Line of Action offering its tools as an entirely free service has allowed us to provide huge benefits to hundreds of thousands of art students around the world. I've received letters from people whose artistic skills have improved through daily gesture drawing classes on Line of Action, from art students whose grades have been saved through access to our tools, even people in rural areas with no other access to art classes who have had their first taste of figure study on this site. Stories like these make Line of Action one of the things I am most proud of creating in my life, and motivates me to make sure it remains available, for free, to the world.
In some ways, being an entirely free service has also held us back; the thing we all most most of all is more high quality images, and there hasn't been funding to hold our own photoshoots in many years. I've received thousands of emails suggesting wonderful new features. But work on the site has not been possible beyond the most minimal support to keep the site up and running; and even that is now in jeopardy as demand for the tools continues to climb and we begin to experience more and more painful site slowness and even down-times. That's why we need and deserve a new vision for Line of Action. We had the following major values in mind as we designed this next evolution of Line of Action:
- To maintain the tools as they exist now in their free form, so that the global art community can continue to benefit.
- To offer additional, premium perks to those users who chose to financially support us, so the site can continue to grow and flourish.
- To offer a wide variety of support levels, both recurring and non-recurring, so that most everyone who sees the site as having value has a method of participating in improving it and still some kind of "thank you" benefit for whatever they can do.
- To ensure that those paid-member perks are useful in furthering an artist's study, and even career.
- The ability to offer discounts and even "scholarships" to students and other artists in financial need.
- To give the site a method of frequently updating with new photos, features, and timely support.
- To be able to show our support for fellow artists by appropriately compensating the models and photographers for their time and craft when we hold our own photoshoots.
Based on these goals and values, we have come up with the following plan for premium memberships and other purchasable perks:
Planned Account Levels:
- Free member - Looks very similar to what is available to people using the site today! Can use the tools, have a basic profile, and use the forums. Sees a small number of ads here and there to subsidize their usage.
- No ads member - For just $1.49 a month, all ads will be removed from the site experience, and you'll gain access to goal setting and progress tracking features, as well as a limited number of additional tutorials each month.
- Full member - A standard full membership will be $14.95 a month. Members who can provide a valid student ID can sign up for $9.99 a month. We will also offer a limited number of "scholarship" full memberships to community members with financial need.What will full members receive? Extras galore to help sharpen up your artistic skills! Of course everything from the no ads level, along with more tool photos, professional portfolios to show to potential employers or commissioners, the ability to immediately upload your work to the site after a Line of Action practice session, and optionally submit those drawings for critique with just a few clicks, and more - even, when we hit this funding level, the possibility of feedback on your Line of Action practice drawings from real life university art professors!
When we add new batches of "premium" photos:
- For the first 3 months, they will only be accessible by purchasing that photo pack (typically a one-time $1.49 purchase.) Anyone can purchase early access to a photo pack, and if they do so, they will continue to have access forever even if they do not have a full membership or their full membership expires. If all you want is more photos and aren't interested in any of the other new features, this may be for you! This will allow us to rapidly raise capitol toward even more photo shoots, to keep those new practice poses coming! For those photoshoots we did not do ourselves, we're working on methods of profit sharing with the photographers who offer us high quality photos as well.
- After 3 months, the photos will then become available to all full members at no charge. Non-members or ads-free members can continue to add them to their account as an à la carte purchase.
- Some photo packs will become available to everyone after 12 months. This means that even those who cannot become members for some reason or another will continue to see the site improve and remain useful over time. Others will remain membership perks/à la carte purchases as a thank you to those who are able to support those improvements.
I hope this feels like a fair balance to you! In order to help us reach this new evolution, where the site has the means to support not only its continued existence but its continued improvement, we're currently holding a fundraiser where you can get 3 full months of FULL membership for just $1.49, 12 months of FULL membership for $25, and a lifetime FULL membership for $200!
It's unlikely that these huge discounts will ever be available again. I urge you to take advantage of them while they're here! It's good for you and good for the entire community. :) We're looking for better names for "no-ads memberships" and "full memberships." Feel free to comment with a suggestion! ;)