Today’s Art (13th December 2018)

Woo hoo! I’m feeling inspired again! This digitally-edited painting is based on a sudden rush of memories that flashed through my mind whilst writing this article.

Basically, after spending 1-3 years not reading that much, I got back into reading regularly again and suddenly I remembered how books had been an omnipresent part of my life for so long. That, for almost every book, I could remember when and where I read it. That they were the constant background of my teenage years and early-mid twenties. The emotions this provoked are difficult to describe, but it was like suddenly knowing myself again.

I’m just annoyed that I couldn’t fit anywhere near the amount of books, authors etc.. into this painting as I probably should, let alone the fact that working out a way to represent the memories and emotions this moment stirred in me was next to impossible. Still, this resulted in an inspired fan art painting and it turned out a lot better than I’d expected. Enjoy 🙂

Since this is fan art, this painting is NOT released under any kind of Creative Commons licence.

“Fan Art – Memories Of Books” By C. A. Brown


Today’s Art (6th December 2018)

Well, it’s been a while since I last made any fan art. And, although I’m not normally that interested in celebrity culture, I was in a bit of a “90s nostalgia” kind of mood (well, more than usual), so I thought that I’d make a painting of some of my favourite stars of the 1990s. And, yes, I probably haven’t got the likenesses even vaguely right.

Since this is fan art, this painting is NOT released under any kind of Creative Commons licence.

“Fan Art – Stars Of The 1990s” By C. A. Brown

What Tribute Bands Can Teach Us About Fan Art- A Ramble

Although this is a long and rambling article about being a visual artist, I’m going to have to start by talking about music. As usual, there’s a good reason for this that I hope becomes obvious later.

A few days before I prepared this article, I happened to watch a gameshow on TV (called “Even Better Than The Real Thing”) where several pop/rock music tribute bands competed to see who was the best. The program was a truly surreal affair, since the studio audience consisted of other tribute bands/celebrity lookalikes. Yet, it was absolutely fascinating to watch.

Although the few tribute bands I’ve actually seen perform live have been fairly faithful recreations of the bands they’re based on, one intriguing thing I’ve seen on the internet are tribute bands that put a slightly different twist on the traditional idea of a tribute band.

These are bands who play covers of songs by many different bands in the same genre, bands who use a different musical style to the band they’re paying tribute etc..

But, why have I been talking about tribute bands? Simply put, because they offers some interesting lessons about making fan art.

One of the things that always puzzles me are artists who only ever seem to make fan art. Although I’ve already written about this topic, I felt like returning to it again. Because, although I originally used “tribute acts” as a disparaging metaphor for the lack of originality these artists displayed, thinking about the subject of tribute bands more deeply made me reconsider what they can teach us as artists.

One of the central appeals of tribute bands is that they make big-name bands more accessible. For example, during my mid-late teens, I saw Iron Maiden perform live in London and I also saw a couple of concerts by an Iron Maiden tribute band (Hi-On Maiden). The two experiences couldn’t have been more different.

When I saw Iron Maiden live, I was sitting near the back of a large theatre. The music was, as you would expect, amazing and I consider it to be one of the coolest moments of my life. There were also a few amusing moments during the concert, such as when the lead singer of the support band (Trivium) ranted at the audience for throwing bottles onto the stage, or the ten-minute power cut during Maiden’s set when one of the pieces of sound equipment caught fire and had to be replaced. During this, there were synchronised waves, things thrown in the air, songs sung by the audience and other such tomfoolery. Seriously, it’s a testament to the band that they can still hold the audience’s attention even when their microphones and instruments aren’t working properly.

But it was a somewhat different experience to the visceral thrill of being near the front of the crowd in a small venue, being almost deafened by the speakers and singing along until my throat was hoarse. Seeing the tribute band was like what I imagine seeing the original band during their early days must have been like. The tribute musicians on the stage weren’t famous, so the focus was almost entirely on the music they were playing. They were fans of it, just like we in the audience were.

And, maybe fan art is kind of a bit like this. Because the artists who just make fan art are maybe internet-famous at the most, the emphasis is more on the art itself. They aren’t going to end up in galleries or anything like that. And their art is meant for a general internet audience. So, although it may lack the vision and originality that an artist who comes up with their own ideas will have, it is at least more of a “ground level” thing than the things it is based on are.

But, a more interesting type of fan art (both to make and to look at) is – like the inventive tribute bands I mentioned earlier – the type of fan art that tries to do something a bit different. Whether it is using a different art style, different art materials or making some kind of parody or pastiche, this is a much more creative and interesting type of fan art. Here are some examples of my own attempts at this style of fan art:

“Fan Art – Blade Runner – But, Then Again, Who Does?” By C. A. Brown

“Alchemist (After Joseph Wright Of Derby)” By C. A. Brown

“After Oskar Zwintscher” By C. A. Brown

So, if you’re going to make fan art, then try to put an original twist on it. Use a different style, use a different palette, be a little irreverent or challenge yourself to use different materials to the original artist.

But, finally, it’s also worth noting that – like all musicians – all artists are tribute artists. Every artist has their inspirations, the artists who have made them want to make art or who have influenced their art in some way or another.

This is, by far, the best type of “fan art” – totally original art that has been inspired or influenced by another artist, but is also it’s own thing too.

It is art where the artist has asked themselves why their inspirations fascinate them so much (eg: the lighting, the composition, the colour palette etc..) and then used these answers to create art that doesn’t directly copy any part of their inspiration.

Although this type of “fan art” is more difficult to make, it is by far the best! Not only is it actually original art (that you can proudly call your own), but it also forces you to use your imagination more. It forces you to work out exactly why you love the things you do and then to use these elements in an original way that appeals to you.

Plus, the awesome experience of making something genuinely original that is inspired by something else will make you want to look for other things to take inspiration from – which will make your art even more unique and distinctive.

So, yes, if you’re going to make “fan art”, then be creative about it.


Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂

Today’s Art (12th October 2018)

Although heavy metal is one of my favourite genres of music, I don’t own a battle vest (T-shirts are more my thing). But, I was reminded of these awesome things in a few online articles I happened to read. So, I thought that it might be fun to imagine what my ideal battle vest would look like.

I vaguely thought about making a stylised original picture featuring fake album covers, but then I remembered all the fuss about when a fashion company tried this. So, instead, I thought that I’d turn it into a fan art picture about some of my favourite metal bands and/or albums (and, yes “Virtual XI” is criminally underrated!).

Since this is fan art, this picture is NOT released under any kind of Creative Commons licence.

“Fan Art – If I Had A Battle Vest” By C. A. Brown

Today’s Art (25th September 2018)

Well, although I hadn’t planned to make any fan art for today, a combination of tiredness and the fact that I’ve been replaying “Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines” (as a Tremere again too! I still can’t believe I didn’t realise that you could actually live in the Chantry on my first playthrough!) meant that I had the sudden idea to make a completely and utterly silly parody/fan art cartoon based on this amazing game 🙂 And, yes, the cartoon probably won’t make sense if you haven’t played the game.

And if you’re puzzled about the dialogue between Jeanette Voerman and Maximillian Strauss, it might have just been me (or my computer monitor), but Strauss looks slightly blue in the game’s intro movie. And, yes, the glowing purple thing on top of the Tremere Chantry reminded me a little bit of the “Eye Of Mordor” (?) from the “Lord Of The Rings” films too.

Likewise, if you’re puzzled by the dialogue between La Croix and Nines, “Boney” was a popular sarcastic nickname for Napoleon Bonaparte during the Napoleonic Wars… and well, this just seemed inherently funny.

Since this is a parody/ fan art, this cartoon is NOT released under any kind of Creative Commons licence.

[CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE] “Fan Art – Vampire The Masquerade Bloodlines – Silliness” By C. A. Brown

Today’s Art ( 30th August 2018)

Well, today’s art is a monochrome piece of “Blade Runner” fan art. If you’re interested in the reasons why I made this piece of fan art (and the creative decisions I took whilst making it), then check out this article of mine.

Since this is fan art, this drawing is NOT released under any kind of Creative Commons licence.

“Fan Art – Blade Runner – But, Then Again, Who Does?” By C. A. Brown

Fan Art And Self-Expression – A Ramble

Well, I thought that I’d talk about how fan art can be a valid form of self-experession today. This was because of an experience I had with making fan art shortly before I originally prepared the first draft of this article (several months ago). But, I should also point out that this article contains some SPOILERS for “Blade Runner” and the original “Ghost In The Shell” film too.

Although it is all resolved now, I’d been having something of a stressful evening on the day that I originally prepared this article. In short, what I’d thought was an annoying long-running problem with my computer (which kept slowly getting worse) turned out, upon closer inspection, to be a much more serious problem. The capacitors on the motherboard had begun to degrade.

Even though I’d been preparing a backup computer, the idea of my main computer slowly dying was deeply disturbing. This was a computer that has been by my side for over a decade. It was the best birthday present I’ve ever had. Even after all this time, using it still felt futuristic when compared to the Windows 98 machine I’d previously used. It had been there during some of the best and some of the worst times of my life. It was what this blog was started on and what my art was scanned and edited on too. It has, to me at least, become more than just a mere machine. It was more like a cherished treasure or a beloved pet.

Still, the computer worked intermittently. So, I wasn’t going to desert it. Even though I was setting up a second backup system (eg: another classic mid-2000s computer 🙂), I thought that I would stick with my main computer for as long as I could. Or at least until I could find a way to put the hard drive into another computer or something [EDIT: This is exactly what happened the next day. It’s now inside a computer from 2004 with a faster processor, but less RAM and VRAM, than my old machine from 2006]

Although the original “Ghost In The Shell” movie would probably be a better parallel, a scene from “Blade Runner” slipped into my mind during all of this. It was the scene near the end of the film where, with Gaff’s words about limited lifespans echoing in the background, Deckard and Rachel get into a lift and decide to spend the rest of their days together. The scene suddenly took on a new poignance to me.

So, that evening, I decided to draw it. Here’s a preview of the finished drawing:

This is a reduced-size preview. The full-size picture will be posted here on the 30th August.

Although it was intially just a quick and easy way to distract myself from all of the stress about the computer, the drawing ended up being a lot more expressive and creative than I had expected.

Firstly, this was because I decided to make a monochrome drawing rather than an “accurate” full-colour painting. Initially, this was both for time reasons and to minimise the amount of editing time after I scanned the painting (in case my computer failed whilst editing). But, it lent the picture a hauntingly stark quality that seemed to reflect the mood I was in very well. Not only that, not having to worry about colours meant that I could focus more on detail and shading, which seriously improved the picture.

Secondly, the scene in the picture doesn’t technically appear in the film (or at least the DVD of the 1992 Director’s Cut that I used as a reference). Yes, Deckard and Rachel get into the lift – but, despite what I had thought, there isn’t actually a shot of them standing next to each other.

So, of course, I had to pause the DVD at various different moments during the scene and come up with a composite picture that isn’t actually in the film. Originally, this was just out of necessity (since I had a clear idea of what my drawing would look like). But, it’s also an example of how fan art can actually include creativity.

So, in conclusion, fan art can also include self-expression and creativty too. Yes, original art gives you more creative freedom – but you can still be fairly creative with fan art too.


Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂