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How Do You Connect with the Art Community?

March 27, 2010

(Illustration by Melanie Matthews)

Hello fellow artists!

This week’s Weekend Forum is inspired by yesterday’s post, 15 Thriving Online Art Communities, where I highlighted some of the most active places where artists connect with each other and share ideas.

Today I’d like to invite you to share the ways that you prefer to interact with like-minded creators.

Do you have a favorite online art community?

Do you use Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or other social network?

Do you join discussions on blogs like this one?

Do you participate in conventions, group shows, local critique groups, or other face-to-face events?

Please share your thoughts in the comments section of this post, and find out what your fellow artists have to say!

Special thanks to Melanie Matthews for contributing artwork for this post.  Find out how you can show your Illustrations at EFII here.

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About Melanie Matthews:  I am 22 years old, I live in Melbourne, Australia and I love to paint and draw. When I’m not drawing, you will probably find me reading, tinkering with websites, or relaxing with some videogames – I’m a bit of a geek at heart.  My work is influenced by modern art and graphic design, children’s book illustrators from the 50’s and 60’s, retro cartoons and vintage cereal boxes.
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37 Comments leave one →
  1. March 27, 2010 10:07 AM

    I’m a big fan of connecting with my fellow artists. There are so many great ideas to share, and so many ways to interact with other creative professionals.
    I’m also a big fan of social networking platforms like Twitter and Facebook, because they’re a great way to keep up with developments in the community.
    And of course, I also enjoy joining in on the rich conversations that take place right here at Escape From Illustration Island.
    How about you?

  2. March 27, 2010 10:23 AM

    I like ustream the most for inspiration. I like to chat with and meet working artist.
    For a great list of artist doing streams or to do one of your own check out.
    http://www.artcastnetwork.com/
    Search #artcast on twitter to see the latest shows.

    I also like.
    http://visualartistpodcastnetwork.com
    http://sketchoholic.com/

    For information related to the work I do designing tee shirts I like
    http://www.emptees.com

    • March 27, 2010 10:34 AM

      Thanks for commenting, Daniel.
      I agree that UStream is a great way to get inspiration from your fellow artists. It’s really nice to be able to chat and ask questions of the artist/host of the show while they’re working on their latest project. Maybe one of these days I’ll bring my own UStream show back to life.

  3. March 27, 2010 11:19 AM

    I’ve recently signed up to Behance, Deviant Art, Concept Art, Jacket Flap and a few others, and I’m subscribed to a lot of useful sites that give me interesting news and tutorials (Drawn!, Imaginism/Sketchoholics, Little Chimp Society and the like). It’s great to connect with other artists, and I love the way these sites help me to see their work and learn from them. Eventually I’ll use Facebook too, but for now I just have a personal account.

    Some sites, like Jacket Flap and Behance, seem to be more geared towards connecting artists with directors, clients and editors. I’d like to know more about that; which sites do people consider to be the most powerful in that regard, and what tips do you have about making the best use of them?

  4. March 27, 2010 11:26 AM

    I’ve just remembered another side of ‘community’ that’s easy to forget: actual face-to-face social events. I used meetup.com to connect with illustration and drawing interest groups in my area, one of which is GLUG (see photos of previous events here: http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=glug%20brighton&w=all ).

    GLUG is pretty impressive, as you can see in the photos above. It’s a regular event for designers and artists, and they charge a minimal entry fee to pay for the venue, professional speakers and DJs.

    • March 27, 2010 10:18 PM

      Thanks for your comment. It’s nice to hear a success story about a meetup group, since you never really know what you’re going to get. I’m glad you’ve found a good one.
      Cheers,
      Thomas

  5. March 27, 2010 12:33 PM

    I am not good at networking-with-artists thing, I tend to disappear a lot :< But, I love CGHub forums, I have an active sketchbook at ConceptArt.org and there is my good ole deviantArt gallery. And Twitter, of course, it's the easiest form of 'connection' to me :)

    • March 27, 2010 10:17 PM

      Dona, it sounds like you’re actually pretty active with social networking. I’m curious about your active sketchbook on ConceptArt.org. Is this a good way for you to connect with other artists?

      • March 28, 2010 8:49 AM

        I’m only really, really active on Twitter, I use it every day… all day :’D I have galleries on other websites too (Shadowness, CGTalk and It’s ART! come to mind) but I tend to post a picture there and then disappear. And I find it really rude to /not/ reply, so… at least I try to answer everything on deviantArt.

        Yes, I’d say having a sketchbook on CA.org is a very good way to connect. I visit a lot of sketchbooks, leave comments, some people check my sketchbook back and leave feedback. CA sketchbooks are like goldmines, you have to dig around a lot but eventually you find valuable advice (and friends), even from people who are complete beginners.

  6. March 27, 2010 3:29 PM

    For portfolios I like http://www.coroflot.com
    Easy to use, free, some great artist, and I even got a few jobs here and there.
    Other then comments on individual works theres no forum for detailed discussions and so on.
    I use it for my best work of the month type of thing.

    The real life meetup sounds interesting, I have been a loner ever since I got out of school some odd years ago, and I miss that real world social stuff.

    I would say have one that you call home base online and you are really into, so you can really build some good connections and keep up on all the latest news or whatever, and some others that you check in on. It’s easy with so many options to get spread to thin, or to get so comfortable with one place that you are neglecting others. What I mean is it’s good to have a large audience to show stuff too, you can never have to many people see your work, but at some point you are going to have a hard time keeping tabs on where everything is and whos responding to you. Your contribution to the community is all take and no give feel me. The internet is always growing. There may be a new site just itching to meet you that just opened it’s doors. The last three jobs I had were from sites less then two months old.

    That’s just how I look at it. If you have something to give then give it, if you need to learn something then seek it out and get it learned. The barrier to information has never been so thin, but at the same time there are more distractions then ever before online. Stay focused on what you need to be a better you and seek out people trying to follow the same path and help them if you can.

    • March 27, 2010 10:14 PM

      Hi Daniel. You’re so right about how easy it is to get overwhelmed by all the social networking options out there. I like what you’ve said about making one your home base while checking in on the rest. I think that’s a great approach to making the most out of social networking.

      Thanks for your comment.

  7. March 27, 2010 4:07 PM

    I am trying to be quite active on social network sites. I am using mainly Twitter to connect with other artists, but I also have galleries on the different art sites related to my profession as a concept artist.
    These are on Behance, MyFolio, Deviantart, CgSociety, CgHub and ConceptArt.org.
    I also use LinkedIn, but thats more for the professional side of my life – to connect with previous clients, workmates, etc.

    I am trying to keep all these galleries up-to-date, but sometimes its quite hard. I update them at least once in every months though. I am more focused on keep my blog going, as I feel that is the main connection point with my `audience`.
    To be honest I don`t really like facebook, but it might be because I never had the time to get into it properly (like creating a fan site with galleries and such).

    I think social networking is getting more and more important. The main reason is: you can be the best artist in the world, but if nobody knows about you, its like you don`t even exist.

    Get yourself out there! Get seen! Connect with other artists! Get into online discussions! Show your work wherever and whenever you can and try to get crits and comments! Have fun!

    ——

    And if you have 2mins, check out my blog and say `hi`… ;-)
    http://momarkmagic.blogspot.com / http://markmolnar.com

    • March 27, 2010 10:12 PM

      Hey Mark,
      Thanks for your thoughts and inspiration. I agree completely with your closing points. Its all about being a part of the community in every way that can, and making genuine connections and following what interests you. There are so many more opportunities now to find and share information, not to mention connect with other artists.

      I really like how you include tutorials on your blog as a great connection point with your audience. It’s so rewarding for everyone involved. Keep up the great work!

      • March 28, 2010 12:21 AM

        Thanks Thomas! I am really happy you like my tutorials and I am absolutely honored to be part of the EFII tutorials here as well.

        Actually there is one more thing, what I forgot to say:
        SHARE!
        Share your knowledge, your experience, your working process, even your mistakes.
        I always watching tutorials with artists, listening podcasts, reading interviews.
        We are in the very same boat all of us and there is always someone out there who could think your things are useful.

        Keep up the great work with the EFII blog, the illustration community would need more guys like you!

        Best and have a creative day!

    • March 27, 2010 10:27 PM

      :) What a coincidence, I just blogged about you last week! http://chapmanlinks.wordpress.com/2010/03/24/mark-molnar-4-stage-character-development-a-tutorial/

      • March 28, 2010 12:23 AM

        Oh, wow! I am glad you like my process videos.
        Thank you for the nice words and the feature. You are too kind.
        Take care and keep up the great work with your blog!

  8. March 27, 2010 4:55 PM

    I use FaceBook, Twitter and like the community at wetcanvas.com. It’s good to hear what other artists are doing and share info.

    Lisa G.

  9. March 27, 2010 5:21 PM

    I wish I was better at networking, crowds of strangers are a hard thing for me. But I’m trying, I have joined a Meet-Up group but it’s not for artists. I haven’t found an artist group in my area for face to face meetings. Maybe one day I’ll be nervy enough to start one myself – there is a need for sure. Especially because alot of the art groups around here are “fine art” groups for oil painting and live models & such. Don’t get me wrong I love that stuff too but the art I’m focusing on right now is such a mix of art and graphics that I don’t feel like I would fit in with the more fine artists. Could be my insecurities talking though!

    For on-line – I’m a Behance member – I have a portfolio there. I have a very brand new facebook site, and a really new twitter site and I just started an etsy site too. But I have no following yet. Haven’t tackled how to go about marketing myself yet. Baby steps!

    I really love this site the best of all the illustration sites, you really have a ton of great information here, I wish you were a real brick and mortar place near me, would love to really meet some of the cool people you draw to this site! Thanks for providing this little world!

    • March 27, 2010 10:07 PM

      Hi Shell. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are other artists just like you in your area who also wish there was some sort of community. Online networking can also help you to make offline connections in your city. Not to mention, online friendships can sometimes be just as rewarding.

      • March 28, 2010 12:15 PM

        Thanks Thomas! Today I did find a community of artists in my area that meet because they are all in this area and they are all a part of etsy. I signed up, hopefully they approve me!
        Would be so cool to be apart of that!

    • March 27, 2010 10:31 PM

      Hi Shell. The nice thing about Meetup.com is that you enter your interests when you sign up and the site suggests new groups that might be of interest to you as they get created. That’s how I found GLUG. Perhaps you could start your own group on there? The alert system helps a lot, and you might get a surprising response.

      You could start a group on Facebook, but that relies on people typing “illustration” into the Group search and I have to admit I haven’t done that for months.

      • March 28, 2010 12:18 PM

        Hi doubleclicktf – I have not tried entering interests in Meetup.com. That’s cool they do that, I will check it out. I also wasn’t aware of the group thing in Facebook either. I appreciate you letting me know!

  10. March 27, 2010 5:42 PM

    I join some mailing lists and forums, as well as follow other illustrators on Twitter and Facebook. I also like to check out the deviantArt from time to time.

    • March 27, 2010 10:04 PM

      Hi Silvana. Is there one that works better for you than the others?

      • March 28, 2010 4:51 AM

        The medium I use most is Twitter, and a lot of information comes to me there. After Twitter, I use the mailing lists based here in Brazil (mainly Ilustragrupo and Abipro), in which I participate in some discussions.

  11. March 27, 2010 9:55 PM

    I love connecting with artists thru Facebook, Twitter, Blogger and MySpace. Not only it brings inspirations from other artists but most of all it connects me to the right people who will buy my art.
    I would like to share what I wrote base on this. Thanks for this post!
    http://kateharperblog.blogspot.com/2010/03/how-i-sell-my-designs-online-jude.html#comment-form

  12. March 27, 2010 10:40 PM

    Another thing I saw recently, on the subject of real-world social connections:

    There’s an event in Leicester, UK, called Drawgasm ( http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=10726524073&ref=share )

    I read an interview with the guy who started it. Since Monday is a quiet night for many pubs, he made an arrangement with the pub’s landlord to hold a drawing group there on Mondays. The group organiser provides some pencils and pens, and the people who turn up are encouraged to bring paper and anything else they would like to draw on/with. Drinks are cheaper than usual. The pub displays the group’s sketches on the walls throughout the week and if a customer wants to buy a sketch they can do so, for the price of a drink on a Monday night. The next time that artist comes in, they’ve got a free drink.

    I love this idea.

  13. March 28, 2010 12:26 AM

    I regularly visit several online communities which are invaluable for making you feel less isolated when you work from home. But I am also a member of a local illustrators group who meet in person 4 times a year and I get so much out of that – we meet up in a members house or a local pub and it is great to share info with people who are working in the same local area and everyone is hugely friendly and supportive. This is our group if you’re interested
    http://www.swillustrators.co.uk/pages/homepag.html

  14. March 28, 2010 3:15 PM

    Went I first started getting ‘back’ into art I was messing around with colored pencils…crayolas!
    I found a great site dedicated to the colored pencil enthusiast… Scribble Talk. http://scribbletalk.com It’s a small community but everyone has been very helpful. I have learned so much from that site. A new person just bought it but no major changes have taken place except she pushed some wrong buttons and crashed the site but it’s all good now.

    Tim

  15. March 29, 2010 4:03 AM

    I always make a point of spending a bit of time every day visiting some sites where I can see work of other illustrators (nice to see what everyone is up to), the ones I am visiting most at the moment are: http://ilikecharacters.com/
    and a new one:
    http://illustrationdust.blogspot.com/

  16. Catherine Jacob permalink
    March 31, 2010 4:04 AM

    I really like http://www.artybuzz.com best, which you mentioned in your original post. It’s got a good friendly atmosphere and is simple to use.

    The most interesting thing in my opinion is that they split illustration into a separate category, so your work can get noticed and you can also look at some great illustration which is pretty inspiring. It annoys me having to go through mainly photography on other websites, so that’s a pretty nice feature.

  17. April 1, 2010 10:39 AM

    I’m on linked-In, Facebook, I do enjoy blogging, and just started twittering, My illustrations are posted on coroflot, SCBWI.org, – but I really need to update these more frequently (aside from my own website and childrensillustrators.com – which I’m much better at keeping up to date)

    I’m also a board member of my local kids illustrators group http://www.cbig-nyc.com We meet in person every 2 months -which is really great and inspiring -keeps my spirits up. I also manage their blog at http://cbig-nyc.blogspot.com Right now the comments are turned off because we thought it should be a “showcase” but Im thinking of allowing comments so that viewer and posters can interact.

    My personal favorite discussion board is the:
    http://www.scbwi.org discussion boards (must be a member to view) – Feel like I can ask my fellow kids book illustrators/writers anything and get an answer pretty quick. Makes me feel less alone working in my studio. It’s worth the price of membership.

    Feel like I’m spread too thin – yet I still feel like there’s so much more I should be doing. Yes – I do manage to make time to create new art, work, content, etc. but at times it’s all a bit overwhelming.

    -Diana
    http://dianadelosh
    http://dtdelosh.blogspot.com

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