Just testing the waters of this community
I found out about this forum a while back but never took the plunge, because I wasn't sure if I should--and I still don't. The reason is because my situation is a bit different from most here. Allow me to explain.

I was one of the early digital artists during the first wave that congregated in online digital art forums in the late 90s and aughts--namely, the OG, Sijun, and then the spinoff, eatpoo (yes, it's a juvenile name, and the name reflected the younger, more rebellious crowd), then later conceptart.org, and CGTalk/CGSociety which also includes 3D and VFX. For those of you who weren't part of that first wave, let me tell ya--it was glorious. Artists of all levels--from the greenest noob to the most advanced masters and superstars working on AAA games, Hollywood blockbusters, book covers for famous authors, teaching at prestigious art schools, etc. We all hung out and talked like equals in general discussions, and in art-related threads, the advanced artists shared their valuable insights, gave critiques, and taught lessons, and the less experienced artists soaked all of it up like sponges. Even just the discussions among the advanced artists were incredibly valuable because when you witness masters talk among themselves, they will talk about things that less experienced artists have never even thought about, and it was profoundly illuminating what masters actually struggle with and are concerned about compared to those who have not reached their level.

And then it all slowly crumbled when giant hub sites like CGHUB (and later Artstation) came along, and social media also took over. Slowly artists left the art forums and just posted on their social media or art hub page for their followers (or in hopes of gaining followers), where there was basically zero engagement because no discussions happened in the comment section of those posts--people just clicked on like or typed out a short effusive praise (or sometimes a snarky comment), and that was it. Places like subreddits while had some interaction, it's a horrible platform for anything visual because it doesn't function like a normal forum in its structure or features, and most I've seen were run by people who act more like tyrants than trying to create and maintain a community that truly helps artists grow, with unreasonable and oddball rules they enforce with inexplicable rigor. Discord is the latest in the evolution of social interaction online, and it has also not been ideal, because when people post their work, very little engagement happens based on discussions of the work, and any experienced artist will either get swarmed by beginners hungry for answers, or get ignored because no one feels like they have enough knowledge or experience to comment on the work of someone who's far more advanced. So it's just people posting emoji reactions and that's it. Whatever exceptions there might be, are too few and too infrequent to even come close to the kind of community digital artists had back in the day. 

From the oldest posts here, it appears the person who created this forum felt the same way and wanted to create a place where digital artists can once again have the kind of community that once existed back then. However, from how things look, it is just limping along, with very little traffic and activity, and there is almost no presence of veteran advanced artists to shepherd the next generation of aspiring artists, or even just talking among themselves about the advanced issues they struggle with as experienced artists, and the less experienced artists can listen in and learn from their hard-won insights. In some ways, this is understandable, because once online paid education for digital art became a thing, anyone with enough experience would rather earn an additional income stream with that hard-won knowledge and experience, because god knows we don't get paid enough for the amount of love we pour into what we do, not to mention how stressful working as professional artist can be, especially in the entertainment industry. So advanced artists prefer to stay out of places where they'll just get swarmed by less experienced artists with endless questions, and that means they only post to their social media and art hub portfolio page, and whatever interaction they crave with other advanced artists, will have to be in private, at the studios they work at, or private small groups they have formed with colleagues and friends. 

Although I can logically explain why things are the way they are, I still lament the loss of what we had back then. Maybe this post is just me mourning what we lost, and what the younger generation will never get to experience. Part of me wanted to start posting here just to see if doing so will eventually lead to changes that will turn this place into what we had back then. But of course this is just wishful thinking, because when all those old art forums eventually died, they all struggled for years to keep things going but finally had to call it quits. 

Anyway, I guess I'm posting this to gauge what the response will be like, and then go from there.
Hey there, just came across your post.
I'm sort of having a similar situation like yours. I was searching for art communities to join in, like discord servers, websites like deviantart and art station, instagram,... but you know, the atmosphere is not so engaging as i expected. In my early days of posting art online, i was fascinated with the forums that people just come around, chat and interact with one another. But i was too young at the time, so i never have the gall to create an account to talk in those fourms. Time went by, i'm old enough for it (haha), the vibes just died off. So yeah, I kinda missed of what it could have been for interacting with people via forums like this.
I am new here too, i signed up like a few minutes ago, i'm also testing the waters here.
Hopefully, we'll able to have fun in this quiet corner of the internet hehe.
I think it just a matter of how the internet as evolve and how e-learning as evolve it not some kind of magic moment you can capture and bottle and resell to yourself .The state of forum is a matter of how people wish to interact and this age where thing become blurry by the day for human to human interaction it hard to make connection in space where bot might create a false sense of engagement so for us a certain generation of us we seek to get back to were root seeing what was lost.We don't want to get the repost or the like we want something that more meainingful more authentic more community base .But community are flawed and relation prove to be hard to maintain again an age were where relation are more superficial then they are meaningful.Relation take time and people might take them for granted so people might quit because they don't feel that they get back what they put in...

My Sketchbook
The journey of an artist truly begin when he can learn from everyone error.
Teamwork make your dream work.
Asking help is the key to growth.
Yeah sad. :( Would love to have you posting, not sure what to say beyond that. Like you said, the more experience you have the less likely you are to be hanging around on internet forums? Hence the current situation. I don't know if it's really helpful to keep lamenting the loss of those old communities though. Things just are what they are, they change and evolve. I wish this forum were more vibrant, or that there was another one somewhere that was. But I'm grateful for y'all that are here. Today's a new day. It's not 2002. I'm just trying to keep pushing forward and make connections where I can.

Sorry for my first post here being such a downer. I'll post some stuff, and even if nothing changes and this forum stays low-traffic and there isn't much activity, it's probably still better than the alternatives out there I've seen.
Welcome here, Lunatique and Eidothea :)

I was part of the last years of the golden age of art forums and although everything was already starting to crumble apart it was still an adrenaline rush learning experience. The internet was like the invention of the printing press centuries ago, but a million times more impactful. And chaotic.

Crimson Daggers' monthly challenges still have some of that spirit where people exchange a lot. The sketchbook section feels more like Tumblr except for the occasional fits of engagement, maybe because there are not enough people to constitute solid groups that share similar interests.

I'll resume updating my sketchbook thread in the hope I can help make the place more active and reach the critical mass.


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