Fan art or ‘OC’?

As an artist, I sometimes face the dilemma or coming up with an original character (aka OC) or drawing some fan art. I enjoy both very much and mostly I come across this issue whenever there is an event to table. There are advantages to both for sure but when it comes down to it, it needs to be a reflection of my particular style art.

There pros to fan art:

  • Capitalizing on what’s popular in the entertainment world right now, can be quite lucrative. Make an original art piece of a famous character or singer and make prints of it so you can sell it at a lower price therefore having a better chance of making more off of it.
  • You don’t have to brainstorm backgrounds of the character, outfits, hairstyles, human traits, etc. Its already done for you.
  • You can really show off your portrait skills this way. Can you replicate a phot really well and add a bit of your own style to it? Drawing fan art can really show off your ability to capture a likeness from a photo which can get you commission work in the future.
  • You can develop your style without worrying too much the actual character design. While you still have to pay attention to proportions and likeness, you can get a little more headspace to apply to technique and execution of the picture in your own style. Its a really good reference practice also to study color, poses, clothing wrinkles, etc.
  • You can share your own interest in what you like through fan art. If you like certain shows or music and want to really share that with your fans (which fans do like to know more about the people they admire) then you can be more open with them. You can meet others that share a similar interest

Cons to fan art:

  • Copyright. That’s a given. You have to worry about copyrighted material and turning it into fan art. This is frustrating to say in the least but I have watched a few conferences from speakers at Comic Con about this subject and they have said (I am paraphrasing) Fan art is an expression of love for these characters. While you can’t make millions and do mass publication of these characters, doing some fan art and making a little bit of money will not land you in jail or with a big fine. Of course, this doesn’t apply to all companies and copyrighted materials. And like a lot of things in life, there are loop holes. Can I set up a table in a smaller art fair with only fan art prints and get arrested? Maybe not. But if you open up a shop in a big city and sell your fan art paintings and make thousands of dollars every month from them, you’ll be found most likely. And I am not a legal advisor, but as someone who has sold fan art before, you do need to be careful.
  • Limits imagination for your own original work. This is more of a “it could happen” vice a “this will happen” instance. I.E. if you love a certain franchise and start drawing all the characters from it over and over, you could get stuck in that world. It could hinder your from developing new and original characters (if you are trying to make more originals) There is a chance it could influence your own original characters by using ideas from the fan art you are drawing, which honestly, would be so awesome if that happened!
  • Limited clientele. If you only like super heroes for fan art, then you are mostly going to get people that like super heroes purchasing your things. That’s not a bad thing but it does limit on purchases.
  • The competition is fierce. Not only are you competing against others that are doing this same fan art, but you are competing against manufactured products made by the bigger companies that have copyright on these characters. And when you capitalize on something that is popular, you are competing against a lot of other products. And while your fan art piece may be wonderful and awesome, it won’t have the advertising and mass production of the store products.

Pros to OC:

  • Its your own character. You make this all your own and you have the chance too truly express yourself and your style
  • You can draw inspiration from  multiple places or other characters to really fit your style
  • People can really see what kind of art work you like to draw and what to expect from you which can lead to a fan base of your own artwork

Cons to OC:

  • While we all want to have completely and totally original and cool ideas, you still are pulling technique and style from somewhere. So while you are still making your own art work it can have similarities to someone else’s artwork and may get questioned on it authenticity.
  • This depends on your style, but if you go for a more realistic look to your characters and less cartoon like style, you’ll need to rely on references which can be a pain if you can’t find the exact pose you are looking for. You could always take the pics of yourself also, something I have resorted to a lot of the time.

 

While there are many of reasons to both and all side of this, these are the main ones I wanted to focus on now just to share the wisdom and help anyone that may have this similar struggle. And you have anything to add to either list, be sure to comment with them below.

I would also like to take time to introduce my new shop ono Storenvy! I have set a list in my menu but I have hyperlinked it here also to save you some time. The feature image of the mermaid for this post is my first product I have posted! I am so excited to finally start a shop and hopefully get my art out there! Please check it out and check often for new items that will be available!

Consider becoming a patron on my Patreon page! You can select a rewards tier that best suits you or you can simply donate once a month and show your amazing support that way! You can find new prints and stickers there every month and at a cheaper price than you can find in my shop!

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Where is the creativity?

Have you really ever felt that your creativity has been stifled or even worst, lost? Maybe you feel like you have gone through all the ideas you will ever have and haven’t had a new one in days, weeks, or months. These are times were the creative person can really feel beaten down and without purpose. Creative people need outlets that best suit them, being music, art, writing, building, crafting, photography, sculpting, etc. If that outlet seems to be lost or at a block, then there is a sense of ‘limbo’ as I like to call. Basically, there is the want to create without the motivation or inspiration to come up with something. So what are you supposed to do about it?

This is a hard question to answer, to be very honest, because everyone is different and has different ways of motivation. So to give you one set of ‘rules’ to get you out of a slump would be an exercise in futility. But I can give you some of what I do for myself so maybe it can help you set up some ways to get out or, better yet, avoid the block you get from time to time.

  1. Thumbnails- there are certain things that I know I like; nature, water, my family, food, hiking, tea/coffee, fantasy genre, Final Fantasy franchise, birds, dolphins…..so when I feel like I have nothing new to draw, I create thumbnails of things I like on just some notebook paper. Sometimes it jogs some creative ideas, sometimes I toss the paper. But I got something done that day and it can feel like I got the bad ideas out of my head and a good idea or two can begin to blossom in my imagination.
  2. Things I am not good at- hands, feet, animals with lots of fur, wrinkles in clothing, cars; those are things I am not good at or at least not satisfied with drawing. I don’t practice them during my bout of creativity because they tend to make feel held back. But when I have times of ‘blah’ I practice these ‘blah’ things and one of two things happen, I figure out a new trick to getting better or I am reminded on why I steer clear of these categories. (If you are a person who can draw cars easily then a virtual high five for you because that is awesome!)
  3. Studies- We all have someone we admire or look up to for inspiration for our own work. Try doing some studies of their work. Start a piece like theirs and see if you can figure out how they got that. While you can’t adopt their own style as your own, you can use it to shape yours. One of the YouTube artists I follow uses markers and colored pencils for their pieces. I love mixed media, so when I don’t know what to draw I will look at their other pictures, try to draw something similar, and use a color palette similar to theirs. It helps me to try other styles and learn something new. I usually just have this in my sketchbook so I can look back at it for a reference.
  4. Talk about your slump- this is mostly why I am writing this blog post. I have no idea what to talk to you about this week, so I thought I would help myself get motivated by maybe helping you get motivated! While I was writing this, I actually did come up with a solution to one of my problems I am having so it did help me. But talking about not feeling up to your creativity can help, especially if the people around you genuinely want to help you and know you.
  5. Do it anyway- Oh, this is so much easier said than done. Simply because, what do you do if your brain just feels like it turned itself off? You find a way to climb over the block. Some people like to do something creative every day. Some don’t. One thing does not always work for another person. Personally, I am someone who likes to do something creative everyday, even if its not drawing. Luckily I have my kids who love creative time and will often ask me do help with their own projects. While these projects are still relatively simple compared to my own that I take on, its still being creative and really, there is nothing better, to me, than seeing my kids love something that made and tell me thank you for the help. That always makes me happy.

So while this information may not be new to you, I hope that it helps you not feel so alone. Not every great artist/creator has inspiration pouring from their ears. We are all humans and have struggles, so this kind of experience can be turned into something good with a little time and patience.

Don’t forget to check out my shop tab that is added to the menu! I will be having a Kickstarter campaign soon, so be on the look out for that!

Have you been to my Patreon page? If you order before the end of the month,  you will be eligible for that months rewards!

Check out my latest YouTube video!

February Patreon designs!

Hello readers!

Some of you know about my Patreon page and how I have been working to build it up and establish proper reward tiers that are practical for me to create and ship every month and also something enjoyable for my supporters. I feel like I have finally got to that point.

For a long time I would look at the rewards I set up and feel overwhelmed. I knew exactly why too. I was researching other successful artists on Patreon to see why they were successful and what they were offering their patrons and then I would try to match that our come up with something like it. Some were offering original paintings to at least 20 patrons on top of prints for many more. Lots of tutorials and daily videos and even one on one chats. It was a lot and my initial reward tiers seemed were not what I could handle.

It took me about a month or changing the reward tiers to finally be happy with what I have. Its a good set up, in my opinion, and its practical for my lifestyle. Raising and homeschooling kids on top of being a wife makes the artist in me compete for time. But I know I’m able to produce at least one inspirational piece and coordinating stickers. My husband likes to take over the house and kids and let me ‘art’ as he likes to say, a couoke times a week. Without his full support, I don’t really get what I’d like to get done. Thanks honey. 🙂

So without further ado, I present to you the Patreon reward tiers by Madelyn Janelle

 

Tip Jar $1 -here is where you get access to exclusive patron only posts, work in progress photos (aka WIP) and a 15% discount code to my create space store for ALL coloring book purchases.

Line Art $2- The coloring pages I offer for free on this site have a watermark, but my patrons in this tier get them without the watermark. They also get real time video clips up to 10 minutes of a drawing or painting, tutorials, art tips, q&a, influence over next months picture and brand comparisons. They also get previous rewards!

Sticker pack $6- you’ll get 3-6 stickers that average about 2.5 inches in diameter that coordinate with that months design! Plus all previous rewards!

Just the print $15- this is just the print off the month. It will be 4×6 size, like a postcard, and will come with a sturdy cardstock frame. Includes all previous rewards, except the sticker pack.

You’ve got mail $20- this is the whole shebang! Includes everything in previous rewards PLUS a handwritten thank you note from me in every package letting you know your rewards are handled with appreciation and care!!

So what do you guys think? Honestly I love the idea of stickers! And they are high quality vinyl and perfect for anything. All designs will be available to patrons first and any left over will be sold in my shop or sold at fairs. If you choose to support me, even with just one dollar, you have my sincerest gratitude and I really appreciate it. 🙂

Click here to be taken to my Patreon page!

Don’t forget to watch my YouTube videos for more artwork!

The challenge has started

[Featured image is my drawing and painting from days 2&3 from the daily challenge! Check out my Instagram for more detail on this image!]

I decided this year to make a resolution to challenge me to become a better artist. I am to draw everyday, nothing too elaborate and time consuming but a good sketch that I spend at least an hour on everyday. The goal of this has many angles to it. I want to become a better artist, I want to make sure I spend at least an hour everyday to myself doing something I enjoy, to show my kids that mommy has more ambitions than a clean house, to make my art into more than just a hobby, etc. The list really does go on because there are so many positives to taking on a 365 day drawing challenge, but I won’t bore you with every detail.

If you want to see the pictures, I post them everyday on Instagram and Facebook! I have also updated my Patreon rewards to include discount codes, tutorials, fan art, original prints, stickers and more! The rewards are for those who want to get to know me as an artist better, help the aspiring artist or just want to show their support! Make sure you check it out and spread the word to your friends!

Take a look at the menu on my site and you’ll notice more categories such as blog post, free coloring pages and a shop! The shop has my links for my coloring books and to a new account on Threadless where my designs can be printed on blankets, shirts and bags! I will add a new design every month so don’t forget to check back!

There are a lot of good things happening this year and I am to share it with you!