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About sharing other people's art/ How to properly source

ButtercheeseButtercheese Member Posts: 3,769
edited July 2015 in Fan Creations
Hello, my fellow forumites ~

Quite a lot of you (and myself included) like to share artworks they did not create themselves in these forums. This is all fine and dandy and in a lot of cases actually quite helpful for us artists, since what goes around, comes around.

However, there are a few things to keep in mind when sharing art:

1. Is the artist ok with me sharing their art?
2. And if so, how do I share it without discrediting them?
3. What do I do if there is no source available?

As an example in this thread, I am gonna use one of Max Dunbar's illustrations from the official IDW Baldur's Gate comic (which is a great comic btw, you should all read it).

As an extra note I'd like to ad, that this goes for pretty much any form of art and content, not just drawing/ painting but also writing, music, modding, photography, etc.

If you wish to use or modify other people's works, please check my guide on that right here.


1. First, check if the artist has stated somewhere, if they don't want their art to be reposted anywhere. If they do, do not, under any circumstances, repost it anywhere. If you want to share it, post a link to it instead.
And by link, I don't mean a link like this, but rather a link like this.

"But Cheeeese," I hear you ask, "why is this important?"

Easy, my fellow forumite, if you use the latter form of the link, other people actually get the opportunity to leave a comment directly for the artist and if they happen to be a user of that website, they get to further interact with it. If it's on DeviantArt, they can fav and watch the artist, if it's on Tumblr, they can reblog it and help the artist that way, etc. I think you get what I am trying to say.

Always keep in mind though: Artists are people and people are different, so different artists will have different opinions on how to share their art. But generally speaking, the vast majority of artists are ok with sharing if you properly credit them. If you really want to play it safe, ask the artist directly for permission. And in case they decline you, respect that. Otherwise they can literally sue you.


2. So the artist doesn't state anywhere that they don't want their art shared/ reposted? Then it's usually safe to assume that you are allowed to do so. IF you give proper credit that is. How to do that though?
Easy: When you post the picture of your choice, simply add the name of the artist and a link to the source either atop or below it. If known, it's also nice to include the title of the artwork, but this is optional. Also, don't forget to use the correct source link I mentioned in 1.


DnD Legends of Baldur's Gate No4 Cover by Max-Dunbar

"Credit to whomever made this" or something along those lines is NOT sufficient! Same goes for "Source: DeviantArt" and the likes. If you do that anyway, you're going to burn in a very special level of hell.


3. What to do though if you don't know the source for whatever reason? Maybe someone has send you the image directly, maybe you found it only as an improperly credited repost. First, check if the image itself contains some information. Artists often include watermarks, names of their websites or their own names in their images. If you find a website or name, look for those. If there isn't either, fear not, for there is yet another way: Google Image search.


You see that little symbol that looks like a photocamera? If you click on it, it let's you upload and directly search for this specific image online. It is great for finding sources. Common sources often, but not exclusively are DeviantArt, Tumblr and Pixiv. Reddit and Facebook usually aren't.

However, if you can't find the source even through this, you probably shouldn't share the image in question.

If the image in question happens to be from a movie, game, book, etc. where you can't determine which of the many people who worked on it is the creator, it is ok to name said movie/ game/ book/ etc. as a source instead.


Thanks for reading, happy sharing and remember:

The original creator/ owner ALWAYS has the last word.

Post edited by Buttercheese on
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