Yup, I still have a bee, or several, in my bonnet about copyright infringement. However, I thought the bees needed a garden to fly around in and do what bees do best! Better they’re out pollinating and making honey than rattling around inside my bonnet that’s for sure.
So, I drew them a garden to live in and hung my bonnet in a dangle design I’ve incorporated into the design, along with a bit of hand lettering.
I drew the design on Winsor and Newton Bristol board using Tombow Fudenosuke pens, and a pencil from time to time.
When I was happy with the drawing, I scanned it into the ‘puter and started to add colour.
As you can see, this is very much a work in progress and I may very well change the colours in places as work continues. Yet again, the colours look very different in WordPress than they do on my ‘puter. What’s going on WordPress???
Friday is Dangle Day. In my book ‘A Dangle A Day’, I take you step by step through drawing charming, cute, whimsical dangle designs and monograms. The designs aren’t as complex as this one, though the dangles in this design are simple enough themselves. Dangles are fun to draw and a great way to add embellishment to all kinds of projects – greeting cards, note cards, bookmarks, BuJo (Bullet Journal) pages and spreads, journals, planners, diaries, and anything else you could possibly think of using them! They really are simple to draw, one step at a time, and it’s colour that brings them to life for sure!
This morning I decided to take a narrow strip from yesterday’s drawing and colour it digitally. This is the result.
I think WordPress converts RGB images to CMYK or something; the colours aren’t as vibrant on this image as they are on my ‘puter. However, I’m sure you get the idea.
I added a background texture to add interest to the artwork.
I really enjoyed doing this. The unusual dimensions of the artwork have worked well too. It would make a rather lovely bookmark, don’t you think?
I drew the original image with a mixture of Uniball Unipin and Sakura Pigma Sensei pens on Winsor and Newton Bristol paper. I then used Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, along with Microsoft’s Surface Pen and Surface Studio, to choose the section of the image I’d like to use and then add colour and texture.
Unusually, I made use of the Copic color palette in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro to help me choose colours to use.
I will go back soon and add some increased contrast and some glowing highlights. I think I need some tea first!
It took me nearly three hours to complete the colouring simply because I chose to use the fill tools available in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro. I’ll spend another hour or two increasing contrast and adding those glowing highlights to the design. I will add a post showing a comparison between the two versions for sure.
Yesterday I took a quiet day at home, apart from a quick trip out to do a little shopping for vittles. I lost myself in drawing and this image is the result.
It took me around 10 hours to complete, using a Sakura Pigma Sensei 0.4 pen along with a couple of 0.1 and 0.2 Uniball Unipin pens on Winsor and Newton Bristol Board.
The drawing harks back in time where my love of Romanesque and Gothic arches and architecture showed in amongst entangled, rambling organic motifs.
However, I think the passage of time, increase in skill and/or refining of technique shows through. Perhaps even a bit more polish to the design.
Although drawn in black and white, I’ve added a background colour gradient and texture digitally (along with the rather over the top watermarks).
Talking of watermarks…
I had a response from Teespring.com concerning my copyright infringement complaint against ‘Dragonfly Lovers’ on facebook.
The agreed with me and have removed the offending listing.
I am most grateful for their speed and professionalism in dealing with this.
It may be a drop in the ocean, but if we all took care of just one drop at a time we’d definitely reduce the number of copyright infringements out there.
My mental and emotional wellbeing
It’s been over a week since my last EMDR session. In the UK we’ve had a bank holiday weekend, so no therapy this week.
Last weeks session was really draining emotionally. I expected it’s effects to linger long beyond Monday. However, although I was still a bit tired on Tuesday I’ve mostly been quite content with that gentle smile both on my lips and in my heart.
That doesn’t mean to say I’ve not had my moments, ‘cos I have.
However, the drama of stolen artwork didn’t affect me as much as it would’ve in the past. I did what I could about it. I spoke up rather than letting it slide. It also has given me a little bit of a mission as I go forward – to raise awareness of how to spot an ethical company that supports artists by properly licencing work and properly crediting the artists they work with. Compare this with an unethical company that doesn’t support artists, doesn’t even mention who the artists are, and is only in it to make money for themselves.
Copyright infringement is rife. The myth that things on the internet are copyright free and in the public domain has to be dispelled.
Back to the point. I’m doing ok in terms of my mental and emotional wellbeing.
Still got a few bees in my bonnet about copyright infringement, can you tell?
Feel free to share, with proper credit, and help to spread the word!
I used a soft Tombow Fudenosuke pen to draw the design and noticed there was a space that would be perfect to put a few words there.
So I did.
I’m getting a bit heavy handed with my watermarks. I think I’ve been spooked just a little. I make no apologies for the heavy handed watermarking. I can’t do anything about my previous work I’ve shared, with all rights reserved. But I can do something about future work, can’t I?
Coloured background and texture added using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro along with a Microsoft Surface Studio.
I thought I’d share another sneaky peek of one of the four that I’ve coloured for the book.
Unusually, I’ve drawn people in a couple of templates. Drawing people is not one of my better skills to say the least. So here’s part of the angel I’ve drawn, set in an entangled, festive landscape, and a starry sky, of course!
I’ve used my signature jewel-bright colours, of course.
And, because it’s me, I’ve coloured the templates digitally, my tools being Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface Studio.
It’s nice to just colour, though keeping to a Christmassy colour scheme can be a little frustrating at times especially as here in the UK we’re enjoying an unseasonably rather warm Easter Bank Holiday weekend!
Entangled Christmas is one of the adult coloring books in the Creative Haven range from Dover Publications.
It’s been an *interesting* couple of days to say the least, and the root cause of the *interesting times* was the discovery of my dragonfly drawing entitled ‘Fly Away’ from back in 2012 (which you can see in my deviantART account).
I re-imagined it digitally, using my Microsoft Surface Studio and Surface Pen along with Autodesk Sketchbook Pro. It’s obviously hand drawn – I left lots of little imperfections in the drawing, including wobbly lines in places. I wanted it to have the human touch, not the slick perfection that can result from digital art. It took me around 12 hours or so to re-draw. That’s more than one day’s work.
Complaints, complaints and a heartwarming tale
I sent a message to the owners of the ‘Dragonfly Lovers’ facebook page explaining that they were using my artwork without my permission, effectively stealing my work for their own profit. Surprisingly I’ve not had a reply. My messages on their page have been deleted and I’ve been blocked too.
I have also submitted an official complaint of infringement of copyright/intellectual property to teespring.com, which is the website where they are selling merchandise with my dragonfly art on.
In the midst of this, with family and friends seeing what was going on and getting a good sense of righteous indignation, a woman from Texas sent me a message saying she’d seen the comments on the facebook page mentioned above and she’d decided to approach me directly. She was going to buy the dragonfly art from that page for her daughter’s birthday party. Instead, she asked if I would sell her a print so she’s supporting the artist who created the art.
I was touched. When people approach me I always try to help. Sometimes I waive my fees, such as when someone wants permission to use a design of mine to cover up a mastectomy scar.
Anyways, back to the tale. I told the texas lady that I’d have to re-draw the image as the original had been sold years ago via Etsy and I didn’t have a high resolution image of it.
More about the drawing
So, I got to drawing it again. The image above is the result of some 12 hours work.
I used a low resolution image of the original artwork as a guide and I worked digitally. I was quite keen to do this. I wanted to try out my new skills with brushes that change width with pressure, as well as showcase how my skills have developed in the 7 years since the original was drawn.
The drawing is NOT an exact copy at all. The dragonfly itself is pretty much similar, but the flowers are different as are the spirally branches in the background. I also added tiny seed pods and flourishes to add interest.
I let the varying line weight add depth and dimension to the elements of the image. Overall, I think it’s a more balanced design. Some of the branches look a little ‘flat’ and maybe would benefit from some grey shadows. But it’s good enough I think.
Did something good come from this debacle?
The intellectual property thieves did something good – they spurred me into action in terms of reworking an old image, using my new skills, the way my art has developed.
I also now have a very high resolution image which will print beautifully on many products – it’s up in my RedBubble Shop!
They’ve also made me realise that if my art is good enough for them to steal and use to profit from then my art must be good enough for me to sell.
My problem is promoting myself and getting word out there that I have stuff available to buy with my art on it, officially! I’ve given myself permission to put my artwork on products to sell.
A never ending battle…
I know I’m never going to stop the thieves. There are always unscrupulous people out there, willing to use anything or anyone for their own profit. But when I find them I will challenge them. What they are doing is wrong – WRONG I tell you!
The only way to defeat them in some ways is not to join them, it’s not to let it all slide, but it’s to offer my art with really good quality images on good quality products at a reasonable price.
It’s also getting the word out that this kind of thing is unacceptable, and to challenge the myth that just because an image is on the internet it’s free for anyone to use, even to make money for themselves.
So, from now on, I will be adding more prominent watermarks to my art and making sure it’s at a low resolution that will not print well. I’ll do what I can to make it more difficult for them to steal, to remove my signature or symbol and watermarks and so on.
I also have a plan to add a notice to my art warning people that it is copyrighted and it’s use without permission is illegal. Well, not quite those words, but that kind of meaning.
The easiest way to stop the unscrupulous out there would be to stop sharing my art. However, there’s been people saying they hope it doesn’t stop me as they like to see what I’m up to…so I’m going to have to learn how to protect my images, my art more and more. And if I find someone using my artwork for their own gain without my permission then I will do what I can to stop them.
A trio of cute bunnies along with their stash of chocolate eggs looking all happy and also a little bit smug with themselves. A really cute and whimsical dangle design for you to use as inspiration for your own designs. I kept the dangle to just one strand to let the bunnies be the stars of this design.
The ‘with love’ sentiment was hand lettered. Yes, on the paper that is the screen of my Surface Studio using my Surface pen with a brush in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro that I’ve set up to mimic a brush pen, such as the Tombow Fudenosuke pens I’ve been using lately to draw with.
I’ve chosen soft, pastel colours, which are quite fitting for spring time I think. The textured background paper dulls and darkens them a little. However, I think that gives a bit of a vintagey, aged feeling to the design.
I did sketch the design out on Rhodia Dot Grid paper before scanning in and inking and colouring the design digitally.
My book ‘A Dangle A Day’ takes you step by step through drawing dangle designs, with plenty of helpful advice and encouragement throughout.
One of my dragonfly designs, which incidentally has been sold to a private collector, has been used on products that someone is selling to make profit, without even bothering to search out who the artist was (me in this case) and approach them (me).
I mean, it’s not a difficult task these days. Drag and drop the image into the search bar of Google images!
I’ve emailed the company. They have a week to reply. I’m not going to hold my breath though.
How did I find out about this particular theft? The product appeared on my facebook news feed as an advert!
I left a comment on the facebook advert saying the artwork had been stolen and I was the artist who created it too. And shared the advert on facebook on my timeline and my facebook page and on my twitter account too.
Not that it’ll shame the shameless intellectual property thieves who perpetrate copyright infringement for their own financial gain.
Not that it’ll shame the company (companies) that allow this to happen.
It’s really annoying though.
It really makes me very sad, disheartened, and absolutely worthless too. The people who do this shameless theft don’t care about the effect it has on the owners of the artwork, or other intellectual property.
Yes, that’s right I feel worthless as a person, that my art is good enough for you to steal but not good enough for you to give me credit for it, to contact me about being able to use it, or to pay me for the use of it.
I’d never, ever do that to anyone. Never.
It also makes me wonder how much of my artwork that I’ve shared via deviantART, facebook, instagram, Pinterest, twitter and so on has been stolen and used without permission from myself. There’s no way I can actually tell.
Yes, it’s flattering that people like my art enough to do this. But it’s annoying that they don’t even have the decency to either state who created it and how to contact them ( that’s me in both cases here) and don’t even have the decency to contact myself about licensing the artwork, as that is the honorable, decent, law abiding thing to do, isn’t it?
I don’t have the time to go through the interwebs and find all my artwork and either delete it, complain about it being stolen, or add very distinctive watermarks and copyright notices to older work.
I will keep adding watermarks and copyright notices to all the artwork I share on the interwebs for the foreseeable future in the hope it will deter some people.
The last thing I’d want to do is to stop sharing my creations with people who just like it to look at, for a bit of ‘eye candy’, for something that makes them smile, and fascinates them, particularly with my more intricate works.
I bet even then there’ll be unscrupulous people out there who won’t give a damn anyway, but I will do my best to make it as difficult as possible for them to make a product from my art that is of good enough quality for them to make any money from. Watermarks. Background textures. Low resolution images.
Perhaps I shouldn’t let it get to me.
No, I should. If someone stole my car, my bank cards, my money, my home I’d be upset.
I make my living through my artwork.
You who steal my artwork are stealing from me as if you were reaching into my bank account with your grubby, sticky, unscrupulous, thieving fingers. How would you like it if I did that to YOU?????? Ah, that’s right. I wouldn’t happen to you as you don’t have the skills, talent to create artwork like mine do you, but the only skills you have are to steal.