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I'm sorry if this isn't the right place for this, and I'm cross posting (spamming) to a few communities to see what the general consensus is, especially for those lucky few whom are considered successful.

Now, I'm sure we're all familiar with and many of us do business using at least a couple of these websites. Deviantart, Furaffinity, Inkbunny, Sheezyart, Concept Art, and Nabyn to name a few examples. The latter is why I decided to ask advice as I already have an account on most of the others. While some make sense as many of them specialize to certain interests or offer different types of feedback, I'm beginning to realize that it is becoming overwhelming for me to keep up with them all (for awhile now I've been in a constant state of reorganizing watchees deciding what notifications I want to keep, and who I need to ditch, which is rough when you have a good friend but they aren't what you're looking for in artistic inspiration or a fabulous artist who won't stop babbling about memes). Obviously, I should probably cut down to just a few, or so I think.

So this is my real question, is it better to specialize in one or two of these sites, or is it advisable to join near all of them for further promotion to a wider audience? Also, curious what sites people have used and how they find them compared with other sites.

Here's my experience with them.

Deviantart. I've been with Deviant Art the longest. It is not necessarily my favorite, although I enjoy many of their features (it has been very pleasing watching various premium features become standard over time). Some report serious issues with this site, including but not limited to malicious ads and plagerism (art theft for the layman). I feel like this site is most popular with those whom have an Anime type style or very strong photorealism. It is probably the largest of all the sites and offers the most opportunities, especially if you don't mind paying for a premium account. However, it is also hard to make a real following or get very big on your art alone, like most of these sites, it requires a lot of hard work, networking, self promoting and pandering to popular media. As is often bemused, a five minute fanart will get several times more views than the masterpiece you bled your soul out producing. The Job Offers and other forums are pretty diverse and the competition is terse. There are real job offers, but mostly is a matter of one party or another looking for an artist and mostly artists looking for work.

FurAffinity. My current favorite despite the overall poor site integration, lack of features and questionable content. Not surprisingly, this art website is mostly home to furries; artists and fans of all sorts. While the furry fandom is many things and often undeserving of the less than favorable reputation it has earned, there is no denying the expansive collection of erotica and outright explicit fetishes that are present on FA. That being said, there is a very open and friendly community, for all that there is a bit of drama to be found. Its smaller size means it is easier to stand out, but even still it is fairly crowded and networking is important. Toony and expressive styles seem to be more popular here, although there is a strong body of psuedorealistic styles. The forums are fairly reliable for work, and especially for basic feedback and critique. It can be a little rough though if you are sensitive to critique.

Concept Art. Generally regarded as the place you go when you need real critique and seek to vastly improve your art. This is a place where professionals work on self-improvement and occassionally help out freelancers looking to transition to full time jobs. This is not a place for those who are dependent upon their personalized style and require positive feedback. This is a place where all or at least most have been professionally schooled and survived the harsh critiques of professors. If you have ever been hurt or offended by an honest critique I would not suggest this place. And this is considering that you are even noted. A lot of people join Concept Art thinking they can just pop in for a quick critique, but Networking is even more important than in larger communities. Until you have gained a name for yourself, most people will not bother to look. The site itself consists only of a forum and it is generally considered that you should start a single thread to update your work as you produce it.

Inkbunny is very similar to a hybrid between the ease of use and clean site design of Deviantart paired with the material of Fur Affinity. If your sensibilities are offended by the likes of FA, IB is worse. While the filters and tag systems offer more browsing freedom, I feel that the sheer volume and proportion of pornography deters from the otherwise pleasant browsing experience. I have not used it very long, and I'm not certain I will use it for more than updating information or using its broadcast on twitter feature for streaming and announcing new art. I have not used its forums, if it has them. There seems to be a stronger preference towards cartoony styles.

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( 66 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 5th, 2012 10:10 pm (UTC)
I suggest getting an account on every site, even if you don't plan on using it.

This is so no impostors show up trying to make a quick buck by exploiting your name or tricking people into thinking they're you.
Jan. 5th, 2012 10:10 pm (UTC)
(Edit: I meant this as an addendum to your post.)
Jan. 5th, 2012 10:14 pm (UTC)
I don't do commissions anymore, but when I did, I got the most with FA. People make the mistake of thinking it's just for furry art, but it's not. It's also fairly easy to avoid the soul-shattering porn, which is good, since I can be sensitive to that. More than that, though, people are just so damn nice there most of the time- I regularly got people giving me extra money for the commissions I did for them, which was mindblowing to me. I never had a rude or overly difficult customer (though I didn't do it for long, and I wasn't taking porn commissions- my friends who do porn seem to have more issues with the customers). Hell, several clients ended up becoming good friends of mine. It does require you to be social, though. If you just post art but don't comment around or make friends, it's not going to work (but I think that's true for art networking in general). In general, I'm continuously surprised by how willing the people on that site are to throw their money at artists. I know the all-furries-are-broke joke, and while you're not going to get paid well individually (usually), I think the volume could make up for it.

DA is so flooded that if you haven't already been established there for a few years, it's just... dead. Maybe I only feel that way because I don't draw Naruto fanart or anime tits or something, though. It's a great place to go to watch oh-my-god-AMAZINGly good artists, since so many big names in professional illustration are there, but it's not where I'd go seeking business unless I was an anime artist or fanartist. Basically, it's eye candy for me.

I've never used CA for anything but lurking, because I am a coward and I'm scared of associating with so many art idols of mine. It's a really good place to learn, though- I picked up a lot by lurking and seeing what was said to other people.

And I will not touch IB with a ten-foot pole. My delicate sensibilities would be shattered in an instant, I'm sure.

In my opinion, you should specialize where the audience is biggest for your kind of art. No point in wasting time with a site where you'll never get traffic, when you could have been focusing more attention on to one where your type's popular. But I never was big about doing commission art- was never a business for me and I never intended on it being that- so more experienced people may think differently.

Edited at 2012-01-05 10:17 pm (UTC)
Jan. 5th, 2012 10:30 pm (UTC)
In my opinion, you should specialize where the audience is biggest for your kind of art. No point in wasting time with a site where you'll never get traffic, when you could have been focusing more attention on to one where your type's popular.

This is pretty much my stance on it. If you really want to get your name out everywhere, then sure, go ahead and get yourself set up on every site. It's a lot of work to maintain multiple galleries though and some of them always end up lost in the shuffle.
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Jan. 5th, 2012 10:45 pm (UTC)
My thought is that it's really what you're looking for the most that determines which site is going to be your best bet. I haven't frequented IB or FA personally, but that's in large part because I don't want to be associated with porn.

With FA it strikes me that it's easier to start with commissions and whatnot. It's a little hard to get noticed, but it's a lot easier than on a site like deviantart just because it's a lot smaller. It's also focused on original characters a lot more because there really aren't official characters.

DA strikes me as a little more respectable, but it's a lot harder to be noticed. Fanart definitely helps, but it seems a lot like an anime fanart site in terms of what will get you commissioned. If you find a good group you have a chance of getting good critique though!

CA is my personal favorite, but that's because it's very focused on a professional environment. Ultimately I don't want to be taking small time commissions for art - I want to do it as a career. The only thing that bothers me is that it's sometimes a bit too big. It's hard to get noticed there too, but it seems like finding a smaller group can help loads. I've had decent luck getting to know the ladies on CA, and I recommend other women there ask for access to the girls' forum. It just helps so much to be able to talk to the smaller group. There's just a bit more sense of belonging there. They also seem to be most interested in actually helping someone improve whereas the other sites it's more about the viewers' enjoyment.

If anyone here is interested in smaller improvement communities I do have a few recommendations/plugs. art_skill_trade is a community here that's reasonably active and is all about finding really good artistic resources. Then definitely a plug, but if anyone here is on dreamwidth I started a community there called [community profile] feedback_studios that's going to focus on improvement and critique. It's a little dead right now, but it's just starting out and I've been hesitant to make three of three total posts there. These aren't exactly good for networking with non-artists or advertising, but may be able to fill the niche of "fandom okay, small group, and about improvement."

Edit: I almost forgot a huge point/pet peeve of mine! Link your gallery(ies) to your lj account! I can't tell you how many times I've seen someone in this very community whose art I want to look at, and there's no way to find their gallery! You're doing networking right now! Show your art!

Edited at 2012-01-05 10:49 pm (UTC)
Jan. 5th, 2012 10:56 pm (UTC)
Link your gallery(ies) to your lj account!

I second this! It drives me nuts when people on LJ are obviously doing art and obviously have an active gallery somewhere but never say where to find it! Argh!
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Jan. 5th, 2012 11:07 pm (UTC)
DA in my experience does have a lot of professional artists on the site, and you can get noticed, but you have to be very lucky and/or put in a lot of effort to get your name out there. As someone who uses dA just to hang out, post some art, and get the occasional commission, I'm rather satisfied with the site (just wish they'd take things like tracing a bit more seriously).
Lots of fanart there--seems that if you do some fanart, you do better on the site. However, I do watch plenty of artists who only do original work.

FA and IB I won't touch with a ten-foot pole. I'm not into porn, and those just have way too much of that for me to be comfortable having a presence on either.

I visited CA many years ago and found it extremely intimidating (and I wasn't even looking to post art!). Haven't been back since.

I was on Elfwood eons ago, but frankly having to jump through hoops to post art was counter-productive for me. There were some fantastic artists on the site though, and as it was a smaller site (at the time), it was very easy to search out what you were interested in. I don't remember it being very community-oriented (all the EW community stuff I was in was on LiveJournal rather than the gallery site itself), but that may have changed if the site's been revamped since I last visited. If all you wanted was a place to post art, this was it.
Jan. 6th, 2012 05:22 am (UTC)
My friend and I are like you when it comes to DA, FA and IB. Plus we like to link people to our Da galleries (online and off). Many of them are very young. I'd be worried linking anyone to FA or IB knowing what they could so easily stumble across. :s
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Jan. 5th, 2012 11:53 pm (UTC)
DA: Getting business on there is rarer than an eclipse. 90% of the comments I get are from teenage kids who can't buy anything online and don't have money. It is a good place to go if you have a lot of fanart in your gallery, but theft is rampant.

FA: The best place to get commissions if you draw furry art or make fursuits. Period. Even if you don't agree with the site's policies, you can't deny most of the furry traffic is there.

InkBunny: I joined, but stopped posting because they don't allow photographs (so no sculpture, plush, or suits) and they don't allow human art. I also stopped visiting because of its unpleasant nickname, "Pedobunny"- if that's what everybody associates the site with, well, I don't want to stick around.

Nabyn: Too new to say, looks promising if the "right" kinds of people join. Sort of like how YNA was, with a real emphasis on improvement and crits.

I would say have one or two galleries like FA or DA, where it's not very "serious" level, but there's a lot of traffic, then one "nice" gallery like Nabyn where you can have a portfolio with your best work in it.
Jan. 5th, 2012 11:57 pm (UTC)
Apparently IB changed the rule to where you can have humans now, they just have to be accompanied by an anthro or whatever.
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Jan. 6th, 2012 12:42 am (UTC)
To answer the question in post, I am fairly active on several sites, though I have thinned out how many I use now. I usually direct business to my FA account, since that's where I usually handle my commissions. I have found some sites useful to redirect traffic where I want it.

My personal experiences with many sites:

FurAffinity: This has been my best bet with commissions. Although the majority of my clients are furries, I've also had a few humanoid characters commissioned through there. I've got enough of a following that I've been able to survive on freelancing for the past 7 months, so it's definitely been good to me. I usually direct all my business to there so I keep it organized.

DeviantART: It's... ok. It's nice if you can manage to get people to follow you, but I seem to have a hard time doing that. XD; I like the folder options, but as far as doing business through there, I don't have much luck. Most of my watchers seem to be underage.

Inkbunny: I have a very... love-hate relationship with this website. I love the features! Tag blocking is always a big plus for me. But it's rendered almost useless from the members of the site not utilizing the tag feature. ._.; Personally, I think some people may be intentionally not tagging their works properly to avoid the tag blocking feature. I really don't use IB to browse art though...

On a positive note, I actually managed to gain a lot of views and watchers pretty quickly compared to any other website I've ever used, and I have been able to redirect customers to my FA page to do business even though I don't do cub art. IB has a lot of potential if they'd just be more strict on their tag feature. x_x;

SoFurry: This is another site where I've managed to gain exposure pretty quick, but here's the downside of it. The user base, while friendly, tends to get uncomfortably explicit in the comments. Plus there's no human art allowed, which really puts me off a bit from it. But like with IB, I've been able to redirect clients to my FA to do business, so it does have it's uses for me.

SheezyART: Don't bother. The site got bought by a new owner, and they haven't updated anything in over a year. From what I hear, the new owners are planning to redo the whole website, but it's not worth going there right now. The user base is pretty dead.

I've tried a bunch of art communities, but none of them are really worth me mentioning at this point. XD; Traffic to them wasn't really good for me.

Jan. 6th, 2012 01:51 am (UTC)
I was wondering when someone would mention SoFurry. It is a place to settle in and get feedback, but as far as finding commissioners, it's been few and far between. I've had the same experience where people leave really lewd comments, even on my clean art.

The site also has some obvious bugs and the admins don't care enough to follow up on them. An example was I had blocked someone to keep him from contacting me. He still was able to and when I notified the owner of the site, he simply asked who it was I had tried to block and... never responded to me again. =\
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Jan. 6th, 2012 01:51 am (UTC)
My take on each.

DeviantART: If you don't draw anime fanart, cartoon wolves, or hyper-realistic scantily clad women, don't bother. Even then the management and customer service is atrocious, especially when it comes to art theft. I reported my own art being stolen and they told me to file a DMCA because they didn't want to do their job that badly. Most of the userbase is teenagers anyway, so if you run a commission check you'll either get "my parents won't let me :(" or "USD? Can I give you DA Points instead?" Avoid for commissions.

FurAffinity: If you do furry art, absolutely use FurAffinity. Even if you don't do porn, it's relatively easy to get commissions (for some reason template icons do really well.) But yeah, if you do porn you're more likely to get business on FA. Be careful though, if you're not firm and lack a spine, guaranteed certain types of furries will pick that up and walk all over you.

And stay off the forums. It's a cesspool of ridiculously entitled furries who think 15 dollars can buy a 10 page fetish comic and artists fighting each other like starving dogs for every cent said entitled furry is offering.

InkBunny: Never used it. I heard "cub porn" and quickly walked in the opposite direction.

One more site I want to add is Livejournal itself. For a little quick cash Teenycom is great. I'm planning on taking small icon commissions as a stepping stone to USD commissions.
Jan. 6th, 2012 03:56 am (UTC)
Kind of an off topic question
Does anyone know if FA has a problem with viruses and Trojans? I know DA is notorious for it, to the point where I'm thinking of just moving to FA.
Jan. 6th, 2012 04:20 am (UTC)
Re: Kind of an off topic question
I have no script and ad block on my firefox to browse DA safely. I actually disabled them on FA since it seems all the ads there are bought by users from FA. So from what I've noticed, no, FA doesn't seem to have a problem with viruses.
Re: Kind of an off topic question - celestinaketzia - Jan. 6th, 2012 11:55 am (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 6th, 2012 09:33 am (UTC)
keep it simple
Stretching yourself too thin over too many sites can only backfire. Not only are you creating more work for yourself by having to update all those places you'd have to keep up with all the possible customers from all the sites. (Commissions from just one site has proven difficult for many posted here). I'd recommend sticking with the community you are most comfortable with and, if you're doing commissions, the places that compliments your subject matter.

One issue I just thought of, if you are an artist, is you would probably need many different TOSs for the different communities...DA and the types of customers there would need something so precise, iron-clad, and clear that I would hate to do commission work there. If it's not anime or EXTREMELY suggestive nudes they try to pass off as art you'll get no love. I've been there for years...tried to do commissions there as well and never got a bite...NEVER.

So I guess my recommendation would be FA.
Jan. 6th, 2012 09:37 am (UTC)
Quick question: Has anyone had experience with using Tumblr? I find that the reblogging ratio to actually looking/finding the artist's Tumblr page is incredibly low, or am I missing the point of Tumblr completely? It's nice to have people reblogging your stuff, but it's more of liking what they see and not so concerned with how the image originated and the methods used to get to that point.
Jan. 6th, 2012 11:27 am (UTC)
depends on the kinds of crowds you run with. personally, i see a lot of commission posts getting reblogged to here and back on my dash, and a lot of people will reblog as a sort of signal boost even if they dont buy. not too sure how high the reblog to actual customer ratio is, as i havent actually done it myself (not a commission guy)
of course, this is all dependent on you having a lot of followers or being reblogged by people with a lot of followers.
Jan. 6th, 2012 11:46 am (UTC)
If you are going to sign up to many places and take commissions from them all I would say have a document for each site or a spread sheet/book with each site and keep track of your commissions that way.

It probably wouldn't hurt to have small galleries everywhere show what you are capible of art wise and link a page for your prices and ToS and the sure fire way to contact you (possibly with a form to fill out)

Where: (DevART, FA, Nabyn...etc)
Type of commission:
Payment type:

as an example.
Jan. 6th, 2012 12:27 pm (UTC)
My experience:

DA. Been on there since 2003, and while it used to have more of a community feel and be a great place to make friends, it's changed in scope over the years. A lot of the viewers on DA are young teens, and so commission work is pretty damn difficult to sell to them. Money? For art? Kan i draw u a pokeyman for it lol? As someone else stated, unless you draw fanart (even bad fanart - my largest number of faves by far is on a horrible old Lion King pic I drew in 2004) or animoo wolves/sparkledogs or hyper-rendered wolves or anime tits, you're gonna have a hard time getting noticed.

FA. Whether you are interested in porn or not, this is a must if you're a furry artist. You can block all mature art. But the viewers here are mostly 18+ and with money to spend. They are prepared to spend, and by and large the majority will be happy to pay a fair price. The community is enthusiastic and generally friendly.

SoFurry. Originally Yiffstar, it's retained that feeling: it's more or less a pure porn site. People aren't really interested in buying art, they're just there to fap. The beta of it looks good though, and the staff are pleasant, but I don't know if they can turn the site around to be a general furry gallery.

Nabyn. Has much of the feel of the old DA, seems to be well-coded and show promise. It runs the risk of becoming a predominantly furry site, and though that's no bad thing for those of us who are involved in that, it seems to be a matter of concern for the ownership. Time will tell, but for now Nabyn is a nice and friendly place. It's of course inhabited by artists only at the moment, though, so I can't see it being a great place for commissions...yet.

These are the only sites I use actively. I have accounts on several more just as placemarkers, but they don't seem worth really keeping up to date on.
Jan. 7th, 2012 09:32 pm (UTC)
I'm actually wishing I could consolidate to one place, it's hard for me to remember I have more than one page [I have a DA and FA]

But there's issues with that: Even though FA accepts non-furry art, there's an undercurrent of "gtfo" running through the place. And I have friends on DA that don't have FA accounts for varying reasons.

I got a Nabyn invite, and signed up admittedly, because the idea is nice, but I can't keep up. :(

And I can't consolidate to DA because if I ever want to draw adult stuff, and I do like to draw tasteful adult art sometimes, I can't post that there.
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