Making Money with Fan Art

I get asked a lot: ‘Can I sell fan art? Is it legal?’ This is also one of the most commonly asked questions on DeviantArt, Reddit and Facebook artist communities.

Fan art are artworks created by fans of a visual work of fiction, such as characters from comics, movies, tv shows or video games. Those artworks are generally derived from copyrighted works without the consent or endorsement from the copyright holders.

The short answer is: it is not legal to sell fan art. You cannot recreate copyrighted characters and profit from them. No matter how much work you have put in your art, it is a risky business. Even if you see other people doing it and getting away, you shouldn’t risk your entire art career for it.

There are however some exceptions I would like to talk about today:

1 Fair Use

2 Obtain Permission

3 Creative Commons

4 Public Domain

5 Avoid Substantial Similarity

6 Work with Platforms

#fanart #merchandising #DeviantArt

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