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Submitted on
August 7, 2012


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I've had a increasing number of messages about art theft on DeviantArt recently. I think it's great that this community is concerned that artist's work is being used appropriately, and that individuals have the time and energy to draw attention to potentially contentious posts. I'd like to express my gratitude to those who have contacted me and hope that you will continue to do so if you feel it necessary.

However, I think it's important to get this stuff into perspective. Copying my work for practice isn't theft. It's extremely flattering for me and an entirely legitimate way to study. I copied other artist's work when I was starting out and I learned a great deal from those exercises. I'd suggest that there are many more accomplished artists than me whose work could be studied, but I have no problem with my work being used in this way.

My book, 'The Fantasy Artist's Figure Drawing Bible', specifically encourages this in fact. Anyone wanting to work from the line art provided in that book or to follow the exercises within is absolutely free to do so, and to share the results online. It's an instructional book and that's precisely how it's supposed to be used.

So let's chill just a bit on the theft thing. A bit of borrowing around DA really isn't anything to get too worked up about. Just to get the perspective I mentioned before, art theft is when your painting of Shub-Niggurath turns up in an episode of South Park -…

Peace, love and heavy metal.
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Fazart Featured By Owner Oct 19, 2012
Love the outlook; great to have.
Flashwitt Featured By Owner Oct 19, 2012  Professional General Artist
BRAVO! Well said, and I'm so glad there are still artists who are not living inside personal fortresses of "MINEMINEMMINE-DON'TYOUTOUCHIT!" Seeing people do that makes my artheart very unhappy.
wicked-fairytale Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Great post! I wholeheartedly agree.
TristessaArt Featured By Owner Aug 11, 2012
This is interesting.
We all have to learn somehow ;)
WavingMonsterStudios Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2012  Professional General Artist
Wow! South park!! nice... or not... !
Agree with you btw - we SHOULD study other artists, but i think people are rightly getting upset about people saying 'this is my painting' when in fact they painted over someone elses... not cool.
maxblackrabbit Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I too, do not mind if people use my art for inspiration and practice. it has happened before,i'm sure it will happen again.

But it's when they post the picture and don't give credit where credit is due, when you see the comments roll in telling them what a good job they did and you know all they did was trace or take your pose, that's when i start getting angry.

I remember one time when I caught someone doing this and they turned around and changed the description so that is was a "gift of fanart" to me. Tracing something I did and giving it back to me is not a gift, at least not where I come from.

So anyway, like you say, look the pic over, as long as they give credit, I'm okay with people heavy reffing/tracing to get a picture out. i used to do it when i was young but I always at least gave credit. :)
Edarneor Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Well, "art theft" by definition is very simple - it is when someone is making money from your art, or using it in his commercial portfolio... This, of course, must be legally punished.
Whereas copying for practice is free, and even useful - i agree here. :)
elsevilla Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
yeah i remember old days when i used to copy goku from dragon ball-
ZachDoug Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
    I do encourage beginner artists to trace---not to trace and say it is 100% their's, and get a daily deviation or something before anyone realizes it was traced--that is not going to turn out in favour of that artist and definitely is not going to encourage them to do anything...

    But to trace, even if they don't upload it anywhere, JUST to get a feel of how other artists moved their hands to produce this. If you have a tablet, or you're going just by eye, it really helps to see those curves and train your hand muscles to follow them. It trains your muscles to memorize how to do strokes that are appealing to look at, and it helps a ton. Even referencing isn't as good for you as that. I did that a lot between the ages of 5 and 9, and a little at 12, it really helped me learn how to draw my own original art. I also burn images into my mind. If I want to draw flowers, I just mosey on over to a flower group on dA, not to trace or to use reference, but just so I can look at three thousand pictures of flowers, in a row, and by the time I'm done I'll never need to reference flowers again. OTL It's burned into my head so deep I can draw a flower anywhere...! How do you think people used to learn to draw bodies, and flowers? They'd get a model or a flower vase and stare at it for hours. It's very helpful!

    I still don't like when people ..forget to mention that the picture was somebody else's before they traced it, I hate when they try to take all the credit for the painting's idea when it wasn't their's. The art was, sure, but like in any division of people, it's the airheads that ruin it for everyone. ;'3

    On the topic of actual art theft, I REALLY WANT PEOPLE TO STOP telling the thief, "HEY.. YOU'RE A THIEF".. that doesn't solve anything. If a person was robbing somebody, you call the police (moderators, etc), or tell the people in the local area to all get together and call the police.

    You don't RUN OUT to the person stealing and go... HEY. .. YOU'RE STEALING. ... HEEEY. ... STOP THAT. ... HEEEEEEY... PERSON. .... STOP STEALING. They're just going to look at you like ">__________>.. oh me? I'm not stealing, wtf you lookin' at?"

    I'm also tired, as a group admin, of people feeling like it's the admin's fault the art in the group got stolen. People message me all.......... HEY... THIS ART IN YOUR GROUP ..,. IT WAS STOLEN. .. YEAH... IT'S STOLEN. .. YOU GONNA DO ANYTHING ABOUT THAT? ... ARE YA? YOU SHOULDN'T HAVE LET IT IN HERE. IT'S STOLEN Y'KNOW. YOU SHOULD REMOVE IT. AND REPORT IT. .. AND BAN THIS ARTIST, MAYBE. ARE YOU GONNA DO THAT NOW??

    I'm like... no... o______O I have NO proof it was stolen, you OBVIOUSLY do, so why don't YOU report it and stop bothering me? It's the equal of finding a stolen car in a parking garage and demanding the owner of the location the parking garage is at, to turn in the person who stole that car. It makes no sense whatsoever. I have nothing to do with it, their art is just IN the group. In fact, if it's IN a group, MORE PEOPLE will get to see it and know it's stolen, so MORE people will report it. DUH. Z__Z It is not a group's responsibility, OR the thief's responsibility to report the stolen art. If you rely on the thief to report THEMSELVES or take down their own stolen art, you're not gonna get anywhere!
Edarneor Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Totally agree with you about the art theft, but i fear i must disagree about tracing. My art teachers actually recommended against it, instead they suggested painting from life, or at least, copying a painting, but not the exact copy.
I'm not completely sure what do you mean by "tracing", but if you mean - like placing a tracing paper over somebody's drawing, and tracing the lines, then i fear it's not half as useful as copying by eye.
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