Shannon Fennell's Blog

My life, cooking, make-up, travel, art and the occasional rant!

Giving credit where credit is due, or, oh brother she’s on a rant again.


Let me start this off saying that I am expressing my own  opinion, feelings, and personal experiences.  It may amuse some, annoy others, some may think I need to chill out or seek help, but I have a need to rant and perhaps make a point.

As a make-up artist, face painter and body painter (and artist, craft person, cook… etc.) I admit there is nothing completely new and original that someone, somewhere probably hasn’t already done at some point in human history.  I mean… there are only so many ways to paint a tiger, right?

But when I create something from scratch – meaning that I had an idea, thought about it, planned, researched, designed and executed it – I feel possessive.  That is MY creation, MY idea…

A lot of inspiration comes from other media – paintings, photographs, literature, patterns in the clouds, book covers, Aloha shirts, cartoons… pretty much anything really.  That is the trigger that gives me the idea that I then work on, sketch, and sometimes follow through on successfully to produce something that I am really proud of.

I have a lot of ideas that don’t work.  Most artists do.  Those are the canvasses you paint over with something else, sketches that end up being note paper, photos that get deleted as no one is going to see it, ever.

The ones that do work, however, I am excited to share … I enter contests, art shows, display on my website, blog and Facebook page, share with friends.  I want to exclaim “Look what I did!  Isn’t it great?”

I don’t believe people who say they don’t feel like that when they do something good and I’m not a fan of false modestly or fishing for praise by criticizing their own work.  Sure, we are our own worst critics but you KNOW when you do something really good… that’s why we share it with others!

Now… the point of all this is that I am getting FED UP.

Completely and utterly fed up with people taking ideas and designs that were originally done and posted or otherwise published by other artists… taking these designs and creating their own step-by-steps, making You Tube videos showing the masses how to do these designs without acknowledging that they are using a design that is NOT their original concept, and they then accept all the praise and fawning remarks about how great and original the design is!

It has been going on for years.  People are caught doing it  quite often.  This is different from using a design out of a book and doing your own version, making small changes like using different colours, etc. – that is usually fine with me and most of my peers.  We’ve all used the work of others at some point or another… but try to make the design somehow our own.

And when we’ve put out our own designs as step-by-steps in books or online those designs are fair game for anyone to copy, of course.  They were published for those purposes so those are excluded from this rant.

What I don’t approve of is COPYING EXACTLY then pretending it is your work.  I see designs all the time that have been copied dot for dot, line for line, colour for colour.  They are posted on websites, Facebook, forums, EVEN entered in contests, etc. without any sort of acknowledgement to the person who actually did a little bit of creative thinking to come up with the design in the first place.  Why?  WHY?

It isn’t illegal, I know.  It isn’t copyright infringement because they did actually paint the design for their own photos.  BUT… it feels like theft when you are the originator of a certain unique design – which may or may not be based on something else that inspired you.

And what’s with all of these people making You Tube videos anyway?  Why is it necessary to show everyone how to do what they, I assume, wish to be hired to do?  And when they take MY design and decide to show people how to replicate it… what is the upside to doing this??  Are they using my, and other artists’, designs to increase the face painting public’s perception of their originality and ability?  How are they profiting from this?

I am not the only artist that gets angry, and HURT, when this happens.

What appears to be the source for many of the designs that show up is the Snazaroo USA Photo Contest Pages.  Seems like all of the new people deciding to face paint in the last several years have no idea of this goldmine of designs but the people “using” these ideas without crediting the original versions obviously have.

Have a look… there are THOUSANDS of great, ORIGINAL ideas and well executed designs there.  All available for anyone to use as an inspiration.  Feel free to paint them when you are working but… please, respect the original artists and at least acknowledge that you found the idea somewhere else.

ESPECIALLY if you are ripping them off to increase your own profile.  That would just be the polite thing to do.  And it would make me happy… you wouldn’t like to make me angry, would you?


4 thoughts on “Giving credit where credit is due, or, oh brother she’s on a rant again.

  1. In your blog you note that using another persons artwork to ones own gain may not be a copyright violation it most certainly can be argued to be an intellectual property violation. Which therefore makes it theft.

    Your design was taken and used for someone’s personal fame gain. It is theft. Just because so-and-so says nothing when their artwork is taken, or a confidential idea is taken does not mean it is ok. And why does you pointing it out make you the bad guy.

    Even if or when done without the smarts to understand that it is theft when called out, where is the simple apology or credit given back to you.

    Let’s just say a person can be nice, even clueless, but when the truth is given that nice, clueless person needs to step forward and be humble. It is easier that one may think.

    The face and body art community tends to look away, even happily gain from the infringement until it happens to them, then they want us to rally the wagons. It is as if the one who calls out the violator is the bad guy. No one want to name names. Sadly, we value the ethics violator more than we value the truth teller. Certainly some do not care if their intellectual property or client is taken, but some of us do. Let’s not punish the one who was infringed on, but rather acknowledge it a reality.

    I agree that sometimes there are closely related ideas. I plan to paint XX and you somehow do XXx. That happens, but that is not the case here.

  2. This is part of the reason why I am so against using copywrited characters. I know I disappoint some kids when I won’t do Spiderman, but I just don’t think it’s right. I certainly hope I’ve never stolen anything. I do think that people sometimes come up with very similar designs independent of each other. Awhile ago I did a step by step of a Yeti because I had never seen one before. Low and behold, a few months later I find one in the Wolfe brothers book that looks a lot like mine. I had never seen the design before, but it seems like some ideas are so iconic that they can come out the same from two independent sources.

    • I’ve had that happen too… I then think perhaps I saw it somewhere and the idea lingered in the back of my brain. But it also just happens – like I said, there is nothing truly original. As to the blue Yeti… I blame the Bumble from Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer!! That set that idea in all our minds! Don’t you think?

  3. Best conclusion to a blog post ever!

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