I guess I should start this out by referring to my previous post where I talk about online galleries and social networking sites. In it I talked about my disdain for art sites that were moderated and made mention of my particular dislike for Elfwood. I would like to take the time to elaborate on the dislike. Vent a little. Publicly.
So I've heard people talk about Elfwood for years. One day a year ago I decide to get a gallery there. I upload a bunch of stuff, Zombie Sam, Fannie the Flesheater, Sgt, Rot. Y'know, the regulars. Months later they are approved. Apparently I hit the site right in the middle of an overhaul or something.
So one day I upload my Frankenstein's Monster pic:
Both works of art, along with thousands of others, were referenced from this publicity shot:
First of all I see why the image would not be allowed. No biggie. It just bugged me that they thought I "copied" someone else's art rather than use a photo for reference so I sent this reply:
*REquest for further explaination for the rejection of Frankenstein's Monster. The image was not copied from the painting, it was referenced from a publicity photo. The same photo the mentioned painting was referenced from.*
The moderator's reply:
*I'm sorry, but I agree with the moderator in question that the picture is a copy from that link submitted http://i.inhaps.com/frankenstein_painting.jpg Elfwood has a strict copy rule, whether it be tracing or freehand copying, so your image will not be allowed in Elfwood. The general rule of thumb we have is that if it's recognizable where it's from, then it most likely will be rejected as a copy. If you want to read up on more concerning that rule regarding copying and copying vs. reference we have 2 articles from our e-zine with examples that explains the rule:
The rule also applies to parodies, since they're often judged to be copies as well. The reason I'm mentioning this is that when looking at your gallery just now I remember a report we've recently received about your gallery. You have 8 parodies based on celebrity photos and war propaganda posters that are all considered to be copies by Elfwoods rules. You will at some point be contacted by the ERB (Elfwood Review Board) about them. While they're very creative and beautifully executed they're judged to be copies and as such you will be asked to remove them.
Elfwood Head Moderator and Forest Manager*
OK, so apparently I raised too much of a stink and she just "remembered" getting "a report" about my gallery. Convenient. My response:
*...And not that it matters but the drawing was referenced from the attached publicity photo. The same photo the painting you refer to was referenced from.
So if the others aren't allowed why were they OK'd in the first place? *
*Moderators are humans and they make mistakes, which is why we have the ERB (Elfwood Review Board). They deal with anything already published in Elfwood that may violate the rules, and they work mainly from reports received from the public. When we received the notice about your other pictures being copies (parodies) I contacted the moderator in question, whom wasn't familiar with those sources.*
That was July 1. I did not respond after that. I figured I would prepare my arguments and take on this omnipotent ERB. My chance never came. But if the Head Moderator said my stuff was not allowed surely the ERB would be beating down my virtual door with virtual pitchforks and virtual torches. That never happened. Why? Because of this:
What is this? This is the screen you get after you upload an image. This is where you choose a few keywords for your art. See that highlighted section? "Parody". I never got contacted by the ERB because parodies are allowed. I guess Monica was right when she said "Moderators are humans and they make mistakes". Point proven.
Fastforward to November 23. I upload my latest piece "When Giants Attack...Cincinnati".
I got this email on Monday:
*- Rejected: 'When Giants Attack...Cincinnati'
Reject: Other reason...
Sorry, all pictures based on existing visual media, such as movies, cartoons and computer games [Godzilla movies in this case], are Fan Art and, provided they are not copies, should be uploaded to your Fan Quarter account. Your artwork is very good, you should definitely consider openinng a Fan Art gallery though.*
Here is my response:
Notice I said "It has become painfully aware to me that your site is designed for amateur artists". This is what I just read from Elfwood's About Us page:
...We strive to promote the creation of art and fiction as a serious and meaningful hobby for the young generation, introducing them to painting and writing, helping them to create their own material and finally giving them the option to publish what they have created. This is a value we cultivate at the site in relation to young people. It is our goal to continue our work with young amateurs in the field of art and fiction...
...Letting all amateur fantasy artists and writers show their work for free, helping them to get a name and reputation, as well as useful, creative comments and new contacts...
...We intend to keep Elfwood as a free-to-join site, without any fees or strings attached, giving new and upcoming artists an unparalleled opportunity to publish their material here...
...If you are an amateur fantasy artist, we would love to feature some of your work on this site....*
Boy, do I feel like a dumbass. Here I was bitching about the how unprofessional this site is!
Here's a little bit of advice: This site is specifically designed for amateurs. Nothing wrong with that...if you want to stay an amateur. you will not get a "name and reputation, as well as useful, creative comments and new contacts" from Elfwood. if you want "useful, creative comments" talk to a professional. Want new contacts? Talk to a professional.
Everybody starts somewhere. If you want to evolve professionally or creatively you have to rub shoulders with people that have traveled the path before you. Elfwood may be good for making friends but that's about it. Here's my final evidence for that:
Elfwood offers tutorials. I decided to scan through and clicked on one titled Painting Hair in Photoshop by Zipping through the images the tutorial looks pretty standard until I get to the finished product:
You want good tutorials go to deviantArt... no, better yet go to www.conceptart.org and read their tutorials and spend a few hours going through the forums. There's some pros for ya!