Proper Credit

G's Moe Moe Kyun by Kiri

I spotted a piece of art today that resonated with me, perhaps partially because I’m somewhat of an artist myself, although it’s difficult for me to really feel like I have a claim to that name, but I’ve already written about that.

If you haven’t checked that link out already, please check it out to better understand this post. I’ve always been careful to link works back to their original owners (at least on this blog) because I can understand where she is coming from — it is unkind at the very least when someone steals your work and claims it as their own. Or does not give you credit at all.

Artists put in effort and time because they they love what they are doing, not always because they want fame or reblogs, but because it’s what they enjoy, whatever their reason for enjoying it. Art stealing can be discouraging.

Ain't no time for that

As a blog writer, it’s difficult to always have original content to put up. Sometimes to make a post more interesting, you have to find images that may not have been created by yourself because you have spent this time focusing on the writing aspect itself. Sometimes creative commons or official art can find you a handy middle ground… sometimes. But art on websites such as pixiv and deviantArt can too easily be abused.

It’s easy to tell people ‘if you don’t want your work to be stolen, then don’t put it online’, in fact that is an excused used for many things other than art. This simply forces artists to have to take protective measures such as large watermarks which mean that it may sometimes hinder others from being able to appreciate the artwork in the way it was supposed to be appreciated.

I know we all hate watermarks, even those that add them do.

Sometimes it not those that are simply obnoxious that add them, but some do for legitimate reasons. As annoying as they can be, we can acknowledge that.

Yet, regardless of how you try to protect your own work, with people’s Photoshops skills increasing these days, not only can people simply crop out watermarks, but in some cases can edit them off too. Not always professionally, but some clever use of the smudge tool could provide a simple solution.

Sure, I said yes, but...

My own experience of these methods have been in the grey space, so I’ve never particularly felt the right to complain about this. From 2010-2011, I was starting to get into colouring manga scans in order to practice digital colouring. Hence the grey area — not only does manga scans of work unlicensed in my country occupy the grey area, but so does colouring them when the original drawing was not mine. To be fair, I always credited the original artist, or at least tried to.

In any case, in completing such colourings, often this would increase the enjoyment of manga fans of various scenes so it was something that I enjoyed doing.

One piece of colouring that took me almost an entire week to full complete however (redrawing the lineart, colouring..), I placed it on deviantArt and a few months later was contacted by a friend if she could use it as a display picture. I was flattered and told her yes, and nothing moved for a few days or weeks and I didn’t follow up on it.

I did spot the image as her display image one day though, and she had cropped out my unobtrusive line of credits along the bottom of the image, and furthermore had not mentioned me at all when asked by one of her friends about it. But I didn’t begrudge her — perhaps I was jaded that this was how it is. Was the work mine to claim anyway?

A lack of respect

Why is there a lack of respect of artists when they produce the work that you have just stolen — whether or not you did claim it as yours is immaterial, but of course the situation is more severe when you do. Personally I have nothing but respect for artists who produce much better artworks than myself (not too hard to be one of them). Give something small back to them when they give so much to you.

Unless you prefer they just stop producing works for you to enjoy — we know that won’t happen because they love what they do. But stop and imagine.

For me though, that experience didn’t seem to teach me much. Even now, I frequently forget to sign or mark my work with my signature, of I do it is in a corner where people will not notice. I reflect now, and perhaps it is because I’ve come to value my art less, that perhaps it doesn’t really matter if it is stolen, or that people would not bother considering it in the first place since it’s not really any good.

I admit, some of my works have appeared on various image boards, uncredited and unsigned and unwatermarked, with a comment from me somewhere underneath when I discovered it. Perhaps somewhere I believe I don’t deserve to be attributed to them in the first place — works that do carry my signature never seem to make it far.

Well, all you can do is keep moving forward.

Reborn character, G, is owned by Akira Amano. Moe Moe Kyun concept is from K-ON!! by kakifly/Kyoto Animation.