and gallery. Manage and communicate with your members. Make your group public or private.Associations can run their
  • Most Active Groups - artreview.com
    Join a network of artists, galleries and art lovers in the artworld online

Webware for creating groups

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

  • Making a Mark: Artists, Art Societies, Art Groups and Ning
    Take a look at Ning if you've ever wanted to set up a public or private art group, run or help with a national or local art society, are interested in new ways to market your art and/or have been running a group and using either Google groups or Yaho
  • Ning. Create your own social network for anything.
    Ning allows you to create a social networking site with a lot of features and it's all completely free - so long as you don't mind a few adverts and don't exceed the storage/bandwidth allowance
  • Google Groups
    You can make a group, share information, have discussions (online or through email), create web pages inside your group and/or use it for information about your group, shared documents, or anything else you want to publish online.It's not as well sui
  • Yahoo Groups
    A Yahoo! Group is where people with a shared interest can meet on the web, get to know each other, and stay informed. A Yahoo Group gives you instant access to:* Shared message archives* Photos and photo albums* Group event calendars* Member polls an
  • Flickr: Groups
    Flickr Groups can either be public, public (invite only) or completely private. Every group has a pool for photos and/or video and a discussion board for talking. There are administrators and members, and... that's about it!

Drawing and Illustration Groups

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

  • Drawn! The Illustration and Cartooning Blog
    Drawn! The Illustration and Cartooning BlogDrawn! is a collaborative and multi-author weblog for illustrators, artists, cartoonists, and anyone who likes to draw.Drawn! is devoted to illustration, art, cartooning and drawing. Its purpose is to inspir
  • WetCanvas - Drawing and Sketching
    WetCanvas: Online Living for Artists | Forums & Community for Fine Artists - Come discuss staple topics such as perspective and line, explore exciting figure drawing techniques, and more!
  • Illustration Friday
    Illustration Friday is a weekly creative outlet/participatory art exhibit for illustrators and artists of all skill levels. It was designed to challenge participants creatively. We believe that every person has a little creative bone in their body. I
  • TheDrawingForum.com - Index page
    The Drawing Forum with JD Hillberry and Mike SibleyFocuses on drawing techniques and animal and wildlife
  • Drawing - artreview.com
    contemporary drawing people draw, enjoy drawing don't be shy - join us!

Drawing Groups - Everyday Matters

  • Everyday Matters - on Yahoo Groups
    everydaymatters: Everyday MattersEveryday Matters is a friendly community designed to encourage members to expand their creativity. Our main focus is on drawing and creating illustrated journals but we welcome creative people from all disciplines. Ou
  • Everyday Matters group on Flickr
    We share our drawings and have a weekly drawing challenge. This group grew out of Danny Gregory's weblog, Everyday Matters , and the Yahoo! group by the same name.The challenges are posted in the Yahoo group each Sunday (see above).Previous challenge
  • The EDM SuperBlog
    The Everyday Matters Superblog, a site made up from blogs written (and illustrated) by members of the Everyday Matters Yahoo Group.No new blogs are being added at present.
  • WetCanvas - Drawing and Sketching Channel
    WetCanvas: Online Living for Artists | Drawing and Sketching Channel
  • WetCanvas - Forum: Drawing and Sketching
    Forum: Drawing and Sketching - Come discuss staple topics such as perspective and line, explore exciting figure drawing techniques, and more!
  • Drawing Forum and Art Community • Index page
    Duey's Drawing Forum and Art Community - this forum is available for anyone to post their artwork for critiques. Any put downs or slanderous remarks on inappropriate language will not be tolerated.
  • About.com - Drawing Forums
    Have you visited the drawing forum lately? You can drop in as a guest or you can take a few moments to register so that you can add your own comments. You're

Sketchbook Groups

  • Flickr: Moleskinerie
    For Moleskine aficionados only. You can only post Moleskine scans and photos - no electronically altered or photoshopped images and no nudity. Only members can post.
  • SketchCrawl - drawing marathons from around the world
    SketchCrawl - Drawing marathons from around the world. The idea of SketchCrawl is that of a global drawing marathon: taking a day to journal and draw all that is around you.

Daily Painting Groups

  • Daily Painters Group
    This Google Discussion Group is open to anyone who would like to participate in discussions about the production of 'daily paintings'. Despite what its name implies, it exists to support those in the art community who consider themselves participant

Coloured Pencil Groups

This section is for active coloured pencil groups on the Internet

Pastel Forums and Groups - soft pastels and oil pastels

Portrait Forum and Portraiture Groups

Botanical Art Groups

  • Botanical Art Group on Yahoo
    botanicalart: Botanical Art & Naturalist IllustrationDedicated to the realistic portrayal and documentation of plants and flowers (the Botanical Arts) and natural science subjects (Naturalist Arts, Wildlife Arts, Scientific Illustration).Membersh
  • Flickr: Botanical Art & Naturalist Illustration
    The Flickr Group linked to the Yahoo botanicalart group

Groups of Women Artists

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

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

RussKeith on April 19, 2013:

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

PinkstonePictures from Miami Beach, FL on April 05, 2013:

Useful info

John Dyhouse from UK on October 06, 2010:

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 on January 18, 2010:

@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 on April 12, 2009:

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

FlynntheCat1 on April 12, 2009:

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

anonymous on October 18, 2008:

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...

Related Articles