I've been a fan artist for a long time, and I think I always will be. But it just struck me as strange that I don't actually draw fan art for 90% of the media I consume. And it's not necessarily because I like them less, or that I don't want to; it's just that the 'spark' isn't there for some reason.
For example, Infinity Train is probably my favorite western cartoon at this point in time...and it literally never even occurred to me to draw fan art for it until just now. EVEN though I've seen all the fan-organized art trends on Twitter/Tumblr and retweeted them at every available opportunity, the idea that 'perhaps I should also participate' just did not enter my head.
And even now that I'm considering it (and I love some of those characters to death) I can already tell that the motivation isn't there. ^^;;; It's really weird...
Despite the lack of motivation, though, I have still tried in the past. I have a file folder full of 'miscellaneous' drawings, and I'm sure about 40% of them are failed attempts at starting a fan art series or even just ONE (1) drawing for one of the many characters I love. I design, I draw, and I quit, over and over again. Anime, cartoons, live action, games; you name it, I've abandoned it.
Right now I have one of the rare ones that actually made it past the scan stage sitting in my WIPs, and the guilt is really eating at me. ಠ_ಠ It's fan art for a Touhou fangame that's just so well made, I feel like a criminal playing it for free...so I figured I ought to do something, at least to let more people know about it.
I managed to color the hair and the hat and the face, and no matter how many times I open up the file I can't bring myself to do any more. >_< Why am I like this, I wonder...
I tried thinking about fan art series I actually stick with (at least temporarily) for clues, but to be honest, it's pretty random. ^^;
For example, consider two series: Series A is an anime I've followed since I was in high school, possibly earlier. It's been one of my biggest inspirations for my own stories, and I've been a contributing member of the wiki (and a translator, recently) for a few years now. Character designs are a little complex, but ultimately not that far off from what I might design for my own series.
Series B is a game series that I've never even played, and that I barely knew existed until maybe 4 or 5 years ago. I've browsed the wiki fairly thoroughly, but nowhere near enough to even think about contributing (not that I have the knowledge). Character designs are way more intricate than anything I would even consider drawing normally; the original character designer and I don't even speak the same shape language (they like circles; I'm more of a triangle person).
And which series do you think I pick? WHICH ONE
^That's Series B, by the way. I suffered through every single one of those chibis for HOURS (if you've ever seen Xenoblade characters, you know these drawings are intensely and aggressively simplified) and yet, the urge to draw another one was always there. And this isn't even taking into account Jin, my muse, who I've already drawn 5 times and WILL draw again.
The most insane part is, I don't even like these characters that much (besides Jin...although, no matter how cute I think he is, I have to admit he's pretty weakly written). I've drawn Mythra three times and I don't even remember what she does. ^^; It's just madness all around; I can't explain this behavior.
And yet, there is one common thread though: a large degree of freedom and creativity. The fan art series that last the longest are usually the ones that allow me to come up with the largest amount of content straight from my imagination.
For instance, my Kirby fan art is a huge network of AU's and different degrees of gijinka (anthropomorphism) design...it's why I don't talk about it often; there's just too much to explain to someone who doesn't already know what's going on. ^^; Anyway, that's probably why it's my #1.
RWBY is quickly becoming #2, and although I do a surprising amount of 'canonical' fan art, what really got me into it was creating alternate designs for the characters...originally just 'improved' versions of canon designs I didn't like, and eventually moving on to more creative designs that I came up with on my own.
Some series I just use as vehicles for OC creation; I don't even bother drawing any canon characters at all (Spider-Man, Splatoon).
Although, even with those where I exclusively draw canon characters, like Xenoblade, I think there's still an element of creativity in translating art that's far away from my own style into something I can actually draw. That was one of the big draws of the XC series; the sheer challenge of chibifying such intimidating designs. ^^ Perhaps with Series A (Symphogear, if you're wondering) there just wasn't enough challenge to overcome my usual laziness.
...Well, that was quite a rant. (oﾟvﾟ)ノ Anyway, my question for y'all is, what makes you want to do fan art, and what discourages you? Do you feel an urge to immediately draw all the characters you love, or does the mood have to be 'just right'...?