Posted By Kathleen David on October 28, 2007
I know a lot of artists who use photo reference to get their art to look right. There are books of the stuff you can buy at Borders or art supply stores or even craft stores. Most of them are Japanese but there are some American ones as well.
However if one uses a photograph that one has asked the photographer if they can use for reference and the photographer has requested very nicely that you don’t use that photo as reference but here is a bunch of photos they do allow people you use as reference please feel free to use but refer back to the original photo. Do you just go ahead and use the photo assuming that no one is going to call you on it? Or do you respect the photographer’s wishes and use another photo as reference?
I’ll let you guess which way our young artist went and then went on to announce they were doing prints of the drawing as well as selling the original since they had to make rent. This got back to the photographer who kindly requested that the individual not make prints and did allow the artist to sell the original on E-bay with the request that with the painting went a reference back to the photo that the photographer had requested the artist not use. To which the artist cried to the skies and the Internet that they were being oppressed by this big mean photographer who won’t let them use their good work only some crappy stock photos. Well I have seen the stock photos and they are not crap. They just didn’t have the pose the artist wanted but they did have one close to it in form. Personally I think that the photographer is being more than generous to another person who doesn’t get the fact that if it is on the Internet, it doesn’t mean that it is free.
In another case that came to my attention recently, someone took someone else’s drawing and ran it through a few filters on photoshop and called it something else. When caught on it, they changed the title to a homage to the original drawing which still is not right since it is the original drawing with only a couple of minor color changes. Funny idea of what homage is on this artist’s part. A little more looking at their art and others came up with the pictures and drawing that this person ran through some filters to come up with their version of the art. Now copying is a way to learn and I am not taking that away from anyone but this is not copying but outright swiping with a few changes to make it “theirs” which still doesn’t make it so.
It is at times like this I am glad I work in 3-D rather than in 2-D. But even then I have seen doll makers at each other’s throats over how much of a pattern makes a doll an original vs. a copy. Believe me, those discussions get pretty heated. Also crediting patterns that a doll maker uses that they found in a book or on the internet. It has come to the point where a doll maker will emphasize, more than once, that they came up with the pattern by themselves. Emphasize it too much and one will have doll makers looking carefully at their dolls to see if they can find a swipe they can call them on.
I am grateful for my original patterns.