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Original vs Fanart

Poll: Original vs Fanart (44 member(s) have cast votes)

Do you think that it is acceptable for artist to mass produce prints of non-original characters (such as Naruto or Sailor Moon) rather than come up with their own original characters to sell at conventions?

  1. yes (27 votes [61.36%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 61.36%

  2. no (13 votes [29.55%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 29.55%

  3. I don't know/care (4 votes [9.09%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 9.09%

Are you an artist?

  1. yes (37 votes [84.09%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 84.09%

  2. no (7 votes [15.91%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 15.91%

Vote

#1 User is offline   Sen 

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Posted 05 August 2011 - 10:49 AM

As an artist, it is my personal opinion that artist ally should only be used for artist to show their "original" works (I'm kind of tired of seeing people making $ on their own variation of copy-written materials)by that I mean if you are going to draw a picture of a Marvel character using your own art style it should be done as commission work, you should not have a table full of merchandise that isn't your own original characters or storyline. fan fics are nice to read but a good story can be illustrated just as well with an original cast of characters. I feel the exception to this would be things such as buttons, T-shirts, and the beaded works made by an Artist.

If the characters aren't your own original character/you don't have a fan character in the print and you still want to sell it then you should just do commissions or put your work in the art show to be bid on. I do not feel that it is fair to the other artist who actually showcase their own work.

Don't get me wrong, I am very supportive of my fellow artist and have great respect for your courage to showcase your talent (be it digital, abstract, 3-dimensional, or traditional). it's just that 90% of the artist that have a table with mostly copy written characters are really, really good and I would really love to see them come out with their own original work. (I miss the old days)

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#2 User is offline   Lezzy-cat 

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Posted 05 August 2011 - 02:00 PM

Oooh I could see this being a good discussion! ^^


I have mixed feelings on the subject.
Unfortunately with conventions, it's more cost-effective to showcase fanart more than original artwork. I've been doing Artist Alleys for a few years, and nothing sells like a good piece of fanart--in terms of actual artwork, if I didn't do fanart, I would never make back my table costs. I love how Shutocon does their AA, where you are only allowed 50% of your stock to be fanart. This forces the artists to show their original work as well, so you don't see just fanart in the Alley. I personally like to tackle other areas that anime fans are into, to help break away from the fanart but still stick to the target audience, like nerdy/steampunk jewelry and ridiculously cute things.

Also, why would tshirts, buttons, etc. be the exception (and don't get me started on the beaded stuff.. >.>)? Why should those be any different than anything you hang on a wall?
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#3 User is offline   Ohki 

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Posted 05 August 2011 - 03:20 PM

Personally, I see nothing wrong with fanart and selling it. It's inherently something that the original creator can't give you, as the draw is to see the characters you love in a different art style, different costuming, etc from in the source material. My ideal AA booth has a mixture of both. I do like seeing an artist's original work, but fanart is interesting and fun in its own right, and it's what has the most demand in the AA. That's why you see so much of it.

Also, why should those things be exceptions? They can all be just as easily done as original works of the artist.

I also feel like I should mention that, with the fanart vs original art and fanfic vs original fic debate, I find it weird that cosplay is always exempt from the conversation. If fanart is "lesser" than original art and fanfic is "lesser" than original fiction, then shouldn't it be the same sort of thing with cosplay? Cosplayers are making costumes based on pre-existing costume designs. Shouldn't we laud people who sew their own completely original outfits over cosplayers, if we should praise original art and fiction over fanart and fanfic?
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Posted 05 August 2011 - 03:36 PM

I think that everyone selling fan art should apply for licenses to sell whatever characters they use for fan art.
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#5 User is offline   Sen 

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Posted 07 August 2011 - 01:27 AM

just to be clear, I don't have a problem with with fanart, I just feel that It should be done on more of a commission basis. an artist can bring a portfolio of their fanart.

I respect anybody that showcases their creative work. it isn't that I feel that fanart & fanfics are lesser (I quite enjoy reading fanfics and even draw fanart myself) however, when it comes to making money off these works I personally would rather spend my money on an original work rather than fanwork (but that's just me). as an artist and fashion designer I also know how hard it can be to sell your work at a convention, but you must take into account that many artist don't make much money and only about 1 in 100 actually make a living solely on their work. I personally know two people that have attended Acen in the past and only showcased their own characters and became very successful at it.

the reason that I felt that buttons, shirts, beaded works and the like were okay is because they are crafted materials and designs. as to the subject of cosplay, I have two major points to make. first, I think people who make & design their own completely original outfit should get more respect then they do. Lastly, cosplay is mainly done for the express purpose of showing your support for your favorite anime characters and showcase your talent at recreating a costume. it also allows people to see that some of the costumes that you might think were impossible to make can actually be made.

This post has been edited by Sen: 22 November 2011 - 01:16 AM

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#6 User is offline   The Fujoshi 

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Posted 07 August 2011 - 12:30 PM

I personally have mixed feeling about it.

In Japan its fine to sell fanart, fanfiction, and fancomics as long as the circle/artist doesn't claim or steal the characters. They even have coventions for the sort of thing, comiket.

Now the copyright laws are different here, so stuff like doujinshi made in America and fanart create such an uproar.

As long as the creator doesn't mind, it's not solely for profit or bootleg, and the artist doesn't claim the characters its fine in my opinion. I consider fanart networking. I find it cheaper to buy prints, it supports the artist, and if I really like their style, I can get a commission. Most commissions are 20-60 dollars normally compare to a 10-15 dollar fanart print or graphic. Blame labor and the always inflating art supply prices for high commissions. Anyone who draws knows that microns and markers are not cheap.

That and people are paranoid in USA about OCs. Unless its popular and copyrighted, someone could easily claim it as their own.
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#7 User is offline   tatterpillar 

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Posted 07 August 2011 - 05:04 PM

View PostLezzy-cat, on 05 August 2011 - 02:00 PM, said:

Unfortunately with conventions, it's more cost-effective to showcase fanart more than original artwork.


Agreed. I also agree that artists should showcase original pieces as well. Use the fanart to draw the audience in so they look at the rest of your portfolio.

#8 User is offline   Sen 

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Posted 10 August 2011 - 02:27 PM

View PostLezzy-cat, on 05 August 2011 - 02:00 PM, said:



I love how Shutocon does their AA, where you are only allowed 50% of your stock to be fanart. This forces the artists to show their original work as well, so you don't see just fanart in the Alley. I personally like to tackle other areas that anime fans are into, to help break away from the fanart but still stick to the target audience, like nerdy/steampunk jewelry and ridiculously cute things.




I completly agree. I don't hate fanart, I just want to see more new ideas and concepts.

This post has been edited by Sen: 10 August 2011 - 02:27 PM

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#9 User is offline   OnceUponADoodle 

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Posted 28 August 2011 - 05:28 AM

My personal opinion is you need to get over it. The creators and companies involved with the production of any given series don't care (as proven by the Nick Simmons plagiarism scandal) They think it's flattering when someone else uses their characters, or blatant art work for that matter, to create their own product. It means they're doing their jobs right. And, The companies here, Funimation, Viz, Tokyo Pop etc, can't do anything about it either. They're only distributors of the products, and don't own the rights to any of it really. So in essence, Fanart is valid, it is free advertisement for these series. If you don't want fanart, then you shouldn't be cosplaying either.

Original art can be fun, but you have to be REALLY good, or have things that people are willing to pay for. It's hard to make any form of success with original art.

I've said my piece. Now, go draw people, and buy your doujinshis.

#10 User is offline   OnceUponADoodle 

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Posted 28 August 2011 - 05:33 AM

View Posttatterpillar, on 07 August 2011 - 05:04 PM, said:

Agreed. I also agree that artists should showcase original pieces as well. Use the fanart to draw the audience in so they look at the rest of your portfolio.

I also agree with this, but the fact still stands that most people DO NOT buy original work. They come to get merchandise of the characters they already know and love. The only original piece that I've ever been able to move is my kitsune in a kimono print, and that's just cause it's a really nice furry art.

I would love to expand my original pieces, make that series of my Malkavian vampire throughout different eras of his existence, but I still don't know how profitable it would be in the long run with how much time it's going to take to make these pieces.

I have so many original characters and concepts that my brain nearly explodes, but they barely even get faved when I post them on deviantart.

The fanart pieces are what people want and are willing to spend for.

#11 User is offline   GITS SAC Motoko 

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Posted 28 August 2011 - 06:24 AM

View PostOnceUponADoodle, on 28 August 2011 - 05:33 AM, said:

I also agree with this, but the fact still stands that most people DO NOT buy original work. They come to get merchandise of the characters they already know and love. The only original piece that I've ever been able to move is my kitsune in a kimono print, and that's just cause it's a really nice furry art.

I would love to expand my original pieces, make that series of my Malkavian vampire throughout different eras of his existence, but I still don't know how profitable it would be in the long run with how much time it's going to take to make these pieces.

I have so many original characters and concepts that my brain nearly explodes, but they barely even get faved when I post them on deviantart.

The fanart pieces are what people want and are willing to spend for.

^ THIS. Just to add to that, people will buy what they are comfortable with. So if they REALLY want that picture (for example) of L eating a donut, they will buy it. I really do appreciate when artists show their original work. It's very cool to see and how they fully use their own style with their own character. But again, even though it's for fun, being an artist for many IS A JOB. They need to make money in some way shape or form, and producing fan art is only a way you could do it. I remember seeing tables that were only fan art on Friday and on Sunday they were almost ALL GONE. They sold a lot--and you can probably tell why.

Putting reality aside, I think it would be nicer to have more original artwork at artist alley. I really liked what Lezzy-cat said about Shutocon that you have to have at least 50% be original. That is really cool. Maybe ACEN could be like "okay 25% has to be your own original works." Still leaving that gap for fan art, but also bringing back originality. ^_^
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#12 User is offline   LinkJun 

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Posted 30 August 2011 - 06:01 AM

Just look at what happens to other cons when they start to disallow fan-art. Ohayocon's AA is a joke; everyone I know who sold there doesn't anymore, because they can't make money. Most of the time, people go into an artists' alley on a mission: "I want something, anything from <insert favourite series here>." By now, Ohayocon's con-goers know beforehand that they won't find what they're looking for in the AA, so they don't go. Yes, there are a few that want to look around and appreciate all the art, blah blah, but let's be real, that's not how the average visitor is. In fact, the average visitor usually just walks right by the AA and never goes in, unless they have to in order to get to the exhibit hall. Personally, I only ever buy two things from cons: T-shirts, and anything with FFIX. At ACen, I peruse the AA and exhibit hall -only- for those two things. There are some cool art and crafts and such, but I'm not an art collector.

Now I suspect that most of you reading this, being artists, will probably disagree with this point. But I am not an artist, and I submit to you that the vast majority of AA visitors are also not artists, and that for the most part, they go into the dealers' room for something from a series/game/etc that they already know and love.

Bottom line: Fan-art is necessary for the success of an anime convention's artists' alley (this is not a college campus gallery). Disallow it, and within a year I'm sure the Artist Alley would shrivel up and turn into a ghost town. There's a silver lining though; at least they won't have to deal with huge amounts of traffic around December anymore.

#13 User is offline   Sen 

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Posted 03 September 2011 - 01:56 AM

View PostOnceUponADoodle, on 28 August 2011 - 05:28 AM, said:

My personal opinion is you need to get over it. The creators and companies involved with the production of any given series don't care (as proven by the Nick Simmons plagiarism scandal) They think it's flattering when someone else uses their characters, or blatant art work for that matter, to create their own product. It means they're doing their jobs right. And, The companies here, Funimation, Viz, Tokyo Pop etc, can't do anything about it either. They're only distributors of the products, and don't own the rights to any of it really. So in essence, Fanart is valid, it is free advertisement for these series. If you don't want fanart, then you shouldn't be cosplaying either.

Original art can be fun, but you have to be REALLY good, or have things that people are willing to pay for. It's hard to make any form of success with original art.

I've said my piece. Now, go draw people, and buy your doujinshis.



I don't think you really get what I'm saying. I'm not questioning the copywrite aspect, I have no problem with fanart, I'm trying to encourage my fellow artist to present their own creative works and/or find out why they prefer to mainly do fanart.
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#14 User is offline   redneckotaku 

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Posted 03 September 2011 - 05:39 AM

There has to be a balance in FanArt vs Original art. With the strong restrictions on FanArt at Otakon, it has basically become a Webcomics Alley with some Fan Artists in the show. I see about 80% of those who work that alley as Webcomics. That can improve the quality of commissions, but also makes it harder to find things from series like Ghost in The Shell or Cutey Honey (unless you commission them for it).

#15 User is offline   OctoberRaine 

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Posted 14 October 2011 - 04:05 PM

I agree with the first sentence of Lurker's post -

If you haven't got some fan-art to attract the con-goers, there's a huge chance that you won't be able to sell much - unless you have gorgeous art in the first place, of course. But I mean, what brings people to stop and look at one print is something they recognize, or something that captivates them. For a year-long artist like me, still improving, I doubt I'd get much with my original art. But my fan-art will get people to LOOK at the original art. I think.

...so while it may not be exactly 100% kosher, it should be allowed, and artists who produce fan-art shouldn't be put down for doing so. Sometimes it's the only way we can get noticed!
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Posted 17 October 2011 - 03:50 PM

View PostOhki, on 05 August 2011 - 03:20 PM, said:

Personally, I see nothing wrong with fanart and selling it. It's inherently something that the original creator can't give you, as the draw is to see the characters you love in a different art style, different costuming, etc from in the source material. My ideal AA booth has a mixture of both. I do like seeing an artist's original work, but fanart is interesting and fun in its own right, and it's what has the most demand in the AA. That's why you see so much of it.

Also, why should those things be exceptions? They can all be just as easily done as original works of the artist.

I also feel like I should mention that, with the fanart vs original art and fanfic vs original fic debate, I find it weird that cosplay is always exempt from the conversation. If fanart is "lesser" than original art and fanfic is "lesser" than original fiction, then shouldn't it be the same sort of thing with cosplay? Cosplayers are making costumes based on pre-existing costume designs. Shouldn't we laud people who sew their own completely original outfits over cosplayers, if we should praise original art and fiction over fanart and fanfic?


I strongly agree with this argument. Who will really want to buy something original? Few people I know of really would. People like repetition and want to collect things they already love. Plus if the original characters aren't drawn well enough I doubt people will invest money in buying something that doesn't look the least bit professional. People will usually buy original work if it has pretty or hot enough characters or has a very good costume design, etc. People cosplay out of their love for a series -- people draw pictures of their favorite characters to give their own take on a series, provide extras for the fans. I see absolutely nothing wrong with fan artwork. Thats like saying cosplayers have to create their own costumes and can't copy characters. Plus things like fan fiction or doujinshi of a series can offer the fans more story -- especially to people who lack creativity it can really blossom a wonderful idea in their mind or give them fanservice. Fanwork is the foundation of Artist Alley and makes the most profit just as Okha has said. Being an artist myself (and drawing for a few conventions) I feel that people won't take a second look if they don't see a recognizable character. I went to Artist Alley and don't really remember anyones original work, I was more interested in seeing what style artists had drawn some of my already favorite characters in. People shouldn't feel hate towards fanart, I mean a lot of anime artists that even produce original work have probably drawn fanwork and finally picked up a style and made their own characters with it. I have hundreds of original character sketches but leading up to drawing original work all I ever did was fanwork and studying already well known anime characters and how they are designed and drawn.



View PostLinkJun, on 30 August 2011 - 06:01 AM, said:

Just look at what happens to other cons when they start to disallow fan-art. Ohayocon's AA is a joke; everyone I know who sold there doesn't anymore, because they can't make money. Most of the time, people go into an artists' alley on a mission: "I want something, anything from <insert favourite series here>." By now, Ohayocon's con-goers know beforehand that they won't find what they're looking for in the AA, so they don't go. Yes, there are a few that want to look around and appreciate all the art, blah blah, but let's be real, that's not how the average visitor is. In fact, the average visitor usually just walks right by the AA and never goes in, unless they have to in order to get to the exhibit hall. Personally, I only ever buy two things from cons: T-shirts, and anything with FFIX. At ACen, I peruse the AA and exhibit hall -only- for those two things. There are some cool art and crafts and such, but I'm not an art collector.

Now I suspect that most of you reading this, being artists, will probably disagree with this point. But I am not an artist, and I submit to you that the vast majority of AA visitors are also not artists, and that for the most part, they go into the dealers' room for something from a series/game/etc that they already know and love.

Bottom line: Fan-art is necessary for the success of an anime convention's artists' alley (this is not a college campus gallery). Disallow it, and within a year I'm sure the Artist Alley would shrivel up and turn into a ghost town. There's a silver lining though; at least they won't have to deal with huge amounts of traffic around December anymore.



I DEFINITELY second this statement. GenericDreamers told me that Ohayocon doesn't allow Fan Art, I almost didn't believe him because it's what the fans are buying most. Not to mention most people get famous off of fanart and it's really hard to get original characters to become popular unless you have a lot of publicity, get your stuff published, or have a good enough art style and characters for people to want to buy and read your things. I'm an artist myself and I don't disagree with you at all. I didn't care a ton for the Artist Alley (even though I draw and produce artwork and fan work myself) but I went through it and found myself only willing to buy fan art, (not that some of the original art was crummy or anything, I just wasn't familiar with the characters, couldn't relate with them and really understand the depth of the pictures) Just as Linkjun says, people usually will go into Artist Alley with something in mind (a certain series or character) that they might want to buy. If ACEN does like Ohayocon and doesn't allow Fanart sometime in the future, like Link says AA would be like a ghost town. That's a scary thought if you ask me. I mean look at Ohayocon -- the stricter the rules get about things, the more disappointed con goers become, and the less attendance and good word the con gets. The con itself is about promoting anime, having fun, everyone expressing their love for certain series -- if Fan art isnt copied, it still takes a lot of hardwork and talent to produce that good of work -- so it takes just as much blood and sweat to produce a fan piece compared to an original. People shouldn't complain about Fan art, its just as hard to make as original work and takes just as much creativity to produce.


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#17 User is offline   JujuFox 

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Posted 17 October 2011 - 08:44 PM

I agree with the arguments about fanart being the foundation of the AA. I love the original styles and designs that some artists use to create their fanart. They give us something we are fans of, something we love, but a new version of it, or something that the creator wouldn't draw their characters doing. These are very talented people, and not only do they draw what we like, but what they like. A lot of them are big fans of what they draw and just want to put their own artistic take on.

Having said that, I would like to see more original characters too. I did see some cool original artwork last year, but being in the AA myself I didn't have a lot of time to browse everyone's artwork.

My profession is Animator/Illustrator, but at ACen I sell my amigurumi(crocheted toys) which I do as a hobby to get off of the computer once and a while. If I did sell prints of my artwork I would have to say that 80% would be fanart and 20% would be original artwork. Even in what I sold last year the majority of it was fanart.

Honestly if fanart wasn't allowed I don't think I would do the AA. The reason why I crochet Pokemon is because I love Pokemon. I don't make anything that I myself wouldn't buy(except commissions). It's the same reason I draw fanart. I want to draw or make things that I love and share them with others.
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#18 User is offline   thatreevesgirl 

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Posted 26 October 2011 - 03:09 AM

Personally, I could be an artist with or without fanart. If it were eliminated entirely from all conventions, I would still sell art and be fine with that particular outcome.

As a consumer...that is another story. It is probably just me being selfish, but I love seeing my favorite characters in other artists' styles. I don't want fanart to go away, because I love it and I'm passionate about it. This is probably because I'm a giant fantard who holds her favorite anime waaaaaay too close to her heart to be even remotely healthy.

Fanart helps me connect to an artist. I feel that if they do art for a series, they probably like it too (and if they don't, you can tell within seconds of talking to them that they made such-and-such print just to make a fast buck). It is actually a good litmus test for me to know whether or not I would like their original stuff, especially original manga.

This doesn't mean that I think it is legal. Honestly, it will always be (at the best) in a grey area of legality, and more likely--illegal. I do think eliminating fanart, and cracking down on all produced fanart, would have a negative backlash from the anime community and it would hurt an already struggling industry. I like fanart because it brings fans together and makes them excited. I'm with DavenEvanXaviour! You do it because you love it, you buy it because you love it, and you want to protect it because you love it.

However, I am a big believer that if you do fanart, you should also do original art. I think that alleys that require a ratio like 50/50 are awesome, 80(original)/20(fanart) is pushing it, and extremely limited percentages are ridiculous.

#19 User is offline   MBluesummers 

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 12:33 PM

View PostLinkJun, on 30 August 2011 - 06:01 AM, said:

Just look at what happens to other cons when they start to disallow fan-art. Ohayocon's AA is a joke; everyone I know who sold there doesn't anymore, because they can't make money. Most of the time, people go into an artists' alley on a mission: "I want something, anything from <insert favourite series here>." By now, Ohayocon's con-goers know beforehand that they won't find what they're looking for in the AA, so they don't go. Yes, there are a few that want to look around and appreciate all the art, blah blah, but let's be real, that's not how the average visitor is. In fact, the average visitor usually just walks right by the AA and never goes in, unless they have to in order to get to the exhibit hall. Personally, I only ever buy two things from cons: T-shirts, and anything with FFIX. At ACen, I peruse the AA and exhibit hall -only- for those two things. There are some cool art and crafts and such, but I'm not an art collector.

Now I suspect that most of you reading this, being artists, will probably disagree with this point. But I am not an artist, and I submit to you that the vast majority of AA visitors are also not artists, and that for the most part, they go into the dealers' room for something from a series/game/etc that they already know and love.

Bottom line: Fan-art is necessary for the success of an anime convention's artists' alley (this is not a college campus gallery). Disallow it, and within a year I'm sure the Artist Alley would shrivel up and turn into a ghost town. There's a silver lining though; at least they won't have to deal with huge amounts of traffic around December anymore.



So true. I was an artist at Last years Ohayocon. Their alley was not just a joke, it was painful straight up to be there. It was was hard to get people to even look at your artwork, especially if you where situated where I was at the farthest corner possible. I recall talking to a few people and they brought up how it was all original artists at this alley and wondered why there was no fanart. They also proclaimed how annoying it was because they wanted something from (x) anime or (x) videogame. After people also found out it was original word quickly spread and traffic int he alley slowed to a trickle.

I think Fanart is an important part of any convention alley. I do original stuff to, but I use the fanart to grab peoples attention and get them to come over and look. I think artists should be required to have a healthy mix of fanart and original but never outright ban fanart. It has always baffled me when a fandom driven event disallows fandom related artwork. It's just silly and counter-productive to the convention.

#20 User is offline   dorkatlarge 

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Posted 08 November 2011 - 03:34 PM

I'll buy original art if I like its style. And I'll purchase fanart if I like the source material and its style. Also, I have no problem with a balance between original and fan works, but I don't know if it's necessary to ask people to sell a mix of both.

Some of what I've seen and liked in Artist Alley are creative works which are in-jokes, fandom-related statements, and vague references. What do I mean? Stuff like...

* "Catgirl Lover" buttons
* "My OTP can beat up your OTP" stickers
* "I survived the filler arc" t-shirts (intentionally vague reference)

If your creative work is a reference to one specific thing/aspect of a series -- like the hat in Squid Girl, or the cutie marks in Friendship is Magic, then it *might* be considered fanart. Hmm.

Also, consider art based on things which are not copyrighted, such as rice balls or bento boxes.

#21 User is offline   Sen 

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Posted 22 November 2011 - 01:07 AM

I would like to thank everyone that responded and I really enjoyed reading your feedback. as an artist I love to see all forms of art and try to encourage my fellow artist. this topic was just to get your opinions and get other peoples points of view. To all you artist out there, I look forward to seeing more of your works whether original or fan-art it doesn't matter, because you put your heart in it. cant wait to see the booths next year and buy more stuff.


hugs for all of you

This post has been edited by Sen: 22 November 2011 - 01:11 AM

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#22 User is offline   Accidental Suicide Bomber 

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Posted 22 November 2011 - 03:17 AM

What people who *think* that there is an uproar about fanart don't realize is that there isn't. The "uproar" only exists because people believe there is one. US copyright law protects fanart that follows these criteria: a) the artist claims no ownership of the character, B ) the art in question is not a direct copy of an existing piece, and c) the artist has created their own composition and therefore done most of the work themselves. It's the same section of the Fair Use Act that allows for the creation and sale of found object art or bands and singers to record and sell cover songs. (The biggest problems come from artists who do not follow the criteria, and thus violate copyright law.)

Personally I feel that fanart is a great stepping stone for beginning artists, as well as a clever hook to get people interested in seeing what ELSE you can do. As a lot of people have put it: fanart is familiar to people at an anime convention. Therefore it sells really well. Once you have people at your table buying stuff, you know they like it. That's the point where you show that you can do more than that, and see if you can sell a sample of original work.

This post has been edited by Accidental Suicide Bomber: 22 November 2011 - 03:20 AM

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#23 User is offline   Alysia 

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Posted 22 November 2011 - 08:38 AM

I think a lot of the recent drama around fanart has come as a result of a handful of artists getting ridiculous about it in the last few years. There actually have been complaints by the legal copyright holders, but they largely come from the actions of a few people that are doing huge runs of prints for dozens of series, using the trademarked logos, or duplicating existing licensed merchandise.

It's one thing to create fanart because you love a series, and sell it to share with other fans. It's quite another to set yourself in a position where you are competing with the dealers who are paying for the legitimate merchandise, thus supporting the creators. It really annoys me that these people are ruining it for everyone else, and getting legitimate fanartists in trouble.

My general opinion is that selling a reasonable amount of fanart is fine, and healthy for the community. I do have an ethical problem with selling nothing but fanart as a living-I just don't think it's morally appropriate to base your entire livelihood on the unauthorized use of other people's ideas. Also, while fair use gives you a certain leeway with copyright, trademark law is a whole different ball of wax. But most companies will ignore you if you aren't being a jerk.

I've been doing the Artist Alley for almost 12 years now, and I've never sold fanart products at the table. I once raffled a single print of a fanart piece and I have done about 3 or 4 fanart commissions. It's very unusual that my studio doesn't at least break even, usually I do better. You can do well selling original art in the Alley, and in some ways, I feel that fanart can be a crutch. Some people will buy images of a character no matter how atrocious they are, which can give you a false impression of how salable your work is. It's a pretty harsh wake-up call when you have to compete with artists who are simply better than you. I prefer to spend my time and energy making my original works good enough to draw an audience without assistance.

If you're afraid of your original work being stolen–don't be. In the U.S., your work is protected by copyright the instant you make it. To bolster your legal standing, it's a good idea to register your copyright with the Library of Congress. It's an easy process with a minimal filing fee.

You won't ever be successful with original work if you make it second place-you're turning it into a self-fulfilling prophecy. People aren't fans of mainstream series they've never seen-they aren't going to be fans of your work until you put it in front of them. If you're treating your work as an adjunct to your fanart, the neglect is likely to show. Sure, there are people who won't buy anything but fanart, but there are also people that won't buy anything that looks too girly, or isn't cutesy, or any of a million other personal quirks. So do your best and it will work out eventually.

#24 User is offline   Christy 

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Posted 22 November 2011 - 12:06 PM

I agree with Alysia's statments, and not because we're from the same studio either. ;)

For those who naysay original art, we sell every year at Acen and have never sold one piece of fanart. I will admit, we probably work harder at the sales than fan artists, but it's a matter of having work that people want to buy. But fan art has it's place in the AA too. We regularly sell books and art to people who initally came into the alley looking for a picture of thier favorate character and found us. Plus, many good artists do get their start with fanart and fanfiction and eveutally branch out to all original stuff.

That's not to say that I support "professional fan artists" either. Selling fanart in the AA is a good way to cover your con expenses, gives you experiance for later and generally is a fun, different sort of con experiance. However, if you're mass producing pictures, duplicating existing merchandise, selling them for high profit and using the money to pay your bills, that's not cool. There's a fine line between legitimate expression of fandom through your art and bootlegging. The vast majority of people stay on the positive side of that line. But I have seen some people who walk that line and those who occasionally put a foot across only to pull it back when they get it smacked with a ruler. Then there are the rare few that simply leap across and ruin it for the rest of us.

A couple of years ago, I did a copyright panel at Acen and presented what I considered to be a list of good ethical behavior for fanartists. I just belatedly submitted a proposal for another copyright panel for 2012 - I may have been too late, I may make it in. But for reference, I'll post the list here:

Fan Artist Code of Ethics
Don’t…
  • Sell fan works for large sums of money unless it actually cost you that amount in materials
  • Sell reproductions of existing, licensed merchandise including artwork, plushies and dolls.
  • Sell manipulated versions of original work
  • Claim authorship or creative ownership of the original work
  • Copy (free hand or traced) existing artwork, make small changes and then dub it “fanart” – especially for sale
  • Change a few basic elements of an existing work to turn it into your “original work”
  • Sell for profit fan works that can be easily distributed in high quality form for free
  • Plan to be a fan artist as a career to support yourself

Do…
  • Make your fan work available to the public
  • Put your all into each piece you produce, especially if you plan to sell it and make it as high quality as you can
  • Charge a fair price (not too much, not too little) for commissions
  • Credit the original authors when at all possible and make it clear that this is a fan work

Above All…
Remember that you are basing your work off of somebody else’s and treat it and the original author with courtesy and respect.

#25 User is offline   Grimby 

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 01:03 AM

In my opinion, fanart is what makes the AA so appealing. For me, I love going to conventions and visiting the AA because I know that I will find new, unique pictures of characters I already know and love. A great point was made earlier that most people who go into the AA have an idea of what they already want. In fact, that's exactly how I am. At ACen last year I bought a print of every Megaman X artwork I could find.
Fan art gives fans the opportunity to own original pieces that display their beloved characters in a new way. If someone has a unique style they can bring new life to known characters.

I also appreciate original artwork. People who have the talent and imagination to create their own characters and have a strong enough style to pull it off really amaze me. That being said, I have never once bought an original piece. While they may be gorgeous works of art, I don't *know* that character, and have no real attachment to it. As someone else said, I'm not an art collector--I'm an anime fan.

So, I guess my opinion on the matter is that most people sell art at the AA to socialize, get their work out to the public and make some money while they're networking. The best way to get people into your art is to show them things they already know and love, not necessarily just display your own original characters. Plus, known characters rake in way more money than original pieces, and artists do have to pay for their table.


But, this is all just my personal opinion. I myself am only a plushie artist, so whether it be faart or original artwork I recognize and applaud talent when I see it... but my money is going to be spent on my favorite characters, not original pieces.

All of that aside, I'm curious to know what people's opinions are of a different form of fanart: plushies.
Since I make my own patterns and create each plush by hand they are all "original" in a sense... but what are your opinions when it comes to plushies? Are fanart plushies (pokemon, my little pony, etc) seen as copying, or is the craftsmanship and originality of them respected? Also, would anyone really buy an original character plushie? I have debated making a few, but the known characters I make always seem to be so popular and I don't know that my own creations would be appealing enough to spend money on.

This post has been edited by Grimby: 16 December 2011 - 01:05 AM


#26 User is offline   jmlee 

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 03:18 PM

Just my two cents - I've done a few AAs up here in MN and I think the majority of the work/sales I did were non-fanart related things: Commissions of OCs and sale of my original prints and artwork.

For me, the key to selling original work is mainly that the work has to be eye-catching enough and universal enough that it can mean something to someone without a shared context. For example, I made a set of 7 Deadly Sins using my own characters and sold plenty, just because the 7 Deadly Sins are so popular.

That said, I still sold a lot of fanart. A friend of mine made a killing selling ONLY Hetalia buttons/keychains.

Look forward to seeing you all in April - my first ACen AA :)

J
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#27 User is offline   JujuFox 

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Posted 17 December 2011 - 04:33 PM

View PostGrimby, on 16 December 2011 - 01:03 AM, said:

All of that aside, I'm curious to know what people's opinions are of a different form of fanart: plushies.
Since I make my own patterns and create each plush by hand they are all "original" in a sense... but what are your opinions when it comes to plushies? Are fanart plushies (pokemon, my little pony, etc) seen as copying, or is the craftsmanship and originality of them respected? Also, would anyone really buy an original character plushie? I have debated making a few, but the known characters I make always seem to be so popular and I don't know that my own creations would be appealing enough to spend money on.


I make some fanart amigurumi which is like plush just made with yarn instead of fabric. I do a more simple style for the faces like this---> (._.), so when I make Pokemon for instance they look simplified and nothing close to officially licensed merch. If your plush looked exactly like a Pokedoll(popular type of plush) then that is pretty clear cut infringement and considered bootleg. Speaking as a Pokefan and being part of a huge Pokemon merch community, I know people out there love customs because they are unique. So yes, fanart plushes sell really really well. Having said that...

I also make a lot of original characters that sell really well too! I was amazed at how well my random cute animal amigurumi sold last year. I did sell out of all of my fanart amigurumi, but I also sold out of almost all my misc ones too!
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#28 User is offline   Alysia 

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Posted 19 December 2011 - 01:59 PM

View PostGrimby, on 16 December 2011 - 01:03 AM, said:



All of that aside, I'm curious to know what people's opinions are of a different form of fanart: plushies.
Since I make my own patterns and create each plush by hand they are all "original" in a sense... but what are your opinions when it comes to plushies? Are fanart plushies (pokemon, my little pony, etc) seen as copying, or is the craftsmanship and originality of them respected? Also, would anyone really buy an original character plushie? I have debated making a few, but the known characters I make always seem to be so popular and I don't know that my own creations would be appealing enough to spend money on.[/size]


Seconding DavenEvanXaviour-so long as you stay away from duplicating the licensed merch, you should be ok, presuming you're not mass producing 10 of the same thing.
Also, I agree that original plush can sell very well-our studiomate makes original plush and they were selling very well, sometimes as fast as she could finish them at the table. I think it's actually easier to sell plush and other craft items that aren't fanart as opposed to original books and prints.

Question: How many artists here that have trouble selling original work have comics, books, etc. of their characters available as opposed to just general artwork?

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