This might be more common for fantasy, science-fiction, and other action-based genres. I have yet to hear about this being done for a romance book. Anyway, if there’s something special about someone taking time to use their words to thank you then you can imagine what it’s like to get a picture of a character. I’m not saying one is better than the other because both show that you touched the reader enough that they are taking time out of their lives to give you something.
Fan Art shows that you put a picture of the character in the reader’s head. It’s strong enough that they want to put it on paper and show you. I’ve received a few pieces and one artist has been drawing a lot of my characters. (More of those to come at some point.) I really enjoy seeing what people visualize with my characters because I know it will always have something different. The author has this perfect vision with nuances that don’t translate into the book. The same goes for readers who translate descriptions differently no matter how detailed. Until a definite visual is put up by way of TV, movie, or graphic novel, there will always be variations.
Best example would be Fizzle:
This is a great picture and mostly how I imagined him. When I first posted this picture, some people were confused. I heard some say they thought he was green and others expected him to be rather chubby. Others expected leather wings, no wings, bigger, smaller, and the list just keeps going. I’m guessing the more popular a character, the more variation and discussion happens. I still love this picture and that’s really the main part of Fan Art to me. At least that which is sent to the author because then it’s kind of a special thank you. I know a lot of people draw established characters for various reasons, which makes it hard to pick stuff for blog posts. Any artists want to explain the ownership/copyright thing when drawing a character that isn’t their own? Are there rules about that because I’ve seen a few fights over this? This suddenly went very legal.
One funny thing here is that you see various levels of skill and confidence. I don’t think skill should really be considered here. A crude sketch is just as smile-inducing as an expert water color. You have to look at what is behind the picture since the reader could have spent the time doing anything else. They chose to draw one of your characters and put themselves in the role of art presenter. Personally, I find a level of bravery in there because it’s sending a present to a stranger.
So, has anyone ever received Fan Art in regards to their book or sent it to an author?