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Similar art styles are inevitable. This community is full of young artists who look at other artist's styles in order to develop their own. It is only natural their style will look very much like their inspirations, and hopefully they will only use that style in the beginning, developing more of their own techniques and styles as they progress and mature.

I suppose that is the real issue: Maturity. 

When I was younger, I copied :iconwhiteflamesoul: She was the first Warriors speedpainter I every watched, and I fell in love with her style. Naturally, I tried to copy it, drawing like her. Of course, because I am not her, I couldn't copy it exactly (which was very frustrating for younger me), but now I am quite glad I couldn't since I've been able to develop my own style, recognize my strengths, and move away from hers. I remember realizing that I would much rather have a drawing style that I could call my own, and I didn't feel great about perhaps being remembered only as someone who copied Whiteflamesoul's style.

Example: Whiteflamesoul's drawing from 2009
Crowpaw and Feathertail by WhiteFlameSoul

My early drawings:
Fireheart and Cinderpelt by RiverSpirit456 Hawkfrost's Death by RiverSpirit456

My recent drawings:
Exile by RiverSpirit456
Obviously you can still see a bit of her style in mine, but I've realized that, where her thing was line art and character design, mine is more shading/lighting, so I've tried to develop those much more, plus expand out of warriors. I still have growing to do.

This is something many of us need to realize. Similar styles are inevitable. Copying is inevitable. Deviantart is a community with many many people of all ages and maturity levels. Younger people are bound to copy in order to eventually develop their own style, and when they mature, they will realize that they must work on moving away from copying. That is simply the life of an artist.

The context of this post: As much as I appreciate how you guys look out for me, and how much you care....if you see someone with a similar style who very obviously has used my style as a baseline, please do not harass them. If they are tracing or reposting, then I understand politely calling them out and asking them to credit (if they haven't already) or take the repost down. If they are being a jerk and not listening, feel free to contact me about it. But please...if someone is simply young and copying for the sake of trying to improve and develop, I don't mind.

Obviously I don't speak for other people. This came up because I've noticed there are a LOT of new, young artists who use my style as a baseline, and people seem to get on them about it when that really isn't necessary. If you feel the need to encourage them to move away from copying my style, then tell them that politely. Please...

Sorry if this post annoys you. If you disagree, that is completely fine and I understand. This is simply my opinion on the matter of similar styles/copying on Deviantart. 

Thank you for listening.
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lizlion05 Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2017  Student Digital Artist
Lol i used to make my eyes similar to yours (and probably still do in some ways)  I remember me sitting on the couch on my phone and I was like Omg! That is a good art style for cats! So I watched a bunch of your videos on my dads gmail account :3 going to subscribe you right now!
Boredcatart Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2016
I have grown used to doing the same style as you, but now I'm trying to grow away from putting bangs over one eye ALL THE TIME. I still do it some times, I must admit, but only if I physically can't draw both of the eyes symmetrically. Sorry, i'm about thirteen now, I should probably stop...
briqht-star Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
this is great and so true.

when i was maybe 6 or 7, i started watching banithekitty on youtube, and i referenced her style a lot.
i'm really glad i have a style now i can be proud of.
RosieQuartz Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2016  Student Digital Artist
*stares at the ppg fandom*
VGL0142 Featured By Owner Nov 24, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Ok, I'm going to admit, I have used somebody else's eye style as a base, and now I've moved on from that style and had created my own techniques for drawing.
I agree with this 100%
shotpister Featured By Owner Nov 24, 2016  Student Digital Artist
you put it into words omg
A-Avery Featured By Owner Nov 22, 2016  Student General Artist
Thank you for saying this, I'm just absolutely sick of people claiming someone's style is ''STOLEN/COPIED FROM RIVERSPIRIT''.
It is simply a common style, I know many that don't even know about you who have a similar style.
Roariis Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2016
Your style kind of reminds me of an old animation series me and my sister came across called SS Warrior Cats. 
When I was younger, I looked up to two people called Kay2036 and SplashKittyArtist. I didn't completely copy their styles, But you can clearly see that I did some sort of mix between the two when they were in their beginning stages of animating. When I saw their styles changing, I didn't try to change mine, because I thought mine was already cute. Eventually my style started changing on it's own, I got sai, eventually got a tablet, then I learned to use sketches instead of just lineart. My style has only progressed on it's own, into what it is now. Of course, Still, I'm no pro, but it's much better than before. 
blu-fyre Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2016  Hobbyist
mmm might have to show this to my overreacting fandom...
Darkumbreon92 Featured By Owner Nov 19, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
This is very true! I like how you did this, now I wish I could show some more people this.
KatrinaIorio Featured By Owner Nov 16, 2016
Preach! When the Deviation/Art/Upload is Just Right (icon) 
Killer-P-anda Featured By Owner Nov 13, 2016  Student Digital Artist
I used to be so inspired by someone by the name of Call Me Ferret.
I managed to even copy their style ;w;
I so love ur artstyle <3
But now i have a unique style.
DeceitfulOutcast Featured By Owner Nov 13, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
i agree. i used to always look at other artists art styles and get inspired by them

now i have my own unique art style and am completely happy with it c:
MoonlightWolf17 Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I agree with everything said here. As an artist myself, I can say that art is much more than just drawing figures on a piece of paper. Also, being a young artist, I had to learn how to develop my own style of art instead of copying other artists styles. It's ok to use reference photos. In fact, many artist do this, like looking at other art or observing the actual things surrounding the artist at the time. But using a reference and copying are two different things that are not to be confused. I copied various styles from artists at the ages of 7-10 trying to find my own style. Now that I'm soon to be 14, I found my own art style just by freely drawing something instead of using references. This also showed me that art isn't something anyone has the ability to do and you have to embrace it and love it for as long as you live. But, good artist today aren't born drawing the Mona Lisa. It takes years of practice and patience. 

Thank you for sharing this with everybody, River. dancing-cat emoji 
FierceKitKat Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2016  Student Digital Artist
I agree! I am being inspired by you! This is a good concept to talk about. Keep up the good work River!
Silverwings1011 Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I totally agree with you. As an artist I look up to you! I'm still trying to figure out my own style , but, I'm getting there slowly but surely. Thank you for putting this out there. I'm sure we all appreciate it.
WarriorCat3042 Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you so much for saying this. I used to use your style because you were a huge inspiration to me (and you still are!), and I can't even begin to explain how annoying it was to be constantly harassed by people, when all I was trying to do was improve as an artist. Even now that I've developed my own style people still feel the need to comment on my older art and be vicious to me.

Anyways, I really, really respect you for this River, thank you ^^
SatansArts Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
like tbh you are like the artist that gets its style stolen, it gets me so mad and i swear, ima really say something this time
Catsperri Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
I take the smallest things from various artists and throw it all together and thats my style >_<
SirenDraws Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
This really means a lot. When I first started drawing again I tried to be a lot like you but since then I've been trying to create my own style and it's been fun trying new things. I agree it's natural to want to be like your favorite artist that you'll copy their style quite a bit but eventually you'll venture more and create your own. That's just my opinion though, and I realize I basically repeated what you said but oh well xD
TheblackscourgeAJ Featured By Owner Edited Oct 9, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
I just saw someone that has the same style has me,im like...wa
Frostdance89 Featured By Owner Nov 19, 2016  Student General Artist
That just means that you probably inspired them!!
And by looking at your gallery, I can see why they would be!
iGhxstlyTrickster Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2016  Student Traditional Artist
I read this and I wAS LIKE "YOOOOOOOOOO"
Rayquaza131 Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
I agree with this 100%
InanoWolf Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2016
My earlier art is actually based off yours. I admit, I've been Inspired by you. From your style, which I really wanted, I kept practicing and praticing until I finally, *Both realizing COPYRIGHT and that I was bad at it* devoloped my own style. On my most current drawing, you can REALLY see how far I've gone. I still use techniques that I've seen from you. Small details- but namely the eyes, mouths, (A little bit.) the Hair, y'know. While those are straying away from your style, I still look back at my old drawings In awe on how you got me started on this path.

There's another artist who inspired wolves to me, but that's a story for another day. (The person who in the final got me set on animals.)
BlueSynthetica Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2016
I COMPLETELY agree, I used to copy my favorite artists style when I was younger. I never liked tracing, I highly disapproved of tracing, even when I was younger, but eventually I gathered my own style. So I totally think its OK to copy an artists style when your a beginner, we all start somewhere. 
cornflakes302 Featured By Owner Edited Oct 6, 2016  Student Digital Artist
when i first started drawing humans they looked like total crap (very long body, super short arms and legs, and a gigantic teardrop shaped head) but after i got a Devantart account i started getting inspiration from people like  :iconpheldonachen: , :iconsiameila: ,:iconalex--houston:, :iconyokuroki: , :iconyinxiang: , :iconkriegswaffle: (his older drawings mostly Sweating a little...  ) , :iconpavelzakarovromanov: , :iconlizoza: , :iconmoyayuki:,  and the big ones, :iconad1er: , :icondaisy-dictator: and :iconherhh-idiot: ! (P.S, i am about 90% Shure HerHH-Idiot is dead:( (Sad) ) .my art has tremendously improved from the being inspired by these amazing guys! :happybounce: 
Ad1er Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2016
me as a BIG one :'D
don't say this, I need to reboot Hitler

poor boy seems to be a wrong pc
StarTheWolfPuppy Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
i commend you for being so understanding and relaxed about the issue. Not that they aren't entitled to it, but I do see a lot of artists who get very aggressive over similar art styles/tracing even when it's only a young artist who obviously hasn't learnt the ropes yet. 

I can't lie, my own style definitely kind of melded into one similar to yours when I discovered your art, and I've recently been consciously trying to make little adjustments (eye shapes, head/body shapes etc) . Moral of the story- I totally understand what you mean. 
Zundel Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I agree with you. And in fact I wanted to thank you. You are a big inspiration to me, and thanks to your speedpaints I've learned how to make properly shadeing, but I never felt like copying your style. But because I have similar way of drawing, a lot of people thinks that I'm copying from you. I must admit I've learned a lot from your style but I always was drawing in similar way. I hope that after that post I will not have to hear that all the time.
SweetSpooky Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
so much agreement ;u;
Opalicious Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Are you ok with me using your art as a reference? It really helps with my anatomy.
RiverSpirit456 Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2016  Student General Artist
I'm alright with it, however please note that my anatomy isn't perfect or realistic. ^^; If you're looking to improve anatomy, than looking at real cats helps much more, or looking at many different artists to see how each stylizes that anatomy.

But yes, I'm fine with it. :)
Opalicious Featured By Owner Oct 7, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
K, just making sure!
spottygeeky57 Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
im sure she doesnt mind at all as long as you dont trace her art ^^ 
NeonTech-Cal Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2016  Student General Artist
OMG, well said, I totally agree! :clap: 
Forest-Of-Emeralds Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
I believe you're right, River! You've been my inspiration for so long. At first I tried to copy your style, but now I've realized that I'd rather have my own style and have something that I'm particularly good at. You're the reason I want photoshop so badly, BUT I want to develop my own style and become an inspiration to younger people, just as you are. StarClan honors your maturity and compassion (I had to, please don't hate meSweating a little... ) and your skill for art is just outstanding.
theresahelmer Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2016  Professional Photographer
The deadliest weapon is our tongue, I appreciate your point of view (shows maturity & kindness)...a rare find today ;p have a beautiful day
Sansluvah Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Haha, you're totally right... I'm 13 and mostly base my style off of yours.. I'm glad you don't mind! Btw I'm working on some fanart for you that I'll give you the link to on your page is you'd like.. Thanks for being such an inspiration!! :hug:
Eommi Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
My style was influenced by a chunk of artists.

You at first, by the way. I was really jealous :,D

•Somewhat Maplespyder

I initially attempted to copy yours, and I kind of got used to it, then I mashed in Yumi's and more in there.
Like, gawddayum.
rosebvrst Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I found an artist who I loved SO much, and I tried to "develop" a similar art style ( I copied ).I've moved past that, but I'm very greatfull for where it's gotten my style today.
Rainbow-Mirage Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
This is so true! When I started drawing around 3 years ago, I was influenced heavily by anime and manga. I remember meticulously copying characters from Soul Eater, Hetalia and Attack On Titan, which, although it didn't help me develop my own style, immensely aided me in learning basic line art, shading and anatomy. Without copying other artists my art would probably still be awful! Now that I know those basic essentials I can finally broaden my horizons and develop my own style of art. 

This is a super important message that everyone should hear - don't hate on people for copying other styles earlier on, it's helping them learn!
CyroBlue101 Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Wow! This came out when I posted my art 'Another Art Style'
SanIzanami Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2016
Thanks for that post River.
At the start it is impossible just to "pop up" with an own style.
darkheart20000 Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
LOL >:3 I have a lot of your style in my cats, and for my humans, I use the style from Yu-Gi-Oh
spottedflame1141 Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2016  Student Traditional Artist
Took the words right outta my mouth.
Chloe-Suta Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2016  Student Traditional Artist
More artist need to feel this way towards younger viewers here.We're all here to create something and hopefully share it with many to make them happy too!I've grown SO MUCH seeing others on this site,and we never stop learning.Ofcourse we'll try developing by looking up to our greatest inspirations.Thanks River for having a positive look at the kiddos who are still figuring out their style! :)
CobraCatDragon2898 Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2016  Student Digital Artist
This is by far one of my most favorite journals.
Silverwind234 Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2016
When I was first starting, you were a big inspiration for me! I have changed my style quite a lot now, but I used to draw a lot like you. You can still see some elements of your style in mine! Thank you for being an inspiration for me!
toren6000 Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2016
I started with stick figures. I can now do slightly neater stick figures. Yay.
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