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Coru's Void Blog

My dilemma: Should I sell fan art? (Plus Bo)

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So the title explains itself really.
I'm currently planning out my reopening of my Etsy shop and me selling my illustrations and I'm a bit lost to the direction I want to go. I'm definitely wanting to do original works. I've got an aspiration to have my own comic book series and I have the characters, story and everything planned for it, I just need to set things in motion for it but first I want to kick off my illustration selling business first.

I am definitely sure about me needing to improve drastically before I begin with my comic book aspirations. I know I am not up to scratch with the level of skill needed to make your own comic books and as I want it to be in the style of traditional manga books (as in the black and white illustrations with colour cover, not art style) and that means quite a lot of pages per volume and multiple volumes. I'd just love to have my own set of books I could sell one day and perhaps even end up having them sell in shops (but that's a very bit step away from the ambition as that's assuming I am successful and popular haha)

I am probably going to start slow with my shop reopening, starting with smaller things, such as stickers etc. Things that can help me get better with my drawing and style and then progress into prints and other stuff so maybe in a year I will be in the position to start drawing and creating my book. The irony is, I have this book idea crystal clear. When ready I would set up a kickstarter scheme with rewards such as a paperback book with every backing and tiers that include prints, stickers and badges and even an idea about a limited edition hardback cover of my comics where the whole comic will be in colour. A kickstarter for the first book would work so I can get an idea of the popularity and get the money behind me to do it and then every volume after that there will be a preorder scheme I would create that would include freebies too, along with a limited edition hardback for the guys who want it. Only issue is I am unsure how to kick off my popularity to get to that stage. That's when you guys come in.

I'm not too sure with what to do. I'm mostly going to focus on fantasy stuff I think. So that's quite simple with the original content. I can throw in one or two original characters that I intend to add to my comic too as a way to build up a fanbase before I do it too. However, the momentum will be much slower as people will need to get to love my style before they buy. A second avenue I could try at the same time is to also sell fanart. This way, I get more interest and whilst they are buying fanart they will end up liking my style and more likely buy my original stuff. However, the fanart copyright legality thing is making me really hesitant. So many others do it and if I can pull this all off, I will eventually be selling at conventions if I can and will sell fanart there as it's a staple and everyone does it (not sure how it works but I think the company might have a license so the trading is legal there? So many people sell fan art at conventions and it's never stopped or the convention company is never sanctioned for it)

My question is, what do you guys think about selling fan art? Should I also sell fan art along with my original work? Do you think it would be legal or worth the risk? If not, any ideas to help increase my popularity and likelyhood of getting sales? I'm just really eager to set my shop back up but really lost on what and how to do it. You guys are the sort of target audience I want so any ideas would be amazing!

Now here for the section most of you have probably come for. Some obligatory Bo pics. Along with 2 videos. I'm spoiling you guys today! haha.
He recently shed and he's become super calm and friendly now so I've got to get to know his personality now and he's a total sweetheart. My 5 year old niece absolutely adores him, and she's terrified of almost all animals, including dogs and cats.
Some of these you can really see his rainbow so have a nice treat on me and get to know Bo a bit more haha.

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Comments

  1. The Foogle's Avatar
    well your plan certainly seems well laid-out but do you have the ambition to back it up...?

    but it depends on fan art because some series might have copyright issues BUT it might be ok because there's a hilarious comic strip series on the internet about the first 3 1/2 Sonic games called Not Enough Rings that finished a few years ago and THEY sell their strips so it really is a toss

    but maybe you should have a go it might end up working out :D
  2. roo's Avatar
    honestly i say go for it and try to sell fanart! i see people selling fanart on etsy, storenvy, etc (just be wary around redbubble usually they wont let you. i've tried. i've gotten away with like one pokemon thing but i ultimately took it down b/c pokemon made it very clear that they don't want fanart sold on there even tho its super abundant there) and i've bought fanart items from those stores.

    i think you're right in conventions being a special case? otherwise there would be a whole lotta legal trouble.

    also i love bo!! look at that noodley friend!!
  3. Coru's Avatar
    @The Foogle I've had this aspiration for years and have slowly developed my story and characters for it for the last 7-10 years so I definitely could do the comic book, it's just a matter of me getting my art skills a bit more polished first. The ambition is definitely there, it's just a bit clouded with apprehension. It's just getting the momentum to start the interest first, and that's what I'm a bit stuck with because I started my Etsy last year and got nothing from selling only originals but I'm part of an Etsy community on Facebook that actively discourages the sale fanart and basically shames and berates anyone that does it calling it a cop out, cheating and not creative, which I strongly disagree with. I am slowly leaning towards selling fanart more though, because that would sell better and I would then get more traffic to my original stuff, eventually meaning I might not need to sell fanart anymore, just my originals. @roo Yeah, I see so much fanart on Etsy so surely it's fine? I'm just a bit wary because I've heard that some people get found out and have their whole shop shut down. I was going to do Pokemon stuff but I'll have to see if it's worth the risk. There are a few franchises I would happily do fanart for though, such as FNAF, Nintendo in general, TV shows/films such as Harry Potter, Doctor Who etc. I could also do some general stuff that I shouldn't get into trouble for too, such as generic gaming stickers (gaming remotes, PCs CD roms etc.) and such. Might compile a list of stuff and see and then consider bringing my Etsy back with them maybe having the ratio at the moment 2:1 for fanart and then slowly going 2:1 for originals and then eventually just selling originals maybe and leaving fanart exclusive to conventions if I get that far just so I'm safe.

    Bo is such a cutie isn't he! I'm a bit of a hypochondriac though so I overreact to everything and lately his belly has been a bit pink in areas so naturally i'm stressed about that but he is happy and eating so he should be fine. Maybe a general vet checkup is in order though. I fed him on Friday and recorded it if anyone is interested in watching it? It's quite long because he was being a bit slow with it haha.
  4. The Foogle's Avatar
    0-0 ambition recieved

    naturally you'd be nervous but why Etsy if they harass you for making fanart? try another site

    haven't seen Bo yet so i have no clue what or who the hell he is but from what i can gather, he's a snake or reptile of some kind :D

    OOH then i'd be DYING to see fanart of stuff just to see how good you are cuz i really have no idea how it looks sorry :/
  5. Coru's Avatar
    @The Foogle They aren't officially connected to Etsy but the group seem a bit iffy. They have given me a bit of help since I've been on there but they seem a bit harsh and unfair when it comes to some things and they seem to harass others, so I'm probably gonna leave the group. Don't fancy that sort of atmosphere haha. I was thinking of designing my own website and selling on there, which I could easily do with my Graphic Design training, but it would be harder to get traffic to the site and get sales so it's weighing up options I guess.

    There are some pictures and videos of him in the spoiler at the bottom of the blog post. Feel free to check them out haha.
    I've not done much art for a while as I'd been focussing on graduating but now that's done I'm gonna be doing more, so will be updating my art thread. Here's the thread if you want to see some of my older art though.
    http://www.pokemoncrossroads.com/for...id-Art-Gallery
    Here's my Etsy shop Instagram too if you're curious of the stuff I was trying to sell before.
    https://www.instagram.com/quinny_illustrations/

    I'm gonna try and refine my style over the next few months. I've got my basic style and I've got the colouring/shading nailed, just need to fix proportions and stuff then I'm good to go.