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commissions, trades, or giftoids.
I have art exhibitions occasionally in which where I attempt to sell prints, and think it is in bad taste to do this when characters not belonging to me are involved.  Generally speaking I do not even like to display them, but if I DID display them I certainly would not sell them.  But is it also bad taste to draw over those characters as if they never existed, and reuse the other elements of the scene, and THEN sell prints?

I personally think it is tacky and know it is certainly not legal to sell merchandise using commercial characters to which you have no right, and folks do that all the time at conventions, and even at some of these art shows.  As far as I can tell 85% of the junk on Etsy is ripping off Nintendo in some way.  But is this negative in the same manner as disregarding somebody who had contacted you personally?

There are a great number of people who used to talk to me that no longer do, that I made drawings for.  I suspect at least one of them to be deceased based on information that you will not gain from clicking that.  I develop attachments in a way that evidence suggests is uncommon, and likewise I fail to develop them in ways that some other people do.  I personally have no problem replacing somebody else's character so I can reuse an idea or composition that I like, or a background that was much more work than the character drawing that I was paid/traded/not even those for. 
But what do "you" think? 

I did just this at least once, and I posted the reworked version in the internet, since it was a considerable reworking, and I hated to leave the product permanently to a bad memory, but I did so while I was/am still on terms with one of the people whose figures had previously been involved, and I detected a hint of disbelief or sadness about it.  Is it only rude to display the item where a former participant could see it, or amoral all around?

In the past, painters could repaint and resell an old work, assuming they had time, making whatever alterations were necessary, but they could not reuse and edit the original.  Although in all likelihood they did not sell the original for $25 USD minus paypal fees, and if they did, that was worth more back then anyway.  The stories of Peter Rabbit and Alice of Wonderland were notably written, initially for free to amuse family members before they became commercial works, but somehow that seems less potentially-perceivable as crass since they were for family and involved original characters anyway.  Alice was a real person, but she was never removed.  A precise allegory is difficult to turnip.
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:iconbimshwel:
bimshwel Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2015
Yes, you first was my primary point: I put more effort into these pictures than is called for, and am frustrated at not allowing myself to display them publicly, and thought about ways to make them suit the task better.

A number of these were for people whose interest in having the specific personal characters that I drew has proven transient, so my major concern does indeed lie with people who still use their characters.  Perhaps those I should leave alone for the time being, even though the chance is they would not know I printed an alternate version unless I told them.
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:iconkoshizuu:
Koshizuu Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2015
Probably the best way to avoid confusion is to add a small disclaimer to your commission information, saying you reserve the right to sell prints/merchandise? Artists who make art 'on the side' or are not employed as an artist full time tend to leave the terms and conditions of any art sales wide open - which isn't a good thing as it allows what you can and can't do open to interpretation or assumption. By adding that clause customers will at least have the ability to acknowledge that term before they commit to buying a commission from you.

As for the situation now, I think it would be morally sound to at least ask those people who have commissioned you in the past before selling something which contains their characters/ideas, if at the time they weren't aware that whatever they bought from you would be sold on. Its a bit of a grey area - although the art belongs to you, if it wasn't clear at the time of sale that the art was/wasn't going to be sold publicly its just as much a case for a customer to argue that this specific term wasn't part of the contract with you in the beginning. I'm sure most people would not mind for you to sell prints, but yeah...if you make the case clear this time around, it should avoid this kind of situation later on!
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:iconbimshwel:
bimshwel Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2015
Absolutely.  I meant that I would NOT include the other person's character.  I have no intention of selling something like that, and do not even like to hang them up, because then I feel obligated to over-explain the image's origin.
And obviously, I tend to talk too much and confound my point! I was asking if it was tacky for me to REMOVE or replace those characters.  I also tend to, or used to tend to, over-invest myself in things that I gave away.  Generally the ideas are my own, at least in the things that I want to show.
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:iconkoshizuu:
Koshizuu Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2015
Oh sorry, I misinterpreted the question there. In that case, I'd echo again that if the customer specifically asked for the artwork to contain X/Y/Z prior to knowing it would be edited/resold, then it would probably be best to ask permission; but if you came up with the composition, theme, or everything else minus the character design then I guess it is fairly safe to reuse the idea. If I was purchasing artwork from someone that had the potential to be recycled into an original work to sell, I think I would prefer to know about if before the transaction, however. Knowing you paid a premium for something you thought was bespoke which turns out you could buy a mass-produced original version (likely for less) would be disappointing in my view! That is for artwork which has been created, but simply had the character(s) replaced - if you redrew the whole thing from the ground up it would be a different situation I suppose.
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:iconbimshwel:
bimshwel Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2015
I might say that a print-buyer would not get to suggest any part of the scene, but that would have no bearing on what the original instigator would feel.
In fact with my habit of obsessive compulsive retouching, I might as well redraw the whole thing anyhow, and avoid any worrying of this sort.  Thank you for the input!
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:icongoblinalmagpie:
That does not sound illegal or shady. I'm fine with that.
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