Earlier today I happened upon, via the medium of Twitter, a discussion about yet another case of the plagiarism of independent illustrators and designers.
Of course all plagiarism is dispicable, especially that committed by big companies against independent artists, but what I find most sad about this whole episode is that the plagiarism was by a 3rd year illustration student, a young artist at the beginning of their career, who has tarnished a fledgling reputation through their own laziness. They have so very blatantly ripped off not just one, but several fairly well known artists and illustrators including Gemma Correll, Kate Wilson of Little Doodles, Nan Lawson, Julia Pott and sadly too, me.
Below is an example of my two original drawings, and their amalgamated version. They didn't even bother to correct my terrible misquote of the lyrics to Rock Around the Clock!! Unfortunately I don't have any other examples of the other artists whose work was taken as all traces of the student in question's internet presence was swiftly cleared as soon as the shit hit the fan.
EDIT - Image removed...see below!
I'm not going to go on a tirade of how awful this is, to me, and I hope to others this is fairly obvious. I just want to put out a reminder that even if the work you are producing isn't for financial gain (though in the case of a 3rd year student who will be putting together a portfolio to find work, it technically will be) it is just wrong, wrong, WRONG to steal another artist's ideas and visual imagery. At school and college it is drummed into us not to take another's words for our essays without quoting them, and the same rule goes for visual ideas and imagery too.
The internet is an amazing place to showcase work and also to draw inspiration from, but what it gives us is also it's downside. In putting my art out there I, and no doubt countless other artists are fully aware of the risks involved with putting work on such a public platform, but still, there is a big difference between being influenced by someone's work, and copying it.
Sadly this isn't the first case of a student ripping of another artist's work for the benefit of their degree. The case of Samantha Beeston last year caused a huge amount of outrage, especially as she went on to win a prize with the images she stole...more of which can be read about here: http://bit.ly/3bB1y8
However vast the internet is, it has quite a close knit community of artists and illustrators and when something like this happens it really doesn't take long for the news to spread (see youthoughtwewouldntnotice.com for further reading!). The student in question has been contacted as has their art school, who knows what action they will take on this. Plagiarism in any form just won't be tolerated and I hope this silly person has learned their lesson.
Anyway, I have been meaning to broach this subject for a while and I guess it happening a little too close for comfort gave me the push I needed to do it! I'd love to know your thoughts...
More 29 project updates coming this-a-way later!
EDIT - This article has been edited and the image removed due to a legal threat...Yes, really!