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?
|255 votes
Yes, that is fine
9%
Only if it's just imitating their style
26%
Only if it's referencing/tracing a certain artwork of theirs
6%
No, that is not fine, you can't just do that without permission
59%
SpitfiresOnIce's avatar
By SpitfiresOnIce   |   Watch
122
Published: July 7, 2015
Comments119
anonymous's avatar
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Roxalew's avatar
RoxalewHobbyist 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.
SpitfiresOnIce's avatar
SpitfiresOnIceHobbyist 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.
Roxalew's avatar
RoxalewHobbyist 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. 
SpitfiresOnIce's avatar
SpitfiresOnIceHobbyist Digital Artist
Yep, definitely.
Roxalew's avatar
RoxalewHobbyist Digital Artist
^^;
Erexis's avatar
ErexisHobbyist 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.
SpitfiresOnIce's avatar
SpitfiresOnIceHobbyist Digital Artist
Yea, it is very very tricky!
BakaArtiist's avatar
BakaArtiistStudent 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
SpitfiresOnIce's avatar
SpitfiresOnIceHobbyist Digital Artist
Yea, can't copyright a pose or colour indeed, it just really depends!
BakaArtiist's avatar
BakaArtiistStudent 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.
DarkGrievous7945's avatar
DarkGrievous7945Hobbyist 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.
SpitfiresOnIce's avatar
SpitfiresOnIceHobbyist Digital Artist
I think it's still the polite thing to ask for permission but oh well x3
DarkGrievous7945's avatar
DarkGrievous7945Hobbyist 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?
SpitfiresOnIce's avatar
SpitfiresOnIceHobbyist 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!
DarkGrievous7945's avatar
DarkGrievous7945Hobbyist 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.
the-kawaii-carrot's avatar
the-kawaii-carrotHobbyist General Artist
I'm not really sure. You definitely need to credit though
SpitfiresOnIce's avatar
SpitfiresOnIceHobbyist Digital Artist
Definitely!
the-kawaii-carrot's avatar
the-kawaii-carrotHobbyist General Artist
Yup!
ScentedCandleBreeze's avatar
ScentedCandleBreezeHobbyist 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.
SpitfiresOnIce's avatar
SpitfiresOnIceHobbyist 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.
ScentedCandleBreeze's avatar
ScentedCandleBreezeHobbyist Digital Artist
Yep!
JulieTheGamingSnivy's avatar
JulieTheGamingSnivyHobbyist Digital Artist
I wouldn't, but some people try and fail. I wouldn't mind if they failed... heh.
SpitfiresOnIce's avatar
SpitfiresOnIceHobbyist Digital Artist
:XD:
KittKatArt's avatar
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!
anonymous's avatar
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