Blogger to fanartists: Help us, help you – Sign your work if you really care!

Artist: Ixy. Funny caption goes here?

There were some very interesting posts today (and some very hot & spicy discussions, I might add) about the use of fanart in blogs, and the courtesy of proper attribution.

I appreciated the posts, because I do care about attribution. I know how much work goes into creating a good picture and I don’t want to unfairly take credit for someone else’s work, nor do I want to post something that they don’t want posted. I want people to be proud of their work when they see it – not frustrated or angry. When I started out, I actually set out to make sure everything was well attributed, I even checked for the header images I use on this site, although I ended up just linking to Sankaku since I didn’t see a source. I was naive then, and it’s something that’s slipped in my mind as time’s gone by. So the posts above were a very good reminder.

But I question the tactic of RAEGing at anibloggers and making meaningless ultimatums. For one, raging at anibloggers sort of feels like a situation where you’re mad and you take it out on the closest person to you, just because they’re there and will listen. I mean, there’s like what, a couple hundred anibloggers, who may post a couple fanart images a week? Versus the thousands of image posts that happen daily on sites like 4chan, and all the other anime message boards?

If there’s one thing I’ve noticed about the aniblogging community, it’s that people are really, really mindful about attributing quotes and links to other bloggers. (I’m just going to refer to non-artist anibloggers as "we" and fanartists as "you" from now on – not that I’m trying to draw any battle lines. But pronouns make it so much easier.) So it’s clear we understand the value of attribution, and aren’t out to misappropriate anyone’s work unfairly. And generally we’re a pretty reasonable bunch who’re willing to talk things out and give credit where credits due. But speaking down to us, insulting or chastising us, doesn’t exactly make me want to help anyone out. Yeah, it gets more attention, but ultimately isn’t compliance the goal? I think a level-headed post would be just as effective.

And tips are even better. For example, I don’t use fanart too much, but when I have, I’ve pulled them from Sankaku or Photobucket, which generally don’t have any attribution info. But I had no clue that danbooru often does include attribution (I assumed it was just a mirror of Sankaku’s image database). Any images I use in the future, I’ll be getting from there. The pixiv tip is helpful, but I’m going to be honest: I’m not getting paid for this, I’m just doing this for fun. I’m not going to learn a new language just to find pictures once in a while, that’s just not a realistic expectation.

The thing is, if you really care about people properly crediting you, make it easy for them to do so. This is a general rule. Bloggers quote other bloggers, because the name of the author is right in front of our face. We don’t need to google a guide for how to register to pixiv, we don’t need to post a twitter waiting to see if anyone knows who the author is, it’s all right in front of us. Additionally, those words are typically more integral to our posts, so attribution becomes a natural action, for example, "blah blah blah, but blogger X said blah blah blah, but actually I think blah blah blah." Whereas I tend to consider the image as a garnish on top, which makes it more likely that I’ll forget about properly crediting the author.

Like I mentioned above. We care. I care. I’d never steal words from another blogger and claim it as my own, and it’s extremely mortifying to think that’s what fanartists think I’m intending when I use an image without attribution. It’s certainly not my intention. But after spending an hour or two writing a post, and searching for a suitable image to put in place, a lot of times I just plum forget. I hate to admit it, but it’s just the simple truth. But I will be more mindful of it in the future.

But if you really, really care about attribution, I, blogger, have a request of my own. Help us, help you. Sign your art or even watermark it. I know it can be unobtrusive. I know it can even be done creatively. There’s no shame in it, the greats have done it. It’s really the only way to make sure your art doesn’t lose its identity. If that image above said Ixy, a.) now it’s automagically credited and b.) I’d probably be more likely to call it out anyway.

Old habits die hard. In a few weeks, many will have forgotten about this post and the posts above, and all the attribution that’s going on now will die down somewhat. New anibloggers will join the fray and be unaware of the rules. But a signature on a picture lives forever and keeps the thought forever alive.

20 Replies to “Blogger to fanartists: Help us, help you – Sign your work if you really care!”

  1. That artist is called “Ixy”, by the way.

    >>But I had no clue that danbooru often does include attribution (I assumed it was just a mirror of Sankaku’s image database).
    The software Sankaku uses was written by the guy who wrote danbooru, which is the original.

    I’d wager that the reason Japanese people don’t sign their works most of the time is, because unlike Westerners, Japanese people are humble. And… they kind of expect other people to be the same. So when people are NOT being humble and using their work without permission, they do get mad.

    The only reason I singled out anime blogs is because often anime blogs will just stick some piece of unrelated fanart into their (often shitty, poorly researched and poorly written) blog post, include a crappy one-line and be done with it. That is, in my opinion, awful. A giant insult to those who created the work.

    At least the imageboard environment fosters discussion on the piece of work at hand.

    1. Whoops sorry. Thanks for pointing that out. Fixed the name.

      I think it’s rather disingenuous to say on one hand, you (or Japanese artists or whomever) choose not to sign your artwork out of “humbleness,” then become upset, because somewhere down the line the proper attribution isn’t made, or the permissions weren’t sought out. That makes no sense to me. It’s one thing if I visit and take a picture without asking. It’s another thing if I find a picture on google, which indexed a picture on sankaku, which pulled the image from danbooru, which was submitted by a pixiv user, and don’t play detective to credit the originator.

      You know, as well as I that the Internet’s changed how quickly info flows. It’s the great disperser. And if you really, really want to stay on top of your stuff, you may need to swallow some humble pride. I’m well aware of the “asian humility” being of asian descent myself. And I consider myself humble in real life. But let’s say I do a good job on something, but I don’t take credit for it and someone else gets credit for it (let’s say not on purpose, but it just sort of happened). In that case, I’m going to kick myself, because if I wanted the credit, I should’ve taken it from the beginning.

      Also, I don’t hang too much on imageboards, but I’ve seen them, and while some of it may be worthwhile discussion, I’d argue the ratio of “shitty, poorly researched and poorly written” imageboard posts FAR outweighs the good imageboard posts, and that noise-to-gold ratio is far worse than what you’d see on a typical blog. Personally, I’d rather have art displayed in a site where at least you know that the creator’s put some heart and effort into vs. an “is this fap-worthy” post on 4chan. But that’s just my opinion.

      1. Let’s hope it works better this time.

        I’d agree with RP’s assessment that there’s not much actual good discussion on pieces of art on ImageBoards.
        I’ll use Danbooru as an example. the most discussion I ever really see is “The legs look weird.” “IS THAT A DICK?” “-Terrible Pun-” and “Omg KanameXYuuki, Zero can go die.”
        This might just be because of my choice of images, but I pretty much never see the comments discussing an artist, or the piece of work, in an intelligent manner.

        I won’t even mention *Chan threads, since I only go on Psych/vg/porn/paranormal boards. When there is Fanart on VG, or an image on one of the Porn boards, I don’t think I’ve ever seen an intelligent discussion worth mentioning. Maybe it’s different on /a/ though. I wouldn’t know. Not a big fan of the Fandom. Local, or foreign.

        And saying that the reason “The Japanese People” don’t sign their work is because they’re humble is iffy at best.
        Granted, many of Histories great artists didn’t sign all of their work, but then in my opinion, you shouldn’t be angry when your Image winds up losing it’s “Ties” to you.

        “You should have taken Credit from the beginning” YES! YESSSS!!
        Being Humble is all good, but don’t just be humble about one half of the slate, and non-humble when you can use it to rage about something you deem unfair.
        That’s like a kid who goes to the Hockey Rink, doesn’t wear padding, but them complains that the puck hit him in the chest.
        You(I.e. the Artist. Or dipshit hockey kid! Rrr.) could have prevented this in the first place. Why should other people do this for you?
        Take care of yourself, and I’ll take care of me. It might sound conceited, but when you could have prevented something “bad” from happening to yourself, a lot of people lose sympathy for this person, which isn’t shocking in the least.

        Not to mention, why is there such a big reliance on the Tagging system of Pixiv and Danbooru?
        That’s only a Hub, it doesn’t travel with the image. If you sign it, it goes with it, with the image, making everything so much simpler.

        Although from the “Signing won’t work” side of the discussion, if they sign it in Kanji or whatever I still won’t know who it is unless they make a little Logo with it.
        (Think Reiq/JigglyGirls. Even if his name was in Japanese, I’d recognize that logo instantly)

  2. Crap. Cookies-Must-be-enabled eater ate my comment. We can rebuild it!

    Haha, wow. I just have to say, it’s nice to hear someone who has a cool head talk about this subject, and in such a well voiced manner.

    Too many, too many people who voice their opinions on this seem to get too worked up over it, and as a result, their argument suffers.

    And that does seem like the biggest issue at hand, now. The fact that whose who get angry are attacking those within reach, instead of singling out specific offenders or such.
    They’re getting so angry that they seem to be throwing the people who do it without knowing, or who do it with no ill intentions, into the same group as the assholes who do it and act like dicks about.

    That’s where this entire crapstorm loses all of it’s weight.

    I just wish people would stop only hearing their side of the argument, and take the other’s views into careful consideration – they don’t have to agree with it, but at least try to understand where they’re coming from.
    Those who post the images won’t want to spend their time trying to find an artist if their name is not readily available on the piece(as it should be. I totally agree on Signing the artwork), and likewise the Artists just wish to be acknowledged.
    It runs deeper than just that, but, it’s not that hard to see both sides, is it?

    Also, I would just like to say, Shostokovich’s No. 5 Movement IV(If you’re unaware: ) accompanied this post in such a way I may have wet myself.
    It made this more awesome than Gurren Lagann and Sengoku Basara combined.

    Also, I’m going have to read some of your blog now, haha.

    1. Haha, sorry about that. I checked the spam filter, but it was empty.

      I think you said it really well, the assholes don’t care and aren’t listening, so it’s not worth getting angry at them. And the ones that do care… well, it’s not worth getting angry at them either, because they’ll try to help you out. So why get angry at all?

      lol, it’s funny you mention Shostokovich, I just finished Nodame Cantabile, and I’ve decided to go on a classic music kick.

      Also, thanks for the compliments! 😀

      1. This will be off topic, but I love Nodame Cantabile. I’m actually rewatching the Live Action version as we speak, haha.
        I used to love Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2, but I never knew who it was by, or what it was called.
        Then when I watched Nodame and they played it, I practically died of joy, haha. Not the mention the 2 Piano version was amazing.

        Did you watch the Anime or Live Action?
        I saw the Anime first, but I’d also highly recommend the Live Action if you enjoyed it and have the time. It just gives it so much more when you see a full, real Orchestra being conducted.
        Granted, they couldn’t find a Foreigner to play Stressemann, but the guy they got was awesome no less(I laugh whenever I see him).

        I can’t wait for the third season.
        While I really like the guy that played Chiaki in the Live Action version, Tomokazu Seki is perhaps my favorite voice actor around, and I can’t wait to hear him freaking out again.

        (One thing about the Live Action, though. Chiaki smacking Nodame around feels very.. Weird.. As opposed to in the Anime.. It seems so much more brutal. But when Kiyoura punches Mine it seems fine. I guess it’s a Gender thing, haha.)

      2. I just finished the first season of the anime version, and downloaded the live version and the 2nd season of the anime as well. Can’t get enough! 😀 I’m thinking of watching the 2nd season of the anime next, before going to the live versions. I’m sad to hear that the 3rd season of the anime is going to be the finale though. I wish it’d go on forever.

        So the live version features a real orchestra? Not just actors pretending? That’s pretty cool, the only knock I had on the anime version was the use of so many pans during the orchestra scenes. Although I did love when they showed things like a floral background to show the “mood” of the piece.

      3. Yeah, it might be wise to watch Paris Chapter first, then the Live Action version, just so you don’t burn yourself out on the first half of the story too fast. But then again, that may not be a problem if you like it enough. They really feel like two different shows, the anime and live action.

        I actually had no idea that the third season was the finale. Paris Chapter seemed a little rushed, so I hope the third gets at least 24 episodes if it’s going to finish it off.
        It would be nice if they kept making episodes forever, haha. I can live my Music School-To-Conductor Fantasy through this show forever.

        And, I’m not sure if they just sync the music over the Orchestra, but to my eyes, they’re hitting the right strings, keys, and conduction motions. Given that they booked the real Music Academy for shooting the show, I wouldn’t be shocked if the Orchestra is real, though.
        But the Actors could be another story – it’d be a lot of work to train actors with no musical experience to play Rachmaninoff on Piano, or Vivaldi on Violin. But I heard somewhere they did, apparently. But I can’t confirm it.

        I actually liked the CG used in the Anime for the close-up of playing. They took the time to hit the write keys there too(or so I think), so it made me appreciate it that much more. That would have taken a lot of work to Animate the old fashion way, haha.
        Sadly, I think the Floral Background thing only happens in the Live Action series once, and it’s Mine having some weird Manlove-like image of Chiaki, haha.
        But seeing the Orchestra sway, and the individual expressions on their faces sets the mood very well without the glittery background. I think the trade off of Special Effects for sheer, real Human emotion was worth it, in the long run.
        I just have so much respect for the Live Action version it’s mad.

        If only there were more like it.

    1. Actualy, I’ve assumed every dinosaur related fanart was done by you. So if anything, everybody else drawing dinosaur fanart should sign their work “not Baka-Raptor”

  3. It’s a little troublesome though, since signing your art work may potentially ruin a nice drawing.

    However, all the points that you’ve raised in this post is true. But still, it’s still up to that individual to give the credits. Hopefully, people would come to realise that if you expect help (in the form of having a picture as an opener), you make sure that you help these people (artists) back by linking their work proper.
    .-= Netto´s last blog ..Teacher reprimanded for slapping 41 students for eating snacks =-.

    1. I agree with you, but I think you always need to point the finger at yourself, before pointing it at others. So, if you’re not going to credit yourself to begin with (for whatever the reason), how can you expect others to do so for you?

      I feel like the whole situation is like if you gave an anonymous donation to charity, then got mad because no one found out and praised you for your wonderful deed. “Whoops! Gotcha!”

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