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Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

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The driven minds behind fan art

Cris+Reyes+sits+near+the+Fine+Arts+building+after+the+interview.
Christine Nader
Cris Reyes sits near the Fine Arts building after the interview.

Cris Reyes was born with a gift for the arts. Having honed his drawing skills at a young age, he would go on to become a freelance artist.

The affinity Reyes has for drawing extends far beyond even his own memory.

“I was a little kid doodling on like, tables and stuff and I’d always get in trouble”, he said with a smile.

As a fan of Spider-Man, Dragon Ball Z, and Resident Evil, he has some experience being a fan.

Eventually what began as a childhood hobby led him down a path that would offer him the chance to be a commissioned artist and profit off of his talent.

The idea came to fruition when one of his followers on Instagram requested a drawing and offered to pay $200 for it. Thus far, $300 is the most he’s been paid for a commission.

“These people have a lot of money”, Reyes said, “There are people willing to pay $300 just so that they can have a drawing of the stuff they like.”

Like many artists in his field, he doesn’t exclusively draw for one particular fan community, rather he’d prefer to stay true to what makes him happy. Reyes plays by his own rules and strives for originality.

If there were to be one fandom he would stick to, it would be Spider-Man solely for the significance that character has had on his life.

This is a fanart of Spiderman done by Cris Reyes. (Cris Reyes)

Reyes elucidated his personal connection to Spider-man, crediting him as the inspiration behind his most coveted art piece to date.

His Instagram page features only the work he takes the most pride in, currently being only two drawings of Spider-Man and Goku from Dragon Ball Z, respectively.

Reyes expressed his discontent with the stigma around fan artists, claiming that there is more to the artist than meets the eye.

“People think you’re only a fan artist. I draw flowers, landscapes, and other stuff like that. Stuff that I want to draw.”

The window for an artist to complete their work can range from one day to one year and counting, but Reyes states that he completes his works -commissioned or not- done within less than a week due to his concentrated hyper-fixation on said art.

Typically, most artists narrow down one type of drawing method: digital or traditional. Digital artists illustrate away on their devices while traditional artists marry their pens and paper together.

Reyes stated that he combines both traditional and digital to achieve a piece that his heart is content with.

First, he quickly sketches out the skeleton of his future piece on physical paper. He then takes a picture of the paper and transfers it to his iPad to finish illustrating and fine-tuning his future drawing.

Along the long, winding road of illustration and design, an artist is bound to create a character to call their own. Although he has yet to publicly debut his original characters, Reyes explained that his original art stems from whatever he is into at the moment.

Resident Evil and Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure reign as the two higher influences he incorporates into his character designs.

This is a drawing of Dio from JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure by Cris Reyes. (Cris Reyes)

An unfortunate consequence of being an original artist on the internet has proven to be rampant plagiarism.

DeviantArt, a popular site for sharing handcrafted artwork, was the scene of the crime. After uploading his original character onto the site, a user stumbled upon his work and decided upon himself that Reyes’ newest art was his latest inspiration.

The anonymous user copied Reyes’ original, but later on gave credit to Reyes and publicly cited him as the inspiration.

“Somebody was like, ‘Hey, I drew this and you inspired me’ and I was like ‘Oh, let me check it out’. It was just a hand-for-hand coped and I was like ‘Wow, okay, you know what? He’s not saying it’s his so…” Reyes said.

A few months later, the user denied that Reyes posed any inspiration and claimed it was their own, thus backing Reyes into a wall where he found no other plausible option other than to sue through DeviantArt.

“I sent him a DMCA strike on DeviantArt because they let you do that. Basically, it says ‘Hey I’m gonna sue you if you don’t stop doing this,’” Reyes explained, “I wasn’t gonna actually do it [go through the legalities].”

Becoming an artist submits you to a dwindling, eventful life doubted by many, but Reyes wouldn’t succumb himself to any other creative grooves.

“Don’t try to copy anyone else… If you are taking an art class and you start drawing exactly like your teacher, well, you’re just your teacher now. Learn your own [art] style, it’s hard but you gotta do it.”

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About the Contributor
Christine Nader, Co-Community Editor
Christine Nader is Co-Community Editor for Talon Marks. Her goal is to write about music and entertainment. She also goes by the nickname Chris, and her hobbies consist of nail care, attending concerts, and watching movies. In the future, Christine hopes to transfer to Cal State Long Beach, then USC Annenberg for a Masters in Journalism.
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The driven minds behind fan art