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The Copied Art FAQ

While in and of itself, copying can be a useful tool when learning to draw, here on Gaia posting copied art isn't allowed in any of our forums or the art arena.

When art is deleted or rejected, many people ask the same questions over and over again. Here is the answer to most of the questions that get repeated.

Q. Why was my art taken down (rejected)? I didn't steal it.
A.
Most likely your art was found to be copied or traced from a pre-existing source. When images are rejected the message you receive is a general one. You should receive another PM stating why it was rejected, whether it be traced, copied or stolen.

Q. What do you mean by "copied"? I didn't use a "xerox" machine.
A.
Copying (aka Eyeballing) is a term used to mean duplicate. There was a single image that existed and now there are two that look almost exactly the same thanks to your pen, pencil, tablet or whatever your choice of utensil is. No xerox machines may be involved, but your pencil, pen, etc. played the part of the copy machine.

Q. What do you mean copying? I didn't trace it, I drew it myself while I was looking at a picture!
A.
Yes, people reply with this... a lot. In answer: If you look at a picture and try to replicate it, that's called copying.

User Image

The image on the left is a copy of the image on the right. It's obviously not traced but it's still considered a copy.

Q. Why can't I copy from a photo? It takes skill, you know.
A.
Photos, unless you took them yourself, belong to the people that take the picture. They are copyrighted. That means the person who took the image has say as to how their image is used. That would include the model's rights as well.

User Image

Could I claim this to be my own? No... the image and pose belong to the people that created Sailormoon Live Action.

Q. If I change it, can I post it?
A.
It depends on how much you change... If the answer is "all of it so it's not recognizable as being referenced from" then that's ok. But it doesn't count as change if you just change colors or change eye shape... or change the clothes.

Q. I see other people posting it, why can't I?
A.
It is against the rules. They too are violating the rules. They just haven't been caught yet. If you see someone else posting copies, TELL US. Bottom line is that it's NOT ok for anyone to do it and they'll probably get caught.

Q. Mine looks nothing like that... I've never even seen the series...
A.
Coincidence does happen... But if it LOOKS like a line for line copy even if you've never even dreamed of the series, it will be taken down as a copy. That's just the way life is. People see the connection, that's the way the brain is programed. It's too close to a pre-existing image to be considered "unique."

Or you could just be trying to make an excuse to get out of it... I could lie and say I never saw the image one the right... that the way the one of the left turned out was pure coincidence... and that he's my original character... named "Bubba."

User Image

But I would be a liar... and only I would know that for sure. It still looks the same and it still will be taken down regardless of what excuses I give.

Q: Then why do you allow fanart? Aren't they all considered copies since the people drawing them don't own the characters?
A:
You are correct in that people drawing the fanart don't own the characters they are drawing, however everything except the idea of the character is their own work. They decide on the pose, the lighting and the style making their image of the character unique. They aren't confined to the lines drawn on the paper by the original artist. They are free to interpret the characterization and share their vision of what they think the character actually looks like. Fanart can be very unique and drastically different from the official sources, therefore it's allowed.

Q. What is the difference between "referencing" and "copying"? Aren't they the same thing?
A.
Referencing usually comes with many sources, taking small bits from each source. See below image for example.

User Image

The image on the right is the original. The image on the left is a copy. The image in the center is referenced. What is the difference between the center image and the image on the left?

Compare the original with the copy (in fact it's a near trace). It's obviously a different character, but if you were to superimpose one on the other, they would be near identical. The only thing I changed was the hair and the clothes. It is, in fact, a copy.

With the center image I used the pose as reference. It's not exactly the same as the original, and I left in the sketch structure to show that I used the same skeleton as the original with a few changes to the angle of the arm and head. Aside from the pose there is very little to connect the referenced with the original. Then, of course, there's other bits added, referenced from other places... the character design is Ryuuichi from Gravitation and he's drawn in my own personal non-manga/anime style... and for the left hand I looked at my own hands.

The original and my reference look very different even though one was inspired by the other. With referencing you can look very different and unique because you aren't limited to what the original looks like. You are "inspired" by the original and not anchored to it.

* Please note all images are copied by myself and are taken from the official merchandise... Kumagorou (Pin) from Gravitation, Usagi (Pencilboard) from Live Action Sailormoon, Seiichiro (Pencilboard) from Yami no Matsuei, Kagome (Postcard) from Inuyasha.

Update: Remade 6/24/05 so content could be seen and edited. Original version was retired.

7/8/05 Mirror post made in Picture Post


Due to large amounts of spam, this thread is now locked. If you have any questions, please ask the forum moderators.
I completely understand why this thread is here but I still have one little question:

Can you post copied pictures if you mention the fact that the image is not originally yours and that you copied it, with maybe a link to the original picture and mention that it is copyrighted to the original artist?
Yeah, my question is similar to blissful_abyss's question. Could you answer?
Quote:
Can you post copied pictures if you mention the fact that the image is not originally yours and that you copied it, with maybe a link to the original picture and mention that it is copyrighted to the original artist?


There really would be no point in posting it up then. You can't be critiqued on art that isn't technically yours. All rights to it are copyright the artist, and it's not just referencing if it's a direct copy. It's not yours to get crits on if it's not your picture and you have no rights to the picture. You can copy pictures in the privacy of your own home, maybe for practicing, but it's still a bad habit. You can't post those pictures on gaia though, they're not yours to post. There's a rule against posting work that isn't yours, and since this wouldn't really be yours, you can't post it.

I don't know if that made much sense.

Thanks so much for mirroring this thread here leloi!
<3

Would it be too much to ask to request a section on using stock photography?

It could be added to the section on the difference between copying and referencing.

I've seen some people get harassed for crediting stock photos as references, because I don't think they understand the purpose.

I've also seen people reference stock, and not credit it.
The way the Picture Post forum rules are now, they state:

Quote:
Do not post other people's artwork, even if you have their permission, or pictures that have been copied or traced from other people's artwork. This is unfair to those members who are trying to get feedback on art that they have drawn from scratch.


So even credited pictures are included in that.

As of right now, copying from stock images are not allowed either. There's no way to know if an image is really a stock image. Many websites like to keep galleries and say you can use the images... but they don't actually own the images or know who took them or what their policy is (I have my own personal woe story in regards to an animated gif archive that had up my own gifs without credit... for people to "take," claiming they were "free to use." That was annoying... they most certainly were not free to use, not with CREDIT to me for making them.). The safest way it to take your own stock images with your camera and use those.
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Ahh, ok.
Good.
I was really confused on this topic. Thank you for clarifying it. :3
here's a question, what if you were to use a photo of your own? I mean sometimes I take my own photographs and paint them, like a flower I posted a long while ago was a from a photograph of a rose my husband took, so you should probaly clarify that IF it is your own photograph that's fine
nightspiritwing
here's a question, what if you were to use a photo of your own? I mean sometimes I take my own photographs and paint them, like a flower I posted a long while ago was a from a photograph of a rose my husband took, so you should probaly clarify that IF it is your own photograph that's fine

She did, a few posts up:

Quote:
The safest way it to take your own stock images with your camera and use those.
I feel copying others work is an important way (especially with drawing anime) to practice/learn techniques and the basics.

The book "How to draw Anime and Videogame Characters" reinforces this idea, encouraging the reader to draw from life or copy pictures and compare to the original, as this sharpens your eye to small mistakes or proportion errors.

I can understand Gaia not wanting others to claim work that isnt originally theirs, but I feel it is unfair to damn them for copying, when the intent is to practice, and to not give critique when the poster posts the orginal alongside.

How many anime artists can say when they started out they never copied something for practice?
Casseopia
I feel copying others work is an important way (especially with drawing anime) to practice/learn techniques and the basics.

The book "How to draw Anime and Videogame Characters" reinforces this idea, encouraging the reader to draw from life or copy pictures and compare to the original, as this sharpens your eye to small mistakes or proportion errors.

I can understand Gaia not wanting others to claim work that isnt originally theirs, but I feel it is unfair to damn them for copying, when the intent is to practice, and to not give critique when the poster posts the orginal alongside.

How many anime artists can say when they started out they never copied something for practice?


The way many artists look at it is... "I copied to learn... but I didn't post it out in the public for everyone to see." You'll probably never see their copies because they keep them tucked away, never to see the light of day.

I felt somewhat ashamed doing the copies for this FAQ (yeah... I did all those) even though they were really needed for demonstrative purposes. If you notice none of the pieces are signed, except the sketch of Ryuuichi... because that sketch was truly mine. Everything else is labeled and credited at the bottom of the post. I haven't copied in years so I was a bit rusty. Once you move on, you never really move back. It was difficult because it was all so restrictive. Lines were restricted to where they were in the original and I couldn't deviate.

There are places you can post your copies if you really feel the need to show off copy skills. DA allows it.

But here on Gaia we have a rather large art community that doesn't approve of copies. Many of them have had the experience of being "ripped off." That horrible, violated feeling you get when stumbling in on someone else's "gallery" and it's ALL copied images from your own gallery. It makes yours cease to be unique. Someone is out there, showing off your ideas and getting praises for it. It's NOT a good feeling. Ask in Art Discussion about why they don't like copyists and many of them will come out with stories like that... about feeling violated. Many artists pride themselves on their unique self expression... and people copying them violates that.

And frankly... where would you draw the line? That people can show copied official images but NOT copied fanart (because that pisses off fanartists)? What about the people who don't know the difference between official art and art from a doujinshi? The doujinshi artists don't like their work being copied either. How would people remember where copied art is allowed on the site and under what circumstances? What if a copyist opened an R&C shop and used their copies as examples of how well they can draw? Then if asked to do something original, it turns out not as good and they get reported for misrepresentation or scamming?

So here we don't allow it. It's the one place online they can have sanctuary from it. That and every other forum (AA, Minishops, Breedables, R&C) don't allow copying... AA because it's a competition and considered "unfair"... Minishops and Breedables and R&C because money is changing hands and you shouldn't be buying "counterfeit" art.
The Plus
nightspiritwing
here's a question, what if you were to use a photo of your own? I mean sometimes I take my own photographs and paint them, like a flower I posted a long while ago was a from a photograph of a rose my husband took, so you should probaly clarify that IF it is your own photograph that's fine

She did, a few posts up:

Quote:
The safest way it to take your own stock images with your camera and use those.


ohhhh derrr haha
Fat Hungry Chicken's avatar

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would drawing your avatar be copying
Fat Hungry Chicken
would drawing your avatar be copying


It depends on how you draw it. This is how I've drawn mine:

User Image

I didn't copy... but I did reference.

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