Sabriel Prologue (chapter spot)
An old project for a class my senior spring semester that never made it to completion, I have revisited and finished (FINALLY) doing chapter spots for Garth Nix’s Sabriel.
Will start posting periodically sometime in the next week or two!
After a discussion last week with several of my cartoonist peers (and at the behest of Steve Bissette): I want to talk about image theft and uncredited content on social media. I’m only going to speak from personal experience (and only about the one image posted above) but I hope that this example will show the disservice this causes to any artist whose artwork is edited and reposted without credit.
[Disclaimer: I post all my work online for free. I want people to read, enjoy, and share my work. I have no problem with people reposting my work if it’s credited and unaltered. (That way new readers can find their way to my site to read more.) My problem is when people edit out the URL and copyright information to repost the images as their own for fun or profit.]
Below, I’ve listed the sites where my comic was posted and how many times it was viewed on / shared from each of those sites. (The following list was composed from the first ten pages of Google.) Let’s take a look at the life of this comic over the last 11 months.
On January 23 (2013) I posted the comic on my journal comic website, Intentionally Left Blank, and on my corresponding art Tumblr (where it currently has 5,442 notes). The same day, it was posted (intact, with the original URL and copyright) to Reddit. (There, credited, it has received 50,535 views.)
The Reddit post alone was exciting but on January 24, someone posted an edited version of the image (with the URL and copyright removed) to 9GAG. That uncredited posting has been voted on 29,629 times and shared on Facebook 22,517 times. That uncredited image caught on and spread like wildfire:
January 25: LOLchamp (39 comments. Views unknown.)
January 26: WeHeartIt. (With the 9GAG ad at the bottom. Views unknown.)
January 26: Random Overload (2 Facebook likes. Views unknown).
January 26: CatMoji (41 reactions. Views unknown.)
January 26: The Meta Picture (1,800+ Facebook likes. 6,000+ Pintrest shares)
February 5: damnLOL. (929 Facebook shares. Views unknown.)
February 7: LOLhappens. (1,400+ Facebook shares.)
February ?: LOLmaze (121 shares)
February ?: LOLzbook (37 likes and 37 shares).
On March 25, I was lucky and this comic was featured in a Buzzfeed post “36 Illustrated Truths About Cats.” The comic was featured alongside work by a 35 other artists who I admire and aspire to be. (Exciting!)
Buzzfeed was able to trace the uncredited image back to me and listed a source link to my main website but still posted the uncredited version of the image. The post currently has 6,000+ Facebook shares, 14,000+ Facebook likes, and 727 Tweets. Ever the optimist, I’ll count those numbers in the “credited views” column.
The problem with Buzzfeed posting the uncredited image and only listing the source underneath was: people began to save their favourite comics from the article and repost them in their personal blogs without credit. (13, 3, and 60 Facebook likes, respectfully.) I’m mentioning this not to target Buzzfeed or the individuals reposting, but to show the importance of leaving the credits in the original image.
March 30: FunnyStuff247. (47,588 views.)
March 31: LOLcoaster. (1 Facebook like. Views unknown.)
April 5: ROFLzone. (1,200+ Facebook shares. Views unknown.)
April 26: LOLwall. (70 Facebook likes. Views unknown.)
July 23: The uncredited image was chopped into four smaller pieces and posted on the Tumblr of TheAmericanKid, where he sourced it to FunnyStuff247. (124,786 notes and featured in #Animals on Tumblr.)
Aug 21: Eng-Jokes.com. (87,818 views and 41,400+ Facebook shares.)
There were 14 other sites which listed uncredited versions of the image within the first 10 pages of Google, but they were personal blogs so I’m not going to include them here.
One additional website I haven’t mentioned was Cheezburger, who originally posted the uncredited version of comic on January 23; but later modified it to the credited image after I contacted them. They didn’t contact me when they made the change but the image currently has 2,912 votes and 4,700 Facebook shares. Let’s be optimistic and count those as credited views and shares.
That brings us up to the current views and shares of the comic. Now let’s do some math.
I’ve removed the comments and reactions (because they could already be accounted for in views). I’ve left in votes, however, because some sites list votes instead of views.
Taking into consideration that Tumblr notes are made up of both likes and reblogs, let’s be conservative and say the Tumblr notes are twice as high as they should be. (That every single person that has viewed the image on Tumblr has liked the image and reblogged it.) Dividing the Tumblr notes in half, that leaves us with:
Posts using the credited image:
2,721 Tumblr notes
0 Pintrest shares
14,000 Facebook likes
10,700 Facebook shares
Posts using the uncredited image:
62,393 Tumblr notes
6,000 Pintrest shares
2,085 Facebook likes
347,984 Facebook shares
Adding those up and treating them all like views (assuming that every shared post was viewed once):
The original (unaltered, credited/sourced) version of the comic has been viewed 81,595 times.
The edited, uncredited/unsourced version of the comic has been viewed 588,310 times. (That’s over half a million views. Seven times more than the original, credited version.)
What does that mean for me as a creator? On the positive side, I created something that people found relatable and enjoyable. I succeeded at that thing I try to do. But, given the lack of credit, it also means that 88% of 669,905 people that read this comic had no chance of finding their way back to my website.
This was a successful comic. I want to be able to call this exposure a success. But those numbers are heartbreaking.
Morally, just the idea of taking someone’s work and removing the URL and copyright info to repost it is reprehensible. You are cutting the creator out of the creation. But worse yet, sites like 9GAG are profiting off the uncredited images that they’re posting.
9GAG is currently ranked #299 in the world according to Alexa rankings. As of April of this year, their estimated net worth was around $9.8 million, generating nearly $13,415 every day in ad revenue.
As a creator of content that they use on their site: I see none of that. And I have no chance of seeing any kind of revenue since readers can’t find their way back to my site from an uncredited image.
I don’t want to sound bitter. The money isn’t the point. But this is a thing that’s happening. This isn’t just happening to me. It’s actively happening to the greater art community as a whole. (Especially the comics community. Recent artists effected by altered artwork/theft off the top of my head: Liz Prince, Luke Healy, Nation of Amanda, Melanie Gillman, etc.) Our work is being stolen and profited off of. Right this second.
I do my best to see the positive in these events but the very least I can do as a creator is stand up in this small moment and say “This is mine. I made this.”
Something need to be done by the community as a whole: by the readers as well as the creators. We need to start crediting our content/sources and reporting those who don’t. Sites like 9GAG need to be held accountable for their theft of work. If you see something that’s stolen: say something to the original poster, report the post, or contact the creator of the artwork.
If you have an image you’d like to post but don’t know the source: reverse Google image search it. Figure out where it came from before you post. If you like it enough to share it, it means there’s probably more where that came from.
This is long. Please read the whole thing.
This is something that is near and dear to my heart. As someone who has had several of my comics go viral, my work has been stolen across the internet with little or no credit to me, and I cannot stress enough how much this kind of treatment hurts artists.
Myself and hundreds/thousands of artists today put our work online for free because we want to share it with the world. That doesn’t mean it is up for grabs, nor does it mean we do not expect credit. This is our livelihood. Not all of us are lucky enough to have a day job that pays the bills, and even with a 9-to-5, we rely on our art to make a living.
Sites like BuzzFeed and 9GAG make a profit off of our work with no credit to us, no permission from us, and often no intention to ever rectify those things. This is theft.
It’s not just about money. It’s about respect and credit where credit is due.
Please, for the love of God, stop supporting the casual theft and disrespect the internet shows to artists who are sharing their work with you. Don’t reblog art that isn’t credited to the artist. Don’t repost art from creators. Reblog from the source. Don’t delete artist’s comments.
If you like the art, support the artist.
Reblogging this here because this is IMPORTANT.
If you’re a creator who is sharing their work online, you already know how this goes.
Protect yourself as best you can: watermark your work in a way that is difficult to remove, metatag it with your name, contact the sites that steal your work and tell them to remove it, etc.
We can work toward an internet culture that credits and respects artists if we work together and stop supporting these sites that steal from creators. Let’s do our part.
stickfiguremasterpiece asked: Hi Noelle! I think I read somewhere that you attended art school for a time, so my question pertains to that. Your art style is super neat, but also very cartoony and simple (I hope that's not insulting, I can't think of a better word to describe it). Did your teachers and classes encourage this, or did they expect you to create pieces that were drawn more from observation, like still lifes? I'm currently an art student, and I'm struggling to find a balance I like between cartoony and realistic.
First off, art school WILL expect you to be able to draw from observation, draw from live models, and take foundation classes in painting, drawing, sculpture probably, etc, which will have a fine art bent. Some of those are things you have no interest in that you’ll have to suffer through and hopefully still learn something, but some of them are legitimately useful things that you should be doing no matter what style you draw in. No matter how simple and cartoony your style is, you have to understand the object before you can break it down and reinterpret it. In fact, you have to communicate a lot in even fewer lines/details, so it may even be MORE important.
That said, it would be silly to discourage students from practicing a style that they enjoy just because it’s simpler. Don’t get me wrong, there ARE teachers who will be biased against certain types of styles, but hopefully most of your professors will understand that simple, cartoony, or understated art isn’t less valid than the most rendered painting.
I didn’t understand this when I first started at art school - I thought of illustration in one specific way, and that was “highly detailed, with realistic anatomy and lots of intricately rendered decorations.” So my first assignment for my first class looked like this:
And my teacher, Daniel Krall, was like, yeah it’s okay. I continued kind of struggling in that class, weighing down my illustrations with superfluous frippery because I’d seen other illustrators do that, until one day he saw my sketchbook which was full of noodle-armed people with holes through their bodies. And he asked me why I wasn’t doing that instead. And I was like…I can do that??? For a final illustration?
So by the end of the class I was doing stuff more like this:
Obviously I had a ways to go before I had the balance between cartoony and realistic anatomy that I wanted, and honestly I’m still figuring that out as my knowledge of anatomy gets more informed every day. My recommendation is never stop drawing from observation no matter what, EVEN IF IT’S JUST DRAWING FANART CARICATURES OF TV CHARACTERS! Or people on the bus! (Although drawing from real naked people is really cool and you should definitely take advantage of that in school or wherever you have the opportunity! Some cities have life drawing sessions you can sign up for too. You can see some of my life drawings here. Just, yknow, to prove I did it.) The more you learn, the better your figures will look, whether intricately painted realism or noodle arms.
In short, draw the way that comes naturally to you, and don’t just follow what you’ve seen other people do. Find your own voice! But at the same time, don’t ever stop learning and adding to your mental toolbox of art skills. Don’t let your style stop you from experimenting, either. You can always grow more!
This is a lesson I didn’t learn until the same thing happened to me the last semester of my senior year (“why don’t you draw those funny things? No crazy detail, no 10+ hours of painting, just a nice sketch-and if you like going fast, just make a bunch and pick out the ones you like?”), and is still something that I keep having to remind myself. It certainly hit me like a ton of bricks, and I still sometimes think “shit am I spending enough time on this? Is it ok to leave it like that?”
Your doodles matter, guys! I’m happy to say I’m slowly but surely bridging my way between the way I academically trained and the way I naturally doodle. (doesn’t stop me from trying to revisit it, but hey. I am sometimes a masochist).
And I gotta say, for as prevalent as she is, we didn’t really talk much in class about artists like Roz Chast much (and I mean fuck me, she was alum for chrissake). Then again I also put myself into classes that didn’t allow for that kind of work, and I tried my hardest to become a render god (which uh, didn’t really go so well).
Loads of hours went into this one! Super proud of it.
Wanted to make a moodily-lit fully populated interior with some interesting armor concepts, I feel like I learned a lot from it.
My contribution to the cryptozoology-themed Harmonix art show, Sightings. The show should be up all week, so Boston/MA folks should totally check out what the team is up to in their free time! It’s going to be rad: http://fourthwallproject.com/flog/2013/09/05/sightings/
How to draw folds
Notes on how to draw folds back when I was teaching manga classes back in 2006. From the book “Drawing people” by Barbara Bradley.
This book has a very detailed description of 6 types of commonly seen folds and I think is one of the most educational resource on how to draw folds(Besides Vilppu and Bridgeman).
BLESS THIS POST
You must go where I cannot, You must go where I cannot,
Pangur Ban Pangur Ban, Pangur Ban Pangur Ban
Nil sa saol seo ach ceo, There is nothing in this life but mist,
Is ni bheimid beo, And we are not alive,
ach seal beag gearr. but for a little short spell.
Wow that translation made it 100% even more better
(clearly I’m having a ‘memento mori’ kind of week/month/life)