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Unread 10-20-2017, 09:51 AM   #1
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Portfolio Question


I'm currently forming my art portfolio for college applications and something quite horrid dawned on me. Are the costumes that I make (which are costumes that belong to a character) considered fanart? I know fanart is a huge "no-no" for portfolios, but I never really considered my costumes as fanart. I usually add different details and such but it is in fact made off of the design from a character that I don't own. Or would fanart more entail copying someone's art style, someone's already made art 2D-wise?
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Unread 10-21-2017, 01:33 PM   #2
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It's a derivative work, but since it's an entirely different medium it's less likely to be recognized as fanart. Photograph it in a way that highlights its artistic qualities rather than the overall design unless the overall design is really unusual; if there's embroidery or dyework you can focus on that, or you can present the costume as part of a larger artistic arrangement. (basically, display in in the woods or on a beach or in a chicken coop or whatever looks cool and take a neat photo.) Unless you're applying for a garment-making program they're not really interested in your nice shaping or seams. Just make it look cool, and coincidentally less fannish.
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Last edited by Mangochutney : 10-21-2017 at 01:37 PM.
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Unread 10-21-2017, 04:34 PM   #3
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As a fellow artist, I may be able to pitch in my 2 cents as if you were my friend irl (plus I'm trying to figure some of this out myself with my idea I have going on).
I consider fan art to be 2D, because whether you are using a tablet, computer or even using a sketchbook to draw sketches or fully rendered work, it is still 2D (or at least in my eyes) 2D because of the nature of drawing, no matter what medium you use. You can of course render a character/drawing to look 3D with highlights, shadows etc. however it would still be 2D again because of the nature of drawing.
You know those figurines everyone loves to buy at cons? Not limited to those, but that's an example of 3D work, because you can physically touch it and see it from all sides.
The costumes we make for cosplay I think would fall under 3D as well, because you are using yourself or any model for matter to showcase the outfit on the human body. If you design your own characters/ideas (whatever they might be) ((in drawings)) then you can show this as your own 'concept art', and since it would be your own there'd be no problem.
With that said, I agree with Mango to just add concept sketches/drawings that are your personal work for a drawing program, unless yes you happen to be applying for a sewing program.
I can't say for sure because the people I usually hear preparing their own portfolios want to go for Illustration (not sure if you're the same or different program but nonetheless I'd check submission requirements and ask teachers/people for answers you need. That typically happens. Also, on that note I'd ask a drawing teacher for help for submissions since they specialize in well, drawing instead of a painting teacher.)
2D would probably be a public domain thing. People own ownership over the concept of the character/idea that's being created along with the final design, not the medium.
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Unread 10-21-2017, 08:01 PM   #4
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A lot depends on the program you're applying for too, particularly with regards to how much cosplay you should include. If you're particularly proud of a piece, or it shows off some useful skills or impressive detailing, then it's probably worth including. If it's a simple outfit that doesn't show any original design ingenuity, or more advanced skills beyond "basic sewing", probably not worth it.

Based on your CosCom profile, Zant might be good to include-- you did armor work, as well as some complex fabric techniques, so that's a good one to show off. Your Bowser armor is also pretty sweet, and has some cool painting/texturing techniques. Stuff like your cosplay from The Office, while hilarious at a con, doesn't really show off skill that an art program is probably looking for.

Overall, I'd avoid sending them cosplay that isn't photographed super well or in an artistic manner, and outfits that are basically street clothes (unless you designed them yourself).

Another thing to consider: do you have any design sketches/schematics of these builds? Like character style reference sheets you made yourself, or diagrams for things like your wing harness for Howl or how armor all attaches together? That can be a really cool addition!
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