Illustrators Please. Netflix and Chill.

Sean Loose

Sean Loose

Fan art. I don’t get it. Every day we are inundated with fan art, from professionals, from students, from amateurs, everyone needs to get their obsessions on paper or online. I am talking about fan art, not a commission to draw someone famous. Whether it’s a quick warmup sketch, a finely researched and detailed paean to a dead rock star, starlet of the moment or fictional character, tribute art is everywhere.

As near as I can figure it, people need to get their feelings, their sorrows and their joys out there for the world to see. I also think this phenomenon is interwoven with our very real need to show off and market ourselves at every opportunity. Our modern tools make this easy. In olden days, it would take time to lovingly sculpt a monument to Nelson, or have the royal family sit for a portrait. Even when you accomplished this, very few people had the opportunity to see your obsessions, unless the police discovered a thousand drawings of Jodie Foster on your basement wall. Is it simply that social media makes it too damn easy to show the world your shirtless Kylo Ren or to read your Ammon Bundy erotic fiction?

In the meantime, here are a few illustrators that have done some Netflix fan art. I’m not passing judgement here, I’m chillin’, these are all fine works from all over the world. Some of it may have been commissioned, but it took me seconds to call up thousands of examples of fan art. Like I said, it is everywhere. You are probably taking a break from your piece on The Thin White Duke right now.

Please, I want to start a conversation about this. I feel like I’m the only person that has an issue with this. Leave a comment, I truly want to hear your take. It’s probably just me, so I’ll just go and draw pictures of my favorite obsession…me.

Kyle Scott

Kyle Scott

Sarah Green

Sarah Green

Kefas Limas

Kefas Limas

Hugo Vinicius

Hugo Vinicius

Jay Lockwood

Jay Lockwood

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Categories: Opinion

Author:Mark Kaufman

Mark Kaufman is a partner at Vivitiv, an issue oriented design firm providing creative services for organizations involved in housing, technology issues, education, the environment, and the arts. His illustrations have appeared in The New York Times, The Progressive, National Lampoon, The Stranger, and The Oxford American. Mr. Kaufman writes and draws the comic strips American Affairs Desk and I Drew This Thing. Mark is Vice President Communications, ICON9 The Illustration Conference and is an editor at Illustration Age. Mark Kaufman's Illustration Site ///// Vivitiv Issue Oriented Design

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24 Comments on “Illustrators Please. Netflix and Chill.”

  1. Kristen
    February 12, 2016 at 4:36 pm #

    Personally, when I watch a movie or a tv show, or listen to music or read a book or consume anything that moves me, my first instinct as an artist is that I want to make something about it. I want to draw that character because I love them. It’s just inspiration! And we are lucky enough to have the tools to pay creative homage to these things. I agree that it’s an easy way to expose yourself to a fan base but damn, every time I see Dana Scully I end up wanting to draw her. :)

  2. February 12, 2016 at 5:41 pm #

    Hi Mark, I think you may be coming at the issue from a different vantage point. There are a lot of illustrators out there (including myself) who draw the fan art because they secretly would like to be drawing those subjects professionally for a living. Drawing movie stars or rock stars, there aren’t too many outlets for that. Movie posters for instance aren’t illustrated any more, as much as lot of people wish they could be doing what Drew Struzan was doing. So, it ends up on the web, as fan art.

  3. February 12, 2016 at 6:02 pm #

    As a fan girl, I get tired of the fan art sometimes but usually when I’m not apart of that Fandom. I love to see Doctor Who fan art because it reminds of the emotions I felt during the particular storyline they’re referencing. I love the Harry Potter fan art because it usually takes place way before our way after the books which is fun to imagine about.
    I don’t care so much for the Sherlock fan art because I haven’t watched it and I don’t know what they’re talking about. It makes me feel left out. Maybe that’s why fan art is so prevalent – it gives a sense of being a part of something despite actually being alone at home on the Internet in your pj’s.

  4. February 12, 2016 at 6:32 pm #

    I wonder how they get the time. Such elaborate pieces. Is this the new version of he “Unpublished” category? Or is it a way to turn a secret longing for the dream job into a cool promo? And some fan art is very topical, gets a lot of attention.

  5. Wade Wilson
    February 12, 2016 at 6:38 pm #

    Thay Kefas pic is truely hideous.

    • Wade Wilson
      February 12, 2016 at 6:38 pm #


  6. February 12, 2016 at 9:22 pm #

    Liked this post because I liked the fan art here.

  7. February 13, 2016 at 2:23 am #

    don’t like this it makes me think of America and their inhumane corrupt politics

  8. February 13, 2016 at 4:18 am #

    I agree with you, I’m not really into fan art. Nothing gets more annoying to me than seeing something over and over. Not just ads, articles, or Facebook posts but art as well. I think it reflects the obsessiveness in which Americans consume popular culture.

  9. February 13, 2016 at 7:54 am #

    A friend of mine asked me once why I never did Harry Potter fan art, since I’m an illustrator and I’m such a big fan. At the time, I didn’t know what to answer, so I went home and tried. The picture has been sitting unfinished in my computer for years. I guess, I just don’t see the point, and I used to look at fan art years ago. I liked from time to time seeing how other artists pictured characters from beloved novels, did they resemble what I had in my mind? But at some point I got so fed up, fandoms tend to put the things that you love in grotesque scenarios that were never ment to happen… now it makes me quite literally sick. Why? Well, I just can’t shake the feeling that all this drawings of Bowie shared on social networks are nothing but a homage to the illustrators themselves, expecting to get some recognition with the latest hastag in trend. At least, before instagram, facebook, etc you had to make an effort to find it, now we are force fed. Like you, even if no one cares, I just prefer drawing myself. In a way I think it’s way less egocentric. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  10. February 13, 2016 at 2:10 pm #

    I know someone who does indie band and other celebrity fanart, and tags the band/celebrity on instagram. She got a gig out of it. So that may be a driver.

  11. February 13, 2016 at 5:34 pm #


  12. allanlorde
    February 14, 2016 at 1:19 pm #

    What up, Mark?

    I love fan art. Especially GOOD fan art. Seeing someone’s intellectual property interpreted by another illustrator is something I’ll never tire of. I wanna see what they bring to the table. Will they bring forth a context in their image that not all of us are seeing or something that everyone knows is there but is never really shown in the show/comic/film/whatever? That’s what I wanna see. And when it’s done well, that gets me giddy. And props to anyone that gets a job out of that!

    Seeing a known property rendered in a different style? That’s always fun to me. It’s like they’re wearing different clothes and lookin’ pretty good.

    As of today, I’ve been on Tumblr for six years, so I’ve been deluged with it fan art, good and bad. I can’t wait to see what else is coming!

    Pet peeve, though: folks that sell their fan art. I know there have been some very thin grey areas in this regard and some companies will turn a blind eye if your work kicks ass, but I think (personally) it’s best to not sell that stuff as a general rule, just to stay out of that legal hot water.

  13. February 15, 2016 at 10:37 am #

    Hi all,

    Thank you very much for your takes on this not hot issue. Rather than respond to each and every one of you that took the time to give me their thoughts on fan slash tribute art, I’ll just comment here and over on the IA Facebook page.

    I tried hard in my original post to include professionals and not disparage what “amateur” or students do. I probably should have focused more on the professional aspect because that’s what I personally find odd. I am not, I repeat not, talking down to anyone on their work or craft or abilities. I specifically sought work that is of high quality to add to the post. That was easy to do because there is so much great work out there. I guess my main question was that it’s a great big world out there with which to show your passion, so why do so many of us do the same thing. I say us, because I too have drawn or created things that may be considered fan art.

    Some of you had some good thoughts and arguments that I haven’t thought of. The most cogent one for me was from Helen Cintra, “entertainment and culture we consume are a part of our baggage as people, why shouldn’t it be present in our expression?” – That makes sense to me. We are not as a culture sitting by Walden Pond contemplating and writing about nature. We are not as artists painting a still life of fruit because that is the one luxurious thing we have in our home or trudging out to the Hudson River to paint sunsets because that is a form of entertainment. We consume media 24/7, and at this juncture, comics and sci-fi and musicians and game characters are the most prevalent expressions of our culture.

    The most common take was something along the lines of hey dummy, “it’s just fun dude”. Sure, I get that. It’s fun to create something. Something that you’re interested in, something that gets you excited. Still, fun isn’t everything, and a few of you seem to agree with me that the positive responses we get from tribute art is part of the calculation of doing it in the first place, over and above the fun factor. And the possibility that work can come from that recognition is a powerful incentive to do it.

    The most straightforward response was hey jerk, “no need to over analyze everything”, If my over analyzation elicits smart and passionate responses and makes me rethink my position on an issue, that’s OK with me. Thanks all!

  14. Janlle
    February 18, 2016 at 10:05 am #

    Is it any different than the hundreds of years worth of Biblical art? Or any art based on myths or legends or novels before the age of television? As someone who occasionally indulges in creating fan art myself I can’t say what it is exactly that drives me to do it other than the fact that there is something about the characters or story that I find inspiring or compelling.

  15. Daniel
    February 18, 2016 at 2:47 pm #

    I think most artists, especially professionals, exhaust themselves always trying to create “original content.” Fan art is a way of experiencing and remembering why most of us became artists to begin with. We find a commonality in our shared experience of story and want to be a part of it in an intimate way. What could be more intimate than rendering something loved and shared by many? Remember fun? Yeah, the days when you would draw GI Joe and Superman just because you loved it so much and so did all your friends? Fun man – that’s what it’s all about. Fuk the system. *Drops mic and walks*

  16. Light &Reckless
    February 18, 2016 at 2:55 pm #

    Is Fan Art just Pop Art with a less respectful name?

  17. February 18, 2016 at 3:29 pm #

    Pick that mic up…

    Seriously, I am glad that the conversation keeps going. I think that Daniel inadvertently hit on what may have been nagging at me about this subject. Original Content. I can only surmise that while we are all having fun, reliving our childhoods, letting off steam, worshipping at the altar of the Marvel Universe or recreating one of Walter White’s exploits, there are thousands of new characters that will never see the light of day, new stories or adventures that are left undone. Mythologies that lay fallow because it’s exhausting. It should be exhausting, it should be hard work and it can and should be fun. What are we creating for the next generation to be inspired by?

    Now, before you tell me that there are new forms of entertainment and characters coming out each and every day, I know. I know, I will grant you that. There are loads of things happening, wondrous worlds and heroes and myths coming out of laptops and pens and tablets all the time. But where is yours? Why aren’t I inundated with that work? Why do I only see odes to the work of Lucas or Gaga or Rowling? Are the only things that are inspirational have to come from Hollywood or Silicon Valley? I want to see you do something insanely great. I want people of the future to see the work of this time and say that were were living in a Renaissance of art and ideas and invention. And I want them to say shit, that looked like a fun time to be alive!

    Do it for the children.

    Carefully places the mic back in the stand, turns and trips over the wire.

    • Janlle
      February 18, 2016 at 3:46 pm #

      “But where is yours? Why aren’t I inundated with that work? Why do I only see odes to the work of Lucas or Gaga or Rowling?”
      Because that’s what’s popular and recognizable, and so it receives much more attention and gets spread about the internet more. I can guarantee you there are many, many people out there making their own stories and characters but until they reach the level of fame that Rowling’s characters do (and begin having fan art made of them) it’ll be much harder to find. And frankly, most people don’t know shit about art and are only interested in the things they recognize through popular media.

      • February 18, 2016 at 4:01 pm #

        Good points Janile. What you’re saying is that it’s a societal/cultural issue, and not simply an issue of the creators. Give the people what they want is as old as cave art. I want to know what’s going to kill me like a mastodon, I don’t want your critique of fire. :)

  18. February 26, 2016 at 2:17 pm #

    With respect, “Netflix and Chill” does not actually mean watch netflix movies and relax.

  19. Stacie A
    April 1, 2016 at 1:24 pm #

    I totally get your point. I often stare puzzled as to why people spend a lot of time on fan art. It’s not that I don’t like it, I just don’t get it. I guess it comes down to this, whatever floats your boat or to each’ s own.

  20. October 29, 2016 at 7:14 pm #

    It’s hard coming up with your own original content all the time. Sometimes you just want to practice drawing and use something available as a subject.

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