Sunday, January 07, 2007

Blogtopsites and Art

This is a rant - which finishes with some suggestions as to how to avoid frustration. All those who don't like rants should skip to the end now!

I am so fed up with Blogtopsites so-called "Arts" category. I've been hoping that this site would be a means of identifying new illustrated blogs and blogs about art. Instead of which I'm wading knee deep in a preponderance of anything that might loosely fit into an 'arts' category - if you stretch your imagination - a lot. Examples include:
  • every variety of style/lifestyle/fashion/shopping blog you can imagine (a style and shopping category is very much needed);
  • technology for the graphic artist (currently occupying the #1 and #2 slots);
  • "filipino hunks" in their trunks and very little else (I kid you not!) and other forms of graphic and graphical eroticism
  • and a lot of other of blogs that I haven't the faintest interest in looking at.
The fault clearly lies with the current categorisation and if the good people at Blogtopsites are using Google Alert then they might pick up this message and we might get some action on that front! Ideally what I would like to see is either more categories and/or at least some sub-categorisation of the sort they currently provide for some of the other categories and/or the ability to generate html code for a ranked list of blogs tagged with a specific word.

The only way I've found of finding art blogs is to click on the "top 150 tags" link and then click on art - which seems to produce more of the sort of blogs I like to investigate although the selection still doesn't in any way, shape or form rival the Blogs Illustrated site. I guess this approach would work for "drawing" and "painting" tags if only enough blogs had identified themselves by using these tags - which hasn't happened as yet.

So if you have an art blog and would like to list it at blogtopsites can I recommend that you make sure you insert appropriate keywords as tags for your blog so you might get found by people like me - before I get totally bored with Blogtopsites altogether!

Alternatively -and at the moment they're looking like much better options - try investigating:
  • the blogs listed at in the 'arts' category of which has a much more interesting list of art blogs with a strong drawing and painting flavour - but then I'm a bit biased!
  • the art blogs being listed at Art Blogs 4 U which is very much focused on people who draw and paint and blog their art.
Does anybody else have favourite sites for identifying new art blogs coming on stream?

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Lin said...

I so agree with you about the difficulty of finding 'illustrated' blogs. I often google "watercolor sketches" or "sketches" and find some new work that way ... though it's a long and laborious (and often disappointing) challenge -- but I have found a couple I love. I also browse the EDM pools on FLICKR, the sketch and watercolor pools of FLICKR and have found a few that way.

Lin said...

PS -- I forgot to mention and one of the better ways to find illustrated blogs -- I search the links provided by other illustrated bloggers -- for instance -- I have my own list of blogs I visit -- as do many others .. I've found some really wonderful blogs by checking out the listings on other people's blogs.

AhmedF said...

I agree with you that the categorization is very broad. But that is out of necessity - get too specific and two problems arise:
1. Many blogs cover more than one topic.
2. People get turned off with more options. It just becomes confusing.

What we have done is by adding tags you can classify your blog further (eg illustration). You can see them right here: - exactly what you wanted :)

AhmedF said...

Alternatively, you can try Blog Flux (also owned by us).

Find a blog from blogs tagged as illustration - - and then view 'related' blogs to them :)

Anonymous said...

First off, I'd like to say thanks to Katherine for bringing this up. I've given up using the word 'art' as a search term, because whatever pearls that do come up are swamped in the grit, and so I completely understand what this post is trying to say. However, I'm not sure that this is something that will ever go away until more creative people learn to use these tool.

For my money, I'd bet that most artists are more likely to be found using email groups. This isn't an ideal solution for many reasons - primarily because it means that whatever arts-related stuff that is shared amongst a group isn't visible on the internet. Sometimes it will become archived, but even so it is not 'visible' to the average web reader.

Katherine said...

I'm inclined to agree with Peter. I belong to a private e-mail group, three groups of the Google/Yahoo variety (e-mail based but art can be seen on the internet by members) and more than one forum for artists. There is indeed a lot going on which is not accessible to all.

However this post concerns being able to easily identify art blogs which are accessible.

Ahmed - thanks for coming along to comment - it's appreciated. I'm also impressed with how fast you get your intelligence about the fact that somebody has posted about you !

You'll find that most art blogs deal with only art on the whole - and not a lot else. The ones that say they deal with art but actually deal with a lot of other things as well are either blogs of the personal variety or shopping blogs or very graphic blogs of the sort involving lots of skin.

There are a lot of Art and Illustrated Blogs - which really just tend to focus on the art and illustration and different aspects of the associated business. They are not being recognised by most directories as a large group. It's also much more confusing for us not having a category at all. You also have lots of categories for the BlogFlux Directory so why not for Blog Top Sites?

I looked in the Blogflux Directory and searched on art - and was impressed by the number that were there
........and then wondered how many were actually current and live and )
........and then wondered where my blog was given I use the blogflux mapstats and am a registered member. I thought it was added to the Directory when I became a member. Obviously not - although when I tried to add it I got the following message

"The following errors occured with your registration: * URL is already in database."

The good news folks is that there are lots of blogs in the Art section of the of the Blog Flux Directory!

Katherine said...

Back again!

Ahmed - I've checked the BlogFlux Directory listing blogs categorised as Art. The Blogs included under the Art category may also have several other attributed categories which had me puzzled until I checked the registration process and it became apparent that you allowed up to 10 categories.

This means that the Art Category is not primarily about Art. We're back to exactly the same problem as with Blogtopsites - which is that there are lots of blogs of marginal relevance to art - and some of questionable inclusion in your directory despite the BlogFlux criteria.

If I use the BlogFlux tags that only gives me a title and doesn't give me enough information. If I want to operate searches on just titles then it's much easier for me to do this using the blogrolls of blogs I like - I don't need a Directory for this.

So - it looked promising for a short while but essentially there is no resolution of the problem and my lament continues. Plus I can't find where my blog is located in the Blog Flux Directory as the alpha listing keeps being repeated.

Anonymous said...

I find it very difficult to get my own blog listed on any of these art lists. Either the list is "full" or the site doesn't register my submission. I just now tried to add my site to blogtopsite and filled out a lengthy description only to have it not register.
Very frustrating!

Anonymous said...

I always love a good rant, but I'm having a hard time just keeping up with the fabulous blogs I enjoy visiting on a regular basis (like yours!) so I'm not hunting for new ones, just the time to read the old ones.

Katherine said...

Jana - I so agree!

The only service I want is somebody who does that initial filter for me and gets rid of the shopping/hunks/photography/video blogs for me and leaves me with the drawing and painting ones.

I'm finding the Daily Painters e-mail I get every morning to be a very good source of new painters blogs which i was unaware of. I generally look at two or three new ones a week through that - and the better ones go on my feedreader blogroll to see how they go. said...

Katherine ... I do so agree with you and get absolutely cheesed off with the sort of sites that are listed at BlogTopSites and others.

Why can't there be a 'Fine Art' category ... that would at least (well, in theory!) remove some of the cheesecake and 'celebrity news' type sites from a search.

I think it is great that you blogged about this issue ...

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