I have been asked a few times how I go about drawing fan art. I guess the initial start of the process is finding a book I connect to. . . how much I want to envision the character(s). Let's take one of my favorite finds last year: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Could not put it down and am anticipating the next in the series, Catching Fire, due out in the fall. The main character is a 16 year old girl named Katniss Everdeene. Say I want to flesh her out of my head on to paper. First I start with the author's physical description which surprisingly, wasn't a great deal. On Wiki is gives this info: Katniss has straight black hair, which she normally pulls back into a long braid, olive skin, and gray eyes. She is slender and athletic, especially skilled in wilderness survival. Archer.
I also go through the book and highlight any scenes that disclose to me particular characteristics of her personality...kindness, anger, selfishness, determination, tenderness....etc. Then I go hunting. First, I try to remember any actors that have an interesting face. For instance, one of my very first Twilight fan art of Edward and Bella had me going back to an actor I remembered from a Mel Gibson film called Gallipoli. His name is Mark Lee and played the unforgettable character, Archy Hamilton. Though he was blond, he had the chiseled features that I envisioned for Edward. Plus he had portrayed the goodness that I felt was part of Edward's personality.
For Katniss, I remembered an actress....didn't know who she was at the time, who played Becky Thatcher in a 1995 film of Tom and Huck. She was tomboyish and yet you could tell she was going to grow into a lovely young woman. I discovered it was Rachael Leigh Cook. Had to do some digging, but found a photo of her around 16.
Her hair isn't in a braid, but it's dark. I can work with it. The ragged t-shirt is a good start for her clothes, although the Nirvana underneath will have to go as will the eyeliner. But she has potential. I wish the lighting of the photo was better, but I can work with it. If there's no one I can recall, I will go through faces on Flickr, modeling agencies, etc., hoping someone will jump out at me. If it's black and white and good lighting, all the better. So, this is how I start. Next will be the beginnings of the sketch and the use of other references.