Fan Art Project Summary

As you may know, for my personal project last month, I chose to create fan art. I'd define fan art as any work that is derived from another piece of art that you did not create yourself, such as a book, film, or song. Usually, it is done for fun, as a show of admiration for the source material. Sometimes it can get a bad rap due to issues of plagiarism and unoriginality—but I love it.

For my project, I ended up doing a lot of animation-inspired pieces. I guess that's what happens when you have two young ones. I was pleased with how my pieces progressed as the month went by. I felt my later ones were more developed and had more of my own style. I even started a mini project making Disney princess–inspired surface patterns (which I am still working on). I also collaborated with my sister, Dani Jones, on one of them (The Greatest Showman).

Here's a look at all the fan art I created in March:

So why create fan art? I believe it has some real benefits when done right. In my opinion, here are some tips for creating great fan art:

  • First off, do not claim ownership of the original work upon which your art is based, and give credit when necessary. ALWAYS respect other artists.
  • Use it as an exercise to hone your skills, such as drawing, painting, composition, typography, portraiture, etc.
  • Go beyond copying. Bring your own style and flair into your piece. Make it your own.
  • And always, have FUN.

That last point, for me, is the best part of fan art. Even though I love what I do and occasionally even get paid to draw things, work is still work sometimes. Doing things for your own enjoyment is important to keep you going. No artist works in a bubble—at least, I certainly don't. I am always finding inspiration in what others are doing. Let great art get YOU excited to create more great art!

Sincerely, Nicole



All Business, But Having Fun

All Business, But Having Fun

Welcome to March, everyone. This is always an exciting month, because SPRING. For me, January and February get to be so gray and depressing with all the cold and wintery days. Going from February to March, however, brings promise of warmer weather, snow melting, and birds chirping—even though you might just be facing another month of winter, especially if you live in a place like my hometown in New England where snowstorms are still not uncommon in March. But still, it's almost over, and that makes me happy.

I was pleased with the results of my floral pattern project that I worked on last month. It really got me focusing on creating art, learning new things, honing my skills, and building my portfolio. In the past, those opportunities often got lost in the daily grind of my then office job, and now freelance client work (not to mention my two little ones who are so good at distracting me). By having an assignment, even though self-imposed, I found that I was more apt to set aside time to create something for myself almost every day, even when I was swamped with other things to do. And I didn't just use that time to work on the floral patterns. I sketched more, learned from online tutorials, read articles, and browsed Instagram and Pinterest for inspiration. It was like a part of my brain was always thinking about what I wanted to make, do, and learn next, and I want to keep that momentum going.

Now, with a new month comes a new theme and project. Last month was about color and florals. March will be something completely different. I've decided that this month's theme will be...


Did you cringe? Eyes glaze over? Feel the urge to go back to Pinterest? If you didn't, you're a rare breed of artist. Approximately 99%* of creatives have a hard time with handling business matters (that's why we're artists). I certainly do. That being said, I'm not going to write extensive articles on how to keep track of your taxes or write contracts, because TBH, I'm still figuring all that out myself. This month will be more of a reflection of my freelancing experience so far, with a few common sense tips thrown in.

*Not a real statistic, but probably accurate.

My monthly project is way more exciting, though. I thought it would fun to change things up and do something I don't normally do—FAN ART. There are several reasons I chose this as my project:

  • I am a huge nerd at heart, and I love to look at pieces of fan art that other artists have done.
  • It would be a cool challenge to figure out how I would create fan art in my own style.
  • I'd love to incorporate my love of pattern design and hand lettering.
  • I can give some attention to other areas I don't often venture into, such as drawing characters or scenes.

So, something way different than the usual flowers, though I'll probably find a way to work those in anyway, haha.

To give you a taste of what's to come, here's a little preview. I saw The Black Panther on opening weekend and absolutely loved it! There is so much great design work in it, too.


I'm not exactly sure what the final outcome of this project will be, maybe a poster of some sort. I'll just start out with sketches like I did last month and see where it goes. If you'd like to follow along, or share your own, use the hashtag #sturkartchallenge2018 on Instagram (@nicolejonessturk).

Sincerely, Nicole