Elfwood

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Website
Name: Elfwood
Owner/Maintainer: Thomas Abrahamsson, later Usify
Dates: May 1, 1996 - 2016
Type: Artist Community, Gallery
Fandom: original, Multifandom
URL: http://elfwood.com/ (offline), Wayback Machine, Wikipedia, Twitter
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This article or section needs expansion.

Reactions to site closure?

Header ca. 2009

Elfwood was a community site for artists, predominantly for original science fiction and fantasy art. It played an important role in the fanartist community in the early days of the internet.

About

The website had three main galleries:

  • SciFi & Fantasy Art with two subsections, Lothlorien for high fantasy art and Zone 47 for science fiction art.
  • Wyvern's Library for written works.
  • FanQuarter for fanart. The section was added in 2002 and allowed works based on sci-fi or fantasy themed visual media.

The site has been offline since 2016. The site's Twitter (last updated 20 June 2016) suggests that a "new Elfwood" was in the works but neither the Twitter account nor the website has been updated ever since.

History

May 1st 1996 was the day Elfwood saw the light of day. Created by a man named Thomas Abrahamsson, the original name of the project was Lothlorien and mainly focused on high fantasy art made by amateurs. On Elfwoods first day it held art from three artist, and Thomas being one of them.

In August 1997, Elfwood opened up its Extranet. Before this all new art had to be emailed to Thomas who had to manually add the art but with the help of the new Extranet users could manage their own accounts. On the 26th of October, Elfwood celebrated its 10,000 picture. The increase of members then lead to a halt for new members to join that November as the workload became a bit overwhelming, but would soon open up again.

The years passed by and on February 16th 1999, Elfwood celebrated 1,000 artists and became one of the world’s largest online art galleries.

On February 26th 2006, Elfwood set a new record with 100 000 unique visitors in one single day and also celebrated its 10 year anniversary.

In 2007 Elfwood acquired the domain Elfwood.com and is from this moment on hosted outside the Linköping University. Elfwood transformed from a noncommercial project to a Swedish company and started to gear up for future scalability, development and financing. On the 28th of September Elfwood launched several new functions for their members to build a greater and tighter community.

In January 2008, Elfwood found itself in need of help, as Thomas’ life required his time elsewhere. Mostly he needed to take care of his new family. And so a caretaker was needed and that caretaker came in the form of a Swedish company called Usify. Ever since then Usify has been responsible for keeping Elfwood alive on their servers. Usify always wanted to respect legacy and culture of the community, and so in late 2013, a project began forming at Usify to bring Elfwood into the light again - To try and give Elfwood a fresh start by gathering a team that could rebuild Elfwood from the ground up and help bring Elfwood into 2014 with a new look and feel. The solutions that could meet more modern demands and technology but also give the members of Elfwood something new. After lot’s of late nights and really hard work, Elfwood is now what you see before you! And we who have been part in creating Elfwoods new site hope you as a fan can say that you've found your new home for your art and that this is where you have your kin.

Elfwood About Page

Policy on Fanart

FanQuarter logo by Stephanie Lostimolo - "Pirotess", Eric Canete - "GEN 13", Jen Zee - "Vincent Valentine"
Elfwood defines fan art as any picture depicting characters or scenes from any form of published visual media, including - but not limited to - television shows, movies, comic books, graphic novels, video and computer games, and webcomics. This includes original characters you created in any fan universe.

Illustrations from novels are not considered fan art and as such they do not belong in FanQuarter. The exceptions to this are novels based on visual sources (such as the Star Wars series) and the Harry Potter series; these would all go into FanQuarter. Pictures of characters belonging to friends or people you know are not considered fan art unless they happen to be published or exist in a fan universe.

All video games with a visual interface are considered to be a source of fan art, even if you create original characters within the game.


Descriptions: Each picture must have two (2) things in order to be accepted:

1. A list of all character names being portrayed.

2. The name(s) of the source from which the picture is fanart of. We need the full title and not just an acronym, such as Harry Potter instead of HP.

Disallowed Fanart

On Elfwood, all fan art needs to be from a source that is science fiction or fantasy in theme. This means that drawing a character from a non-genre series in a fantasy costume is not acceptable; the character must be from a series which is in genre. For example, drawing characters from Titanic as elves. Although elves are in genre, the movie Titanic is not, so such a picture would not be accepted. To meet Elfwood's genre requirements, the source must not only contain sci-fi and/or fantasy elements, but the theme must revolve around them.
Celebrity art: FanQuarter only allows celebrity art where you draw an actor in a role he/she played where the movie/TV-series is considered fantasy/sci-fi, such as Elijah Wood in the role of Frodo. If you draw Elijah Wood as himself or Elijah Wood in a role he did not play, such images will belong in the SF&F; art gallery or your Other Works tab.
Fan Art of things like weapons, maps, plants, buildings, and other "still life" are generally not accepted by themselves. [...] Reproductions of movie props such as weapons or jewelery are rarely accepted, as they are generally viewed as copies. However, you may submit a photo of a person in costume with the props; we consider full costumes original and acceptable. Keep in mind, however, that the costume in its entirety must be designed and created by -you-. Simply putting on a leather coat and sunglasses and calling a picture "Neo from the Matrix" is not acceptable. Landscapes are acceptable as long as they are clearly depicting a distinctive scene from the universe they are representing.

Fandoms

By 2014, the following fandoms/"inspirations" were present on the site:

Anne McCaffrey, Anne Rice, Battlestar Galactica, C.S. Lewis, Clark Ashton Smith, David Brin, David Eddings, Disney, Douglas Adams, DragonLance, Dungeons & Dragons, Earth Dawn, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Final Fantasy, Forgotten Realms, Frank Herbert, George Orwell, George RR Martin, H.G. Wells, H.P.Lovecraft, Ian Livingstone, Isaac Asimov, JK Rowling (Harry Potter), JRR Tolkien, Jules Verne, Katerine Kerr, L. Frank Baum, Lone Wolf - Fighting Fantasy, Madeleine L'Engle, Michael Moorcock, Michael Whelan, Neil Gaiman, Orson Scott Card, Other Movie/TV-Show, Piers Anthony, Ray Bradbury, Robert E Howard, Robert Jordan, Robert Silverberg, Robin Hobb, Star Wars, Star Trek, Stargate, Stephen King, Steve Jackson, Terry Brooks, Terry Pratchett, Ursula LeGuin, Video/Computer Games, Watchmen, Xena

Statistics

Last Known Fanart Statistics

1st March 2009 data:

SciFi Fantasy: 25683 Members, 434460 Items.
Written stories: 5766 Members, 35815 Items.
FanArt: 3465 Members, 32435 Items.
4167525 comments

Criticism

Many fans criticized the site for the modding style that was sometimes described as "totalitarian"[1] and "micro-managy."[2]

Oh man, ELFWOOD. I remember I tried to get in there as a teenager, and they had these really strict requirements that to even get in and post fanwork, you had to first establish another gallery. To get into one of their other galleries you had to submit three finished, quality pieces at the same time, and all three needed to meet their standards. I busted my ass on preparing three pieces, and I was rejected because they didn't think one or two of them were clearly fantasy enough because there wasn't enough of a specfic element in the piece. I'd worked so long and hard on drawing three things, going to the library to scan them, then biting my nails and waiting for a mod response that getting rejected for any reason just made me go, "fuck this" and stick with Deviantart. Having such specific and exacting requirements for your work to be posted anywhere was such a late 90s/early 00s internet thing, oh my god.[3]

References

  1. Anonymous comment on FFA.
  2. Anonymous comment on FFA.
  3. Anonymous comment on FFA.