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"Be Inspired" and be original!

Myself and a group of friends and colleagues have been discussing the issue of copyright infringement (copying someone else's artwork) versus being inspired by  art and other things to create artwork. Brenda Pinnick came up with an idea for all of us to have a blog hop to share a bit on the subject in order to educate and spread the word about originality.

There is a big difference between being inspired by other artists and copying them.  For many of us who were trained artists and went to art school we learned that using reference material was a great thing. We also learned that if you're working with photographs  using   someone else's image you cannot just trace that picture, re paint it and call it your own, however you can study some of the elements such as trying to understand what a particular flower might look like from a front view or back view.   You can take your own photograph,  repaint  exactly the way you see it and that is not copyright infringement because the photograph is your own creation.  This is a painting that I did from my own photography. This would NOT be ok if this was not my own photo, the reason is I used the exact composition, color etc. I have created a very rough drawing showing you an example of how it would be ok to use reference as inspiration when looking at others photographs.





ROUGH SKETCH (it would be ok for another person to use my above photograph as reference and inspiration in this way below). The rose is an image from nature so I could have found this flower position and a similar shape in nature.


 I would like to share with you the artwork of one of my most inspiring artist friends Chris Chun.   I have only known him for a few years but when I first laid eyes on his work my heart was touched deeply, he has the ability to capture nature and other beauty using traditional elements, but adding his own whimsical new refreshing vision. Chris has posted something about this topic today also,   his examples are perfect as to being inspired by ideas using things he saw and loved,  in a way that is perfectly legitimate  and original. Click for his post.

I think it's wonderful that so many people are enjoying crafts and being creative.   I think everyone has an inner voice to share artistically even those who say they cannot draw or paint.   Many people are purchasing all kinds of scrapbook papers and products for craft projects and using them to create new designs, that's a great thing,  however some of them don't understand that they cannot copyright that work and say it is  their own. There are many images that are in the public domain that people can work with legally and do not infringe others copyrights (for example Dover art has many books).  I highly recommend that those who would like to do something commercially and need some other art to work with use PD images, people can create something beautiful with those images and as long as they do something unique they can claim a copyright on it.

I apologize if this blog post is a little confusing to some, I struggle with the written word,  hopefully what I am try to share makes sense. I always tell people when they asked me if I have any tips on how to earn a living from their artwork as I do.  I say " firstly find your inner voice , it is okay to look around and be inspired however make sure whatever you do  is truly original and is not you trying to be somebody else."

UPDATE: Below is an example of a situation were an artist was told to use my designs as inspiration to create some new art.  As you can see why this would most likely be considered copyright infringement and is not an acceptable way to be inspired by another artist.  This happened years ago and i had a chance to chat with the artist direct and she was very lovely and just did not understand this crossed over the line. Thankfully her agent removed it from his offerings before licensing it to any one. 

The artwork was something already on the market so the artist had access to the two images togther.  Can you guess what design is not mine?


I would like to thank all my friends and colleagues  who have been sharing  about  this topic and bringing it to the attention of others who might not understand the difference between copying and being inspired. Here are the other artists who have participated in the hop.

















Phyllis Dobbs

Sue, beautifully said and beautifully illustrated! Great post!

jane maday

Great post, Sue! And I love your painting!

Beth Parker

Great post! I see no struggle, but a beautifully written post!

Sharyn Sowell

Sue, this is beautiful & a perfect example. You are a real inspiration!

Molly Smith

Sue, your blog post is not one bit confusing. I enjoyed reading and learning from what you have said concerning photography and art. Your examples are very clear.

Thank you for linking me and it is nice knowing you! ~Molly

shelly kennedy

so pretty!
LOVE that photo!

Robin Pickens

Sue, so eloquently stated with a beautiful example. I love your explanation. Happy creating!



Beautiful art and well spoken thoughts on inspiration.

joanne sharpe

Here, here, clap clap…Very well said dahlink!!!!!! You rock Suzie Q!

Terri Conrad

sue, your florals are so beautiful


Beautiful work Sue, thanks for sharing your perspective and story with the copycat!

Diane Knott

Bravo, Sue! Forgive me for not taking part...but you all know that my heart and mind are in complete agreement with all of you who are participating in the blog hop.

Beautifully written!

Brenda Pinnick

Sue, you explained it beautifully! I could look at your art all day long and never get tired of it. Keep up the good work, soldier!

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