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Lynette Cook <[log in to unmask]>
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SciArt-L Discussion List-for Natural Science Illustration- <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 14 Feb 2011 14:01:43 -0800
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I'd always been told that working from one reference was plagiarism  
and working from 2 or more constituted newly copyrightable work. So  
hopefully any artist worth his/her salt would avoid the most glaring  
mistakes. (Of course, the more references you have, the better off you  

On Feb 14, 2011, at 1:54 PM, Frank Ippolito wrote:

> in my talks on scientific illustration, I caution against building  
> an illustration from limited references. to make my case, I co'opted  
> a Far Side cartoon called "first dibs." what if the only reference  
> you had was a pic of that poor, soon-to-be-eaten antelope?
> -f
>> Oh...don't get me started...
>> Okay, not really "scientific" art, but still...
>> My peeve, being a bird (and other wildlife species) artist is the
>> illustrators who slavishly copy photographs of birds without any
>> understanding of what is going on.  Thus we see paintings of ducks,  
>> geese,
>> swans and other such species with a full set of primary feathers on  
>> one
>> wing, but not the other...obviously pinioned, thus obviously  
>> captive, and
>> yet supposedly wild birds.  There are often two sharp white  
>> highlights in
>> the eye...sign of a strobe since here on Earth we have but a single  
>> sun.
>> Overweight lions, tigers and bears, oh my...zoo specimens all.  One  
>> of my
>> first professional jobs was illustrating animals for the  
>> zoo...naturally I
>> wanted to do the birds, since that was my specialty, but was assigned
>> reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates.  Okay...but the person who  
>> did birds
>> was a commercial artist.  She showed a Fairy Bluebird with tail  
>> feathers
>> bent outward...exactly like the photo of what was obviously a  
>> captive bird
>> in a popular book of that time...but their feathers don't really  
>> look like
>> that unless frayed and bent from being pushed against cage bars.  And
>> yes...I've had not only my own art copied, but some years ago a  
>> painting of
>> a Golden Eagle by the late Arthur Singer, clasping its prey, was  
>> copied in
>> pencil by an artist who simply left out the prey, and published,  
>> without any
>> attribution to Singer, by the local newspaper.   It was remarkably  
>> brazen,
>> but at least accurate since Singer's art was accurate.  I've seen  
>> less
>> accurate work by Audubon "inform" other artists, not realizing that  
>> Audubon,
>> for all his attributes, was not necessarily accurate in his choices  
>> of pose
>> and posture.
>> Barry
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