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September 10, 2013
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Just a little thing I wanted to discuss, if you don't like rants, then don't read this journal.
Please no harsh comments, I am simply expressing my opinion. |D
So without further adieu

So being on dA, you see a lot of 'art theft' around right? Most of the time you come across things such as stolen designs, traced/ recoloured artwork, copied artwork, etc. Recently however, I've noticed some people going a little over the top with this whole theft thing, so I decided I'd write this to explain what stealing is and what stealing isn't in to me. Now, to put it bluntly,

  • You CANNOT copyright a pose
  • you CANNOT copyright a style
  • Referencing ≠ copying or stealing
  • The only thing that can be be stolen or copied is the original piece itself.
Now, let me explain.

If someone draws something in the same pose as something in someone else's picture, it is NOT stealing unless the picture as a whole has been copied. It does matter how much it resembles the pose in your picture, and even if they referenced from your work, if it isn't a direct copy of the original piece it is not stealing. Poses are something people are free to use no matter what, imagine if you could copyright poses, like, what if you came up with the cool idea for a rad pose but someone else had already done it before? Seeing other people draw things in other types of poses helps us improve too! Maybe you have be trying to draw a certain pose for  a long time but couldn't get it right, but then bam! You see another artist draw that exact pose and now, from referencing their art, you might be able to do it better. This is not stealing, it is part of the learning and it helps us improve!

Now style, I have a feeling that this one might be the one thing that most people reading won't agree with, but whatever, I'm going to explain my views on this too. First of all, no, I do not believe you can copyright a style, and it is completely okay to have a style similar to someone else, even if you got inspiration from them and 'copied their style'. This follows the same rules as the pose thing, and when you think about it, it fits in the same boat. If you could copyright a style, imagine how limited we'd be. Style is developed from seeing other peoples styles. If you see someone draw fur or lips or anything in a cool way and you want to do it that way yourself? give it a go! You can't own the way someone draws fur or lips or anything like that, I'd be stupid, doing this is a sure fire way to limit your potential as an artist. I can tell you now, I have personally 'taken' things from other styles and incorporated them into my own style, but is my style still unique? Course it is, all styles are. There is nothing truly original either when it comes to style, its basically a mash up of a lot of different styles half the time, don't limit yourself and try to be 'original' by trying to avoid what other people do in their styles, that will limit you a lot, and you might not end up liking how you draw either. Grabbing inspiration from other styles is also a great way of improving and developing your own style!

Now for referencing. Both of the topics just covered are basically referencing, there are many ways to reference but you have to remember with this, reference too hard and it can become copying, referencing is referring to certain parts of a piece, style, or anything really and using them to help aid you in making your own artwork. You can use referencing to learn anatomy, develop style, do poses, a lot of things really, don't feel like referencing is bad! It will help you develop as an artist and is super helpful. It can be really hard to draw something when you don't have other visuals to help you. Maybe someone pained a rock in a certain way and you liked how they did it and you wanted to add that into your picture, maybe you liked how they did the sunset, whatever, it's completely okay to try and draw certain things like someone else if you think it'd look good in your own picture, go for it!

So after going through all of that, you might be thinking, well what is art theft then?
Okay, so the one thing that CAN be copyrighted is an original piece of art (or well anything really). Let's just say I drew a picture, this picture is a picture of a dog running through a field of flowers. Stealing is when someone copies this piece to almost the exact details/ only changes a few minor things. If they just copy the pose, that's okay, if it's the style, that's okay. But if they copy the style, pose, and the exact composition, colours, etc., then yes, that is stealing. Re-posting art and tracing an ENTIRE picture is also stealing.

I hope that clears things up a little, I feel likely to get people who disagree with me but eh, this is my take on things. I find that a lot of people here on dA get harassed for just referencing, and I really feel this is wrong. While there are a lot of art thieves, there are also people who get harassed for doing absolutely nothing wrong.

Aka out~
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:iconjesterfunny:
JesterFunny Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2013
Luckily, this is something that I can favourite.
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:iconakapanuka:
AkaPanuka Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
;D
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:iconowl-flight:
Owl-Flight Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I agree with this for the most part, and I even agree with the thing about style to a degree. It doesn't particularly bother me when two people have similar styled, or even when one person takes a few things from another person's style and incorporates it into their own. What bothers me is when there is no credit where credit is due. I've actually had people talk down on certain aspects of my art and turn around and do the exact same thing in theirs (something they hadn't done before they saw me do it). For the most part my problem is when an artist strives to be more and more like another artist instead of taking some things and then branching off in their own direction, because then they're not their own artist, they're just a cheep knock off wannabe. And if thats what you want to do thats fine by me, but that doesn't mean I have to consider you to be your own artist, you're just a copycat.(if that sounds like it's directed at you it's not .-.)
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:iconakapanuka:
AkaPanuka Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
ahh yes, why didn't I mention that silly me. Giving credit when it is is due is very important, especially when referencing and stuff. , I do however disagree with you on the other part you mentioned about an artist not being their own artist when they are trying t be like something else.

The people who work for Disney probably have to learn how to imitate the Disney style, are they wannabes or cheap knock offs? It doesn't matter if you strive to have a style that is exactly same to another artist, it doesn't diminish your worth at all in my opinion, because in the end, the two artists will both have different ideas and maybe even diverge in the future, who knows? I find artists who just go in their 'own direction' get too wound up about their style looking like others, because that's really silly, you need to develop a style because you like it, not so its different from everyone else's. Sorry, I just find it really mean and kind of unfair that if an artist strives to achieve a style that someone else has, they are written off as a wannabe or a copycat, because that's not the case, they are just drawing how they want to draw, and there is nothing wrong with that at all.
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:iconowl-flight:
Owl-Flight Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
animation is different, it's a team of people working on the same project, it's all the same piece. They have their own art outside of the animation. And I'm not saying people cant copy another person's style, and I'm not saying what they create isn't "art" all I'm saying is the style isn't originally theirs and they have no... credit(?) for creating it. Yes they learned to draw in that style and it probably took some time to "perfect" drawing in that style. That doesn't mean they came up with it themselves though. They can have all the fun they want drawing in that style, but I dont feel like they get any credit whatsoever in creating it. The ideas for the different pictures I give them credit for, composition, character design, concept, all that jazz, but the style isn't theirs and there is no way to make it theirs without changing it up. So no mater how good the idea is it's "drawn in this other artist's style" and isn't entirely their own. And I'm not talking "this looks somewhat similar to so and so's style" I'm talking "this is the EXACT same style"

so basically, I'm not saying they can't do it, I'm just saying they're giving away a huge chunk of their originality, and "stealing" some from the other artist, because when you create a style that is your own, when someone else starts to use it there is someone else out there doing the same thing as you, it makes it less yours. Which I personally can find offensive if it's done without significant credit like "this person is my IDOL" credit
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:iconakapanuka:
AkaPanuka Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
The thing is, a style isn't something you own, you can pour all of your effort and time into making it perfect, but the style is just the way you do something, that's one of the points I tried to make in this journal. Style can be signature to an artist, but it isn't something they own, do you know how little variety people would have if you could claim rights to a style? If I put the same amount of effort into trying to 'perfect' this style that someone else has, why do I deserve less credit? Just because I didn't 'create' it? If I do something in Picasso's style for example, that doesn't mean I'm not original, that doesn't mean I'm stealing, I'm just doing something in a style that is signature to another artist. It's not super original, but what is these days? Nothing really, because almost EVERY SINGLE PIECE of art that someone creates falls into a style category. And what happens if two artists have almost the exact same style and they have never even seen each-others art before, are they less original? Lets just say things are exactly the same except they do know each other this time, why does the condition of what's happening determine how original they are?

Also I've seen some AMAZING TLK artists who have the EXACT same style as in the movie, but guess what? Some of them are super original and super amazing, and in my opinion, their style doesn't diminish their originality, actually, I don't see how having any kind of style, same to someone else's or not diminishes originality.
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:iconowl-flight:
Owl-Flight Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
(just making it clear I'm not arguing with you, I' just sharing my views which happen to be different)

If you use the style someone else came up with you dont have to go through the effort of creating it, trial and error, this looks good but that looks better so I'll go with that instead, yada yada yada. The person who originally comes up with the style deserves more credit than the person who copies it. Someone can perfectly copy Picasso's style, it could be a masterpeice, but that doesn't make them as important to art history as Picasso was, because he was the first. If two people were to come up with very similar styles on their own that's a whole nother story, they both have equil rights to it because they both created it from scratch. It belongs to one as much as the other.

I'm not saying that someone who draws in TLK style cant be an amazing very original artist. I'm just saying as far as style goes they have no originality. They can be original and amazing in every other sector, not not style. So that part of their art IS diminished because it's just... not there.

now of course everyone's entitled to their own opinion, this is just mine.
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:iconakapanuka:
AkaPanuka Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
(same here, lets just call it a...friendly debate |D )

But you DO need to go through trail and error when 'imitating' another style, you do need to go through the, 'this doesn't look right, doing it this way is better' stage, just because you know where you are trying to go with your style when the 'original creator' didn't, it's still the same result, and still the same amount of effort (on average). Sure there are in some ways, 'original creators' of a certain style, but that doesn't make them the more original one or the better one, they are just the person to discover the style. Other people could utilize that same style to create even more 'unique' works. Just because the style is the same it doesn't mean the overall appeal is. The so called 'copycat' could even end up being more original then the creator of the style them self, what if the original creator had works that looked like a lot of other things, but the copy cat used it in a way that hasn't been tried before, are they still less original?

Also, thought I might mention. Recently in school we were studding an artist called Roy Lichtenstein, guess what he did? he literally copied comic book art (from other artists of course, he used the exact same style). His art is worth millions now, it is featured in the Australian art gallery as we speak. He is a 'copycat', but guess what? the way he used this art was something different, and it made him really unique. He wasn't the creator of the style, but he was the one to use it like no one else did. THAT'S what made him special.
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:iconowl-flight:
Owl-Flight Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
It's not nearly the same thing to learn to draw in someone elses style as it is to create your own (create, not discover). It can begin as one thing and evolve into something totally different, something even you didn't expect. Maybe being the first to create a style doesn't make them "better" but in the sense of style it DOES make them more original because they're the "origin" of the style. They can be more original as an artist, use it in the most amazing unique ways possible, but they are not the creator of the style, they did not come up with it and it is not theirs. They may adopt it to be their own but it didn't come from them so it isn't a part of them.

a "copycat" can be the most original artist on earth, but they will never have a style because they never made it for themself. It will always belong to the person who started it. And when I say belong I dont mean they own it, I mean it is a part of them they are the creator and it has a part of who they are in it. If you dont create your style it will never have that, your art as a whole might, in your ideas, your compositions, your ideas, but not the style.
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:iconakapanuka:
AkaPanuka Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Why use the word belong if a style can't belong to someone though? You can't say a style is 'not theirs',because that's implying someone owns the style when you can't claim ownership to a style. Style belongs to neither the copycat or the creator in this situation. Sure, being the origin of a style entitles you to to have some originality, but it doesn't make the creator's art of more worth than the copycats. Both are equal in originality in my opinion anyway.

As an artist, I strive to not limit myself by style. The idea of 'having a part of who I am' in my style' is NOT what I strive for, actually that's what I try to avoid, I actually see this as a kind of limitation. Having a part of who I am in my ARTWORK is what I strive for. In all honesty, I don't want a style that is 'part of who I am'. I want the ability to utilize many different styles, weather they were created by me or not. You don't need to create your own style for your artwork to have significant meaning to who you are, and I don't believe using an already made style diminishes an artists originality. It's the piece as a whole that creates this, not the aspect of style.
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