i think this is cheating.
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    i think this is cheating.

    my best friend and i are both painters, however she is a fan of realism, whereas i am not. here's my gripe. i was wondering how her figures always have spot-on proportion in her paintings, whereas in her sketchbook, they were terribly contorted. so i asked her, and she told me that when she finds a figure she likes online, she prints out the picture, scribbles vine charcoal on the back, places it on her painting surface, and goes over it with a pen so it blocks out the darks and lights, then sprays it with fixative and paints over it.

    i called her a cheater, and she said that wasn't the case.

    painting transferred images THAT YOU DID NOT DRAW YOURSELF seems a little backwards to me, because as far as i'm concerned, drawing is the backbone of painting, and no amount of paint can distract the eye from bad drawing. not to mention if you rely on transferred images for your paintings, how are you going to get better at drawing?

    i use transferred images, too, but they're all images i drew myself. for instance, if i draw something in my sketchbook that i think would be a good painting, i will blow it up and transfer it to my painting surface, but i think that's a different story.

    any thoughts?

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    thank you! by the way, i think your sketchbook is awesome, especially the drawing of your foot.

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    The pictures she is copying are copyrighted to the photographers who took those pictures. She does not own the copyright and cannot use them without the photographers' permission.

    It seems like she doesn't know this is wrong, as it appears she was quite willing to explain to you how she does it.

    btw, I don't know how old she is, but it is common for younger artists to copy from other people's photos while they are still learning. More experienced artists take their own reference photos if necessary and try to learn how to draw things themselves without relying on tracing.

    Last edited by emily g; October 7th, 2007 at 03:02 AM.
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    I think that while the artist learns, he should be able to produce accurate drawings by himself. It is only when he is in an industry, working under deadlines, should he be able to make use of these shortcuts as they will increase his productivity. Your friends needs to learn the "rules" before she can mould them to her wants.

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    there is no such thing as cheating.

    Being stupid is a whole other thing.

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    The pictures she is copying are copyrighted to the photographers who took those pictures. She does not own the copyright and cannot use them without the photographers' permission.
    I would think a photographer would be flattered to have his/her image copied by an aspiring painter (if they're still alive and kickin' that is); provided that she isn't claiming the image as an original idea, selling it, or trying to have it published. I mean we are just talking about student works right? Its one thing to pull a copy/paste move in Photoshop (which is pretty universally lame), but a traditional painting is a little different, and considerably more difficult. I think I'd have to see something to make a judgement call. Are these like tastefull old photos of/by dead people? Or is it just celebrities yanked out of US Weekly with armor painted over them?
    I think you can make an argument for the former, but the latter always irritate me.

    As an instructive exercise, I think your friend would be much better off 'drawing from' the photo-reference, rather than simply tracing it with vine charcoal. Basically the only person she's cheating right now is herself, since you can't really learn much by simply tracing and transferring. Drawing from a photo reference is different though. I've done that before for certain elements of my drawings, and I don't consider it cheating. Its very difficult to reproduce an image on the blank page, even when the subject you're trying to draw is sitting four inches to the left of it. Hell, some of the greatest Dutch masters used lenses and mirrors to accomplish a very similar effect when painting their portraits, so I say if it will help the final piece then go for it. But that's still freehand drawing we're talking about, which is a lot different than a direct image transfer. Bottom line, you need to challenge yourself in order to improve. I wouldn't rule out any of the tools at your disposal though. If DaVinci or Rembrandt was alive today, I'm sure they'd be up late with rest of us; cruising google for interesting images to study. Many professional illustrators have made excellent use of photo references in their paintings (for about as long as photos have been around), so she wouldn't be alone in adopting such a method. Most of those illustrators already new how to draw, however, and worked with original photographs.

    I'd be willing to bet that if you continue to sketch from observation while she traces, your drawing abilities will almost certainly improve at a more accelerated rate than hers.

    Last edited by Jasonwclark; October 7th, 2007 at 09:33 AM.
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    if she took those pictures herself, then it's all good. do what you want. didn't Mucha grid off photographs?

    she didn't take these pictures, so it's not OK.

    most of the time these tracings look like complete crap anyway.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jasonwclark View Post
    I would think a photographer would be flattered to have his/her image copied by an aspiring painter
    I'm afraid that's not a safe assumption to make. Photographers are just as capable as being unhelpful, asinine, and uneducated on the topic of copyright as anyone else.

    I think you are awesome, and I wish you the best in your endeavors, but I am tired of repeating myself, I am very busy with my new baby, and I am no longer a regular participant here, so please do not contact me to ask for advice on your career or education. All of the advice that I have to offer can already be found in the following links. Thank you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Seedling View Post
    I'm afraid that's not a safe assumption to make. Photographers are just as capable as being unhelpful, asinine, and uneducated on the topic of copyright as anyone else.
    I don't understand how your second sentence follows from the first. Are you saying that if a photographer was helpful, kind, and educated about copyright, then he would be flattered if someone copied his photo? Or did you mean something different?

    A photographer may or may not be flattered regardless of those criteria. I think if the artist is a student, the photographer may be less likely to care, but you never know.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtydiesel View Post
    because as far as i'm concerned, drawing is the backbone of painting, and no amount of paint can distract the eye from bad drawing.
    I thought color was the backbone of painting. My drawing is pretty weak, but my painting is considerably better, even though I've been painting for a much shorter amount of time.

    My Self-Portraits

    "Work for your self first. You can paint best the things you like or the things you hate. You cannot paint well when indifferent.
    Express a mental opinion about something you are sensitive to in life around you. There is a profound difference between sensitivity and sentimentality."

    ~ John Sloan Gist of Art
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    Painting is drawing. Drawing doesn't stop when you pick up a brush.


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    Quote Originally Posted by emily g View Post
    A photographer may or may not be flattered . . .
    That's what I meant.

    I think you are awesome, and I wish you the best in your endeavors, but I am tired of repeating myself, I am very busy with my new baby, and I am no longer a regular participant here, so please do not contact me to ask for advice on your career or education. All of the advice that I have to offer can already be found in the following links. Thank you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell View Post
    Painting is drawing. Drawing doesn't stop when you pick up a brush.
    I didn't say that. But I thought color spots and relations where up a bit higher on the painting hierarchy. And I don't think painting is drawing, there are many overlaps, but I'm not sure if one approaches painting exactly the same as drawing. Drawing generally works more with contours, painting with spots of colors. Of course there are things like composition and contrast, but I wouldn't consider those exclusive to drawing.

    Last edited by MidgardSerpent; October 7th, 2007 at 02:59 PM.
    My Self-Portraits

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    Express a mental opinion about something you are sensitive to in life around you. There is a profound difference between sensitivity and sentimentality."

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    Don't feel bad. As long as she has to use a reference image, she will always be limited by them. When you draw from the imagination, there are no limits.

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    I'm having somehow the same ''problem'' with one of my friend. She actually go on internet, look for picture and make her own composition from like 20 picture and do her own composition. Then split the image in 20-30 square and make those same square on the canvas. I asked her if she ever done something from her mind or from her own photography and she told me no because this will take too long...

    I'm not really having a problem with using the photography but the tracing is the part that I find pretty cheap...

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    i think this is the same as those folks that paint over Poser and Bryce,
    It's not cheating but it does lack certain vitality and usually yields uninteresting results.

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    I often trace over photographs of my own drawings which I have done from the model using poses based on Chinese calligraphic letterforms that appear in poems I have written about myself while looking at my own art in the mirror.

    I hope this helps,
    kev

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    kev, you hang out with Elwell way too much.

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    kev ferrara is offline Registered User Level 17 Gladiator: Spartacus' Dimachaeri
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    I freely admit that my previous post is rank silliness that in no way contributes the value of this thread.

    I would not, however, blame this fact on Mr. Elwell, whom I have never met.

    At least Icarus tried!


    My Process: Dead Rider Graphic Novel (Dark Horse Comics) plus oil paintings, pencils and other goodies:
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    But someday we will, and then...
    Bwuhahahahahahahaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

    Look on our works, ye mighty, and despair!


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    omg elwell and kev in the same room... throwin seedy, illakae adn dogfood and mayhem will ensue. Throw in a bottle of tequila bwahahaah. I even buy it just for the honour of being there
    chaos ROCKS!

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    i did a spit take with my cereal reading that one kev..lol

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    Quote Originally Posted by chaosrocks View Post
    omg elwell and kev in the same room... throwin seedy, illakae adn dogfood and mayhem will ensue. Throw in a bottle of tequila bwahahaah. I even buy it just for the honour of being there
    chaos ROCKS!
    I'm not worthy, I'm not worthy! But I'll go if there's beer.

    I think you are awesome, and I wish you the best in your endeavors, but I am tired of repeating myself, I am very busy with my new baby, and I am no longer a regular participant here, so please do not contact me to ask for advice on your career or education. All of the advice that I have to offer can already be found in the following links. Thank you.

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    Let's get this straight - are we saying that painting from a copyright photograph and selling the results is illegal? Surely the photographer or license holder of that photograph only has rights to the photographic reproduction of that image not the results of an interpretation (ie a painting made by looking at it) from that image.

    From Gegarin's point of view
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    I think that's the position in the UK, Chris, but not necessarily in the US.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Bennett View Post
    Let's get this straight - are we saying that painting from a copyright photograph and selling the results is illegal? Surely the photographer or license holder of that photograph only has rights to the photographic reproduction of that image not the results of an interpretation (ie a painting made by looking at it) from that image.
    I'm pretty sure it can be illegal. For instance, I know of a somewhat swanky restaurant in Providence whose entire deco scheme consists of many large, colorful paintings of scenes in India. From what I can tell, every last one of them is a straight copy of a photograph that was printed in National Geographic. I think if Nat Geo were to find out, they would have grounds for a lawsuit against either the artist, the restaurant, or possibly both.

    I think you are awesome, and I wish you the best in your endeavors, but I am tired of repeating myself, I am very busy with my new baby, and I am no longer a regular participant here, so please do not contact me to ask for advice on your career or education. All of the advice that I have to offer can already be found in the following links. Thank you.

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    Oops, sorry! I meant I don't think it's illegal in the uk to ref from a photo, but your finished painting has to differ from the pic.....

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    Thanks alesoun and Seedling. However, by definition, a painting will be different from the photograph even if it is an extremely competent, literal copy.
    For instance, here in the UK you can arrange to make a copy from one of the old masters in the National Gallery - you can stand on a piece of parpaulin in the gallery on an appointed day for weeks on end painting away from whatever priceless painting you choose and as long as it is either more than 2" bigger or smaller than the original you are entitled to sell it.
    If that's true for the 'reproduction' of old masters and the state of copyright with a national flagship museum then it's got to be as true for snaps on the internet surely?

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    Friend of my husband's used to make a good living selling very good copies of Rembrandts (not forgeries, of course) but I think UK copyright laws may be laxer than the US.

    Having said which, Vettrianno started off using refs from "The Illustrator's Handbook" (?) It's how he used the images made the difference (and those images weren't copyrighted)

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    Dirtydiesel. Ask her if she can draw postapocalyptic mutant with three arms, melted skin and special clothes suited for his strangely twisted torso. Let's see if she can do it realistic by painting over some photo .

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