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Site review:

12Aug title postAs a commercial Digital Artist there is a limited amount of time that I can spend interacting and promoting on the social-art sites. For this reason I’m very selective when it comes to choosing which sites to invest my time in. I received an invite to and decided to give the site a look and was astounded to receive the warmest welcome that I’d ever experienced online. So what’s it all about? Read on for the skinny..


Art Community

Founded by Meng To, Shadowness started out as a personal project way back in 2001 and has grown into a sizeable art community showcasing the work of 50,000 visual artists worldwide. The sites vision is to create a simple and powerful tool to allow artists and designers to connect to each other and share their work.


Why I dig it..

First and foremost, the vibe that I encountered here was very different. Site founder Meng (7Shadows) was front and centre, welcoming me to the site and leaving comments on my art, which is pretty awesome in my books. The admin network likewise were very amiable and welcoming. There seems to be an ethic of the ‘personal touch’, and could be a contributing factor to the sites rapid growth in the past year.

The Black Gale by Wroth

The Black Gale by Wroth

Site Interface

The aesthetic of the site and user functionality is extremely sleek. Meng is an accomplished coder and UI designer, so the site is definitely a testament to his repertoire. As time progresses Im sure there will be revisions and added features, but in the meantime everything is very classy and smooth.

One suggestion that I would make is to have the ‘Gallery’ folder more prominent at the top of the folder stack; so new users could easily assess that’s where you could view all the artist’s submitted works in one gallery. But that’s just me ;)

Nightmares in Rust 015 by albino-Z

Nightmares in Rust 015 by albino-Z


Some users,¬†myself included at times,¬†get disenfranchised with the larger sites (DA im looking at you) when they lose focus of what their purpose is. I know a lot of DA members that are starting to feel irked by the ongoing gimmicks and perceived ‘dumbing down’ of the user experience. The good thing about Shadowness is that the focus is locked onto the sharing and appreciation of art – and for me this is a big sell.

There’s a site feature that promotes user engagement which levels-up users based on site activity. Im not entirely enthused by this element, but it is not detrimental to the user experience; the early experience levels afford me all the tools that I need to participate.

Up by lwc71

up by lwc71

Social Integration

Aside from built in features that optimise your posts for search engine optimisation there’s also a very strong emphasis on integration with the major social networking sites. This is excellent for efficiently broadcasting your work to sites like Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

Site contests utilise Facebook ‘likes’ as part of the voting process, which is awesome for those with a strong presence on that network, but a little disheartening for staunch ‘non-Facebook’ users like myself.

Zombie Angel by ded

Zombie Angel by ded


Overall the quality of content is pretty damn high, so browsing is a joy if you are an art lover hungry for top-tier work. The site maintains that you should only post your very best, which I think is a good stance to take. I find Im a lot more selective with the works that I feature on Shadowness, and it’s clear that the other artists operate the same way. The Daily Inspiration features are consistently good and always worth a browse.

For novices / beginners this shouldn’t be a barrier as I have found that there is still a broad range of ability levels on-site. There is a noted absence of ‘silliness’, trolling and DA flavoured nonsense, which is great if you are more of a discerning type.

….. by nek

..... by nek


If you are after sheer numbers and don’t mind tolerating occasional gimmicks, then DA is definitely still the big hitter of the social-art sites. For a more refined community I would definitely recommend checking out Shadowness; thus far the experience has been overwhelmingly positive for me. Im certain the site is going to experience a boom in numbers very soon, but I have a feeling it will retain it’s emphasis on quality and accessibility.

Conzpiracy @ Shadowness

Conzz 8-)

Follow on Twitter >> @Conzpiracy
The images featured on this post are selections from my Shadowness favourites gallery. If your work is featured here, and you do not wish it to be – contact me and I will take it down. Much respect.

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15 Responses to “Site review:”

  1. Garapan says:

    I like your article. It’s very honest and hits upon all of the important elements. I’m just a poet on the Shadowness site, so I have no real vested interest in anything other than quality and excellence and the hands on, personal touch you’ve mentioned. I might add also that as far as gimmicks go, I have myself found there to be none, but rather, every member, every moderator and every staff member all work to maintain that healthy, positive and supportive atmosphere of high quality and excellence that you’ve also alluded to. The vision of Shadowness is that the artist is the number one priority and all efforts are being made to inspire, support and promote them and to coax and prompt from them their very best. These things are exactly why I joined Shadowness, because even as a Poet I use the art of Artists to enhance my work, and find it fulfilling and also very much the right thing to promote contributing artists right along with it. But more so, I have found promoting all artists and poets to be a worthwhile and worthy endeavor, and put much energy and time into do just that. But I am not alone. The Staff and Staff Support Team, as I’ve mentioned, all have pretty much the same outlook, and are tireless in their performance of these unpaid tasks. Anyway, I’m glad you came in with open eyes and not a pre-formed opinion. That’s awesome!

  2. JurgenDoe says:

    Thank you so much for the wonderful and awesome review .. this is absolutely great :clap:

  3. Leiko says:

    Very well written review. It covers in depth various aspects about the website and why it works as an art community. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Boris says:

    thanks you for an amazing review of Shadowness. I’ll quote you, “The good thing about Shadowness is that the focus is locked onto the sharing and appreciation of art” >> yup that’s the reason why I joined the community :D

  5. kaloyan says:

    Have you tried promoting yourself on Behance? If yes, what were the results? If not, why are you avoiding it? Though is more graphic design orientated there’s a very big amount of digital art works that get a good appreciation.

    • conzpiracy says:

      I haven’t tried Behance yet, like I said in the intro I have a limited time to spend on social-art sites. I may give it a look in the future though, if I feel my time there would be beneficial :)

  6. Irene says:

    I’ve heard good things about the site as a social network, and I like the fact that there is little of the silliness that is typical of dA. I have not yet signed up myself though. I just find that black backgrounds give me headaches (no offence to SurrealPSD). so I couldn’t spend much time there if I wanted to.

    Also, the site/browsing seems slow, but then again dA has slowed down considerably too lately, so never mind that.

    Who knows, I might sign up one day.

    • conzpiracy says:

      It is a great site. In regards to the black background, theres a lot of options for customising what your background screen looks like I think, may be worth a further look. Very nice folks on there, I’d definitely say it’s worth putting up a profile to showcase your very best and increase your web presence :)

  7. Kiren says:

    Behance is great! Lots of quality work and people give plenty of feed back. Shadowness is still growing on me though, it feels a bit clicky at times, like I’m back in highschool or something. The quality is there though.

  8. phoenixleo says:

    Like when I usually welcome users in SN, it actually is the dark side. Sort of like, the apple you can’t resist. ;P

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