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Happy Lunar New Year fellow Haveners! We're celebrating the Year of the

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As you may have noticed, the website looks a little different recently.

There are a few things to address as to why this is happening,

what is currently not available, and what is being planned. 

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  • Referencing vs Copying


    This guide will teach you the differences between "referencing" and "copying." Please read AH's Community Guidelines and What We Consider Art Theft alongside this guide to fully grasp the information. 


    Definition of Referencing


    Reference is a relation between objects in which one object designates, or acts as a means by which to connect to or link to, another object. The first object in this relation is said to refer to the second object. The second object, the one to which the first object refers, is called the referent of the first object.

    References can take on many forms, including: a thought, a sensory perception that is audible, visual (text/image)...


    In short, referencing is looking at an image for detail/pose assistance/etc. As long as you you draw the image yourself - that includes tracing over the image and/or directly copying it the wrong way - then nothing is wrong. Many people use references to help them understand how a pose works or how a certain outfit would flow in different situations.



    Definition of Copying


    a. An imitation or reproduction of an original; a duplicate: a copy of a painting; made two copies of the letter.

    b. (Computers) A file that has the same data as another file: stored on the server a copy of every document.
    c. One example of a printed text, picture, film, or recording: an autographed copy of a novel.

    From: https://www.thefreedictionary.com/copying


    In short, copying is when you look at a reference/image and imitate it to the point where there is no difference between what you made and the reference(s)/image(s) you referred back to. This does not account for art styles in which the purpose is to imitate an image - ex) photo studies. Photo studies are covered further down in this guide.



    DMCA & Copyright Laws


    The DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) protects intellectual property, more specifically in this case, artwork from art theft/copyright infringement on all websites. AH handles it on their own, so filing DMCA notices is not necessary, as submitting a support request labeled DMCA Violation is sufficient.

    From: https://arthaven.co/wiki/official/how-to-file-a-dmca-takedown-r2/


    Please refer to "How to File a DMCA Takedown" for more information on DMCAs and how to file one: https://arthaven.co/wiki/official/how-to-file-a-dmca-takedown-r2/



    Using References Correctly vs Incorrectly

    Let's say you wanted to draw a picture. You go searching for references to use. SenshiStock on DeviantArt has many stock poses available for your disposal. You want to draw a magical girl so you choose to use this picture as your pose reference:


    You go and copy the pose - simple enough. Once you have that down, you alter the image to look more like the character you have in mind. This works out for you until you realize that the pose doesn't work exactly for your character. Your character is wearing flats instead of heels and a loose-fitting outfit. Do you force your character to fit in with the reference you have? The correct answer is no.


    This is where I'll describe how to properly use references.


    Step 1:

    Same scenario. You want to draw a magical girl. Instead of immediately finding a pose, take a moment to think of a pose on your own. Draw this no matter if it is anatomically incorrect or not.


    Step 2:

    You have the sketch of the pose you want to do down. Great! But, you're confused. How does the hand holding the magical wand work? This is where you go off to find references to help you. You aren't merely going to copy a reference of a person holding a magical wand - you are off to learn how what you want to draw works. This can be accomplished by looking up many references and or simply looking into a mirror.


    The reason I am stating to do this instead of simply copying the pose is because it makes you dependent. What would happen if you want to draw a picture, but couldn't find a pose for it? You'd be more prone to feel discouraged, thus leading to you giving up and/or finding an "easier" pose. Using references as references will help you understand how the different parts work together to come together as a whole.


    Step 3:

    Look at the references you compiled. Break them down into shapes for an easier understanding. See how the joints and muscles appear - taking note of how the bones change according to the angle of the pose. This is where the usage of multiple references comes into play. With multiple references, you will have a different angle on understanding the underlying anatomy. By that I mean, a single reference can tell you how to draw a magical girl holding a wand from a [insert perspective here], whereas multiple references can tell you how to draw a magical girl holding a wand from a frontal view, side view, and etc. It's limitless.


    Ultimately, you should now be able to draw a magical girl - or anything - without having to heavily rely on a single reference. You should be able to use what you learned to figure out where muscles, joints, bones, and etc go to make an image anatomically correct. This doesn't mean you have to give up on using references! They are there to help.


    Disclaimer: Please remember that you cannot own a pose. I whole-heartedly agree with this statement made by SenshiStock.


    I firmly believe that you cannot "own" a pose which is why I don't require credit when the pose is the only thing used. I find it very strange when people try to say someone "took" their pose; the human body moves in certain ways and those movements are like notes in a song. You can copyright a song and you can even copyright a dance, but you can't own the individual notes in a song just as you cannot own the individual poses in the dance. Those things are for everyone, I think.


    I would also like to add that using one pose is not completely "wrong" and it will not stop you from developing your drawing skills. If you find a good reference for what you want to draw, and using it does not break any rules, then I say go for it. Using one image might make you more inclined to refer to multiple references in the future - especially when you realize there is not just a perfect pose for what you have in mind to draw, paint, sketch, etc.


    The purpose of this section of the guide is simply to let you know a way to learn the structure and components of what you want to draw. It is still possible for you to learn from drawing a complete pose even if you cannot change it in any way at first. Time can lead to learning correct proportions, where and how joints bend, and etc.




    Copying Correctly vs Incorrectly

    Let's say you see a work of art. You feel so inspired by the art that you want to draw the image yourself. You open up your art program to a blank canvas and begin drawing. Hours later and you're done. Wait... The image you drew looks exactly like the artwork that you admired. You label it as a reproduction piece and move on; however, that's incorrect.


    There's a difference between a reproduction and a duplicate. A reproduction is a thing that makes it clear that it is based on a previous thing. A duplication is something that tries to pass itself off as the thing it is based on. To be blunt, one is a decendant, while the other is a clone.

    From: https://mad--munchkin.deviantart.com/journal/Know-the-difference-between-referencing-copying-511933476


    All copying is not incorrect. People learn based on what they see. You are free to study and analyze a painting or drawing that you fancy and adopt the techniques the artist used to create the piece(s). This does not mean you sit and copy what they did. You will not learn to develop a style of your own by creating art this way.


    Here's an example of copying done incorrectly done by @Lineara. She copied the picture to the point where you cannot tell the difference from the original. The correct way would have been to take inspiration from the original, while not copying it to the extent that it looks like a duplication.










    Photo Studies


    In art, a study is a drawing, sketch or painting done in preparation for a finished piece, or as visual notes. Studies are often used to understand the problems involved in rendering subjects and to plan the elements to be used in finished works, such as light, color, form, perspective and composition.


    In short, photo studies are used by artists/students.


    "But photo studies are just copying, right?"

    Yes and no. In photo studies, you are studying an image/picture to understand it on a basic level. You are copying the image as a way to practice different techniques used in art - not in a way to imitate the image/picture, but in a way to learn how to apply the technique(s) in your own art. Artists/students always give credit for the pictures that they photo study as to not give off the impression that the work was entirely made by them.


    Here is an example of a photo study done by @Lineara.




    Photo study:



    You cannot sell photo studies, or have them up as shop examples, on AH. You may post them in the "Show Off Your Latest Artwork" topic with source material used included.



    How to Credit:

    If you are unsure whether you are copying an image or directly referencing it, then you can give credit! Giving credit is a way to make sure credit is given to the proper sources.


    A simple way to give credit is as follows:

    Stock/texture/font by: {insert link here}


    You should also tell the user you got the source material from, if required, that you are using their sources so they are aware.



    Getting Permission:

    If you aren't sure if an image is stock or not, then it is always best to ask! Do not assume that the lineart/icon/etc you found is stock. It is as simple as e-mailing/inboxing/direct messaging the user stating what you'd like to use their art/images/resources/etc for and asking if it is allowed. I advise you to also make sure you state where you want to use the resources as some artists do not like their work to be used off-site (example: deviantart).



    Not Knowing the Artist:

    This is a big one. If you don't know the artist, then the wisest thing to do is to simply not use the art/images/resources/etc. You could get sued for copyright infringement if you use art/images/resources/etc from a user who does not wish for their belongings to be used by others. 



    Outside Material


    Copyright Law:


    Photo Study Painting Tutorial


    Heavy Referencing:


    Tracing vs. From Scratch:



    Closing Remark

    If you have any questions after reading this guide, then do not hesitate to PM a staff member! We are here to help you.


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