Fanart in a Portfolio?!

  • SVS OG

    alt text
    Art by Chris Akins

    Does Fanart belong in a portfolio? Yes, but also no. And should you change your professional name when it’s already established, or are you stuck with the screen name you came up with when you were 14 years old? This week, Jake Parker, Lee White, and Will Terry dissect these questions and also talk about new TV shows and projects they’re working on.

    Ask A Question!

    Click HERE to listen and read the shownotes.

  • SVS Instructor Pro

    In the episode Lee (kind of) stumbled onto one of the things that gives me great pleasure in my typing life and so I would like to add a bit more information for anyone else who would like to use this woefully underused punctuation mark . . .

    The "brand new" punctuation Lee created in this podcast is in fact already a thing -- and an awesome thing it is!

    This mark --> ‽ <-- is called an interrobang (although I fully admit that "Quemation" is a much better name) created by Martin Speckter in 1962.

    I first heard about it from this episode of 99Percent Invisible
    It is now my favorite punctuation mark. I mean, who wouldn't love something as expressive at this‽

  • @davidhohn

    I've never seen an interrobang overlapped like that before. How crazy is that?!
    Is there a special way to type it so it combines?

  • SVS Instructor Pro

    @carlianne You can go into your system preferences for the keyboard and instruct the OS that !+?=‽

    You'll find that some programs and websites support it and some don't. But it's always worth it!

  • @davidhohn I’ve never been sure which came first when typing the interrobang combo—is it !? or ?!—so this character solves the problem nicely. But the effect it could have on Mark Trail kind of blows my mind! Suddenly we’re faced with “WHAT TH’—(interrobang)”! 😁

  • To anyone who was wondering who Nightshadeberry is..... 👉🏼 😳 It's meeee! 😂 Was so strange hearing my name on the podcast so many times. I do not use "nightshadeberry Illustration" on any of my artworks or books. I use my real name. Nightshadeberry came from the Deviant Art days and just stuck. I use it for my social media pages and my website. This podcast made me think of changing it all to Art of Gabby Correia🤔
    And no @Lee-White you can't steal my name 🤣

  • @chrisaakins excellent job on the podcast illustration Chris! It looks great. 👌

  • @K-Flagg I'll second that! Nice work @chrisaakins!

  • Regarding the pseudonym / name thing: After trying lots of pseudonyms —or noms de plume if you prefer— that didn't really stick, I settled on my current one some years ago. I explain it further here but the rationale was something like this: It's a compound of my full name, it's on the tradition of European classic comics artists who always used pseudonyms, it carries easily across languages and so far no one has mistaken it with that of a certain humongous online store everybody shops from these days.

    As someone who has worked for years on IT and web development I'm very conscious of the importance of branding through domain names so I bought both and domains, as the "alzamon" moniker was unavailable on some social media platforms, therefore settling in on "alzamonart" which goes hand in hand with the .art domain. This is actually basic branding stuff, but maybe it can prove useful for anyone working on his or her own personal brand.

  • Thanks @K-Flagg @Jeremiahbrown that means a lot!

  • SVS OG

    I did three illustrations for The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and posted the last one on my Instagram last week. A Narnia fan page had picked up the series with the first piece, but somehow this last one just exploded! (By my modest standards, at least.) I suddenly have a lot of new followers, many of whom are obviously Narnia fans and who post imagery from the movies.

    It hadn't even occurred to me that I was doing fan art! I was just looking for a fun text to reimagine. I have liked the Narnia series since I was a kid, long before the movies came out. When I did my own illustrations I went out of the way to read the text carefully and not take my imagery either from the movies or from Pauline Baynes's lovely original illustrations. Any apparent similarity is either from the text or from my study of 1940s evacuee clothing.

    So I guess I fall into Lee's second category. Let's just hope the film producers or Douglas Gresham don't decide it's theirs! I just wanted something to show consistency in my portfolio. But would it be legal to sell prints if someone asked?

  • SVS Instructor Pro

    @LauraA You post an interesting question!
    First I think it's important to distinguish the definitions of "fan art". The distinctions got a bit muddled during the podcast conversation

    The question asked in the podcast was about "fan art". That is, artwork based on intellectual property owned by someone else (Batman, Captain Marvel, Star Wars, etc). In this case the fan-artist is looking at an image already created and then making a "new" image that looks substantially similar. In copyright law this is called a "derivative".

    Fundamentally all fan art of this kind is an infringement. To legally reproduce it requires permission from the current IP owner.

    As was mentioned in the podcast this fundamental infringement can (and often is) allowed/tolerated/sometimes encouraged by the IP owner for a variety of reasons that Jake covers in the podcast.

    Now there's what you created for Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe . . .
    What you made (while certainly artwork of a story of which you are a fan) is not "fan art"
    Here's why:
    The copyright to a text applies ONLY to the text and is owned by the author.
    The copyright to an image applies ONLY to the image and is owned by the illustrator.
    As you wrote:

    I have liked the Narnia series since I was a kid, long before the movies came out. When I did my own illustrations I went out of the way to read the text carefully and not take my imagery either from the movies or from Pauline Baynes's lovely original illustrations. Any apparent similarity is either from the text or from my study of 1940s evacuee clothing

    With this piece you've done exactly what every illustrator who has ever worked with an author has done for decades. The author can never claim ownership of the artist's visual interpretation of the written text.

    You mention the "film producers". The film producers of LW&W created and own only their version of the story (the script) and their versions of the characters (actors likenesses and costuming choices)
    Any similarities between your illustration and the movie interpretations CAN overlap but must be limited to the description in the original text. If your illustration looks significantly like the actor, or use a distinct costuming choice from the movie then you've crossed the line into infringing on the LW&W movie.

    In this post I'm talking just about copyright. One of the fun new wrinkles for IP is that of trademark. I did see the there's a "word mark" held by the C.S. Lewis (PTE.) Ltd. for "The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe". So if you were going to aggressively promote and sell the print I would suggest contacting an IP attorney

  • Nice piece @chrisaakins!

  • SVS OG

    @davidhohn Thanks for your detailed reply! I feel a little more relaxed knowing that I didn't do fan art in any strict sense. Maybe I was thinking about the fact that my Lucy has a green cardigan and a bobbed haircut combed over into a barrette on one side, like Lucy in the movie. And my Susan has longer hair like the Susan in the movie. But the green was because I didn't want any one of the children's clothing to stick out too much my compositions, and those hairstyles were just very common at that time. I don't think my faces resemble those of the actors very much.

    Now here's where the real irony kicks in. My husband is an IP attorney! But he is a patent attorney who now works more in international client relations, so like a typical attorney he doesn't want to give an opinion on my copyright questions 😆 .

  • Another great show!!

    Speaking of the "For All Mankind" show. I agree that it's a brilliant concept. However, I could use a little less of the soap opera and more of the sci-fi.

    As somebody living/working with a pseudonym, I completely agree with what was said on the podcast. Do what you like, but stick with it. Mine was easy because it's an alliterative version of my first and middle name, and a lot easier to remember than my last name.

  • @LauraA

    I looked up your Narnia illustration and it is amazing. I've read all of the books with my kids and we love Narnia! I love that you included a dog as they're such a fun part of that story. We would totally buy a print!

  • I can totally relate to the 0 to 1 hurdle. The hardest line that I make in any drawing, is the first.

  • Just had to add some comments on @Will-Terry 's anecdote sharing around the 37 minute mark. Man, those stories get to me — specially since I've known what it is to go through long, dry spells of work (and money), therefore you think not twice, but thrice about leaving a dull-but-profitable day job in favor of living the wild artist's dream you always wanted.

    What I have learned and experienced is that the fear of not getting enough time to flex your artistic chops gives way to the fear of not getting enough money to live in, which becomes a bug in your head that won't let go. How do artists manage to keep their spirits high when they don't know where or when their next pay will come from? Equally as Will says, having multiple sources of income is fundamental; savings, investment funds, any other skills you can sell besides illustration. I've come to a point where time is a more valuable asset than money for me so I'd happily consider stepping down to a part-time job position to test the waters, but these are a hard sell in the fields I've grown up professionally (IT and UX design).

  • SVS OG

    @Lisa-Clark Thank you, Lisa! I love the dogs in Narnia too--they are so doggy!

Log in to reply