Fantastic Fanfare about Fan Art?

Hello, and happy weekend!

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?



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4 thoughts on “Fantastic Fanfare about Fan Art?”

  1. I’ve never done any fan art per se. I did do a watercolor painting of a Tarot Hermit back in high school. It has been years and years since I have painted or drawn art figures other than doodles for art projects (dolls and such). I do use photos for reference though when creating art pieces such as my miniature houses in order to get a specific effect or feel for a particular period.

  2. I’ve always loved the look of pencil or ink drawings and never thought much about the difficulty of recreating characters – I’m not an artist after all. I love coming here and learning new things!!! xo

  3. You know I love the Black Widow!! Excellent job. What I do would more accurately be called doodling lol. Today’s absent minded one was Venom, which is a bit darker than these lovely anime characters. But it would be a wonderful skill to be able to draw like you and then combine it with my own words; much of which are within a fan based genre.

  4. Claudia,

    I’ve not drawn fan art before. Well…I take that back. I did draw Xena for the 2016 A to Z Challenge. Of course, my character didn’t look like the TV actress but you know it’s Xena hopefully by her attire. 🙂 Your fan art however is excellent. You’re so talented. Someday when I grow up, I hope to be ever bit as good as you. 😉


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