After months of denial from the band, Us Weekly reports that the beloved British pop group One Direction is, in fact, breaking up to pursue their own projects. But rather than dwell on the potential heartbreak, we’d like to consider the lasting gifts that the band has left with us. And no, we’re not even talking about the music or their charming Carpool Karaoke appearance last month, forever immortalized a few clicks away. No: What we’d like to argue is that the band’s greatest enduring legacy is its fans — those devoted, creative, quirky kids who have worn their weird with pride.
Even apart from the sizeable subset of 1D fans that taught us a valuable bit of teen slang (Larry shippers, we’re looking at you), the amount and variety of fan art that the band has inspired gives us hope for the next generation. While it would be very easy to fall into a days-long tumblr hole looking at all of the artistic genius the band’s followers have generated, we thought we’d give you a guide to a few of 1D fan art’s key genres.
1. Hyperrealistic Portraits: One thing you’ll notice off the bat about 1D fan art is that a lot of it is good. Like, on a technical level, a lot of these fans have serious artistic chops. If you have any doubt, just check out this nearly photo-quality charcoal drawing of Zayn. Could the next Mona Lisa be created by a One Direction fan? Time will tell! (Illustration via natyamity/Tumblr)
2. Minimalist Logo Looks: In stark contrast with the complex, super true-to-life portraits of 1D members you’ll find out there, this subtler, design-savvy genre of fan art is great for creative inspo. (Illustration via nyodo/Tumblr)
3. Holiday Cards: The holidays may have just come and gone, but if you wanted to support an offbeat maker next year, ordering prints from any of the artists behind the multitude of holiday-themed 1D illustrations could be the way to go. (Illustration via gothzouis/Tumblr)
4. 1D As Kids: It’s not every day that a group of crush magnets are reimagined as cartoon children — unless of course those objects of teen affection happen to be One Direction. A small-but-mighty subgenre of One Direction fan art, 1D “chibi” art is part of a larger umbrella of fan art that renders the band’s members in the style of Japanese anime. While we admit that these round, cherubic figures don’t exactly resemble the band members IRL, they’re certainly cute. (Illustration via liamstolenboxers/Tumblr)
5. Larry Art: Can’t forget those cute Larry Shippers. So named because they strongly believe that the group’s Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson are secretly coupled — hence the “ship” — this group of fans is perhaps the most prolific where artistic tributes are concerned. While a lot of Larry-centric creations are definitely NSFW, we can confirm they’re imaginative. (Illustration via cuteharrie/Tumblr)
(Photo via Eamonn M. McCormack/Getty)