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Message from Drawponies

Journal Entry: Mon Apr 20, 2015, 6:23 PM

Hello everyone, Neil Wacaster here, which some of you know as Drawponies.  You may have heard the reports that I have traced screenshots from the show in my art and that I have been selling traced artwork at conventions.  

While I have done hundreds of original art pieces, it is true that some of my art has been traced from the show - particularly for things that we wanted to get out quickly for viewers, such as comic strips. I have focused on selling original artwork at conventions, but there have been cases where artwork was traced. I sincerely apologize for doing this, and for hurting those who have watched me. I also wish to apologize to those who feel they have been cheated by me. I should have taken the time to create art completely from scratch, instead of taking an easy way out to fill a quota or get something done quickly. From now on, I will be doing original artwork no matter how long it takes.

Let me address the other points that people are making:

  • Deleting negative comments and banning people for criticism - My volunteer moderator team and I did not delete negative comments made in the last few days. Claims that we did are false.

  • Adapting to Night as traced work - Adapting to Night is an example of work that is created completely from scratch.  Many of the characters, objects, and backgrounds used in the series are referenced from the show, but not traced or copied.  As with all of the art on the page, when we use fandom created assets, it is clearly credited in the description.

Despite all this, I will still be going forward, and continue to create artwork for the fandom.  None of the artwork that I will have at conventions will have show assets, and any work with traced assets will be discontinued entirely.

I know that many of my followers are angry.  It was a foolish mistake, and I should never have traced pictures for my work.  All I ask is for your forgiveness; if you do not wish to give any, I understand.

If you have any concerns about this issue, you are welcome to leave your opinions.  Your frustration and opinions are heard and read, even if I don’t reply.  Please direct your messages at me, rather than my friends, as I’m the one who did it.

I love drawing fanart for the brony community, and that isn’t going to change.  I am truly sorry that I let you down, and I hope that you can forgive me.

Add a Comment:
spongefox Featured By Owner Aug 29, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
I can't say that I'm happy about this. In fact, I'm severely disappointed. I liked it better when you were doing actual art by hand. With pencil, paper, inking pens and inking your own stuff. Looks like you're going to have to do more than just apologize. But, I'll still watch you for your own art works. I'll admit, I've traced stuff a long time ago myself, but I don't sell it, and would much rather draw out the objects, characters my own way.
BloodinMyenam Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2015  Hobbyist
Just to clarify, no, I do NOT think it's right to sell traced work. However, I feel as though the fandom's response to it shifts my attitude towards him more more towards pity than anger.
NLRFTW Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Let's face it. If he wasn't caught he would still be doing it. Fuck, he's probably gonna keep doing it. You sold traced art. There is no redemptions. You pull this PR apology on us and expect it to go back to normal. GG. You have failed as an artist
SonataDuskLover Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2016
Yup. Agree.
Flagged as Spam
Sneshneeorfa Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
I'm with you on this.
I make comics, not as popular as drawponies's (obviously) but I can honestly say that I'm happy to be guilt-free of tracing.
CrucifyTheWolf Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Good thing you've moved on.

Everyone else... *coughLaserpon3* needs to grow the fuck up.
DIGIPONYOFFICIAL Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2015  Student Digital Artist
Jeez this is a mixed reaction from fans but it seems most havent accepted accepted the apology, i have simply gotten over it
CrucifyTheWolf Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Same dude.
120percentcool Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2015
There's a pretty clean line between tracing to speed up art production and selling stolen art. I bet you've never released something for free to have someone else recolor and sell it, it's a pretty shitty thing to do.

Quit being a shill.
CrucifyTheWolf Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist

BloodinMyenam Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2015  Hobbyist
I like how he's being so humble... this is a perfect example of how immature this fandom acts sometimes. If you enjoy his art, it doesn't matter how it was made.

Neil, you didn't need to apologize in the first place. The people making drama like they did don't deserve your apology, and certainly don't need to hear your self-loathing.
dlazerous Featured By Owner Edited Jun 17, 2015
Wow, so much drama.  I kind of figured the comics were a trace or at least vector manipulation.  I still love your work and hope you keep it up.

To all the butt hurt individuals out there, What Drawponies did was not illegal so stop harping on it.  He did take the work of another but he used it in a completely original fashion such as making an picture or comic out of it.  This is covered by derivative use laws.  Had he copied an entire screen shot, verbatim,  and posted it as his original work, that would be plagiarism. 

For those of you who do not understand what derivative use is, let me explain.
A derivative work is a new, original product that includes aspects of a preexisting, already copyrighted work. Derivative works can include musical arrangements, motion pictures, art reproductions, sound recordings or translations. They can also include dramatizations and fictionalizations, such as a movie based on a play.

Under this definition, Drawponies "copied/traced" art is an example of a Derivative art piece.
AnimeEmm Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2015  Professional Artist
This is honestly the first time I ever heard of you and what you do. Honestly I can see how many people are angry at you and that I can really really understand. some have forgiven you or little, but im sure their trust is still having some time to adapt.

I do appreciate you apologizing and admitting you traced and sell your artwork at the conventions. Tracing artwork and selling them is against all convention rules and you can get banned for it let alone its illegal to trace. 

I think the only way you can get most of everyones trust back is doing original artwork from now on. Sure Art takes time but it shows your putting time and effort into making it. 

I will also admit I have traced in the past when I joined Deviantart, but I stopped in around 2009-2010. Never sold my trace art knowing I can get into deep trouble. 

Draw your own artwork from now on and maybe the people who you angered and got frustrated, etc, will slowly gain their trust to you back but it will take time for them to trust you again and im sure you do understand that
floraaritcwolf Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
i've traced too but i never sold them
and i've used bases erasing the name off of it
but i never sold/uploaded it
You should be ashamed, mate. Very ashamed. There are many artists out there, some a lot better than you and never traced a single piece. The tracing itself isn't even that big a deal. It's the fact that you are claiming they're original and *profiting* from them monetarily. Other artists with original content can't sell a thing with you around yet all you're doing is screenshotting scenes from the show and editing.

I hope Hasbro doesn't take any legal actions against you as it wouldn't be pretty in the least. They've cracked down on more popular artists for a loooot less, I'll have you know.
Sneshneeorfa Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
As a business practice it's incredibly unfair seeing as how much of an advantage you have (at conventions and such) due to your popularity. I can understand taking short cuts to meet deadlines, it's a very tempting thing to do. But you gotta use some common sense and plan better. Try not to overload your schedule and you won't be as tempted. This whole situation could have easily been avoided, but you probably already know that. I'm glad you came clean about it, Neil. I forgive you, but it's going to take some time to earn back the trust of many of your fans, including this one. I can only hope for your sake this doesn't bring any legal troubles. Hasbro has cracked down on fan projects and works for far less.
The007core Featured By Owner May 3, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
I forgive you. I was only a little upset is all. You changing to all non-traced is a weight off of my mind.
ZetaRESP Featured By Owner May 1, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Well, feel lucky: I'm not even able to trace a perfect circle :( (Sad) 
rocketman732 Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I'm guilty of tracing
FlockOfMoosen Featured By Owner May 14, 2015
Tracing is useful as a tool for practice. It's when you sell those traced works that's where you cross the line.
rocketman732 Featured By Owner May 14, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Fox-Boy72 Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2015  Student Digital Artist
I think what many people don't understand is that as long as the commissioner(s) or buyer(s) are happy with the final piece, and has paid, there is nothing to further talk about. If before the work is finished and paid for, the commissioner feels that it is not what they specifically asked for, then the commissioner and the commissioned must review and agree what to do next. I am not blaming those who have bought his work are responsible for not specifically asking for fully original work, but they did say they were happy with the final product. They should also expect a full or partial refund...
Perrydotto Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
The issue is simple: You are using traced artwork to make money, entirely under false pretense, and driving other vendors at cons away because they can't compete with your output and merch. That's just downright despicable business practice, and hurts people who actually make their work entirely from scratch, without tracing or editing screenshots.

Stop selling traces, stop posting traces online without clearly labelling them as traces, and stop masking traces as original art.
Fundz64 Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2015  Professional General Artist
meh, do what you want Neil- it's your life decision, not any of ours and most certainly not any of mine

If you like to trace cartoon horses, that's okay.
If you like to sell them for profit, can't say you're not allowed since a lot more people do it than they would confess about it. It's ironic in a sense since the same people who complain about your tracing gave you monetary support either from commissions or Patreon. If anything, they should complain about themselves for not thinking thoroughly of their decision. then again, most people in this fandom will blindly support anything just for the sake of it being pony-related. Again, nothing wrong with that. It's a decision of their own, but they should be complaining about their poor choices and not doing something to change it rather than follow a sheep heard of five second internet fame.

Art is generally meant to express yourself. Be it creativity, humor or ingeniousness in any other case.
The generic people who did support you and your artworks supported YOU, not your artwork. Fan art isn't worth much in the eyes of the economy market, even if you're doing it for a living.
If you're able to take a drawing and add your own original twist to it, you would have gotten my attention since I like to be inspired by creativity in any part of art. Alas, i'm neither impressed nor unimpressed but that's not what you, or anybody, should aim for when drawing.
You should be drawing because you like it. If others like that you like drawings, great! They are the kind of followers you want to have. Not the 'watchers' who only want you to draw what's trending or that's popular on the mainstream.
It's a shame this fandom is an easy target for melodramatic drama since the target audience is already being questioned for sanity indiscreetly. The fact a blog website called >HorseNews has to highlight all the bad points that occur in the fandom doesn't help the cause either.

Long and short of it: Only you know what path to take for your journey, Neil. Seeing that you have a decent crew to back you up on your projects, im pretty sure you know what consequences lie ahead for any action you make, be it positive or negative.

Beavernator Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2015
All is fair in love and war.
FeanorKelsick Featured By Owner Apr 25, 2015
Just keep doin what you do, move on, and it will be forgotten and forgiven, not a big deal, people like to make drama but those same people dont have great attention spans for it either. Live and learn!
ZzzShadows Featured By Owner Apr 25, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
i don't know why people are getting so angry, you make art that makes me smile and laugh, and everyone makes mistakes, we're only human after all. Seriously, you did it to make deadlines and to get comics out faster, not because you had no talent, and it basically means you did all this for your fans, and i think that wasn't a bad thing to do, so i forgive you :) 
Flagged as Spam
ZzzShadows Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
yeah, someone else told me already, and i get it now :) thanks for helping me understand the problem 
Huaie Featured By Owner Apr 25, 2015
In my honest opinion, after read all the other comments and shits about you, I think I can say that you did, was not right.
Well, I don't care much because I don't know you or anything. But I can only recommend you to stop tracing art, and also, be prepared for the weeks of pissed people.
Because they will call you names, they will do they best to destroy you for what you did, they will show other peoples that forgive you how bad you are, and how you should not be forgiven.
I have nothing against you, because I know people make mistakes. Even if it's a big mistake like yours.
I hope you have a nice day.
heathrin18 Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2015   Writer
Everyone makes mistakes we are only human. What's important is how one learns from it. I was not really bothered by this situation in truth I am not an artist myself so I cannot relate to the subject matter. All I know is that I enjoy your work and while some elements maybe traced it wasn't completely so, and it was used mainly to get certain expressions just right by what I can tell. We all have moments of weakness and laziness, I will not put others on pedestals, you can't expect people to NEVER make mistakes or have some failures and regrets. If we only expect the best of people even on a moral level, we will only make ourselves disappointed in the end as we forget, "hey this guy messes up too".
E09378 Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2015  Student Digital Artist
I'm having mixed feelings about this but I made up my mind and unwatch you. 
SteelResolve Featured By Owner Apr 25, 2015
A sensible decision.
byranuchiha Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
And the fucks I give just keep on dropping. Wait, did I ever give one? Nope! Mostly because he's a generally respectful person (see BronyCAN2014), should I go again this year, I'll buy something, should he be there
I think there are a lot of people who need to get a goddamn sense of proportion. I'm dating a pro artist, and she always just laughs at these little controversies, because professional animators trace their work off of reference images ALL THE BLOODY TIME. They just don't use it as a crutch, and they add enough original material that it's not generally obvious. And they're not working among a bunch of bored, jumpy teenagers who need to create controversy to make their lives feel important.

As for the people trying to claim companies like Hasbro have some kind of moral high ground here in enforcing their alleged legal rights... they apparently have never seen the spec sheets companies like Hasbro and American Greetings give to their artists. They pretty much tell their artists, "Um... obviously we don't want to you rip off [say] Invader Zim... but could you draw this as much like Invader Zim as possible without getting us a threat our legal department can't handle?" If anyone seriously thinks this is an ethical issue in the slightest for the entities that own these characters, they're out of their minds. 

This whole thing is idiotic. Don't apologize to these dumb kids.
DearPrincessCelestia Featured By Owner Apr 25, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
Couldnt agree more :)

When I made the art for the childrens book I published last year I traced my own art all the time to make the deadline xD (like poses/eyes etc and then changed the needed things so it looked like a new picture)

If someone made a big issue out of all the crap I have traced during the years, I would ask them to fuck off. I trace/copy poses all the time to learn new stuff - like deer, running dog poses etc - especially when making animated work for apps. After a few times of tracing you can do it yourself, but tracing is an awesome help in the beginning or when being busy. 

Funny thing is that we all break the copyright laws xD just me having fluttershy as my avatar while selling adopts, or the adopt group having "MLP" in their group-names - that could be enough for a lawsuit. Luckily Hasbro doesnt care a fig about us random artist - only when it gets known everywhere as the Button-series. 
BoneSatellite Featured By Owner Apr 25, 2015
Quietrium Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2015  Student General Artist
Manaphyxoxo Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
This was on Facebook three minutes after it was posted, courtesy me.
Manaphyxoxo Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
I'm glad to see that you apologized Neil, hopefully you'll be less busy and we can talk more lol!
iheartjapan789 Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I first heard about this from dennybutt's tumblr. From the time I started watching you, I never realized that some of your art has been traced. 
How can I be mad at you? I was surprised at first, but as an understanding person, I forgive. I will continue to support you if your art is traced or not. 
HaloPrime Featured By Owner Edited Apr 23, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I know people want to be angry at you for tracing, and sometimes it's for the right reasons (especially if you were profiting, even more especially monetarily via tracing), but I'd just want to encourage you to reevaluate your reasons for making art. I can understand why you would want to trace, especially for comics, but it always depreciates the quality of a piece when it's fairly obvious. You probably might just want to communicate a joke or a story with a character or more, but copy/pasting them in such a way is almost low-budget as well as an insult to the original artists. The best way to grow, to get your joke/story/message across, to be remembered, is to embrace your art style and grow with it. I know you have a unique art style. Don't concern yourself with being too proportionate to the show's representation of characters or by being a few pixels off anywhere. Just draw and convey the message as best as you can. If you choose to restrict yourself with tracing the same boring angles or structures of characters, you're gonna feel limited and it will show in the piece. So instead, try to improve your drawing and do things without training wheels. I mean you can always look at references to comprehend things with ease, but don't fall into the trap of tracing for good!

If you're selling any pieces of traced art, I would immediately stop selling them ASAP. If anything you're doing on Patreon was traced, try to make it up to both your Patreon supporters and your other viewers. Really commit to the fact that you're sorry and make sure you don't profit from plagiarism. Heck, even the stuff you trace that ISN'T monetized gives you some publicity, so you do kind of profit from tracing regardless. I'd abstain from it completely and really try to break that crutch. Grow as an artist and when you look back at your previous fallacies, you'll be glad you did.
dva4695 Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
traced art or not, I'll continue to be a follower and a supporter. 
ricardofr-200 Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2015
Sometimes laziness may lead us to commit mistakes in life, I know because I've been really lazy when I was in college, never did a thing, even simple homeworks, and never graduate because I only wanted to do a real work... Well I started short peroid job but then I found my self at home doing nothing, I wanted money for my stuff and didn't have a cent.

particularly for things that we wanted to get out quickly for viewers

Well, I'm not calling you a lazy-man, I think you are also making too much stuff at time, fans are also need to learn to be pacient, and in my stand point, not being pacient is also a obvious sign of laziness too (and that is why I started my comment as so).

And again, sometimes we commit errors, but we need to make them to learn how to make better decisions and grow up with more maturity. 
DearPrincessCelestia Featured By Owner Apr 25, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
its what all professional artist do :) we trace all the freakkin time - both our own art, real-life poses etc. when being busy. 

Im both an illustrator and copywriter and when I do either of those things I trace my own art/reuse phrases to ensure consistency and also to provide results quicker. I dont see any problems with him tracing from the show and making money of it. No amtter if he traces or not, its copyright infringement, so no need to make the distinction. 
ricardofr-200 Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2015
:thumbsup: You got a point.
lonercs Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2015
Much like GamerGate, the quick and easy solution is transparency and full disclosure. Tell us when you are tracing, and don't try to monetize your tracings!

While it seems obvious things were traced, other artist had content equally as good without tracing and many artist are better and never traced, like MadHatoua. Still, if we know what stuff is traced and you aren't trying to sell them off as genuine pieces, there wouldn't be a problem!
Crystal-Secret Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2015   Digital Artist
Guys as much as this guy did what was wrong, we are far far away from Equestria. My Little Ponys what did we do wrong here? For some, maybe. We have to stay true and strong  to what we believe in, what we are meant for as Ponys. I pray to Celestia you can forgive him, I have. Yes, I am upset that he made a ton of monies on traced artwork while artists struggle and get no where with blood and sweat. But Celestia would forgive him, so are we. That's the whole point of this show. That's the whole point of this Community. That's the whole purpose behind Equestria, Harmony. I don't distress his punishment at all, nor do I believe he should go unpunished, him not being allowed to sell in venders is the crime payed. Now move on and let love fill your heart, and harmony will follow along with you.
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April 20, 2015


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