Many artists, particularly illustrators, will use just about anything as “reference” and “inspiration” for their paintings, including photographs. And most of the time, no-one will ever know just what photo or photos were used as a “reference” for a painting. If you think about it, whether they know it or not, artists use everything they see as reference. It’s called “experiencing life & re-creating it.” Just as writers (like myself) write what they know, so do artists with their paintbrush.
But then there’s that bold artist who paints EXACTLY (without re-creating) what he sees from a photographers’ copyright-protected photo. Is this illegal? Is it unethical? Is it just plain plagarism? (more…)