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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So….yeah

Remember in my last post when I said something to the effect of “hey, I took a break but now I’m back every Saturday” yada yada yada..?  Well, as you can probably tell, I didn’t post last Saturday and it is very late in the evening on a Tuesday now when I finally started to write this one. And I will admit, I felt so angry at myself for not posting on Saturday even though I had every intention of doing so. So what happened? And more importantly, why would I even be upset about it?

Well last weekend, my oldest daughter celebrated her birthday and we had a small party for her and a couple friends. It really wasn’t anything major and everyone had fun and there was great conversation. (Bonus, the house still looked clean when everyone left!) After the kids went to sleep I pulled out my laptop and started blogging about the day and how great it was. It really started out as a great post that was full of emotion, reflection and motherhood. I wrote about half of it and decided to step away to get myself something to drink and that’s when my husband showed me some houses (we are moving soon). Of course we jumped in that rabbit hole and looked at so many houses and I completely forgot I even wrote anything.

The next morning, I realized I didn’t post anything and thought ‘no big deal, a post a day late is fine with me’. But Sunday somehow became one thing after another and yet again I forgot to not just finish the post, but I forgot half of what I was going to write. So I went to bed yet again remembering that I still didn’t post.

Yesterday and today, I worked on commissions. Almost entirely for both days. I went to a friend’s house because she was also working on orders so we had our kids play together so we could work. And work we did. I’m done with a crochet doll that takes forever and was able to work on some individual sketches. But it wasn’t until tonight that I forced myself to sit and finish the blog post. Well, I started a new one technically.

So there are the reasons, so why am I mad? It’s not like I wasn’t doing anything or that I just sat around for three days not caring. So there really isn’t a reason, right? Well, I hold myself to a standard with only a few things in my life. And keeping up with my creative outlets is one of them. I like blogging a lot. It helps me write, even when I haven’t written anything in my novel. I do expect myself to sit for an hour and write once a week about something because it’s not an unrealistic goal. But I also live a lifestyle that has a husband, 5 children, 2 dogs, homeschooling, working from home and  being a housewife. Sometimes those goals are easily over shadowed and even though I  feel great about staying on top of my proprietors, I still get upset when I don’t accomplish those personal goals. It’s so easy to lose yourself in taking care of others all the time. Seeing someone’s gratitude and appreciation for your hard work is a wonderful feeling and is something to be happy about. But when you set goals for yourself, to improve yourself or your own ability, and then don’t have the time to meet that goal, it can feel frustrating and a bit of a let down. But something I have learned and striving to remember, is that its not a failure. Its not a set back. Its a pause. I can pick up things relatively back up where they once were, may not be easy, but its reasonable and perfectly okay. When the time comes, and I can get my goals completed, I like to take a bit of time to appreciate what I’ve done for myself.

So if you can relate, then high five, because it’s nice to know we aren’t alone!

 

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My oils are here

My allergies have been so terrible lately and over the counter meds mess with my heart arrhythmia so I use essential oils to get the job done. My allergies leave me tired and with a massive headache which drags me down during the day and even more so with my art work. Which one, isn’t good as a stay at home mom and two, not good with I have a monthly commitment to my patrons on my Patreon page.

So once I got inside, I assembled my ‘Synergy’ blend (I blend my oils to names of fighting roles from Final Fantasy…yes, I am just that cool) for my allergy relief and dropped some lemon and tea tree in my diffuser. Took all of 20 minutes for my allergies to go away. I don’t mean to ease, I meant they actually went away. I blew my nose one last time and got to work around the house (meaning I cleaned because it hasn’t really been kept up with). I pocketed my newly made roller bottle and felt much better than I had been in the last few days.

I also use local raw honey and chamomile tea to relieve allergies. So after all my natural self medication, I was feeling back to normal. Which couldn’t come at a better time because I have a drawing to get done for this month’s patrons.

If you are curious about the oils I use they are as follows:

(Please, if you are interested in oils, do your research. There are some oils that are considered ‘hot’ oils that can irritate the skin. And with anything that you are using to help strength or help your body, be smart. Even western medicines have precautions. It is highly recommended that you ask and learn about oils before jumping in to them. And if you want to ask me anything, I will be more than happy to answer as best as I can)

Peppermint

Lavender

Lemon

Oregano

Coconut carrier oil

 

I wrote down the exact measurements in my journal but I am already snuggled in my blanket for the night. I didn’t use a lot of oregano but I wanted to add that in there because it can help fight off bacteria and I have had so many sinus infections that started out from just simple allergies. Lemon also helps with that, Lavender helps with calming anything that inflamed and peppermint helps open up passages. These could vary from person to person also, so like I said before, do your research, and be wise with oils just like you are with over the counter meds.

All of the oils I use are Young Living brand and they haven’t let me down yet! Especially their stress away blend, if there is any oil you try from this company, I recommend that if you need some relaxation in your life. I like to make bath/shower fizzy bombs with it for anyone that orders a kit from me. They are 98% in stock at my house, unless my husband and kids sneak them all! But why wouldn’t they!

 

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Time to help

So recently I announced that I have started a pledge called #2forthekids as a way for me to give to my community at the local foster care centers and orphanages. Basically, for every two coloring books sold (amazon/create space/by me), I will be donating essential items to kids in need. Things like clothes, athletic gear, school supplies, bags (you know some kids only have a trash bag for their stuff), books, toiletries, etc. Basic needs that people shouldn’t have to worry about having.

When I first came up with this kind of idea, I was thinking big. Donate or even start a non profit that helps fund adoption fees for couples, helps pay medical expenses for cancer kids or just ER visits for kids. The ideas I had in the beginning were good ones but unachievable by me, for now. I have just started really getting my art work out there and I’m constantly trying to market myself. At the end of the day I know I can help provide for my own growing family but not enough to make an impact for others.

That kind of broke heart. I am a very empathetic person so helping others is something that helps me be more me. But seeing as how I don’t have the multi millions that would actually be necessary to do the things I would like, I had to rethink how I can help others realistically.

So I thought about the ways I do help already and what the next step could be. We always donate clothes and toys to Salvation Army and Goodwill. We always take items to the CASA house which helps foster children. But those things are more often than not gently used or hand me downs from other people. While there isn’t anything wrong with it, I realized most of those things aren’t what kids always need and the things they do need, weren’t always donated.

After doing some math (yes kids you’ll always use math) I figured out a way to be able to give one or two kids some good essentials that they not only need, but could call their own. Thus #2forthekids was born and its not just for me to use.

We all have these kinds of centers in our community or close to where we live and a good way to make a great impact on the world is to help our own community be better. So I encouraged small/large businesses to take on this pledge also. Pick an item in your own shop that you can use for this pledge. If you don’t own a business, you can absolutely still do something for this cause. The smallest action can have the biggest impact for people.

 

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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!

Dear Aspiring Artist

I wish there were an easier way to tell you this, but there isn’t. So here goes.

You need to work on your art more.

Is that something that you’ve told yourself before? Have you done anything about it? Well, you should, better yet, you need to. If you don’t, you’re only going to get worse. I am telling you this with sincerity and encouragement and hope. I do have hope for you and all of us artists to one day be satisfied with our level of artwork, to stop comparing ourselves to other artists, to finally master that medium that has always intimidated us, to see which path of art we are supposed to take and conquer the struggles that are part of being an artist.

I don’t think it matters how long you have worked at it, you will always want to be better. You chose art or maybe it chose you, depends on how you look at it. Never the less you are with this ability in your mind and in your heart. So now its time to do something about it.

I am an advocate for practicing everyday at art. You have to. It’s vital to exercise your brain and hand to work together to turn a piece of blank paper or canvas, into something that literally expresses emotion. You can not get better without practice. Everyday does not need to be a masterpiece. No. Way. If that is in your mind, throw it out now. I am telling you that you need to draw everyday. Even if it’s a simple circle.

You think that’s crazy but let me ask you this-how perfect can you draw a free handed circle within the first 5 tries? What about 15 tries? See where I am going with this? Something as simple as being able to freehand an even circle, sets you up higher than you were before.

Next point, you know those artists that you envy and adore their work and kind of want to go that path they took, follow them (on social media only, please do not stalk a person) and practice what they draw. You can not steal their work in any way and get a way with it. You may think, ‘oh they probably won’t notice and it’ll be fine’, and you may be right. THEY won’t notice, but their thousands of followers will and out of those thousands of people, I guarantee, 10% of them do nothing but look at other artists artwork and will definitely  wave that red flag when they see plagiarism in any way. I have seen it so many times. So what I am telling you is to practice the way they do, not to copy their exact work.

If the artist you admire draws a lot of botanical pictures, you start drawing that. Do they draw people a certain way that stands out? Figure out why it stands out and then find a way to make yours stand out too. Can they shade a car drawing so well that it leaves a metallic finish even though it was done in pen or pencil? Well get out that blending stump and start practicing that too.

It’s a challenge to really devote yourself to one thing everyday. Internally you may feel that you really want to and physically it just doesn’t happen. That is the time to find a way to get the discipline you need for yourself to pick up that pencil or paintbrush and start getting to work. Easier said than done, believe me I know and I have personally been there.

I took so long off of my artwork a few years ago that when I came back, I felt that every artist in the world just showed up on the internet to tell me I had gotten worse. Everything I drew felt amateur. How could that be? Haven’t I drawn detailed pictures since I was young? Wasn’t I in the gifted art class? Wasn’t I accepted for an art scholarship? So why, all of a sudden am I so terrible and ‘uninspired’?

It wasn’t all of sudden and it was all my fault. Being good at a skill takes work. Real hard work. I expected to put out the works of a genius after I had put in the effort of a sloth. I was discouraged and embarrassed. It took a long time of me telling myself, yes you are still good and yes you will keep moving forward. I also had (still have) the support of my husband, family, and friends. For that, I am grateful and hopeful that you, also, have the support you need. If you don’t, then you have it from me.

If you really want this then go practice. If the first picture isn’t what you want, call it a sketch, figure out where it went wrong and fix it. Make your shading better, make your color palette beautiful and perfect that free handed circle.

None of us really know why we chose this path, but we did and we are loving every step of it. So good luck to you and always move forward.

Sincerely

Madelyn

 

Don’t forget to order your coloring books on Amazon made just by me! Want to support my art and get great tips, tutorials and awesome art prints too! Come by my Patreon page and choose a tier that best suits you!

Peony Lady

Hello everyone! I have a free line art download for you again! I used this line art in my YouTube three marker challenge so be sure to check that out! I have the imaged scaled to 8.5 x 5.5 so when it prints, it will only take up half of the page. It does have a watermark, so if you are interested in future line arts without the watermark, consider becoming a patron for only 2$ a month and have access to personal sketches, work in progress photos, real time videos, watermark free line arts and more! I have other rewards for higher tiers! Link is below! Thanks!

I want to become a patron!

peonylady

Don’t forget to check out my coloring books that are on Amazon!