I want to talk a little bit more about the ‘concept’ of fanart, since I realize that some of my readers may not have been exposed to it that much. To me, the point of fanart is using images from a television or movie to create a new picture, some kind of original vision, and convey that thought to other people who are already familiar with your fandom.
There are lots of different kinds of fanart, and I’ve only tried a few. Some people do original paintings or sketches, and some can do very elaborate manipulations using programs like photoshop and superimposing images that originally didn’t have anything to do with each other into a coherent image. I’m hoping to help with a manipulation fanart sometime soon, but I’ve been finding that even my part, finding the right pieces to put together, is much harder than I expected. Mostly, as I’ve explained, I just work with fairly simple techniques – DVD captures or promotional images, simple cut and paste graphic software, and so on.
And fanart can have lots of different messages that it’s trying to convey. There are some that are very simply calling back to a moment from the original canon, like my Simon/Kaylee wallpaper, or a few that I’ll be sharing later in the series. Some are meant to raise awareness for a particular site or event within the fandom community, a bit like virtual advertising flyers, like the signature banners from two weeks ago.
And then, there are fanfic cover banners, which are a bit like movie posters for somebody’s original fanfiction story. These are possibly my favorite, since I’ve been a very prolific fanfic author in my day, and it’s a great feeling to be able to show somebody a picture that kind of sums up thousands of the words that you’ve put down.
So, without further rambling, here’s a few banners that I made in the early summer of 2010 for two of my Firefly stories. First, “Passing through the storm:”
There’s a lot that this banner conveys to a firefly fan. First, it shows the ensemble of main characters in the story, and how they mainly relate to each other – River off by herself, Kaylee with Simon, Jayne with Zoe, Mal with Inara. To many fans, that roster will also suggest the timeframe of the story, particularly because the missing characters match with some who are no longer around after the movie ‘Serenity’. Also, most or all of the pictures are taken from the movie, not from the TV episodes.
And then there’s the tagline, which is hopefully somewhat evocative and intriguing.
Next, here’s the banner that I made for “The Bellerophon Baty engine heist.” (And yes, that title has a shout-out to Chris Baty, the founding guru of National Novel Writing month – I started this fanfic halfway through Nanowrimo 2008 – after finishing an original 50k book first.)
So, again, we have pairings shown in the pictures that I selected – two different shots each for Simon/Kaylee and Mal/Inara, to reflect that it was a story that focused more intently on those couples than the rest of the ensemble, especially Simon and Kaylee, who have the largest picture to themselves. The pictures are taken from later episodes during the Firefly television series, to help place the story into the timeline correctly.
And then there’s the text, which is a bit longer than a tagline here, laying out some of the premise, that they’re pretending to be a husband and wife in order to steal something. The final question, ‘what could go wrong with this plan?’ is answered several different ways in the story, but I did want to use the combination with the pictures to suggest that unresolved romantic tension could be one of the answers.
Thanks for reading, and I hope that this explains a bit more about why I do love to make banners.
PS: I’m hard at work getting ready for the book review series! Not much time left until I have to post my thoughts on chapter 1…
This is helpful, thanks Chris.
I did push the followers button, and I got an e-mail alert for this post. It works fine.
I wrote a long reply to your response on blogisode 6, and its still sitting in a word document. Wasn’t sure I should post something that long in a comment, but I couldn’t find your e-mail.
Anyway, thanks for the explanation of the serial concept. I’m looking forward to more episodes, and to the new series.