June 18th, 2012
01:11 PM ET

'Game of Thrones' fan art explodes online

You've heard of fanfiction. Meet fan art –  an established but less celebrated subculture of fandom.

Often inspired by a favorite science fiction or fantasy franchise, fan artists gain exposure for their work on social media sites like Deviantart, Tumblr and Etsy. One of the most popular franchises permeating fan art territory today is the imaginative world of Westeros in George R.R. Martin's "Game of Thrones" book, now an HBO TV series that recently completed it's second season. (HBO is a Time Warner network, as is CNN.)

The result: artistic renderings, costumes, clothing accessories and even food concotions based on Westeros are all over the internet.

But what motivates fan artists to go beyond passive viewing to creating something new (one of the ultimate hallmarks of a hardcore fan)?

Erica Batton of Kansas City, Missouri, has drawn scenes for multiple fan favorite series. She says lots of fan art creators discovered a new-found artistic passion only after being inspired by their favorite shows or books.

Bratton – one of many artists who submitted their work to CNN iReport – pointed to the characters of "Game of Thrones" being "complex but believable" as one source of inspiration.

"The world of Westeros as portrayed in George R.R. Martin's 'A Song of Ice and Fire' books are so vast and immerse it is hard to not feel sucked in when reading them," said Veronica Casson from San Francisco, California.

The show lingers in her mind, she said, ultimately motivating her to create something new. FULL POST

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