Please Listen.

4 min read

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I just got an email from a concerned parent. Her daughter has an account on DA, and apparently she copies and traces my drawings. I looked on her profile and confirmed that, yes, she did trace and gave minimal (sometimes no) credit. The reason her mother messaged me was because a few people were apparently sending her harsh messages asking her to give credit. She even got a few death threats.

Listen...I'm going to say this all again because I guess it needs reiterating: When it comes to my art, I do not mind young artists copying or tracing my drawings in hopes of developing their skills, or because they are still learning the way of things. If you see someone posting a traced or heavily referenced drawing that does not mention the original picture, please DO NOT immediately jump to aggression.   If something like this (art theft/style theft) really gets on your nerves, then I understand why you might be angry upon seeing it, but you must find the maturity to take a breath, and politely ask the person to give credit.

Listen...I'm not mad. At either party.

People who copy and trace...I hope you learn it is something you can only do for so long before you must develop beyond it. You must give some form of credit to the original...even a simple "original by ____" or "inspired by ____" goes a LONG way.

People who become heated and accuse or threaten said copiers/tracers...I hope you realize how small the issue can be, and manage to take a step back. I understand it is a frustrating thing to see the original artist get no credit, but that does not give you any right to lash out and threaten others, especially when they are likely no older than 10-13 years old. If you see someone clearly tracing/copying and there is no credit, take a breath and tell them "hi, I see you're a fan of ____. Listen, I understand you are probably trying to learn from someone you admire, but you really must give credit to the original piece. Would you please update your description with a link to the original piece, or a mention to the original artist? Thank you!"

Now, I realize that sometimes, even though one is polite, the tracer/copier will respond angrily and say they didn't copy/trace and that the drawing is their own. This is not an invitation for more aggression. Simply, "I'm sorry if you took my words the wrong way, I wasn't trying to be rude, but you clearly referenced (link to the original piece), and I think it's only right to give the original artist recognition. This isn't an attack, it's just that when you post something online that was traced from another artist, the right thing to do is give them a mention for their work. If I were to trace your art, wouldn't you want me to say that you were originally the creator, then give a link to your profile so people could see what you've made?"

If they still respond with aggression, report the post but do not reply. If they never respond and do nothing to credit, then report the post if it really bothers you.

Overall, make sure to take a step back and check your anger. I know it can be hard on the internet, and it's easy to be lured into a pointless argument until eventually someone breaks into tears, but seriously...if you find yourself in an argument with a stranger online: pause, step away from the computer, take a breath, and think about the situation beyond yourself. Most often it is best to simply not reply, or to end the argument with, "well, we obviously don't agree, and I don't see a reason to continue this conversation if nothing constructive will come from it." Then never ever reply again unless they respond in a more polite manner.

In this world full of darkness, hate and anger, what point is there in working yourself up over something so small?

I hope you all have a great day! Let's continue living our lives, yeah? Hug 


EDIT *please read: There are a few people in the comments who have brought up really great points, both in disagreement and as an addition to this post. I beg you to please take a bit of time and go through the comments. I've featured the ones that I think you all need to read, because what they say are definitely things that need to be considered.
Look for featured comments.
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I hope to be like you and I think this may help more people. I know this might not pertain to this exactly, but copying a drawing is a good tool for me to get better, since when I copy it, it makes me be able to draw in that style. It gets confusing for me in my mind on how it does it, but I guess that is how my brain works. But it is a good tip to credit the artist IF you showcase it to other people. If it is a copy that you don't show anyone, then that's what happens, but still you should always credit the art especially if you show it to someone. Maybe my own message will help, but I know that this message would help too. I mean, it does have a lot of comments XD. I hope this entire post helps inspire a whole lot more people to be better and to not steal someone's work and claim it as their own. Continue with your great work and I hope you have a wonderful day.
soulofthedragons's avatar
I aspire to be like you. Your patience and understanding is beyond what i could handle. And your art is SO good, do you happen to have any drawing tips i could use so i can better improve my drawing skills?
pinkcheetah82's avatar
Death threats?! that's mental!
Kyra-Wolfe-666's avatar
River, I know that I'm commenting extremely late, but I just wanted to tell you something.

Before I moved to where I am now, I drew like crap. Like, it was terrible. Super friggin cringey. But, when I moved, I found your channel. Your art style influenced mine greatly.  My art style is not the same as yours, but I tried some art techniques that you tried, and my art turned out a whole lot better.  I never traced your art.  Ever.  The only thing I ever did was use a base, color it in, and shade it.  But that was for me to improve my shading and coloring.  The only people that saw it was my family.  I have it saved in a folder titled "DO NOT PUT ON DA".  Because I didn't draw the base.  You did.  And I do not want to waste my time by putting up art that isn't mine.  The only reason I still have it is to check on the progress I've made over the years.  Thank you for being a huge inspiration to me!
Nature-essence's avatar
River you have delt with traced art very clearly but what about stolen? I happen to know a deviant is stealing a commision you did with no credit.
RiverSpirit456's avatar
Yes, I deal with stolen art quite a bit... it's something that needs to be dealt with in an even manner just like tracing. I'll send a note asking for credit or removal of the reposts, and if they don't respond or respond aggressively, I'll do exactly as I described: not reply and report them. I won't let it dominate my thoughts and make me spread negative energy as well.

Things like this happen all the time and are often inevitable. We deal with them as they come. :)
Nature-essence's avatar
Yeah! I am sorry if I sounded to harsh. Thank you for noticing me river
PoppyFox222's avatar
I've used your art as a reference sometimes, but I make it my own (you can just tell it's mine cause it's not as professional). Usually people trace or copy is because they don't see their own art as good enough, or don't want to take up all their time drawing. And usually people feel like when they see someone using other people's art they need to tell them not to use it. And such, and sometimes and it sometimes isn't very nice to the person that might already had low self esteem.
LoveViolently's avatar
Eh. As a child in school I had my art repeatedly stolen and traced irl before the age of 10-13. So I don't see it as a compliment. I just bring it to the original artist's attention via notes or the like and report if necessary. There is no point getting angry/attacking/arguing with children on the Internets.
JNapierIndustries's avatar
I want these Blue Meanies to stop threatening people who don't credit! I'd just nicely say that it would be good if the original artist was credited!
Sparlor's avatar
I smell a Beatles movie reference. :)
TwistyTheTwisted's avatar
You don't seem to understand how bases work do you.
RPGlinXx's avatar
i do and i think it's really sick for people to make such horrid things especially when it's all traced/copied from somewhere no matter how "original" they say or make it out to be.

and poses are to be everywhere... so you can't just assume that the person traced, but with bases it is bloody different m8
TwistyTheTwisted's avatar
You do know there are ORIGINALLY MADE bases and there are bases that credit the original work (and ask for permission)
RPGlinXx's avatar
"original" my ass

even so it's still "copying" and that's "oh so bad"
TwistyTheTwisted's avatar
Okay, here's a base a made a while back. And yes, cringe as much as you want, I cringe at it too.
DOG/WOLF base by TwistyTheTwisted
BASE for adopts by TwistyTheTwisted

:BASE:Yum! by TwistyTheTwisted

I didn't trace these. I made these by myself, I made an original base that other people can use. Original bases are a thing.
RPGlinXx's avatar
well since they may be as original as you say they are then you wouldn't mind if i dropped these off as well...………

she STARTED with this one causing others to join in on saying "it's traced"…

oh yet i made all these using a few references from google images as i state in the desc of each of my pics..

go ahead read the comments, not a single one of them even provided links back to the so called "original" ...
TwistyTheTwisted's avatar
I'm not going to. Because you thought it was a good idea to use google. Google is the worst place to look for references.
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Art-Show-Bendy's avatar
pikachufan101's avatar
Thanks for telling people that someone copying another person's work isn't an excuse to lash out at them.
slow clap at the back of the room - bravo your attitude...
now can I trace how to draw hands and feet!!!!!>>>>!??!??!?
lol... jk I got a wooden hand for that.
Style theft is a thing?
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