Monday, June 3, 2013

Fan Flattery

They say that imitation is the highest form of flattery.
When creative people love things, their imitation can take many different forms. Costume makers dress up as their favorite characters. Artists draw their favorite characters. Writers write new scenes and situations about their favorite characters.
A character from Avatar,
by the amazing
Evil Twins Cosplay
The form of flattery that costume makers engage in is called cosplay. Literally “costume play.” When you put tons of hours into perfecting a costume: sewing, wig making, makeup work, you don’t just sit on your couch at home. You have to go to a fan convention and be appreciated. The closest I have ever come to cosplaying is putting on a pair of kitty ears, so I have an immense admiration for the hard work that goes into getting a costume right down to the last detail.
Cowboy Bebop fan art by deviantart user Shilesque
for sale at the deviantart shop!
Drawing fan art is how an artist shows their love for their favorite characters. I have never had a gift for beautifying the world with paints or crayons, but I can appreciate gorgeous fan art when I see it.
Fan fiction is something I have first hand experience with. I like to talk with other fans about our favorite shows or books, and think about “what would happen if...” And after I’m finished writing, I almost always have something that other fans will love and be amused by.
None of these forms of flattery usually make any money for those who put effort into them. Cosplayers occasionally get hired to work as professional makeup or costume artists, those who draw fan art get commissioned to create more beautiful things, and once in a very great while, those who write fan fiction get book deals.
It’s okay to be a fan. It’s okay to use your creative talents to pay homage to your favorite things. After all, they do say that imitation is the highest form of flattery.

1 comment:

  1. And thank the Elders of the Internet that we can all share our fandom and feel less alone.

    Amazon just announced they're starting a program for fan fiction writers. They're trying to find the next EL James, I guess. They've gotten the rights to a few "worlds" (The Vampire Diaries and a few others) and royalties will be split between the writer and the world owners. Which is cool, but considering the varying quality of fan fiction, I'm not sure how I feel about being asked to pay for it. I'm hoping that Amazon won't just be using this as a self publishing platform and will curate the work, but I'm not counting on it.