Inspiration or Plagiarism?
Updated: Aug 12, 2019
Ever so often we find ourselves in the dilemma of what to draw. We go onto social media to find some inspiration, see this amazing artwork, and decide we want to draw it. With a few changes and our own interpretation, we proudly present our piece of art to the rest of the world. The big question lurking is, "is it our own work or just another copy"? Where do we draw the line between inspiration and plagiarism?
That feeling you get while looking at another art piece, the excitement and wonder which draws you in. That jaw dropping experience, and that you can't believe that another human being actually did that with their own two hands! And you want to do it too...
...That is inspiration, pure inspiration.
Fact is, no one just picks up a pencil and creates an amazing, unique piece of art. We are influenced and inspired by what is around us on a daily basis. That is what keeps us going. Everything we know as artists comes from artists that came before us, and artists that even came before them.
So where does plagiarism come in?
Am I a Thief?
Plagiarism in or of itself is not illegal. It is basically taking the entire piece or just a small section of someone's piece of art and using it in your own creation, while claiming it as your own without giving credit to the original creator.
However, as artists we don't just get inspired by, but also learn from one another. Which is why a lot of artists still decide to use another piece as a study. Using it solely to learn about, and to improve your own artistic skills is great, as long as you avoid putting it on social media to gain more followers, or selling it.
If you end up deciding to post the study, even if you just used a piece of it as a reference, it is important that you give the correct recognition. So be sure to state that it is a study or copy of and not inspired by the artist.
''Inspired by'' would refer to when you create an artwork with the same feeling as the other piece, but has completely different elements to it, with maybe one or two similarities, not copies.
This will help you to avoid any plagiarism, but do remember that it could still end up being copyright infringement.
Copyright infringement can still occur even if the source, author, or copyright-holder is cited. Plagiarism only occurs if someone is trying to pass off your work as their own. Plagiarism is a violation of moral, ethical, or organization[al] norms not laws.
How Do I Stay On The Safe Side?
It is good to be inspired by other artists, as long as you keep the work that you create purely yours. A great way to do this is by looking at the art that inspires you, but putting it away when starting your own. Remember the feelings you felt, the aesthetic, as well as the elements that inspired you.
These can be things such as:
Maybe even the big, glossy eyes
or small, stubbed noses
Gather your own reference photos, make your own concept sketch, create your own artwork.
Don't steal someone's artistic identity. That being said, it is a good thing to get inspired by others, especially when hitting a low in your own art.
What are your thoughts on the topic? Has anyone ever copied your work? What is your experience with copying and plagiarism. Let's chat in the comment section.