Sunday, May 19, 2013

Art Lately + Copyrights

Turns out it's actually been awhile since I've shown off my (personal) art, so here's my favorite pieces from the last month!

As usual, I'm open for commissions. Check out my etsy to buy your own personalized portrait or blog header, or just email me at, I do tons of stuff!

(At the end of this I've got a nice long rant about copyright infringement, so enjoy!)
I'm probably going to turn this mermaid into a print for sale.
 This is actually from last year! I just never put it online anywhere.
 Sassy ladies <3 <3 <3
I've always been into sunflowers!
A couple blog header commissions!

Okay so I did promise myself that the next time I made an art post I would talk about something that bothers me. Copyright infringement. Now I'm not going to pretend to know any complexities about copyright law, but art theft is something that matters a lot to me, as an artist.

There are a lot of forms of art theft that I think a lot of people don't think about. There're more offenses than claiming someone's art as your own. I've come across a lot of my art (and the art of others) on tumblr that someone has copied from one of my posts into their own so that it links back to them. The only thing that accomplishes is taking credit away from the artist, and it's mean.

Another thing I see a lot of is intellectual property theft from major companies. A lot of people, for example on sites like etsy, will draw or make jewelry of characters created by someone else. There's a lot of fandom art out there that you can buy that's not made by the company. Think Harry Potter necklaces, drawings of characters from Adventuretime, or Mario earrings. There's nothing wrong with fanart, but when you put it up for sale, you're making money off of someone else's idea.

I understand that there are grey areas on this subject, like that the artist is putting creative work into their jewelry or interpretation (most of the time. I have seen stuff on etsy where people literally just take a photo from their fave fandom and slap it on a bracelet and sell it). There's also the issue that the money a single crafter will make off of their stuff wouldn't be a drop in the bucket to Cartoon Network or Nintendo. A lot of my beef with it may just be jealousy. I feel like if I drew Homestuck characters and put them up for sale, I'd make a lot more money than just selling my own original content, since Homestucks would be tag searching for merch and it's such a large fandom.

I'm certain that most of the people who sell fan art aren't intentionally being rude. I think it's just something that most people don't consider. I mostly feel like this sort of behavior is cheating the system. If you truly respect the work someone else has done, as an artist, don't use it for your own personal gain, and as a consumer, pay the person who thought of it!

I understand i'ts a hard thing to get around. There's really cool art out there that has copyrighted characters in it, and it's fun to make art of your favorite characters and spread the love around. But it's not always that easy. Just something to think about!


  1. How do you feel about selling vintage clothes on Etsy? The sellers didn't make them, but they curate their collections.

    1. That's an excellent point. I definitely haven't thought about that, but it does seem similar. I mean, like, I do that haha. Vintage clothes are someone else's intellectual property. I guess you could argue that you're paying a sort of "finder's fee" to get something you wouldn't be seeing otherwise, like you're paying for access to it. Once it's already bought it's out of the original seller's hands, and there's no way for them to make money off of it again, so it's not stealing in quite the same way.
      Like I said, there are definitely some grey areas with the whole thing. I wouldn't want the world to be robbed of the creativity that results of fanart (even for sale fanart) because I've seen some really amazing stuff that people have done. I just think it's an issue that most people don't think about.

  2. I love that mermaid print! And that pizza one should go to Jessica. That's so her haha! Anyway, I know how you feel on the copyright infringement. While I'm no artist, I had an issue with a girl who was using my pictures on her blog and not crediting me. We got into a huge ordeal because she said she got the image off of Google. She had no idea what copyright laws were and it really upset me. So rant all you want, there are so many people who agree with you :)



    Southern (California) Belle

    1. Thanks Ashley!
      That's a bummer. I feel like a lot of people just don't think about that sort of thing or realize it's impact on others!

  3. My art teachers at the college that I go to had someone come into talk to us about copyright laws and how to protect our work if we put it on the internet. It was actually really useful. If you cannot find the source of the original work then basically you can do what you want with it (including big companies) which sucks, but there are steps to stopping this like putting your name into the title of the file and putting watermarks on your work.
    On the other hand, I do really like fan art and have been able to get some really cool presents for friends out of it.

    1. Yeah I spend a lot of time on tumblr and not sourcing is like, rampant. I learned recently that you can reverse search an image by going to google images and pressing the camera icon in the search bar! Then paste the image url and you can see everywhere it was posted! It makes it easier to find the real source, which is really cool.

  4. I find the idea of artistic copyright rather interesting, especially in this day and age where it is so easy to find (and use) images. Often, as you point out, for innocuous reasons, but also often effectively cutting out the credit. The Dressed to the Nines comment above was especially disheartening about what can be done with "uncredited" works (though, if there are people in these works, I'd assume model consent would still need to be given).

    The point about the art based on fandoms is an interesting one. I think it would depend, ultimately, if what the artist is doing could be considered "transformative." For nearly all media, including art, there are exceptions for transformative works. Transformative Works seem to be works based off of an existing idea but with something done to them to add to or put an original twist on to the concept. This is why media can have stories that are parodies or homages to movies/shows etc. The art works the same way too. There are some laws to protect that. But a lot of the "fandom art" you mentioned does not seem to be transformative at all.

    1. I definitely agree that the element of transformativity (real word?) in fanart is important. Because then the artist has done something new, some work that is their own. That's a good point about parodies and homages, too!

  5. You should really enter your art here:
    It's a bit belated, me telling you today because entries close today, but you really should, your art is really lovely