November 30, 2008
I am going to go out on a limb here, because I know that NO Copy Cat Artists read my blog - really I doubt they are, because they would know how I feel about copying. My sweet, sweet gullible Copy Cat Artists would realize I have no tolerance for it.
On the other hand, I realize some of these artists are familiar, wait VERY familiar with my products, my friends products and some sort of very well known Entrepreneurs in my industry. I am guessing they may just be looking at websites and not reading my blog. If I am so lucky to have one of them accidentally find this blog - I would hope they would take my advice to heart and share this information, because I assume "bird of a feather flock together". Also, when copying these little nuggets might make your life easier.*
*The rest of my regular readers, family (hi Mom!), looky loos, and friends may want to ignore this post. Psssst....it's all in tongue and cheek, snarky and a bit sarcastic. I am going to give the Copy Cats some much needed advice on copying. So the rest can just go about your business, nothing to see her folks, check back often I will be back to my regular "perky" blogs....
Dearest Copy Cat Artist,
Welcome to "Coping Artwork the Way it Was Intended to Be Copied"!
How are you all? How have you been? I see some of you have come out with some new work this Fall and wow - what work it is! Some of you have taken inspiration a bit too far this time so I thought I would try and give you some tips on how to do it the right way. Please take this to heart, I am oh so tired of having to repeat myself, but I feel it is my duty to help you and make you a better artist(if that is what you call yourself), anyways here we go.
When Copying Do it Right!
If you are going to copy an artist, or a product design try be smart about it. Really go with someone that is not all over the web or someone in the industry for over ten years and is sort of famous, has had tons of press and really well-known. These artists use the web too, and know you are looking at their work - heck how else could you copy the art so closely?
Go for someone a little more on the outskirts, the fringe of our industry if you will. Or an artist you saw at an Art & Craft show - copy her. Better yet copy a 5th grader - that would be great, and if I am correct I am guessing you are smarter than the 5th Grader. I am sure the 5th grader does not have copyrights or even much time on the web - so I would go with the 5th grader - no older though. You get into junior high artists and they will kick your butt all over cyberspace, or destroy your reputation on My Space.
Own Your "Inspired" Piece of Work
If you must copy someone's work, do change a few things. Artists are a very smart (and vocal bunch) they do talk, email, oh I don't blog maybe. Most are quite famous and even have their work on products for licensing - now those big companies do not mess around. To quote Pulp Fiction, "I don't want to have to go all medieval on your ass."
So dearest please change the look of your princess, make her hair curly if the others is straight, give her a cow face, change it some how - use some of that "moxie" you have and own it. Put the princess castle um in a meadow, instead of on a hill, change a boy turtle to a girl turtle so it has more of a different look - really you can get creative with this one. Don't just flip flop the bird and the twig and think you own it - anyone can do that in Photoshop. They will still know where you got the "inspiration" from, most will not be fooled. You may even fool a few customers into believing it was your art first! How great is that?
Change it Baby
When copying or imitating another's piece of art - use a different palette. I know this is a big word for you to handle - but let me help you out with simple terms.
Palette: The colors, or color combination used on a piece of work. The palette may also have a theme (like all shades of blue) or be all over the map with the entire rainbow - doubtful as most are trained artists. Usually a couple of colors will stand out as the dominating colors of the piece. Make sure and do NOT use those colors....trust me!
If, for example the other piece of art uses yellows, blues and greens - change it around a bit. Make your's pink ,monkey puke green and blood red. Or go with turquoise, purple and silver. I know this is difficult to do but do try - this way you really can "own" the art. For example if the birthday plate you want to "imitate" has red,orange, yellow and blue - go with purple, turquoise, pink and maybe green - don't use the same colors silly!
Better yet be original and go with the whole pink and brown thing - I hear that is huge! By the way just so you know borrowing a "palette" or color combination from another is NOT copying, so you are okay there.
Someone Asked You to Do It
Oh, how I feel your pain, really I do! I know this can be hard, since you so want to please the customer, the sales channel - I do too. And, I can almost guess that sometimes you were asked to do this. The reason I know this is I have been asked also - to copy you, and your friends, and my friends, and other artists. However, I say no. Copying when a sales channel sends you a JPEG of another artists is wrong. They don't know any better (or maybe they do) but you could just suggest something else and tell them that is illegal to copy the art. How hard would that be?
Before I forget I do want to mention one thing, I don't want to alarm you but you may need to know about copyrights. All artists have them, well the smart ones do. I have even heard a few have some fancy/schmancy attorneys too. They can rally up together if they want to - even in this gosh awful crummy economy. So be careful, some are not as nice as me - practically showing you how to copy!
Timing Is Everything
If you are still not convinced my "helpful hints on copying" will help you, do take one thing to heart - release your products a long time after mine. Don't come out with your piece right after mine - like two weeks later, come on now! Wait a few months, so that it is not so obvious to the customer. This may throw some people off the scent....you can then claim you were soooo busy over the Holiday Rush (uh....maybe don't use that one this year though - stinks of a really bold faced lie) that you could not release it. And, if anyone asks you where you got the idea - come up with some detailed story about how it came to you months ago, years ago, in high school maybe - ooh, I know use a child! Psst....go with that 5th grader again....say they suggestedyou paint or design a product for them! Yes a 5th Grader!
Most importantly claim you NEVER, EVER look at your competition - you are way too busy! And if anyone throws some thing about SEO or Google Analytics at you and claim they know you were on their site - deny, deny, deny! If you deny it long enough maybe you will even start to believe yourself.
Play Nice and Be Careful Out There
Lastly, don't trash talk your competitors. Do not "claim" on your site that you do this, or that or how you use special art items that we don't. You do not know the size of my brush, the paint I use, the people I purchase raw materials from, or who produces my products, or who I have hired. It really is not necessary to bring down the competition - okay? Play nice - I just gave you tons of tips on how to copy me! Once again - even fifth graders know the whole, "If you do not have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all!"
I hope this helps you in your surfing the web for ideas - really I do! Have a wonderful holiday season and we will be waiting for your next new design to come out. Oh - cause Artists use the Internet too (did I mention that already?), they are probably on your site right now.
Sincerely Good luck with your creations and your copying....err "inspirations", trust me you are going to need it.