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Do you think it's okay to heavily reference/trace someone's art, or to try to recreate someone's style WITHOUT PERMISSION if it is gift art for that person? 

59%
150 deviants said No, that is not fine, you can't just do that without permission
26%
66 deviants said Only if it's just imitating their style
9%
23 deviants said Yes, that is fine
6%
16 deviants said Only if it's referencing/tracing a certain artwork of theirs

Devious Comments

:iconroxalew:
Roxalew Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
If its traced then it shouldn't be posted on line without permission ^^;
But referencing is something entirely different. In a personal opinion referencing from other artists is completely fine, its a good way to learn and become better :D As long as your doing it to learn and slowly blossom into your own style, and not to imitate the other person or try to be them. 

Heavily referencing when it comes to gifts though, Its a very vivid subject since there is no clear line between copyright infringement, and inspiration. It depends how close the work is to the original, and in any case credit should be given so that people can find the original artist and enjoy their work too :la: even if its just a inspo credit up on your page. 

With commissions though, its out of the question to reference from other artists since making profit on something that did not originate from your own skill borders RIGHT on infringement. Not to mention that someone pays for something unique and created by you, not a copy :stare:.

Everyone is different, and everyone will have their own line for what's acceptable and what's not. 
Everyone references and everyone has inspirations.
And haha yes XD Everyone goes through that darn copycat stage when they are younger but eventually grow out of it.
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:iconspitfiresonice:
SpitfiresOnIce Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
That makes sense, and yea, I definitely agree on the commission thing, that's just a no-go. I've received commissions like that and it's just disappointing, makes me wonder why I paid in the first place.
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:iconroxalew:
Roxalew Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yeah, it sounds like it would be very disappointing with the commission ^^; would really have a word with the person who did that actually. 
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:iconspitfiresonice:
SpitfiresOnIce Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yep, definitely.
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:iconroxalew:
Roxalew Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
^^;
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:iconerexis:
Erexis Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I...think it really depends on the situation. There are many factors considering this matter. But I think there are a few exceptions where it might be acceptable. For example:
1. Style practice: I f you just want to improve yourself, or would like to create a little challenge, it might do good. But I wouldn't upload it, or at least not without asking for permission.
2. Parody: I think it's also a good reason to try to mimic some of the style elements one certain artist does (here's an example I have on :icongriffsnuff:'s style with one of my characters: 40.media.tumblr.com/50d350bdb4… ), if you do it for laughs, but this one can also depend on the person, and the situation itself.
3. Gift: I think you pretty much explained the problem with it. But to use the said person's style to draw a gift for the said person? seems a bit pointless for me, except if the one who makes the gift uses that style to do a fanart or something to what the other absolutely likes. But it can happen.

All of them can be legitimate reasons, but I think it reeeeeally has to be something special to make it work without abusing copyrights and such.
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:iconspitfiresonice:
SpitfiresOnIce Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yea, it is very very tricky!
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:iconbakaartiist:
BakaArtiist Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2015  Student General Artist
This is an iffy thing...

I personally believe it's not okay to do this even with permission. You just shouldn't copy someone else's style. You're not a true artist unless you can form your own style and make a path for yourself.

HOWEVER, there is a challenge thingy going around on Instagram (and here I think) where you purposely imitate other artists' styles just for the hell of it.That, I believe, is okay.

Then there is also the whole "copyright" thing even though 90% of work doesn't have anything requiring copyright. It really depends on who you talk to. There are a lot of people you are complete tight asses on every little thing like THIS IS MY POSE YOU CAN'T USE IT or OMG YOUR OC HAS THE SAME COLOR PALETTE AS MINE, YOU COPIED. Uh, no. None of that is copying (in my opinion). First, you can't own a pose (yet everyone thinks they do for some reason). Second, there are only so many colors available. It'd be impossible not to come up with similar colors eventually.

But yeah. This is a topic that can just become an endless discussion so I'll stop there xD
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:iconspitfiresonice:
SpitfiresOnIce Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yea, can't copyright a pose or colour indeed, it just really depends!
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:iconbakaartiist:
BakaArtiist Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2015  Student General Artist
yep! Some people are nit picky and others just don't care. Which is why there's so much debate and conflict on it. I'm right in between the two.

Honestly as long as they aren't tracing my work or completely copying my characters then I don't really care. They can reference. That's how some people learn.
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:icondarkgrievous7945:
DarkGrievous7945 Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
I'd prefer a more neutral option...
I lean more towards "yes"

Firstly, given recent events, I no longer have much support or respect for copyright.

I will say is that credit SHOULD be given, but even THIS is bit iffy. Some of the protected images I've seen quite frankly don't merit ANY kind of protection on them, and people should be able to use and trace as much as they want. (Mainly seen this in some stock vectors)

I feel there are many legitimate reasons to trace or heavily reference another artist's style.  Also, depending on what you're making your piece for, you may WANT to create something that feels related to the original work. For example, let's say I was hired by Nintendo to make sprites/models for the next Pokemon game. It'd make sense for me to study/copy some of the previous sprites and models, because that is what Nintendo, and the fans, are expecting, consistency. I actually have a few projects that require a certain level of consistency with the works from which they're based. Some of them pretty much need the originals. However, credit will be given where it's due, and can be given (some people don't put credits on their works, so i can't credit them >.>) One of these projects I do actually have permission to use some of the original works as-is, though I still am doing my best to create my own, anyways.  Another thing which I AM going to submit here  if I EVER finish the trace, was a piece of desk-art I encountered in school one day. However, still not claiming as my own, just going to credit it to some anonymous person, since...NO IDEA who drew it (INSTEAD OF DOING WORK)

Tracing also can be used to develop a personal style, since one could trace/heavily ref. various art styles, and get a feel for what they want to see in their art, and what they can even accomplish. They could even trace an artwork in their own style to see how something looks in it.

The ONLY strict rules I can think of is not with tracing itself, but rather, attribution...
When possible, CREDIT THE ORIGINAL PERSON
DO NOT claim as your own (excluding some VERY rare circumstances that I'm not going to bother explaining)
Ask permission if/when possible
Well, in the case of dA... don't submit them here, I guess...but that's mainly to not get reported by some overly righteous copyright troll up on their high horse.
ABSOLUTELY, FOR NO REASON WHATSOEVER, SHOULD YOU MONETIZE YOUR TRACINGS

Oh, and one last major exception, or at least, it makes sense:
If someone sells/trades/grants request of something to you, pretty sure you now own that design/work. First thing I did to my Secret Santa gift was trace it, mainly to enhance it, since... photo quality generally equals shit. Even so, if someone designed it themselves, should still give credit, and I DID in fact, link to the original.
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:iconspitfiresonice:
SpitfiresOnIce Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I think it's still the polite thing to ask for permission but oh well x3
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:icondarkgrievous7945:
DarkGrievous7945 Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Generally I do ask permission...
However, more than once I've run into situations where the authors are unknown. I also have run into situations which no reply was given, and therefore...whatever, I'll just arbitrate.

However, there's one case I'll REFUSE: Sprite-rips.
I have over the years found various sprites on Spriters Resource that i'd like to use...or just thought were interesting

Now, I've seen author tags on those with one or BOTH of the following: "Permission / Credit  REQUIRED" [as-in, to the ripper] I have EVERY intention of ignoring the permission bit, especially, since the ONLY people who actually can restrict the usage of those assets are the original creators of the games they were extracted from. Credits for the rip is one thing, those can be hard, or just plain tedious, to accomplish! However, to go and blatantly say that someone needs THEIR approval? NOPE, BS!

I have seen other terms and conditions about art/whatever usage I have NO intent of following, because they're abuse of power, and I don't submit to tyrants.

What are your thoughts on that?
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:iconspitfiresonice:
SpitfiresOnIce Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Ahh, I usually just ignore something if the terms of service don't appeal to me- I won't use it then, either. I generally don't use things made by other artists often so it doesn't matter much for me!
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:icondarkgrievous7945:
DarkGrievous7945 Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
My problem with that is it's a submissive tactic, and furthermore, teaches these people it's ok to set b.s. terms and conditions. As I said, the sprite-rippers demanding you ask permission from them has no validity, anyways....

I tend to use things made by me and others, all depends...
I'm currently accumulating a nice collection of reference and free to use graphics for a game my friend and I want to make. Annoys me, however, that some of these items have no license agreement that I can FIND... and the site I found some of them on is member-locked, so I can't even look-up profiles to see if there's anything there about it... /: I think they're free to use, unless EA/Bioware has an over-extended EULA on the custom content packs or whatever like Mojang does on Minecraft. I think the stuff I found is pretty much free to use, though. Most of the other things I downloaded only for ref, though, I might try finding attribution information, but I'm not gonna ask permission to use something as inspiration/look-up if they think THAT is a valid argument.
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:iconthe-kawaii-carrot:
the-kawaii-carrot Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
I'm not really sure. You definitely need to credit though
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:iconspitfiresonice:
SpitfiresOnIce Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Definitely!
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:iconthe-kawaii-carrot:
the-kawaii-carrot Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Yup!
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:iconscentedcandlebreeze:
ScentedCandleBreeze Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I admit that I used to trace…When I was like 5 and I couldn't draw xD

I don't think that tracing somebody's art is fair, unless for some reason you have permission? But honestly, tracing isn't fair use of the art, especially if the person doesn't say they traced it. Also, I think that having your own art style is unique and fun, and people could eventually see something you made and immediately be able to tell its yours.
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:iconspitfiresonice:
SpitfiresOnIce Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yep, plus you can create things on your own without needing another artist's work to create it! Many people start out like that, but things get so much better when you start to draw on your own.
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:iconscentedcandlebreeze:
ScentedCandleBreeze Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yep!
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:iconjuliethegamingsnivy:
JulieTheGamingSnivy Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I wouldn't, but some people try and fail. I wouldn't mind if they failed... heh.
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:iconspitfiresonice:
SpitfiresOnIce Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
:XD:
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:iconkittkatart:
KittKatArt Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2015
Even though it may be gift art for the person that created the art or style in the first place, personally, I don't think you should heavily trace it without permission, unless the artist has confirmed that they are fine with it.  I guess I could say I'm fine with people referencing/recreating the style of someone else's art, but if it's going to be obvious that they'll have used the reference then they should probably ask first!
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:iconspitfiresonice:
SpitfiresOnIce Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yea,it seems like the more polite thing to do!
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:iconxxleaftrailxx:
xxleaftrailxx Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
People recreate/copy styles all the time. There is even a meme for it. I don't think any of that is okay, but I also think that if it is JUST gift art or a meme, then it is fine to recreate someone's style of art. Recreating one of their works is never okay though.
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:iconspitfiresonice:
SpitfiresOnIce Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I see!
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:icontheghoulavenue:
TheGhoulAvenue Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2015  Student Digital Artist
Why would you gift someone something in their art style tho? That sounds kinda...pointless :XD:
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:iconspitfiresonice:
SpitfiresOnIce Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
It does... :XD:
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:iconnutmegartist:
NutmegArtist Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2015  Student General Artist
I can see why someone would trace art, but personally I'm against it.  I believe that people should develop their own styles, rather than try to make it like someone else's.  The same goes for heavily referencing.

Also, if someone wanted to recreate an artist's style, even as a gift, I think that it would be better to just ask them first.  I've never really tried to completley imitate someone's drawing style, but asking seems much more respectful! Nod 
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:iconspitfiresonice:
SpitfiresOnIce Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yea, I agree! 
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:iconpure-fire-legend:
Pure-Fire-Legend Featured By Owner Edited Jul 7, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Well, I would have preferred an "other" option, but I went with the "no" one because it fits my opinion a little better. :)

Here's what I think: it's your choice whether or not you heavily reference someone's art, whether for a gift for them or just in general. I do think it's unhealthy for a person's own art style to just base off someone else, but if it's what you feel like doing, that's not my problem. 

But I'd rather people didn't base off other people's art. It stops them from growing art-wise and makes them very dependent. Your art shouldn't be dependent on someone else's. (it's okay to look at a character in a picture so you can accurately draw the character, but copying the pose and expression and stuff makes it a less interesting gift for a person.)

So... I'd say no, people probably shouldn't do that... but I'm not going to go with any absolutes here.
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:iconspitfiresonice:
SpitfiresOnIce Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
The reason why I included the gift art part was to include the factor of how the artist feels about their art being used by others without permission. I don't know what your view on that is?
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:iconpure-fire-legend:
Pure-Fire-Legend Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Well, since most people don't ask permission, I don't think that changes much... of course, if an artist specifically says not to reference their art, they probably wouldn't mind if you were going to reference a character appearance or setting without permission because it's for them. (as long as you're not trying to copy their style and make the character's position and/or setting exactly the same)
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:iconspitfiresonice:
SpitfiresOnIce Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yea, it's unsettling when it's the exact same :noes:
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:iconakapanuka:
AkaPanuka Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Style isn't exactly a thing you can own so while even if it might not be preferred, I see nothing wrong with it. Heavy reference or tracing isn't okay, however.
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:iconspitfiresonice:
SpitfiresOnIce Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I see your point there! I just always found it kind of odd to give someone a gift, just to imitate how they draw.  It's just something I find odd :P
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:iconakapanuka:
AkaPanuka Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I guess sometimes I find I accidentally do it if their style is very different to mine? In a way, it's so I don't draw characters 'wrong', I like it when they at least look a little like the original.
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:iconspitfiresonice:
SpitfiresOnIce Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
True!
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:iconzooiogy:
zooIogy Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Referencing is perfectly fine as long as you change bits and pieces of it so they're not identical. Tracing is never OK. Copying PARTS of a style is fine, but trying to get every little thing exactly like that other person is rude and you shouldn't post it. And if you're making a gift for someone, trying to make it look like what that person already draws is boring, unoriginal, and dumb.
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:iconspitfiresonice:
SpitfiresOnIce Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yea,  it's pointless to make them a gift identical to what they draw themselves. 
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:iconannoyingrobin:
AnnoyingRobin Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Well, I've made gifts for people but what I do is I look at one of their drawings with a specific character in it and draw the character slightly tweaked to fit my style better.
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:iconspitfiresonice:
SpitfiresOnIce Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Hmm
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:iconannoyingrobin:
AnnoyingRobin Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Hmm what? •-•
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:icongenisay:
Genisay Featured By Owner Edited Jul 7, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Whoa....a lot of people said none of this is okay?
Tracing their style, even for a gift, should not be done.  You don't grow as an artist that way.
If you don't take reference from their art, how the heck are you supposed to draw that character?
(I'm starting to realize looking through the comments that a lot of you guys have a different understanding of what it means to 'reference' a drawing. I do commission work, and for me 'referencing' is how you recreate the design, or pose, or what ever it is the client is paying you to do.  I can't do commissions with out /some/ kind of reference, be it examples of a character, of a written description).
To reference: To have something to get information from.  To copy: what you are calling referencing.  To Reproduce: Copying everything, trying to remake an image as closely as possible. There are however fields with this is a very good skill to have.)

And imitating....I don't think I've ever met anyone who blew up about having their style imitated unless they have a /very/ clear one (Chuck Jones, Steven Universe) and you are trying to make money using it.  Most people I know would be flattered that you liked their style enough to try and reproduce it, especially if they piece is a gift for them.
However, this does not mean you should /reproduce/ their work.  Try their style, but with a different setting, pose.

Who ever thinks imitating art styles is a complete no-no never went to art college. In college, it is actually /suggested/ that you imitate styles.  Pros often suggest this too, as a means of helping you filter down to what will be your own. By imitating different styles, you learn to look for nuances and key elements that make up a particular style. Repeating a style and having it be recognizable is a major study in detail. You also expand what you are capable of doing, or you might find a new method you hadn't tried yet that you can add back into your own processes.  
Don't /stick/ to imitating some on else's style, but people shouldn't tell you it is wrong to learn from doing so.
I'd be flattered if some one tried to mimic my style.  Heck, it would mean I /have/ a style that is noticeable. (I'm still not sure I have one of my own yet.)
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:iconspitfiresonice:
SpitfiresOnIce Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
By referencing I meant heavy referencing,  basically almost tracing the drawing and have it look extremely similar to the original.  Of course you have to look at how the artist draws them to get them right,  but I assume d that would be clear. 

In my art school we were discouraged to just use a whole style like that :P I'm kind of glad we were.  There's a difference between taking small elements from a style and trying to imitate the style as a whole :P
Eh, you can't really tell people what they should be flattered by. It's especially not flattering when they don't give credit and take all praise for themselves x3
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:icongenisay:
Genisay Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
No, that isn't. Not giving credit is always wrong.

Hmm...might be the major that was studied too.  I was a media arts and animation student.  A whole section in one of my animation classes was drawing our own characters in the styles of Hercules, Lilo and Stitch, and Sleeping beauty.  
It was till stressed to try and find what would make you YOU, but that imitation as a form of practice is a good way to learn new things and find your own style.  Have you ever seen those 'Influence Maps'? A lot of people who make those were influenced by trying to take elements from a style at one point or another.  This is by no means saying you should lock on to one style and only do it that way, but that it's fun, as well as a learning experience to try and reproduce the style of some one or something you like.  Recently I've tried drawing my character Haydrian both in the style of Tiny Toons, and Klonoa. Both turned out to be harder to do then I had thought going in. XD

There is one artist I know, that does YouTube videos, and works as a professional animator, who has drawn himself in fifty plus different styles, from very cartoony to extremely realistic.  And he's got a style all his own I'd recognize anywhere.
Granted though too, as an animator....unless you are the head designer or animator, you pretty much /have/ to learn to reproduce a style. /Especially/ if you work for Disney.  It all has to be exactly like what the design artists came up with.
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:iconspitfiresonice:
SpitfiresOnIce Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Indeed, it's a metaphorical punch to the stomach when they pull off such things without crediting :noes:

I guess it just depends on what environment you're in then. As an animator for a commercial company,  I can see how taking on styles would help you in your job.  But if you're a freelance artist on a site like DeviantART,  having someone imitate what you do for a lower price could be disastrous for you if you're trying to make some extra money. It's not easy! 
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:icongenisay:
Genisay Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Right....which is why I originally specified that most people don't mind if you do simple study projects, or want to try their style.  They get mad when you start trying to use it to make money or are getting attention with out giving credit to them, especially if it is /clearly/ a recognizable style.
I did already mention all of that.
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:iconhirundoarvensis:
HirundoArvensis Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I often use references for the pose, but wouldn't trace a drawing that is not mine.
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