Copying & Inspiration are two concepts that seem to have a clear cut definition, until you look closer and see that they have a grey area between them a mile wide. I define copying as either tracing or studying the lines and copying or reproducing them 100% perfectly. I define inspiration as seeing another artists work and being so moved by what they created that you incorporate elements into your own work to emulate them. Sounds easy in theory right?
Truth is, copyright laws sometimes seem like they are written in another freakin' language. An artist could have the best intentions being inspired by others artworks and make mistakes that they honestly didn't know were in the wrong- they were simply enjoying the act of creating.
Unfortunately in recent years, there has been an Inquisition-esque movement in the copyright infringement arena where artists use the term as a bully pulpit to drag another artists name through the mud- sometimes without even contacting them privately about the mistake first before going public. In the process, they set fire to the hard work and reputation the accused artist has set up, sometimes for no other reason than to cut them down and take their place.
On the other hand, there are many newly emerging artists seeking their own artistic style who emulate those legendary artists who came before them out of sheer adoration until they find their own style. This is a natural progression for a newly budding artist, much like training wheels on a bicycle. Unfortunately, nowadays this process is more like playing Russian roulette. You could emulate and admire an artist's work, and assume that since they create beautiful art that they themselves must be beautiful. This is not always the case. Some will cut you down in the blink of an eye for being inspired by them. Inspiration has indeed become a dangerous game.
This is sad and detrimental to newly budding artists who have not yet found their own style and emulate others as artistic guidance. Which leads me to my point. If you are a newly budding artist seeking to find your artistic style but are deathly afraid of making a mistake- feel free to come to me. Be inspired by me. (Please don't trace, take, or carbon copy- you're better than that. ;) ) Heck, you can send me an email or message me on my Facebook Fanpage- I would be glad to help you find what makes you unique and hear your story! I might even suggest that you apply to join Enchanted Visions, a supportive group of Fantasy artists who respect and help each other be the best we can be.
I believe that it is the responsibility of more mature Fantasy Faery artists to help and guide those who come after them, not cut them down cruelly for their mistakes. Everyone knows copying is bad, but inspiration has one hell of a grey area that jerks sometimes take advantage of as a bully pulpit. I'm here to tell you that whether you are a mature or budding Fantasy Faery artist, feel free to be inspired by my work in creating your own. I think it's flattering to be honest. All I ask in return is that you say you were inspired by me and you include the link to my website so others can find out about my artwork too! And, if you tag me on the description of your inspired work on FB, I'll reshare it to my Fanpage as well.
In conclusion, the artist's work whom you are inspired by may be legendary, but the artist themselves may be ugly inside. It is not safe to be inspired by some artists, but it is safe to be inspired by me. I would be honored to be your inspiration and help you find the unique qualities that make you the wonderful person you are, and help bring those qualities out to evolve into your own amazing style. Just remember when the time comes to pay it forward to the next artist who may someday be inspired by you!
The time for artist bullies is at an end. Now it is time for us to help and be supportive of one another. I hope to do my best to facilitate that and help others wherever I can. I will never be cruel to you, or cut you down, or bully you, or criticize you, or make fun of you. I choose to use my words and actions to help others and nurture them, not hurt.
- Coriander Shea
copyright 2002-2015 Coriander Shea Detwiler. All rights reserved. No unauthorized reproduction.