Gamer art is nothing new. Since the early days of console gaming, video game lovers have been honoring their favorite pixelated heroes with painstakingly produced pencil sketches. The rise of accessible editing software has seen a significant rise in the amount of digital art doing the rounds, while no video game convention would be complete without legions of cosplayers. Fan art has also become a key part of the esports world.
The First Video Game Fan Art
The fan art phenomenon has been around for decades. As soon as Captain Kirk and Spock were being beamed onto television sets around the globe, fan communities were mocking up evocative artworks. Video game fan art was a way off yet. You might pass the occasional Mario or Donkey Kong trick-or-treater on Halloween, but these costumes were nothing in comparison to the Comic-Con cosplayers of the 21st century.
Video game fan art didn’t become a thing until the 1990s. However, once dial-up connections were becoming the standard in homes across the globe, online communities started springing up. The first fan-created works were largely pieces of text-based fiction. However, richly detailed digital artworks would soon arrive on the scene.
The Arrival of Online Art Communities
Online art communities have been around since the turn of the century. These platforms have allowed millions of fans from across the world to engage with like-minded players away from games themselves. DeviantArt is one of the most popular of these platforms, having been around since 2000. Pretty much any game you can think of is represented here, with the League of Legends DeviantArt community one of the busiest on the web.
A quick scan through one of these art platforms unveils a rich tapestry of user-generated content. You’ll find stunning recreations of iconic gaming scenes. You’ll also quickly stumble upon the shipping section of fandom. These pieces tend to be steamy in nature, bringing together unlikely pairings in compromising clinches.
One of the most innovative aspects of fan art is that virtual creations can occasionally become part of the game itself. A case in point is Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Skins have long been an important part of CSGO, with a lucrative trading economy emerging. However, many fans find Valve-created content rather limiting. Nowadays, CSGO users can create their own weapon skins via online workshops. Once created, players can submit them for consideration by fellow players. In rare cases, Valve may decide to make them an official addition to the game and load them into weapon case updates. In other words, if you’re halfway decent at skin creation, there’s always a chance you can see CSGO matches showcasing your bespoke designs in the future.
Team Esports Art
It’s not just in-game characters that have received the fan art treatment. Committed esports fans have turned their talents to recreating their heroes in digital form. Team merchandise can be expensive, so many esports enthusiasts can make their budget stretch further by investing in fan-created artworks that take inspiration from team logos and jerseys.