“Art is not so much expressing oneself as it is discovering oneself.”— Anawanitia
I believe it’s safe to say that nearly everyone is aware of fan art; you’ve either seen it, heard of it, or you yourself are a contributor to a ‘fandoms’ vast vaults of collected artistic expression.
The wikipedia definition of fan art (or fanart) is artwork created by fans (aka genuine admirers) of a work of fiction and derived from a series character or other aspect of that work. It is artworks that are neither created nor (normally) commissioned or endorsed by the creators of the work from which the fanart derives.
To be a fan of something is to find happiness in another person’s creative expression, and fan art is a way for individuals to outwork their love and admiration of the piece of fiction that stirs in them positivity and enthusiasm.
It’s one of the most comprehensive and personal forms of conveying one’s delight in something. Creating art takes time, effort, and a tiny piece of the artist’s soul-expression; that there is enough to tell you the value to be found in fan art.
Also, if you think about it, fan art is just as much a reflection of self-expression as original art is. When you create a fan art piece, you are saying something; you are revealing a part of your personality, your inclinations, sense of humour, preferences and tastes.
A series or story inspires and excites you, so you hone in on your favourite characters and re-create them through your own unique artistic style as a way of saying, well, any number of things:
- I love this character’s arc.
- This character is aesthetically beautiful.
- This character is compelling and magnetic.
- I can personally relate to this character.
- This character is all the things I want to be.
- This/ these characters are an ideal representation of my favourite culture/ animal/ race/ time period etc.
- This character’s divisiveness/ villainy/ greyness appeals to my more chaotic side.
- This/ these characters are so entertaining to watch.
- This character stirs real emotions in me.
- This character is an inspiration!
- This story/ these characters helped get me through an emotionally traumatic time.
I think you get it; this list could go on and on. There are a myriad of reasons one has for being drawn in by fictional creations, and establishing enough of a connection to be compelled to create fan art.
Additionally, fan art is something that is not only enjoyed by the creators, but also other fans. It is an excellent beacon to help find fellow fans, like-minded people, and an ideal platform to launch into social engagements and fun, compatible conversations.
Through fan art, people can collectively participate in their shared admiration of something, and feel a sense of kinship and belonging. When you find someone who has created fan art of one of your favourite characters, you instantly feel a connection (however small) with them; you know you can approach/ contact that person and be able to share a moment of mutual admiration over the character/ story you both enjoy.
And let’s not forget that fan art is also the perfect avenue for non-artistic fans to commission/ collect art pieces of their favourite fictional creations, and in a variety of unique styles and mediums, from different artists.
It’s great to be able to collect the original content, but sometimes that content (like books or live action musicals/ movies) doesn’t have visual stills or merch to collect and display. Or, the original content is too simple, or not quite to the fan’s artistic taste to want to put up on display.
Fan art to the rescue!
I, myself, am a fan of many things. And I have created fan art of some of them. I’ve also done cross-overs (characters from different franchises in the same picture). These are a part of my self-expression; an outward reflection of some of my inner delights and inclinations. There are more (and will be more), but here’s just a sample:
Feel free to ask me about the whats and whys of some of my favourite fictional characters and worlds!
Additionally, feel free to tell me about yours! I’d love to hear from you!
p.s. The examples of my fan art that I’ve shown are available for sale, in A5 and A3 prints (just contact me, if interested!)
p.s.s. You’re welcome to re-post and share my artwork, but you must credit me (the artist). Also, the artwork is NOT for sellable or commercial use.