Today I really want to discuss a thought that my mind often returns to, whenever I use photo reference for creating my own art: the ethics of using photos/other people’s work for your own. Obviously, if one is to copy someone’s art in their own style or in a different medium (which I tend to do a lot), it’s best to at least reference or mention the original work.
But this leads to the question: what do you do when you only take elements of someone's’ art when creating your own? Or if you are simply using the inspiration from someone else’s work? I think it really depends on how much of your own ideas/originality is embedded in your work, but I think it’s completely fine to pick and choose different elements from others work, and it would be your choice if you decide to cite/mention the work you used.
I also think it’s completely fine to “copy” another work (as long as you reference it). A lot of the time, you’ll probably end up tweaking or changing certain parts to fit your own style or canvas anyway. It’s important to study others’ work, appreciate it, and utilize it to even tweak your own style. As you’re finding your own “style” of artwork (or developing multiple styles), it’s really helpful to see how other artists tackle a subject with their individual style. By imitating their art or style, it can help shape your own for different works in the future. This imitation technique also helpful to pick up some artistic tricks.
ALSO, photo reference is really helpful in getting certain details juuuust right. Trying to sketch, paint, (or whatever your medium is) a place or thing you’ve never experienced yourself can be really difficult without something to reference. A wonderful illustrator Mark Crilley made a helpful video about this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NeW17NSNZb0.
Have fun creating, and just be inspired!
- Sav *✲ﾟ*