Fan art occupies an interesting niché within the social networking village. “Fan art” refers to derivative work based on a publicly known outside property or media. The communities for different fandoms can be of any size – some of the most well-known fan art communities in community history have included household names such as Star Trek, Warrior Cats, and Harry Potter.
One of the connecting threads between all large fanart communities is that these communities tend to have a long history. These properties include characters and settings that people have fallen in love with over years, if not decades. When the work on those properties ends, fans are often left unsatisfied. They look for the answers to questions they’ve had for decades. For example, what does Hermione Granger really look like? What’s the day-to-day life on a starship like for the crew that we don’t see when watching an episode of Star Trek? What would the next generation of the Thunderclan look like?
Therefore, it would make sense that
when you make art for a large community, especially a community that
has a huge cultural footprint, more people will be actively looking
for content created for and by those communities. This leads to huge
networking opportunities for artists and creators – if you manage
to create unique and engaging content, you can start and continue
relationships with individuals who might have never had a chance to
see your work before.
How can I use this to increase engagement for my work as a whole?
If a fan of a certain community sees your work and enjoys your style, expect a follow. They’re going to want to see future updates on your work!
For expanding your reach beyond just the influencers in your followers list:
- Reach out to fandom communities! You can do so by using hashtags, following fandom trends, and by directly reaching out to community organizers in your fandom. For smaller communities, you can even reach out to the original creators of your work (a note of caution: some artists have different opinions regarding fanwork, some of which can be negative).
- Answer the questions you want to ask! Think about your favorite book, television show, or graphic novel. When you finished the media, what questions did you have that were left unanswered? Did you picture the main character of a novel in a different way than their television or film adaptation? Someone out there is guaranteed to have the same or similar questions to the ones that you asked, and you have the power to answer them.
- Ask the followers you have what they want to see! A poll often gets far more engagements than just a Twitter post alone. The next time you have the availability to make some promotional art, create a poll asking your followers what fandoms they’d like to see your take on.
As always, if you have any further questions or want to talk about strategies that worked for you, we want to hear about it in the comments!