|Type of site||Artistic community|
|Owner||Thomas F Abrahamsson|
|Created by||Thomas F Abrahamsson|
|Launched||May 1, 1996|
Elfwood is a popular web-based art gallery devoted to original science fiction and fantasy art and writing. It was started 1 May 1996 by Thomas Abrahamsson and claims to be the largest science fiction and fantasy art site in the world. It is divided into three main galleries:
- SF&F Art (Science Fiction and Fantasy) is the main section (it was formerly divided in two sections, "Lothlorien" for high fantasy art and "Zone 47" for science fiction and modern/futuristic fantasy art).
- Wyvern's Library is for sci-fi and fantasy themed stories and poetry, including short stories as well as longer novels broken up by chapters.
- FanQuarter is devoted to fan art based on sci-fi or fantasy themed visual media such as games, movies, cartoons or TV-shows.
- The Twilight Tavern is the Official Elfwood Forums that were released in February 2008
Elfwood also has a section called FARP (Fantasy Art Resource Project) which includes art, writing, business, general and helpful tutorials and guides which may be useful to the amateur artist.
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. 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 a feature (called "Extranet") 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 sci-fi 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. In June 2001, Elfwood was closed due to death threats and reopened a month later. In August 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. 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.
Elfwood had a major crash 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.
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.
In September 2007, Elfwood was transformed into a commercial community, adding new features for creating user profiles also for visiting users, tagging of favorite members and works and much more.
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.
As of Feb 2009:
|User Profile Type||Members|
|Members who publish SciFi Fantasy||25685|
|Members who publish Written stories||5731|
|Members who publish FanArt||3456|
|Normal (Non publishing) Members||48622|
SciFi Fantasy: 434637 Pictures. Written stories: 35853 Stories FanArt: 33830 Pictures. Total Comments Written: 4165276 Comments.
Elfwood currently gets around 3,500,000 pageviews a day and around 3,000,000 million unique IP numbers (visitors) every month.
FARP - The Art and Writing Tutorials
Elfwood currently host a sub section dedicated to articles on the creation of Fantasy and Science Fiction art and stories called the "FARP", which stands for the "Fantasy Art Resource Project". 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. It also features the history of art, tricks & tips, and so much more.
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.
The Elfwood ezine Woodworks  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.
Some[attribution needed] regard Elfwood's restrictions regarding the theme and quality of the submitted material as too strict - for instance, a piece cannot usually be on lined paper, poorly cropped or in the case of writing, have faulty HTML.
Each piece is reviewed by moderators before being displayed in a gallery, and profanity and provocative language is not allowed . Some Elfwood fans[attribution needed] consider the rules necessary to ensure a certain level of quality in the art they find there, while others[attribution needed] 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 .
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