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From the Moderators
By Brie Alsbury

Confusing fan art

Elfwood defines fan art as any canon character (those characters who are a part of a official story line, like Spike Speigel of Cowboy Bebop) or original character that exists in a sci-fi or fantasy visual media universe (the world the story is set in like Gotham City). This might sound a little confusing so let's break it down into simpler terms.

Vash from Trigun? It's from a visual media. He's a main character. That's easy, it's fan art.

Darth K'fru your Star Wars RPG character? Little bit tougher, but still fairly easy, Star Wars is a visual media so, again, belongs in the Fan Quarter.

Lt. Jax Ames a complete original character who is the star of your Stargate fan fiction, which doesn't have any of the canon characters in it at all, but set in the same world? Might cause a few moments of confusion but again, fairly simple. Your story is set in a world associated with a visual media so it too is fan art.

Now for a real tough one…Peasblossom Proudfoot, the hobbit that you roleplay? There are two wildly successful films with a third on the way, but there were books before the movies…What do you do??

You'd be surprised how many people are confused about who goes where when it comes to books that were later movies and vice versa.

The very first thing you need to remember when it comes to books that were later visual media is that all Harry Potter based work belongs in the Fan Quarter, doesn't matter where you've gotten your influence from. This is the ONLY exception to the following discussion.

The second thing you'd do well to remember at Elfwood is this: in most cases Book+Drawing=Illustration. This means in most cases if your drawing is based off a book then it is an illustration and is perfectly acceptable for Lothlorien or the Zone. This seems to confuse a lot of people and so things like artwork that is based off a book like Philip Pullman's "The Golden Compass" or Terry Brook's "Magic Kingdom for Sale Sold!" gets rejected daily from The Fan Quarter. In the loosest sense of the word, these would be considered fan art, but remember at Elfwood we go for a slightly more narrow definition of the term fan art, and since neither of these books fall into the category of visual media, neither would be acceptable subjects for pictures in the Fan Quarter.

Now let's go back to the earlier Lord of The Rings RPG character. Some things are more difficult to decide where to put them because there are both books and visual medias involved. The first and possibly easiest question you can ask yourself is this, " Was this a book first or a visual media first?"

If your answer is visual media first then it's simple, it always goes in Fan Quarter whether the artwork was based on a book or not. For example a picture of Calista, one of the main characters from the book "Children of the Jedi" by Barbara Hambly would go in Fan Quarter, even though she was never in one of the movies, because Star Wars was a visual media first. Another good example would be Captain Mackensie Calhoun of the U.S.S. Excalibur. Mac is the lead character in a series of Star Trek novels by Peter David. Because the series of books happens within the Star Trek universe they are Fan Quarter material, even if the character of Mackensie Calhoun never appeared on any of the TV Shows.

If your work is based on something that was a book first, then it becomes slightly more difficult, but there are still clear-cut cases. We'll use Tolkien for example here, because it seems to be the most troublesome of the lot. There are three things you have to consider when looking at an image and deciding if it is an illustration-vs-fan art.

The first and easiest is actors/actresses. Does your drawing look like one of the actors or actresses from the movie? Did your Legolas end up looking like Orlando Bloom? If he does it's a sure bet he's Fan Quarter material.

Next thing to consider is design. Writers are rarely as detail oriented as costume designers are. Compare your drawing of Frodo to one of Elijah Wood in full costume. Do the costumes look similar? If they do then your image probably belongs in the Fan Quarter.

The last is probably the trickiest. It has to do with plot points. Sometimes to make a story flow smoother on the big screen they'll cut characters from the book or add characters where they don't belong. A good example of the cutting out characters from the book would be Glorfindel. Poor elf, Arwen got all his best bits in the movie. If you've drawn a picture of Glorfindel, then it's a good bet that it's probably acceptable for Lothlorien. On the other hand we have poor Haldir's demise at Helm's Deep. In the book, the only elf at Helms Deep was Legolas. So if you've just drawn Haldir at Helms Deep, then you should be putting your drawing in the Fan Quarter.

Of course online fandoms also have to add their own fun to the mix by creating characters that didn't exists in either the book or the movie…well not really anyways. If you are drawing things like Figwit or Agent Elrond, then they are definitely Fan Quarter Material.

Of course all of these are examples are Lord of the Rings specific, but the questions you've asked yourself can apply to other things as well, like Anne Rice's novels.

You've just finished a drawing of Lestat the Brat Prince. Ask yourselves these questions.

Does Lestat look like Tom Cruise or Stewart Townsend? No?

Are they wearing costumes that would convince the Fan Quarter Moderator that I was influenced directly from the movie(s)? No?

Is Lestat doing something that was in the plot of the movie(s) but not in the plot of the book(s)? No?

Then I have an illustration on my hands and I should upload this into the Zone.

Of course even after all of this sometimes it's confusing. If for some reason your image is rejected from one area and you are asked to put it in the other and you don't understand why, then please email support and ask. Those images that fall under the category are a bit confusing for everyone involved. Support will be happy to answer questions about why a decision was made the way it was and possibly reconsider the decision if you feel there was an error.

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