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I just got an email from a concerned parent. Her daughter has an account on DA, and apparently she copies and traces my drawings. I looked on her profile and confirmed that, yes, she did trace and gave minimal (sometimes no) credit. The reason her mother messaged me was because a few people were apparently sending her harsh messages asking her to give credit. She even got a few death threats.

Listen...I'm going to say this all again because I guess it needs reiterating: When it comes to my art, I do not mind young artists copying or tracing my drawings in hopes of developing their skills, or because they are still learning the way of things. If you see someone posting a traced or heavily referenced drawing that does not mention the original picture, please DO NOT immediately jump to aggression.   If something like this (art theft/style theft) really gets on your nerves, then I understand why you might be angry upon seeing it, but you must find the maturity to take a breath, and politely ask the person to give credit.

Listen...I'm not mad. At either party.

People who copy and trace...I hope you learn it is something you can only do for so long before you must develop beyond it. You must give some form of credit to the original...even a simple "original by ____" or "inspired by ____" goes a LONG way.

People who become heated and accuse or threaten said copiers/tracers...I hope you realize how small the issue can be, and manage to take a step back. I understand it is a frustrating thing to see the original artist get no credit, but that does not give you any right to lash out and threaten others, especially when they are likely no older than 10-13 years old. If you see someone clearly tracing/copying and there is no credit, take a breath and tell them "hi, I see you're a fan of ____. Listen, I understand you are probably trying to learn from someone you admire, but you really must give credit to the original piece. Would you please update your description with a link to the original piece, or a mention to the original artist? Thank you!"


Now, I realize that sometimes, even though one is polite, the tracer/copier will respond angrily and say they didn't copy/trace and that the drawing is their own. This is not an invitation for more aggression. Simply, "I'm sorry if you took my words the wrong way, I wasn't trying to be rude, but you clearly referenced (link to the original piece), and I think it's only right to give the original artist recognition. This isn't an attack, it's just that when you post something online that was traced from another artist, the right thing to do is give them a mention for their work. If I were to trace your art, wouldn't you want me to say that you were originally the creator, then give a link to your profile so people could see what you've made?"

If they still respond with aggression, report the post but do not reply. If they never respond and do nothing to credit, then report the post if it really bothers you.



Overall, make sure to take a step back and check your anger. I know it can be hard on the internet, and it's easy to be lured into a pointless argument until eventually someone breaks into tears, but seriously...if you find yourself in an argument with a stranger online: pause, step away from the computer, take a breath, and think about the situation beyond yourself. Most often it is best to simply not reply, or to end the argument with, "well, we obviously don't agree, and I don't see a reason to continue this conversation if nothing constructive will come from it." Then never ever reply again unless they respond in a more polite manner.

In this world full of darkness, hate and anger, what point is there in working yourself up over something so small?


I hope you all have a great day! Let's continue living our lives, yeah? Hug 

~River

EDIT *please read: There are a few people in the comments who have brought up really great points, both in disagreement and as an addition to this post. I beg you to please take a bit of time and go through the comments. I've featured the ones that I think you all need to read, because what they say are definitely things that need to be considered.
Look for featured comments.
Add a Comment:
 
:iconhubblewise:
HubbleWise Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Learning to become a furry
Reply
:iconimtheaura:
Imtheaura Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2017  Student General Artist
I saw someone else with the exact same journal, plus they were.. creepy to say the least
Reply
:iconchoklit-cookie:
Choklit-Cookie Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2017  Student General Artist
ok but is something like this ok to post?
chocolatte-sea.tumblr.com/post…
bc i literally traced the lower opacity image, but the part i actually like abt it is the coloring and i linked to the screencap(which looks like it's from sailor moon but i'm not actually sure)
Reply
:iconsquidhoney:
squidhoney Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
you gave credit so youre good to go!
Reply
:iconchoklit-cookie:
Choklit-Cookie Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2017  Student General Artist
k thanks!
Reply
:iconxxbluepeltxx:
XxBluepeltxX Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
xXCrowleyForeverXx
I know you love River :0

idk i wanted to show you
Reply
:iconxxcrowleyforeverxx:
xXCrowleyForeverXx Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
boi
these people

thank you Riv<3

but like, boi. 
i used to trace, aka my ex account :iconxxthunderboltaxx:
which i dont use anymore. 
but ive learned not to XD

i like people liking my own work, and improving from it.


sorry XD
thx Bluey<3
Reply
:iconxxbluepeltxx:
XxBluepeltxX Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Oh then.
Reply
:iconevex5tep:
evex5tep Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2017  New Deviant Hobbyist Digital Artist
I personally reference a fair bit... i dont believe direct copies are the best way to better your art but it depends on where you lack? I lack proportion but to tackle this i use reference and then with digital art i can detele lines continously until im happy with the shape. My best advice is to reference art and make it your own.. it gives you the ability to get creative with detail (which im better at than proportion) so you can practice until you nail down the understanding of the shapes your trying to draw depending on your art style and preferences.:)
Reply
:iconredrivest101:
RedRivest101 Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2017  Hobbyist Writer
I had an art teacher who said that the only way to develop your skills is to trace. Another one said that you can only develop by referencing, never by tracing. So in a way, I see both sides.
Reply
:iconjorgesand:
jorgeSand Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2017  Professional Interface Designer
Wonderful example River. Congrats
Reply
:iconanimatorfun:
animatorfun Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2017   General Artist
Man, you've got WAY more patience than I do...
Reply
:iconshieldmaiden1080:
shieldmaiden1080 Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2017  New Deviant
Well said thank u
Reply
:iconmadisonquartz:
MadisonQuartz Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
What she did wasn't right, but she sure didn't deverve death threats. I'm happy that you're not "that guy" that kicks her while she's down.
Reply
:iconhyperb2002:
Hyperb2002 Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2017  Hobbyist Filmographer
Why do people say, "I'M GOING TO FUCKING KILL YOU!!!" in the case of simple plagiarism?! That may be extreme for a typical death threat (or maybe not, it IS the Internet...), but have we lost our morale?!
Reply
:iconrurind:
rurind Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2017
it is a death threat.
Reply
:iconhyperb2002:
Hyperb2002 Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2017  Hobbyist Filmographer
I know. Doesn't matter how you cut it, it's still a death threat. Don't understand what makes us do it (unless that person killed your friends, in which let law enforcement handle it).
Reply
:iconrurind:
rurind Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2017
nobody killed any of my friends.
Reply
:iconhyperb2002:
Hyperb2002 Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2017  Hobbyist Filmographer
That's good... Hopefully it stays that way.
Reply
:iconrurind:
rurind Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2017
ooooooooooooookkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk..............
Reply
:iconhyperb2002:
Hyperb2002 Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2017  Hobbyist Filmographer
(Random Gunfire)
Reply
:iconrurind:
rurind Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2017
not real...
Reply
(1 Reply)
:iconanimatorfun:
animatorfun Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2017   General Artist
the worst you can legally do to punish plagiarisim is a $3,000 fine or take them to court.
Reply
:iconhyperb2002:
Hyperb2002 Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2017  Hobbyist Filmographer
Yes, but do you need to put their life on the line? Do you need to scare them to anxiety, depression, or even suicide (I know it can happen)? $3K is worth WAY less than a human life.
Reply
:iconanimatorfun:
animatorfun Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2017   General Artist
No, that was not my intention, I would never endanger a person over a drawing, but if it was worth something, I would take them to court,( mainly over a commission, I would ask the buyer if they desired such actions)
Reply
:iconhyperb2002:
Hyperb2002 Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2017  Hobbyist Filmographer
I didn't say you would endanger a person. But I see where I seemed confusing. And I agree with taking someone to court for plagiarism.
Reply
:iconmonkeybear72:
monkeybear72 Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2017
Brilliantly said, as an artist and parent of two apsiring artists, I know the difference between a youngster who is trying to learn and develop their own style, than someone who is plagerising an artist's hard work. I applaud your fantastic attitude towards those wanting to learn and enjoy Art!
Reply
:iconm1dnightst0ne:
m1dnightst0ne Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2017
who ever that person is. i give you support and wish you luck on finding a your own style and moving out of the tracing phase. i have never traced myself but i hope you reach the light at the far end of the tunnel.
Reply
:iconkenpachi30:
Kenpachi30 Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2017
damn, #turntheothercheek, well played River, well played.
Reply
:icon1enary1:
1Enary1 Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2017
Nicely said :clap: 
Reply
:iconymw:
YMW Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2017  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
What a kind and loving response to this issue!  I have learned much from the grace with which you handled it!  Thank you!  ❤
Reply
:iconthe-undead-sorry:
The-Undead-Sorry Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2017  Student Digital Artist
I agree with you on this.
You have been so mature about this situation, and handled it so nicely. 
Reply
:iconbrutusthprey:
brutusthprey Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2017  Hobbyist Writer
Ok, so I don't like art theft, but "style theft" on the other hand, beleve it or not, that's how a lot of people get their skills, and later form their own style, from combining others
Reply
:iconfred1009:
fred1009 Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2017
Good artists copy. Great artists steal.
- Steve Jobs

I like much of the art on DA, but honestly, even with things I like, seldom can I tell who did it by simply looking at it.   
Reply
:iconumbra-profess:
Umbra-Profess Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I agree IT'S OVER NINE THOUSANDS!!!! %. Tracing really helped me when I was a little kid (I still keep the Vegeta drawing that made me realize I love the manga style), but sooner or later you have to grow out of it and find your own path, your own style, and that's what I, and I'm sure many more around here too, did. As long as you don't publish it, there is no need to credit the original, cuz nobody's gonna see it, but it can get serious if you don't do things right. You don't want your work to be on par with Sonichu in originality, do you?
Reply
:icondiylion:
Diylion Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yay a good mentor~!
Reply
:iconchaosmauser:
Chaosmauser Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2017  Student General Artist
RespectTheArtist
Reply
:iconelatedmegalodon:
elatedmegalodon Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2017
for some reason, i can just picture Jessica Williams popping out from under your desk, and saying "okay, well, hold on, wait, waiwaiwaiwait, River, what if i like really don't like them?..."
Reply
:iconfunkyarsonist:
FunkyArsonist Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
preach my man
Reply
:iconanonymio:
Anonymio Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2017  Professional Digital Artist
*insert 'Thank you' gif here*
I'm agree with you and respect you for this kind of point of view. (<- "point of view", can't find the right expression for it.. haha, mix of "maturity" "polite" "human" ?) Tell me what word will fit in.. >,<'

And Thank you !
Reply
:iconhaikyuunerd:
HaikyuuNerd Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2017
"perspective" maybe?
Reply
:iconanonymio:
Anonymio Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2017  Professional Digital Artist
Yeah ! That's it ! :3
Reply
:icononiirinsama23:
oniirinsama23 Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
But what if you're a huge trool and piss them off instead put of pure comedy?I swear to God,it is twisted but it is pure gold.
Reply
:iconkitemist:
Kitemist Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2017
Well said. I don't know or see anything you're talking about specifically, but I see a lot of people jumping to shouting once they see similarities between two pieces of seemingly independent artwork. I mostly reference or copy line by line screen caps or official/promotional art, because it's a given that they're already public AND everyone already knows it's not by me, and that i'm not trying to claim credit of anything at all.
I respect that you aren't trying to attack anyone. It's hard to do that nowadays since words are almost becoming disposable. And thank you for giving a layout on what to say in a respectful way, a lot of reports can come off aggressive.
Tracing to me I think it's fine, as long as you aren't intending to take credit of someone else's hard work. It's a way of learning what things look like and certain techniques on how to draw lines.
Reply
:iconlankyh3nbear:
LankyH3nbear Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
Woah, you have a lot of patience. If someone stole my art, I'd get a bit peeved.
Reply
:iconpoppudoroppu:
Poppudoroppu Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2017  Student Digital Artist
oH
Reply
:iconthe-emmeranne:
The-Emmeranne Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
👏👏👏👏
Reply
:iconperunium-ursogulo:
Perunium-ursogulo Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
This. 
I can't agree more.
Thank you for saying this.
Reply
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