Pokemon Fan Art as an Online Phenomenon

I found a real interesting article by a scholar named Marjoris Cohee titled “From Amateur to Framauteur: Art Development of Adolescents and Young Adults Within an Interest-Based Community. (2012)” The article describes the role that online fan art communities play in the  “developmental progression of adolescents and young adults within the cultural context of an interest-based community.”  Choee discusses a number of aspects that shape teen interactions with fandom in particular the role of narrative and sociocultural community to the development of  artistic ability. The article is quite broad in its discussion of online fan communities, as Cohee explores a plethora of concepts that describe how fan artists interact and develop in an online environment.

I found myself reading the article and applying each concept she described to the Pokemon fan art and artists I have discovered on tumblr.com over the course of this subject.

What was most interesting for me was Cohee’s comments on amateur artists as ‘copyists”:New fans who were not otherwise proficient art makers repeated the attractive image over and over, practicing an exactness of its appearance as a way of holding the object of admiration close and absorbing or assimilating its desirable aspect into their own persona.

I have found myself doing this (with the Pokemon Mew) as I strive to achieve an image that actually resembles how I picture Mew in my head. I find myself trying to achieve that “WOW” factor that Cohee sites from Jenkins 2006 work of fan culture.

I was also interested by Cohee’s remark on belonging to fan communities and the sense of similarity that amateurs often seek with their fellow fan artists. Cohee refers to sites such as Fan Central, Elfwood and DeviantArt. Perhaps for my next post, it would be interesting to do a comparison between how Pokemon Fan artists communicate on one or two of these hubs and contrast them with my own experience of Tumblr.


Manifold, M.C. 2012, “From Amateur to Framauteur: Art Development of Adolescents and Young Adults Within an Interest-Based Community”, Studies in Art Education, vol. 54, no. 1, pp. 37-53.

One comment

  1. fan art is something that has always fascinated me. I wish I was more talented so that I was able to convey my love of things through art forms. I read a lot of books and I find that fan art and fan fiction play a big part within that community. With Pokemon though, there are so many variations of pokemon, what with the games and the anime, that it becomes incredible that people can have an inspiration to imagine them completely different.


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