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Updated: October 13, 2023

Fan art or fanart are artworks created by fans of a work of fiction ( generally visual media such as comics, movies, television shows or video games ) and derived from a character or other aspect of that work. As fan labor, fan art refers to artworks that are neither created nor ( normally ) commissioned or endorsed by the creators of the work from which the fan art derives.

A different, older meaning of the term is used in science fiction fandom, where fan art traditionally describes original ( rather than derivative ) artwork related to science fiction or fantasy, created by fan artists, and appearing in low- or non-paying publications such as semiprozines or fanziness, and in the art shows of science fiction conventions. The Hugo Award for Best Fan Artist has been given each year since 1967 for artists who create such works. Like the term fan fiction ( although to a lesser extent ), this traditional meaning is now sometimes confused with the more recent usage described above.

Fan art can take many forms. In addition to traditional paintings and drawings, fan artists may also create web banners, avatars, or web-based animations, as well as photo collages, posters, and artistic representations of quotes from a work.

The broad availability of digital image processing and the Internet has greatly increased the scope and potential reach of fan art. U.S. TV producer Bryan Konietzko wrote in 2013:

"I remember back in the Avatar days 2005 2008 the typical fanart we would get would be a charming, childish crayon drawing stuffed in an envelope. Nowadays on Korra, I take a skewed screenshot with my phone, post it, and shortly thereafter someone un-skews it, crops it, separates the character levels, clones the background, Ken Burns it with a multilevel slide, animates the characters blinking and talking, tints it, and makes a GIF out of it, that I then see on the same phone with which I took the original picture. Times they are a-changing."

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