There’s nothing like good company…

As promised in my previous post, I would like to introduce Charlie.

Like many of my recent sketch subjects, I met Charlie on Pinterest.  At first, I didn’t realize he had a name at all, but, the more time I spent with him, a persona started to emerge or was I actually projecting my own hidden persona onto him.  Who really knows.

Seriously though, the reference image I used for this sketch is the creation of Alex Vasin, an extremely talented 3d artist from Ukraine.

This sketch was created using 2H, HB, 6B pencils, and a Tombow Mono Zero eraser.

Charlie Sketch


I wasn’t planning on bringing this subject up initially, however, I would appreciate your feedback.  If you follow my blog you may have noticed that I have been going to Pinterest quite often lately for reference images.  Nearly all of my sketches are a close copy of the reference image with very little deviation.  I typically choose a reference image that is either a photograph or sculpture (digital or real).  I do this so I am not making a direct copy of someone’s work in the same medium.  I always do my best to give credit to the original artist whenever possible and never try to claim the work as an original of my own creation.

What I would like your opinions on is whether I am crossing or blurring the lines of any eithical boundaries.  My sketches are only posted here and occasionally on Instagram.  I sketch for my own pleasure, and never intend to profit from these sketches.

I would appreciate any thoughts you would like to share.

Thanks for visiting and have a wonderful day – Mike

24 thoughts on “ Meet Charlie ”

  1. Greetings Michael

    I think I could be a bit of service here, as I often use or to find reference photos to use for some of my drawings. And I like to make a “mastercopy” of certain subjects from many of the old Masters, or from artists that I really like. But I always have to consider the copyright and royalty aspect that entails. I don’t know anything about Pinterest, but I do know it is a popular site for finding “inspiration”, or so I’ve been told.

    On sites such as Pixabay or Pixel, those are royalty free and you can use them all you want. However, I like to tip the artist who donated the images for use. Shutterstock and other places require a licensing agreement etc., but you can use the images you purchase for certain designated purposes, so long as you give the original artist reference and credit. You seem to have done this, so I would continue doing so. I prefer to take my own photographs as reference for my own future works that will become prints. I also ask permission from a couple of photographer friends if I may use their photos as reference if they have something that strikes me.

    But copying other peoples work is a great way to learn because trying to replicate the textures you see and tones, values, proportions, etc., can require one to question themselves while they are attempting to reproduce the original work: “How did they do that?” It’s a great way to learn and it’s also shows a great deal of respect to the original artist, SO LONG AS you make certain to reference and credit them as the original source.

    However, in the end….there ain’t nothing like creating your own work from things you see inside your head 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Mark, Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts, I sincerely value your feedback.
      I have used Pixabay in the past and more than likely will continue to do so.
      What you said about copying other peoples work is spot on. It is an excellent way to learn new skills and push yourself.
      I aspire to one day be able to post original work, but, for now I am still cutting my teeth so to speak, and it is difficult to produce good results without a reference.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Just keep doing what you’re doing because one day it will just “click” and you’ll be drawing things that simply just pop into your head.

        Can’t tell you how many times I’ve had ideas of what I wanted to draw pop into my head, only to discover a photograph several days later, of nearly the exact thing I was envisioning.

        When weird stuff like that happens, you know you’re on your way. LOL!

        Also, don’t be afraid to use youtube to discover the many different ways to draw with a pencil or a piece of charcoal. I’ve learned more by simply playing around with the medium.

        Liked by 4 people

  2. Hi Michael. I’ve just started a drawing challenge using Pinterest references. I have tried to search for copyright free images or sites such as Pixabay as well. In the UK (don’t know about US) I think I am right in saying that even if you use another medium to reproduce your reference image you can technically infringe copyright of someone else’s photo. But this is being cautious and would apply most obviously to reproduction for commercial use. Anyway you have reminded me to have the manners to credit the photographer of the original image if I can! Thank you and good luck.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for the feedback. I agree, I think reproduction of a work in any medium would still be considered copyright infringement, especially if someone was profiting from the reproduction. In my case I am using the reference simply because I am inspired by it. I have respect for the original artist and credit that artist whenever possible.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I totally agree. I am also using Pinterest from a long time and its a difficult task to find the real creator of that drawing.
    Well, Your drawing skills are impeccable. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Thankyou for bringing this topic up. It’s something I worry about a bit. Since I do a lot of fashion illustration and portraits I tend to ‘copy’ reference photos a lot. Where I can I reference the original photographer but often that’s not possible. I think loads of fashion illustrators do this with no referencing at all. I met an artists/lawyer whose view was if it’s 10% different then your okay. So if you draw a photograph – different medium = 10% different! I’m a still a bit dubious about that!

    I agree with all the above comments; reference where you can. I also think if you are doing it for your own practice/study and not selling it then no real harm done I guess.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Alison, Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

      I think creating a direct copy for your own reference and study is ethically fine. To me, it’s no different than going to a museum to sketch a masters painting or sculpture. It’s something you would be doing for observation & study to increase your own skill level.

      To be honest, this subject has been on my mind recently and I wanted to see how others feel about it. I don’t want to be viewed as an “artistic thief” who is constantly copying someone else’s work. As I have said in some of the comments above, I aspire to be able to create my own original works and some days I feel as though the gears of creativity are starting to turn. However, until then, I like to draw what inspires me, or just seems fun at the time. For now, I will continue along my path being sure to give credit whenever possible.

      I sincerely appreciate your feedback!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hmm. No. Even though your work is beautiful (not so sure that Charlie could be described so) I think that you should leave aside other people’s work and create your own. I see no sense in copying what someone else has already done unless it is part of a course that develops your own skills. You seem to have graduated with honour from that part of your training, so you should move to the next stage. Copying photographs that you have taken would be an interesting exercise. Perhaps have the aim of changing the photograph in some way that reflects your own unique vision of life. Look at van Gogh’s sketches for an example of how this can be done.
    I’m not sure if this is the answer you are looking for, but I wish you well in your endeavours, Michael.
    Kindness – Robert.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Robert, Thanks for sharing your thoughts and opinions on this subject. To be honest, creativity in my art is something that I struggle with. I would like to improve my ability to visualize and then execute an original work. Of course, I also realize that I will never improve if I do not put serious effort into overcoming this hurdle. I sincerely respect your opinion on the matter and thank you for the encouragement.

      Liked by 1 person

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