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Fanart at First Sight

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Ever since the Internet allowed people to share their content, it's a major source for artists and writers to flex their skills. Likewise, these artists/writers are fans of various media, so put them together and you get Fan Art and fanfics. Naturally, any given media will likely have fan works of it.

When you have new media that is about to premiere and a character shows up with a very awesome design, or existing media introduces a new character to the series, people are gonna be intrigued about who these characters are. For the fan work creator, that itch to just draw or write about them right then and there can't be ignored, regardless of their story importance. This shows that folks are excited and gets the ball rolling to help prepare for the eventual release.

Compare Fanwork-Only Fans, where fan works are produced by members of a fandom who have minimal, if any, familiarity with the source material; Memetic Mutation, when a meme can take off and likewise can lead to fan art; and Ensemble Dark Horse, for when fans really like a certain minor character. See also Rule 34, which is the same concept but just slightly more lewd and NSFW, and Best Known for the Fanservice, which is sometimes the underlying culprit for this kind of interest in particular characters.

Again, this is for when a product is about to be released, not afterward.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Free! had hundreds of fan arts of the (then) four main characters before the anime came out later in 2013, solely based off of Kyoto Animation's proof of concept short.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: The JOJOLands: As soon as Jodio's design was revealed, he instantly received a huge amount of fanart, before his name or anything about him was even known. Since his initial reveal only had his face, much of this fanart only has him from the neck up. A common theme in this early fanart is giving him a rabbit Animal Motif or depicting him with a pet rabbit, as the first teaser image for Part 9 had a rabbit in it. This is notably the first time this has happened to a JoJo character in the West, since Part 9 is the first part to debut after the series' huge Newbie Boom following the release of the 2012 anime.
  • One Piece Film: Red: After the unveiling of the new female character, later named Uta, on the News Coo segment, some fan art of her started popping up on Twitter and Instagram.
  • Smile PreCure!: Despite the fact that the Bad End Pretty Cure were little more than glorified Monster of the Week material, they got fan art the moment they were revealed.

    Comic Books 
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (IDW):
    • Both Tangle and Whisper started getting fan art fairly early after their designs were showcased, before they eventually joined the comic proper.
    • Belle, a character who debuted in the "Chao Races and Badnik Bases" arc, started getting fan art after Evan Stanley uploaded her model on Twitter before the arc's first issue was released.
    • Two new villains, Surge and Kit, started getting fan art as soon as they were revealed, even before they were named.

    Films — Animation 
  • Encanto: Naturally Mirabel started getting fan art when the movie was first announced due to her homely design as well as Luisa for her muscular design, something that hadn't been seen much in Disney females since Helga from Atlantis: The Lost Empire.
  • Moana: Long before the first promotional images were unveiled, speculative designs of the title character popped up everywhere, taking inspiration from the designs of characters such as Ariel and Pocahontas.
  • My Little Pony:
    • My Little Pony: Equestria Girls: Sunset Shimmer showed up in a toyline months before her official debut in the first Equestria Girls movie and started getting fan art almost immediately. Furthermore, since her first toy was part of a Masquerade Ball-themed toyline (which had nothing to do with the plot of EQG), fans mistook her mask for a lucha libre mask instead, which inspired a short-lived trend of depicting Sunset as a Masked Luchador.
    • My Little Pony: A New Generation: As a design for a bedspread depicting Sunny, Izzy and Pipp was accidentally released ahead of schedule, fan art of those characters started appearing a good few months before any official confirmation of the movie, its title or its contents did. Afterwards, once the promotional campaign proper got underway, fan art of the new characters started popping up within a few hours of each new trailer or screenshot being released.
  • The Bad Guys (2022): The main cast, especially Mr. Wolf and Diane Foxington got a lot of art from the Furry Fandom on social media from its first trailer in December 2021.
  • Fanart of The Super Mario Bros. Movie's versions of the Super Mario Bros. characters, particularly the penguins Bowser attacks in the reveal trailer, was quick to follow the Nintendo Direct that had said trailer in it.
  • WALL•E: There's a team of Star Wars fans in California that was already making life-sized remote control R2-D2s when the trailers for WALL•E came out, so they decided to make a life-size WALL•E as well.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (2020): Sonic's first look was... not well-received (to say the least) when the film's first trailer dropped in 2019 and most fan art usually skewed to the negative. But once Paramount took the criticism to heart, delayed the film and came back with a much more improved design, the fan art followed suit, warmly welcoming it and including the movie version with Sonic's other incarnations.
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens: When the movie was coming up and the new characters were previewed, there was much fan art for Kylo Ren, Rey, and Captain Phasma just based on looks alone.

    Live Action TV 
  • Wednesday: As soon as fans saw the first teaser image of Enid Sinclair, they started to draw loads of fan art about her despite not knowing much about her character beyond her being the opposite of Wednesday. Most of it was shipping her with Wednesday, but there were a lot who just fell in love with her colorful style in a world known mostly for being black and grey.

    Video Games 
  • Balan Wonderworld, being a Yuji Naka property, attracted a great deal of fan art before its March 2021 release. Since the plot and characters were similar to his Cult Classic NiGHTS into Dreams…, plenty of the art came from NiGHTS fans excited for a potential Spiritual Successor.
  • Batman: Arkham Knight: While many had pretty much guessed who the titular knight was way before the game released, that didn't stop artists from admiring his outfit once he was revealed in previews and doing some art of him.
  • Blaster Master Zero II was released on the same day it was announced on a Nintendo Direct. Kanna being on the screen for about two seconds was enough to drive artists into a frenzy.
  • Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night: The Kickstarter campaign encouraged this phenomenon by adding extra unlocks based on receiving fan art and cosplay photos of the protagonists.
  • Both Cookie Run and Cookie Run Kingdom usually show previews of new playable cookies a few days before implementing them into the game. Naturally, this leads to fan art within minutes of a presentation's end.
  • Dragon Age: During Gamescon 2020, BioWare released a behind-the-scene teaser to promote their next Dragon Age game. While the video mostly consists of Concept Art, it hasn't stopped the fans from immediately latching onto the few characters introduced in it, most notably the Qunari woman who has received a lot of fan art despite not even having a name yet. (She has thus been affectionately dubbed "Qunari wife" by a good portion of the fanbase.)
  • Dragon Ball FighterZ: Once Android 21's initial design came up, internet artists went wild and fan art of her popped up left and right, though considering the series rarely had female fighters take the spotlight, it was understandable. Eventually it was revealed that was just her de-powered form and 21's real fighting form skewed closer to that of a female Majin Buu. Ironically, Arc System Works decided to make 21's regular form playable as well years after the game released, though 21's true form also became a fan art magnet upon its reveal.
  • When a Fire Emblem game is in the pipeline, fan art of some prominent characters will swarm the internet. Common targets include main protagonists, fan favorites, and popular alts. announced for Heroes.
  • Genshin Impact: A pretty common occurrence, as playable characters and NPCs that will become playable tend to get their info leaked to the internet, so before they've been released or even before their official announcements by miHoYo have concluded, these characters are already subject to tons of fan art (Rule 34 included), fan videos and even cosplays. This was seen as early as the beta period before the game released in September 2020, which featured characters who wouldn't become playable for months like Xiao and Ayaka.
  • The trailer for The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom showed Zelda with a brand new short haircut. Once the trailer ended, fan art of the new Zelda exploded.
  • Kirby and the Forgotten Land: The second trailer featured Kirby fighting a female cheetah boss named Clawroline. No sooner after the Direct the trailer was in ended, Twitter was flooded with fan art of her.
  • Mega Man 9: Splash Woman's reveal really got artists going as, save for Roll, the OG series never had another female robot, let alone a female Robot Master before.
  • Mighty No. 9: At the time, many people were on board with a Mega Man-like game overseen by Keiji Inafune (as the actual series was on a seemingly indefinite hiatus at the time) and did some art of Beck, both liking his design and trying to help promote the game. Likewise, this happened for Call (the game's Roll analogue; a fan poll even decided which of her multiple concept designs would be used in the final product) and especially Dynatron; when the latter was first shown off, it was thought she was going to be the main villain (whereas she's just one of the bosses and mind-controlled to boot).
  • Mina the Hollower: You can bet Mina got plenty of fan art after the game's reveal. Especially from the Furry Fandom.
  • The New Order: Last Days of Europe: As of June 2020, several characters of the unreleased game have been used in memes such as Albert Speer, Ulrike Meinhof and the rest of the DSR, the two Svetlanas of Komi and Sforza.
  • Pokémon:
    • Every time a new Pokémon is announced leading up to a new set of games' release, expect a lot of fan art and speculation surrounding them within hours. This is most common with starter trios, which are typically among the first Pokémon announced for a new Generation; not only will there be lots of fan art of the starters themselves, but fan designs for their evolutions will emerge before their actual evolutions are revealed.
    • Likewise for the player characters and Gym Leaders if and when their designs are ever showcased, especially if they're cute girls or women. One example was that of Nessa during Nintendo's E3 2019 Showcase, particularly since she'd be the second female Water Gym Leader and the first to be dark-skinned. One person put it like this:
  • Puyo Puyo fans tend to draw fanart of the various Puyo Puyo!! Quest alts of the characters the moment they're announced, even if they don't actually get added to the game until days later.
  • Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart: The new female Lombax, later dubbed Rivet, instantly got fan art just minutes after she was briefly onscreen when the game was previewed during the PlayStation 5 reveal video.
  • Resident Evil Village: Early promotional material featured Lady Dimitrescu, one of the game's main villains. Fans of the series and people unconnected to the series were enamored by her endowment and amazonian height, leading to art quickly appearing. It didn't hurt that a lot of Village's advertisement during the lead-up to its release was based around her — making it ironic when players discovered Lady Dimitrescu is the first boss encountered and ends up bowing out of the story relatively quickly.
  • Ring Fit Adventure: Dragaux, the game's incredibly swole dragon villain, attracted a fandom and fan art as soon as the game was revealed.
  • Shantae: Once footage of the fifth game, Seven Sirens, was shown off for the first time, fans latched onto the first boss, the Water Lily siren and fan art was quick to follow.
  • Sonic Frontiers: Sage, a mysterious young girl who appeared at the end of the Nintendo Direct trailer, quickly received a great deal of fan art not long after Sega properly revealed her.
  • Splatoon:
    • The original game received a large amount of fanart moments after it was first revealed on E3 2014. It attracted a great deal of attention from both the designs of the characters and for being a unique major Nintendo IP.
    • Upon their introduction, the idols in charge of stage and Splatfest announcement for Splatoon 3, a trio called Deep Cut, received quite a large amount of fan art.
    • While Harmony has always been the most popular (non-idol) Splatband character among fan artists, her lack of an in-game model meant that her popularity was still limited to the most hardcore fans. However, she instantly received a large new bevy of fan art when she officially debuted in the games, owing to her Moe design and Hikikomori nature.
  • Touhou Project: Being a series about various magical females of different species, this happens whenever a new game is set to be released and showcases a new character. Some designs are more popular than others.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 3: While the first two games (and X) didn't receive too much fan art upon reveal due to being more niche, 3 received a bunch of fan art upon its reveal in a Nintendo Direct. In particular, Mio, Eunie, and Taion were very susceptible to fan art.

    Web Animation 
  • Hazbin Hotel: When the short was first previewed, fans absolutely loved Charlie, and she got a good chunk of fan art in the days leading up to the short's premiere.
  • RWBY: Within the first few weeks after the release of the "Red" Trailer in 2012, fans of Rooster Teeth and Monty Oum were quick to draw fan art despite the lack of concrete information about the show's setting and story. The Animesque-style and initial character designs of the main character Ruby Rose as well as the silhouettes of her yet-to-be-revealed teammates were prime speculation fuel for how the rest of Team RWBY would look like while fans awaited the rest of the trailers to be revealed in the coming months.
  • Sonic Shorts lampshaded this trope in one short where a fan noted a new Sonic character before the game that they appeared in was even out and instantly got to work drawing art of it, albeit porn.
  • Spooky Month: As soon as Carmen was introduced in "Tender Treats", an influx of fan art was sent her way, owing to her curvaceous figure and snooty personality. The revelation of her being Roy's mom has also caused some fans to embrace her as the series' new MILF figure after Lila.
  • The explosive popularity of the Virtual YouTuber scene since 2019 has ensured that a healthy population of fan artists are on hand to quickly draw fan art of up-and-coming VTubers mere hours after their debut announcements. VTuber groups like Nijisanji, hololive and VShojo even encourage fan art by facilitating fans with specific Twitter fan art hashtags and postings on other social media spaces long before the VTuber even debuts. It also helps that some of the VTubers are artists themselves and would often draw fan art of their upcoming juniors or VTubers from other groups.

  • Homestuck^2: Yiffy, the daughter of Jade and Rose, spawned tons of fan art and speculation on her character after only appearing for a few panels and only speaking in barks and growls.

    Western Animation 
  • Animaniacs (2020): The trailer featured Animesque versions of Yakko, Wakko, and Dot that got a lot of fan art made out of it even before the context behind said scene, which was an Imagine Spot the Warners had when trying to get rid of a swarm of rabbits, was revealed.
  • Infinity Train had an active subreddit and fan art since the initial 5-minute pilot, released over a year before the show officially premiered. There were even fan complaints when the art style changed between the pilot and the show — some people preferred "pointy-chin Tulip".
  • The first trailer of Pibby brought a large attention from many people due to its nature as an action horror Massive Multiplayer Crossover series involving Warner Bros. properties. Not surprisingly, it led to a huge amount of fan works being made before a premiere date was even announced (up to and including a Game Mod for Friday Night Funkin').
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power: When the designs for the reboot were revealed, there was plenty of fan art for Adora, Catra, Bow, and Glimmer before the series premiered proper. Some even had them standing alongside or meeting their 80s counterparts.
  • Sonic Prime: The new design for Rouge The Bat was immediately embraced when the character posters were released, even before the teaser trailer that came soon after (and even with the lack of exposed skin and smaller bust).
  • Steven Universe:
    • When the End of an Era artbook was leaked online, the thing fans immediately latched on to were concepts for both Morganite and Rhodonite's components, who all received multiple pieces of fan art before the day ended, and many comments about how cute Rhodonite's Pearl and Ruby were or how many were surprised that Morganite resembled Aquamarine and not Emerald.
    • Steven Universe: The Movie: Spinel was already getting some fan art before the film's release despite not being named yet. Once she was revealed in full and more of her backstory known, her popularity exploded.
  • The side characters of Unikitty!, Puppycorn, Hawkodile, Dr. Fox, and Richard, got some fan art before they even had their names revealed, let alone before the series started airing.