What does Dinosaur Jr have to do with Fan Art? I was listening to an interview with the band the other day and the conversation turned to their 1987 cover of The Cure’s “Just Like Heaven”. Anybody can play the notes to a song, and sing the lyrics, but in good cover song, the band makes it their own; they add their unique voice to the conversation. Cover’s, like fan arts allow us to view an artist’s work through the lens…or against the backdrop of someone else’s. It gives the viewer something familiar to draw them in. By comparing the two, we actually get a good sense of what makes an artist’s work their own.
Look up any of your favorite characters on google, and you’ll find a multitude of drawings, photos and tributes to that character by fans from around the world.
Lately, with the release of “Stranger Things”, “Kubo and the Two Strings”, and of course new “Star Wars” movies I’ve been seeing a lot of really amazing illustrations from fans of the shows. It’s amazing seeing the love that people have for these stories, and the desire to be an active participant in that love. As I work on my own tributes to the shows and stories that I love, I keep some basic rules in mind.
I never want to be in the position of talking to someone who is a fan of something and having to admit that I just did this “Game of Thrones” drawing because it’s popular and I was pretty sure I could sell it. Fan art is about the love of the stories and characters. It should be fun. If I want to do something I don’t love, there’s plenty of other work out there that I can do instead. Doing artwork of the things you love is fun, but it’s also rewarding because it starts conversations with other people that love it. Those connections are one of my favorite things about this job.
Copying the cover of Spiderman #1 by Todd McFarlane isn’t fan art. It’s stealing someone elses work, and if you want a big copy of it you can buy it. Making it your own it playing in a friend’s sandbox. We get to explore our own work while examining what works in someone elses. That’s pretty awesome.
Working on projects like a Star Wars ABC’s lets me tell jokes about something that’s been a part of my life literally since birth. It also lets me explore what I love about Star Wars, in addition to color palates, theme’s, and character designs.
3. Add to the conversation
What do you love about this world? What do you love about this character? What do you wish the creators had done with it but didn’t? Fan art is a place to ask those questions, and gives us a spring board to begin asking them about our own work.
Fridays seem like a good day to begin posting some fan art here, as a cool down for the week. Plus I’m a huge fan of alliteration so it’ll allow me to scratch that itch with Fan Art Friday. I went and saw Kubo and the Two Strings last week and as usual Laika did not disappoint. The movie was amazing. I’ve been a huge fan of the studio since Coraline, and look forward to each movie they put out. This week’s drawing is a pretty straight forward portrait of Coraline and the little Coraline doll. I’d like to explore my love of Laika for the next couple of weeks, and then see where we go from there!
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