More often than not, when people love things, they do ridiculous stuff to demonstrate how much they love those things. People who love cats make Tumblrs about cats, people who love McDonalds eat far too many Big Macs and sue McDonalds, and people who love John Lennon kill John Lennon.
In essence, people generally get blinded by their passion, but fan artists are more blind than most.
I'm an illustrator by day (and an amateur bowling league champion by night), so I was casually searching through Google images of The Simpsons for inspiration the other day, when I came across this drawing of what I assume is Homer Simpson as a butternut squash. There's something kind of charming about how little effort went into this. It's either the apathetic Microsoft Paint joint of a man with far too much time and very little ambition, or the scrawling of a pre-school child who just discovered computers. Either way, it skirts that line between terrible and hilarious that makes a lot of stuff amazing, like doner kebab pizzas or the music of Lil B.
Butternut Squash Homer inspired me to go on a Google-spree, searching for any "insert-TV-show-here" fan art. I found a load of great stuff.
The creepiest thing is when people actually put time and effort into their art, like this Manga-esque pencil drawing of the cast of Friends. It worries me. Whoever's responsible undoubtedly has a doll made out of Matthew Perry's hair, collected from the floor of his trailer, which is definitely not OK. Plus, they've clearly spent a good half hour drawing, colouring and shading Ross's big, brown eyes.
It freaks me out; there's been far too much thought put into this. Mind you, that seems to be the main intention of fan art: to freak you the hell out.
Also, on a sidenote: which one's Rachel and which one's Phoebe? If you're going to obsess over something as much as this, at least put some definition into the nose so we can tell what the fuck's going on.
Look at this genuinely sincere portrait of Stringer Bell. It’s just weird, isn’t it? I imagine Idris will be straight on his way to the B&Q home security department once the police notify him that there's someone living in the foliage outside his house doing drawings like this.
Memorise this CGI, real-life interpretation of Ren & Stimpy. Now, when you try and go to sleep tonight, you'll start crying involuntarily, then when you wake up, you won't be capable of love.
I have no idea how this was created. It could have been Photoshop, it could have been Excel – beats me. Whoever's responsible for unleashing it on the world, though, is clearly talented. However, instead of getting a job airbrushing, or whatever, they've decided to sit at home and create nightmarish images like this that ruin everyone's childhood. This is just one example of an annoying trend for making real life versions of cartoon characters that's currently plaguing the internet and it needs to stop.
This is by far the most depressing piece of fan art I had the misfortune of stumbling across. It's called "Our Special Little Guy Is Gone" and almost made me cry. Who knew fan art could provoke such raw emotion?
When you started reading this blog, I bet you didn't think you'd up with child loss, did you? Well, I didn't think my fan art search would lead me there either, but hey, the internet's a sadistic bastard.
In my teary slump, I got talking to my friend and fellow illustrator Jack Teagle about fan art, and he turned me on to some incredible examples of home-drawn cartoon emulations, like this snake-headed Bart who looks a lot like a Monster Munch.
We figured there should be a place for people who aren't content with high-quality, official artwork to have their work shown, so we started the Simpsons Drawing Club to collate all the scribblings we do when we should be doing work. And now, just like that, we're active participants in the fan art world. It feels almost liberating.
Before I go, honourable fan-art shout-outs to the seedy realm of cartoon character porn. After seeing the next-level weirdness that is Ned Flanders and Eric Cartman gangbanging a Moomin on Button Moon, I think my drawing style has been irreversibly changed for the better. So thank you, anonymous internet cartoon-pervert.
Follow Sam on Twitter: @SptSam
More drawings and offensive scribbles: