Warning, Long rant incoming.
Today has become a very stressful day for me. Over the years I have been very cautious about posting artwork because of the amount of people that just don’t give a fuck about stealing it. Unlike movies, games, books, and other visual media its very hard to know if someone in fact owns the rights to the artwork/photos they post on the internet. There is just so damn much of it floating around and with 99% of it created by people that will never be known outside a certain website or blog it’s very easy to get away with reposting. Its downright tempting when you really think about it. That in 10-30 min with a vague idea of ms paint you can take something that someone spent weeks on and make it seem like your own for instant gratification when you put it back up, possibly making a quick buck since there are so many “sell your own work ” sites out there these days as an added plus. Art in real life is already highly competitive as it is but the net is much worse and with every artist looking for attention in some way some will do anything they can to impress those around them without having the patience to do the work themselves. Its the internet right? No harm pretending as long as I’m not caught, right? Only the really good artists have to worry about having stuff stolen..right?
It’s more harmful then you think. Especially when a majority of us are simply doing it because we love it and do not have million dollar companies behind us along with lawyers to go after those who infringe on our hard work. Everyone wants to be an overnight sensation these days. Many dream of having skills they will never possess in their real lives but online, online you can be anything you want. Its easier to steal artwork however then boast you can sing and post up vids of random people. It also doesn’t matter what your skill level is, you post something, your at risk. Simply hoping the “please do not use without permission” or “do not steal” that is often on art gallery sites will stop people is are like thinking a Stop sign in the middle of no where is useful. At best its a suggestion most ignore.
I happen to have just caught two such individuals today. One on DA, who took the un-watermarked version of my penciled Mist Dragon off my blog and posted it, offering small prints for 5$ as well as my fathers day sketch and another who has been reposting individual squares from my comic book boards to cut out the ones that had watermarks on them as well as my step my step of coloring lizard for the past week on their blog as their own work. Both people in question have taken down the work within hours of me messaging them, the blog is now in fact completely gone at the moment that I write this post (update, so has the da account. Thanks da devs!) but the betrayal has already happened. Now I am faced with pulling all my artwork down and either closing this blog or defacing my work with even more watermarks. Watermarks..ug…something that as an artist I despise doing because we spend so much time working on pieces that to have to plaster our name or website over and over on it once were done is just….heartbreaking. The fact that we have to go to that length to hopefully stop the stealing of our stuff is horrible, and sometimes that doesn’t even work. It’s one of the reasons theft of art is so rampant however since many artists feel the same way. Art is visual, why would we want to make something we worked so hard on displeasing to look at, that’s the opposite of what we want to do but I see no way around it at this time. I may have just started this blog, but this is not the first time I have faced things being stolen over the years and every time I have pulled all my stuff off the net until now ( I’ll share my college portfolio art theft story sometime…and ironically involved the same Mist dragon) . I do not want to do it again. I am tired of hiding my work.
I don’t know how long it will take for me to repost things so please be patient with me. At best I squeeze 15 hours a week out of my busy schedule for art. I do not have all the time in the world to do this and the idea that a good chunk of the time I was going to spend on my boards this week are now going to be devoted to designing a new watermark overlay and reposting stuff has pissed me off to no end. Can you tell? I spent the time writing this even. Thank you idiots!
What a stressful day indeed…I need cookies.