A lot of people think fan art isn’t real art. Why? Because the ideas aren’t original, and that disqualifies it.
I would have to argue, though. While there are horrible fan arts (like when I try to draw) and trace drawings, there are some pretty awesome fan art out there.
As a fanfiction writer, I see fan creations as a gateway to original works. Experimenting with fanfiction gives the writer experience with characterization, dialogue, sticking to previously established rules, grammar, formatting, title-giving, and summarizing. Fan art is a lot like this as well. Using fan art, the artist can learn about proportions, colors, facial expressions, and much more. Someone who can’t draw can start with fan art, and slowly build up to the more original pieces, until they are doing their own work.
Another thing to consider is that not every fandom has an image to go by. A lot of fan art for fandoms like Percy Jackson that don’t have a good movie representation (or none of all) is done based off of a paragraph description in the book. That is impressive.
Also, as I said above, there are some amazing fan art out there.