Elfwood

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Elfwood
Elfwoodlogopngsmall.png
Web addresselfwood.com
Commercial?Mixed
Type of siteArtistic community
RegistrationYes
OwnerUsify AB
Created byThomas F Abrahamsson
LaunchedMay 1, 1996
Alexa ranknegative increase 91,599 (February 2014)[1]
Current statusActive
 
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Elfwood
Elfwoodlogopngsmall.png
Web addresselfwood.com
Commercial?Mixed
Type of siteArtistic community
RegistrationYes
OwnerUsify AB
Created byThomas F Abrahamsson
LaunchedMay 1, 1996
Alexa ranknegative increase 91,599 (February 2014)[1]
Current statusActive

Elfwood is a popular web-based alternative art gallery and online community devoted to original science fiction and fantasy art and writing.[2][3] It was started 1 May 1996 by Thomas Abrahamsson[4] and claims to be the largest science fiction and fantasy art site in the world.[5]

History[edit]

Early years[edit]

Elfwood was originally founded on May 1, 1996, by Thomas Abrahamsson, under the name of the "Lothlorien" project and was aimed at amateur high-fantasy artists.[4] The site was hosted by the academic computer club Lysator of Linköping University in Sweden.[4][6][7] At the time, its gallery consisted of three artists (including Abrahamsson), and all submissions and updates to the site were managed directly by Abrahamsson, with the individual users e-mailing Abrahamsson with their requested submissions or changes.

As the Lothlorien membership and gallery expanded, Abrahamsson developed the site's extranet in August 1997,[4] allowing Elfwood members to manage their own individual art galleries and account information directly, without requiring webmaster assistance.

After a while, "Zone 47" was created for science fiction and modern fantasy art, and two years later the "Wyvern's Library" was created for written science fiction and fantasy submissions. A few months later, FARP (Fantasy Art Resource Project) was created.

In April 2000 the ERB (Elfwood Review Board) was founded; it is responsible for maintaining the rules on Elfwood.

Temporary closing[edit]

In June 2001, Elfwood was closed due to death threats and reopened a month later.[4] In July the FanQuarter area was opened. At the end of 2001 changes to Elfwood were put on hold so a more manageable system could be created. Elfwood was reopened in February 2002 with a new moderating system.[4] After that, every update has had to go through the Elfwood moderators. Along with the new moderating system came Mod's Choice awards. These awards are designated by a star on the thumbnail and an icon of a phoenix feather on the page of the artwork. Each day's Mod's Choice awards can be found on the Elfwood homepage.

In January 2004 the sections known as Zone 47 and Lothlorien followed suit with the Wyvern's Library, merging to create the current SF&F Art area. Along with the change came a new layout for the whole site, as well as revisions to the rules. In November of that year, Elfwood artist Paul Cameron Bennett was charged in League City, Texas for kidnapping a 14-year-old girl, Margaret “Katy” Catherine Wilkerson, whom he met through a chat-room linked through Elfwood.[8]

Elfwood had a major crash, dubbed "the infamous April Fool's Day Elfwood crash,"[9] on the first of April in 2005. All data was lost and the last backup was from February. The site came back with a timewarp to February and the rules were again revised and rewritten. Archived copies of the Elfwood statistics counter from the Wayback Machine show 8000 fewer images and 200 fewer stories between the 1st and 10th of April 2005.[10][11]

Elfwood celebrated its 10th anniversary in May 2006, and to commemorate this anniversary, the Opus Fantasy Arts Festival held the very first Elfwood summit in conjunction with the festival. A guest writer and guest artist was featured at the summit.[citation needed]

Commercialization and afterwards[edit]

After 11 years as an amateur website, Elfwood was transformed into a commercial community in September 2007,[12] adding new features for creating user profiles also for visiting users, tagging of favorite members and works and much more. Founder Thomas Abrahamsson said, "Cost for hosting and servers had become too high to handle as a hobby project."[12] With this came the move of the servers from Linköping University. Before the move, Abrahamsson was frequently physically unable to access the servers to maintain the site due to their former location at the university grounds, which were locked down during the holidays.[4]

In April 2009, Elfwood was re-launched in a new look and feel, with several important improvements at the site.

In May 2009, Elfwood launched a completely revised set of simplified rules, accepting a much wider range of works and even out-of-genre items under a special 'Other Works' tab. The Extranet was taken down its functions fully transferred to the main site, replaced by a more user friendly upload interface and simpler moderation process.

Site content[edit]

Artistic Display Areas[edit]

Elfwood has three main display areas for creative work:

As of August 16, 2010, there were 941 separate galleries in SciFi & Fantasy Art[13] and 148 galleries in FanQuarter.[14]

Art and Writing Tutorials[edit]

Elfwood currently host a sub section, called the "FARP" (Fantasy Art Resource Project), dedicated to articles on the creation of Fantasy and Science Fiction art and stories. It is a free guide to the techniques used by artists and writers of Elfwood in the creation of their work. The name is slightly misleading since the section also contain articles on writing and world creation in general, and includes art, writing, business, and other guides which may be useful to the amateur artist. It also features the history of art, tricks & tips, and so much more.

Community[edit]

The Twilight Tavern, released in February 2008, is the official forum of Elfwood.

Two other notable community projects of Elfwood were Elftown and Woodworks.

Elftown[edit]

Elftown started out as the official Elfwood social networking site in February 2002 by Henrik Wallin. Later on the projects became more like sister projects and the projects got physically split in 2007 when Elfwood's servers moved.

Woodworks[edit]

The Elfwood ezine Woodworks[15] was started in January 2002 by Georgette Tan, which featured articles, reviews, artwork and tutorials by Elfwood members. Tan later retired as Editor and Megan Larson took the position, leading Woodworks to its final issue in December 2004. It is now hosted in an inactive state at the main Elfwood site after the domain was finally shut down in late 2006.

Statistics[edit]

In 2003, Elfwood had 6700 artists and 1300 writers. It logged 14500 sessions per day, each averaging 35 minutes in length. Sixty percent of the users were in the USA and most of the rest in Canada and Europe.[16]

DateNumber of Members who PublishNon-publishing MembersTotalComments Written
SciFi Fantasy (# of Images)Fiction (# of Stories)FanArt (# of Images)
20036700 artists and 1300 writers---
5 Jun 2004[17]22417 (383239)4822 (30947)3508 (32467)--9183329¤
1 Apr 2005[10]24984 (434163)5406 (34431)3943 (37210)--11286593¤
10 Apr 2005[11]24523 (426700)5338 (34228)3879 (36668)--11002115¤
Dec 200626285 (451312)5771 (36182)3836 (36740)--11002115¤
May 200825867 (441332)5773 (36055)3595 (33830)35451706864014119
25 Feb 2009[18]25685 (434637)5767 (35853)3472 (32479)48622833454165282
20 August 201028841 (488826)6419 (37056)3810 (-)615801006504134721
29 March 201129436 (494174)6463 (37296)3843 (-)664631062054063941
29 April 201229393 (498269)6494 (37429)3791 (-)797351194133984801
* Notes where data may have been left unchanged from previous recording in Wikipedia in error.
A major Elfwood server crash on the first of April in 2005 wiped out 2 months of data.
¤ This number may include posts from Elftown before the project split from Elfwood. Also, it did not appear to change after mid April 2005 until late 2007.
This number, from the ticker on the top right corner of the Elfwood site, may be counting SciFi Fantasy and FanArt together.

The Elfwood claims that it currently gets around 3,500,000 pageviews a day and around 3,000,000 million unique IP numbers (visitors) every month. In December 2006, these numbers were around 80000 daily unique visitors and around 2000000 web pages daily.

Reception[edit]

Elfwood has been praised as an outlet for alternative beliefs.[3] The community has been described as a "very interactive place where people are very supportive," in a quote from the San Jose Mercury News.[19]

The FARP section of the site has been frequently recommended as a free resource for tutorials in a wide variety of creative topics.[20][21][22][23] For example, TeachEngineering.org cited two of FARP's tutorials as "excellent guides" for figure drawing and writing about action, Figure Drawing: Basic Pose and Construction by William Li and Writing Action by S. B. "Kinko" Hulsey.[24]

Criticism[edit]

Each piece is reviewed by moderators before being displayed in a gallery, and profanity and provocative language is not allowed.[25] Some Elfwood fans[who?] consider the rules necessary to ensure a certain level of quality in the art they find there, while others[who?] criticize these rules for restricting artistic freedom. As of August 31, 2005 the rules were simplified, and in May 2009 they were further streamlined allowing also Non-Genre contents under a new "Other Works" tab.[26]

Notable artists[edit]

The following are some notable artists from all over the world who contributed to Elfwood at some point in time:

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Elfwood.com Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2014-02-01. 
  2. ^ "Elfwood.com - Fantasy Art Community | Visit elfwood.com". Killerstartups.com. Retrieved August 16, 2010. 
  3. ^ a b Rupp, Crystal. Mitchell's voice rooted in art. Tribune-Review. Wednesday, November 10, 2004.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g "Exploring Elfwood With Thomas Abrahamsson & Eliza Leahy". Gamegrene. Mon, 2003-08-04 07:13. Retrieved August 15, 2010. 
  5. ^ John R. Hall, Blake Stimson, Lisa Tamiris Becker, Visual worlds 
  6. ^ http://madman.the90s.ww.freebase.com/view/en/lysator
  7. ^ "Lars Aronsson's review of". Amazon.com. 2004-01-03. Retrieved 2013-05-21. 
  8. ^ TJ Aulds. "E-mail tips off FBI on teen’s location." The Daily News. November 26, 2004.
  9. ^ Allison Kathleen Whitby. "Allison Kathleen Whitby, Allison Kathleen Whitby profile page at Elfwood. Allison is an artist-type person with a strange little world in her head". Anahut.elfwood.com. Retrieved 2013-05-21. 
  10. ^ a b "Elfwood". Archived from the original on 2005-04-01. 
  11. ^ a b "Elfwood". Archived from the original on 2005-04-10. 
  12. ^ a b Sloan, Sam. Slice of SciFi News Briefs for September 5, 2008
  13. ^ "FanArt Galleries". Elfwood.com. Retrieved August 16, 2010. 
  14. ^ "SciFi and Fantasy Art Galleries". Elfwood.com. Retrieved August 16, 2010. 
  15. ^ "Woodworks". Elfwood.com. Retrieved August 16, 2010. 
  16. ^ Johan Aberg, Nahid Shahmehri, "Live Help Systems", Human factors and Web development 
  17. ^ "Elfwood". Archived from the original on 2004-06-05. 
  18. ^ "Elfwood". Archived from the original on 2009-02-25. 
  19. ^ "Try This, Elfwood". San Jose Mercury News. December 20, 2005. Retrieved August 15, 2010. 
  20. ^ [1][dead link]
  21. ^ "Links to Dollmaking Tips, Techniques and Tutorials". Doll Designs. Retrieved August 16, 2010. 
  22. ^ "A Variety of Free Courses for your enjoyment". 1-internet-courses.com. Retrieved August 16, 2010. 
  23. ^ "Digital Art Techniques and Tutorials". Graphicssoft.about.com. August 12, 2010. Retrieved August 16, 2010. 
  24. ^ Integrated Teaching and Learning Program, College of Engineering, University of Colorado at Boulder TE Activity: Wow! That Captures It! TeachEngineering.org
  25. ^ "Rules Introduction – The Common-Sense Rules of Elfwood". Elfwood.com. Retrieved August 16, 2010. 
  26. ^ "Discuss Elfwood News Item: Elfwood Rules Simplified and Revised". Elfwood.com. Retrieved August 16, 2010. 
  27. ^ "Alena Lazareva". Alena Lazareva. Retrieved August 16, 2010. 
  28. ^ "Interview With Digital Artist Alena Lazareva | NYC Graphic Designer Roberto Blake". Robertoblake.com. Retrieved August 16, 2010. 
  29. ^ "Blog Archive » TT: Interview with Natalia Pierandrei". Texty Ladies. July 7, 2008. Retrieved August 16, 2010. 
  30. ^ "let yourself daydream ...natalia pierandrei's portfolio". Nati-art.com. Retrieved August 16, 2010. [dead link]
  31. ^ CG-Node: Interview with Andreas Rocha[dead link]
  32. ^ "Dark Wolf's Fantasy's Reviews: Fantasy Art – Andreas Rocha". Darkwolfsfantasyreviews.blogspot.com. 2009-02-19. Retrieved 2013-05-21. 

See also[edit]

External links[edit]