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Where's the credit?

MARCH 26, 2007
Willie Nelson after a Annie Leibovitz photo. Okay, I added the American flag.
Everyone was so complimentary about the Sinead sketch I posted yesterday that for a minute, I thought I was getting pretty good at this. But then I remembered Laura Levine’s photo that I used as reference, and I remembered where a good deal of the credit should go to.

I’m as dependent on good reference material as anyone. What I usually do is gather up as much as I can and sort of mash it all together to form a likeness. After that, I’ll shoot reference photos of myself just for lighting and pose. Sometimes though, you come across the perfect photo, and it says “PAINT ME”!

I avoid lifting directly from photos when I can, but when I can’t, I’d like to acknowledge the source material. But if it’s a choice between my name or the name of a photographer in the tiny, hard to find fold where the AD has crammed my name, get out of my way.

I know there are at least a couple of art directors here as well as those of us who create likenesses. I’ve never been sure just what the ethics are in this area. I'm not one of you fancy pants art school types, so I was never told "Thou shalt not ..."

The New York Times once asked whose photos I used, but that was the only time.

So when is credit due?

By the way, this Willie Nelson is from a photo by the great Annie Leibovitz.
Topical: Illustration