Since I decided I wanted to pursue a career in Animation I have heard murmurings of underground debate about whether artists should be making fan art or not. For those of you who are not sure what I mean by fan art it refers to artwork based on already existing fictional characters - in this case I am referring specifically to characters which have already been visually represented.
One argument in favour of making fan art is that it will increase you public profile and then you can use that to get people interested in your original characters; an argument against is that making fan art is cheapening yourself and you should spend time developing your own intellectual property.
Until this point I have't been sure which camp I sit in - sometimes I see fan art and it bores me, other times I see fan and it excites the heck out of me.
Here is some fan art that excites me:
The artwork below is by Alan Stewart (@artofalan on Instagram)
The artwork below is by Justin Rodrigues (@JTown67 on Instagram)
These are two of my favourite artists and they have managed to keep the essence of the characters, but still make it their own and this is the kind of fan art I personally like seeing.
Having said that, what I have discovered through trying fan art of my own is the personal benefit of fan art. This week I decided to have a go at drawing characters from one of my all-time favourite cartoons, Dexter's Laboratory. I couldn't believe how much I enjoyed drawing Dexter and DeeDee - initially I tried to stray too far from the designs and the results were horrible haha! See below (yucky stuff):
I then really tried to think of what epitomised those characters and what was essential to their design. In the end, I only made subtle changes to their design and focused more on using their personas to create typical poses for them.
This was the game changer for me! Not only was I able to notice how simple the costumes were (which will ultimately help my own designs) but I was able to focus mostly on the pose which was a relief as most of the time I am trying to do both at the same time.
Needless to say I will be doing a lot more fan art to learn from.
Until next time, God bless!