Over my years of flitting from art site to art site I have seen something that’s a little frustrating to me in how common it is - artists who mistake copying photos for “using photo reference” and think that it will help them advance artistically.
In my own experience as an artist, working with other artists, associating with art instructors - it doesn’t help. At least, not much. Why is this? At its core, it’s not drawing. While it’s certainly going through the technical motions of drawing, the learning process comes from observing reference and understanding it. When an artist draws folds on a skirt from a photo, they don’t simply copy the folds. They look at the skirt, understand that it wrinkles that way because of the bend of the subject’s legs and the weight of the fabric. They learn. Then, when they want to draw a skirt in a similar position later, they’ll have the memory stored from their previous learning experience. When they copy the photo, they’re merely processing the lines itself, not the reason those lines are the way they are.
There are other problems with copying, too.
The first place I’d like to link is this ConceptArt.org thread, where they discuss the issue. Highlights include:
Just like you own the copyright to your art, a photographer owns the copyright to his or her photos.
If you copy all or most of someone else’s photo without permission, this could be a copyright violation. There is no rule that says “if you change it X%, then it’s ok.” In U.S. courts, the test is if a reasonable observer could look at the original and the copy side-by-side and tell that it is a copy. It is ok to copy someone else’s photo as much as you want if it is only for your personal study. It is considered a courtesy to acknowledge your source if you then show that work to anyone.
There’s also an About.com page regarding the subject:
There’s a difference between using a field guide to find out, for example, how far the orange feathers on a particular species of bird extend down its chest and applying this information to your own painting of the bird, and copying the image in a field guide exactly, that is making a derivative image from one of the field guide’s photo or illustration. If you’re truly using someone else’s photos or illustrations as reference, you’re collecting information and applying it to your painting, just like you would apply your knowledge of color mixing.
Basically, copying a photo is not only detrimental to the learning experience as an artist, you’re essentially performing some form art theft - if the photo is not listed as free to use/make derivatives of, then it’s not appropriate to copy it for art intended to be displayed to the public as your work. It would be the same, at its core, as eyeballing a cartoon still, anime screenshot, or someone else’s drawing, then calling the product your own.
Photography is an art too, but seems to get treated as pose-fodder by some illustrators, which is fairly rude to photographers. They deserve the same respect that you’d want regarding your own art. The articles I linked above go into much better depth about how to find photos that are okay to use as reference, but I’d still caution anyone who thinks they’re “learning” by copying.
- alrightythen-ok reblogged this from sarahfu
- toasterb0t reblogged this from vilecrocodile
- toasterb0t likes this
- gettingletters likes this
- assistantnursejoy reblogged this from sarahfu
- lindes reblogged this from other-side-of-the-universe and added:
- marzipanowls likes this
- darkandgolden likes this
- vilecrocodile reblogged this from other-side-of-the-universe
- jhenne-bean likes this
- liiyre likes this
- batsensitivitytraining likes this
- attackillustration likes this
- connie-lingus likes this
- curiousglaistig reblogged this from sarahfu
- phrenotobe likes this
- rustingz likes this
- sugarywolves likes this
- celestiadarknessdementiaravenway likes this
- ishimartini said: Can you just take over my digital art class, please? For the most part all we’re ever assigned is “remake this image as identical to the original as possible using -insert program here-” and I don’t feel like I’m learning ANYTHING. :C
- brokenalice likes this
- ishimartini likes this
- faggotuscolosseus likes this
- sarahfu posted this