…Isn’t it ALL just “Fan Art”? – Part 001

So this weekend (and a couple of evenings earlier in the week), following the whole slide-to-a-creative-halt that always follows finishing the books for Thought Bubble, I picked up my pens and began to just doodle for fun,

xx Billy-Bob Steam Punk


Character sketches, mean looking dudes…

xx Her Weekend Project

Women building robots…



…and dudes & dudettes (some with lightsabres – yes, I loved the trailer*), lean cowboys and vengeful princesses…

Cowboy Dan

…all the usual food groups barring the space-monkeys.

No project in mind just aimless doodles…

On Saturday am, around 10am-ish, this chap roared into view from stage right of my sketchbook…

Thumbnail of Flyer

Just a thumbnail, to start with (this version above with a little photoshop doo-hickery)… I liked it, so…

then this happened…

xx Scan 63Pencils, Inks, and Copic Markers.
xx Scan 65Pencils, Inks, and Copic Markers.
xx Scan 64Pencils, Inks, and Copic Markers.

Fun… and now with an extended narrative…

Whilst doodling this lot out, I stuck Star Wars Episode II and III on in the background, with (for the first time since buying them) the commentaries on… which, without wanting to sound overly harsh, was a better experience for me I think than seeing them without.

I skipped Episode I mostly because despite being a happy combinatorial-creative I didn’t want to be overly influenced by the Pod-Races… but why?

Again, is it down to some ridiculous notion that my art should be purer, straight from my own head… Well, no, I teach against this… okay, well maybe a little… I don’t know.

Regardless looking back at the doodles above, there are clear influences from the Star Wars Pod Race (which itself owes a debt to Ben Hur), and perhaps even more from The GeeBee races from The Rocketeer

So despite the image/concepts slight removal, in terms of the design of the ships etc, from those films, they are still without doubt probably within the “Fan Art” ballpark.

…and lets face it, what sort of work in this regard isn’t.

All of the work I do, whether it’s fun personal stuff like Monster Comics, Zombie illustrations, educational stuff like Game Art, or Theme Park and Visitor Attraction Concepts, whatever the outcome, at some point while doing it I will be thinking about the enthusiasms (for genre, style or a particular creative’s work) that led me to want to do this stuff in the first place. The artists that inspire me…

And that’s okay.

It’s better than not knowing who and what my influences are.

In the words of Jason T Minor** (Please click the link and read that before moving on, and if you are looking for Jason’s professional credits you can find them HERE), how can you not have favourite artists that you can name? How can you be an active creative, and part of a creative tradition with no touchstones of influence?

Having influences to draw from has been the way of the artist going back to Rembrandt and beyond.

Don’t be afraid of that… it’s not cheating to have influences, or to be fans of good works. Combinatorial Creativity suggests that this is how a lot of unique (non-derivative) ideas come to life.

And if you find that hard to understand, look at it this way – if you try and invent new and unseen visuals wholesale from your head, without having explored the work of those that came before, can you really be sure you are not just producing tiered and played out images and run of the mill ideas that people went over years before? Scott Robinson talks about this in The Skillful Huntsman.

So here’s to fan art, the enthusiasm for the medium, genres, artists and creatives that came before… I like being part of a rich interwoven and ever evolving fabric with a heritage and lineage I can trace through the creatives I admire.

I can name them too***.

*see part 002 for more on this.

**If you’re a student of games and you where worried or put on the back foot (or thrown into a state of denial/cognitive dissonance) by those comments… You should probably go look at this, it has echoes of the same message – So you wanna be a Game Designer?

***see side bar “Inspired By and In Awe of…”

~ by hesir on December 9, 2014.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: