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Is Fanart allowed in my portfolio?

Hello!  I'm new to upwork, and I want to work as a freelance illustrator and character designer.

Prior to coming to this website, I did a handful of non-copyrighted works, but most of my library involves Invader Zim fanart.  I'm a huge fan of the show, and very active in the fanbase, so I have an extensive library of fanart ready to be used in my portfolio.


Would this be allowed?  I did draw this all myself, and put a lot of effort in, so it would be a shame if I could not use it as a demonstration of my skills.


Thank you in advance for your help!  I've attached an example below so you can understand what I mean.

Community Member

re: "Is Fanart allowed in my portfolio?"


It depends.


Generally speaking, you can post fan art in your portfolio and it will not be a problem.


Many intellectual property owners post detailed legal declarations that allow for the creation and display of fan art. Others do not. And many types and uses of "fan art" are explicitly allowed in your jurisdiction, and on Upwork, while others are not.

Different people are going to have different opinions about whether or not freelancers SHOULD include fan art in their portfolio even if allowed. But those are opinions. You will need to make the decision for yourself.


Also, different people will have different opinions about whether fan art is allowed. Some people might even say "no," but then when you show them a specific example, they'll say "Well, yes, that one is allowed." So a blanket "yes" or "no" answer really isn't possible.


Screen Shot 2022-08-31 at 8.28.59 AM.png

You may read an extended discussion about job postings for fan fiction here:



Note that the thread I linked to is about JOB POSTINGS, and not about PORTFOLIOS. And the focus of that thread is on prose fan fiction, not illustration/drawings. There ARE indeed differences. But it is worth reading if you are interested in the topic.


As a matter of actual practice, Upwork is not the "fan art police." Nobody at Upwork is hired to carefully scour thorugh all portfolio pieces and look for pieces which may be fan art, and then look up the specific policies of the copyright holders, and make determinations about the pieces.


What does that mean? It means that this is largely on the honor system. I would like to call on ALL Upwork freelancers to behave honorably in this manner and respect the rights of other artists, some of whom enthusiastically embrace fan art and some of whom do not. Do your research.

Thank you for all of the helpful info, I'll read that discussion for sure.


Hi Stanley,


Thank you for reaching out to us. Generally, freelancers aren't allowed to use fanart as a portfolio to land jobs and earn money as it would be a violation of Intellectual Property rights. You can find more information on Upwork's Terms of Service page.


~ Nikola
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