Hugo Category Highlight: Best Fan Artist

Best Fan Artist: The final category is also for people. Again note that the work by which artists should be judged is not limited to material published in fanzines. Material for semiprozines or material on public displays (such as in convention art shows) is also eligible. Fan artists can have work published in professional publications as well. You should not consider such professionally-published works when judging this award.

Confused yet? What this boils down to is that any art which isn’t on the cover of a large publisher’s book or magazine is probably eligible for this category. Probably. The way the Hugos define “professional” is rather technical and has enough elasticity that the committee could probably nix anything they wanted to via that definition. (Note to the trolls: that does not mean they’re going to or that they have in the past. Merely that the complexity and flexibility of the definition means there’s going to be a lot of room for interpretation).

So. Fine. This category is for SF/Fantasy artists with at least some art that doesn’t meet the definition of professional. Personally, I figure concept art for big box games is out. Ditto covers. But damn near anything decent on DeviantArt counts – and frankly I’d nominate this one for his wickedly funny take on the Overlord game minions as well as for his beautifully detailed alien biology sketches. I’m not quite sure what the protocol is for nominating an artist who doesn’t give his real name out to anyone, but frankly, I don’t much care.

If you don’t mind quickly moving past an impressive selection of pieces that leave you going “WTF?” or “Oh my god MY EYES!”, you could easily spend hours just browsing the Deviant Art categories for the gems, because, well… This is eligible to get the artist nominated. So is this. And this. Also – of course (and yes, I’m a wee bit biased here) – this.

This is just a start, gained via a few minutes browsing – if you’ve bought art at a con, there’s a non-zero chance that art is actually eligible to nominate the author. So go browsing the art sites, and if you think the artist’s 2015 output is just that good, drop a recommendation in at the fan art recommendations page. Speaking of which I have a few recommendations of my own to add this weekend…


    1. Probably not, since I don’t think they’d consider text on a screen cap sufficiently transformative/containing enough of the artist’s work. But *technically*? It could.

      1. I guess this is just a bad category for me. Of course, so far I only have a total of four actual nominations lined up for the whole slate. Five if there were a category for Idle Car Manager. (An automobile R&D and product lifecycle simulator in the form of an incremental game.)

  1. OK, I need that 1860s mecha for a Steampunk story that’s been percolating. (Hint: the industrialist is the good guy.) Really, really need that steampunk mecha.

    1. What alterations have you made to the setting’s tech assumptions? Clockwork, steam, wind, water or outright magic? What general dimensions and limbs? Is it what Super Robot Wars would call a Super Robot or a Real Robot? Any references?

        1. It is great. I got to thinking about the artist’s probable Eva influence, thought about redoing Eva in 1865, then started thinking about Macross at the end of the Napoleonic wars.

  2. I’m a little confused. Does the art have to be about and/or for a book/movie/game/anime? or does it just have to be fantasy/sci-fi? Do they have to sell at cons? Or can they hang out online only? Yes, I read your blog, and I still don’t understand…which means their definition is really bad.

    1. Your confusion is quite accurate.

      Honestly, I think the only pieces that can be absolutely excluded for consideration under this definition are ones done on exclusive commission for a commercial purpose. Virtually anything else can be “wiggled through” the wording of it.

      The only caveat (and a highly debatable one, this wording would horrify a contract law freshman) I can see is that only those works not sold for monetary gain can be considered when deciding whether to nominate the artist. Even the immortal Chesley Bonestell produced some pieces as gifts to his friends in the space program, no monetary compensation whatsoever. Which, hmm, would make him eligible for a retro-Hugo, I believe.

      1. Well, yes. The whole definition of “professional” on the Hugo site leaves so much wiggle room an elephant could shimmy through: does it count as “professional” if it provides someone a quarter of their income when said income is all of $40 for the year?

        How about $4. $0.04? Without some kind of hard limit, that leaves so much room for the unscrupulous to include or exclude whatever they feel like.

        I’d say if there’s no monetary compensation to be found anywhere, it’s eligible. If it’s been commissioned for a commercial purpose, it’s not. Anything between those extremes could go either way.

        Not a good category definition, which may be why it’s one of the less popular categories – so, let’s boost the signal and push a chunk of the fantastic non-paid art that’s out there. If nothing else, it will expose a really badly defined Hugo category’s flaws.

  3. Need to get Larry to post pictures of this year’s miniature painting efforts sometime prior to 2015 12 31 😀

    There’s a MHI fan making his own minis here:
    (Some clicking required).

    Doesn’t seem to be anything preventing any of that from qualifying.
    But the Challenge Coins are out.

  4. I have been rooting for the Puppy Projects (yes, Vox Day’s too) all the way, but all I really needed to know to dismiss the Hugos entirely is that READY PLAYER ONE wasn’t even nominated.

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