Hello, and happy weekend!

Black Widow

Although, I don’t do it often, creating fan art – like Black Widow, Scarlett Johannson – above can be a special challenge. I usually google images to use for reference – see the photo here. My iPad Pro is my trusty companion both for drawing, for showing images while I’m drawing on paper, or just to have a little distraction going in form of a stream or video or simply music.

When working without references, you frequently have a lot more freedom to take artistic license in your final piece; after all it’s your piece. But when creating fan art, you aren’t just creating a type of character – say a fighting swordsman and woman, such as Kirito and Asuna of Sword Art Online, seen below – but a specific character that has to be recognizable. This can be a particular challenge if the original content features several characters with similar features. Especially in manga or anime, many characters within a series may be of similar style, and can be distinguished by a specific outfit, hair style, or hair color. But what if you want to create a monochrome inked artwork? Or what if you want to draw a character without their signature clothing?

While this is a challenge, it can also be a good exercise. You will need to identify the distinguishing characteristics, especially subtle characteristics for your characters. You may find that you don’t have a reference in the exact pose, or with the exact clothing you want in your piece – meaning that you will need to not just copy these distinguishing characteristics, but also visualize what they would look like from a different point of view. This is a very useful skill; one which you can apply when creating your own original characters.

Have any of you tried fan art, and what has been your experience with it? Do you have any recommendations, or perhaps requests for a character that you would like me to draw?



Literary assistance by

Asuna expressions
self portrait, Claudia Willison, ImagesByCW

Claudia is founder, owner and soul of ImagesByCW Photography. Born in Germany, traveled though Europe and Australia, she currently lives with her American husband in New Jersey, USA. She blogs about what she loves: Photography, art, internet and computers in general, as well as cooking and windsurfing. When not working she enjoys reading, music, windsurfing and listening to the sound of waves and the wind, preferably together with her husband.

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