Is It OK to Copy an Artist’s Work? | ArtDayJob

Copying another artists’ work and trying to pass it off as your own, or not crediting the original author of an artwork you are displaying in your book, on a website, or in other media is called plagiarism and is illegal and NOT OK.

How To Copy Other Art and Stay Safe from the Law

Most artists copy other artists’ work as they are learning a new style of art. It’s OK and everyone does it. Just stay away from calling it your own or publishing it without permission or credit!

If you substantially change the artwork as you create it from scratch yourself, then you probably are not plagiarizing. If the original artist takes you to court, a judge or jury would decide whether it is or isn’t plagiarism and against the law. If you are found liable, you could owe money to the other person.

The best way to stay safe with this is to copy all you want of any artist you choose. Just don’t ever display it anywhere. Not even in your sketch book.

What is the Law in the USA Regarding Copyright/Plagiarism?

There isn’t a single legal definition for plagiarism of artwork in the USA. But, copyright law protects original works of art.

Copyright Protection – When you create an original work of art, you automatically own the copyright, even without registering it. This copyright gives you exclusive rights to:

  • Reproduce the work (make copies)
  • Create derivative works (based on the original)
  • Distribute copies
  • Display the work publicly
  • Perform the work publicly (if applicable)

What Isn’t Plagiarism?

Not All copying is considered copyright infringement.

Public Domain Works – If the copyright has expired (70 years after artist’s death) the works are in the public domain and can be freely copied.

Fair Use – Using a portion of a copyrighted work for purposes like criticism, commentary, news reporting, or education may be considered “fair use” and not infringement.

Contact the US Copyright Office ( for more info.

Do YOU Copy Other Artists?

Yes, of course I do!

Lately I’ve been looking at a lot of art from Jonas Draws. I like that style. I like the simplicity of his artwork. I like the feeling I get as I look at it. After living in Hawaii for 6 years, Florida for 11, and Thailand for 20, I have a real affinity for beach scenes, mountain scenes, and camping scenes.

I love wildlife! I’ve been doing wildlife tours for the past 16 years in the rainforests of Thailand. Jonas uses wildlife found around the areas he frequents – like moose, wolves, turtles, and other things like that.

Copying Artists with a Similar but Different Style

If I create art in a similar style, I plan on using animals I see most often here – snakes, lizards, birds, fish, sharks, crabs, and other things.

In the area we live – Southern Thailand in a coastal town called Krabi, we have an ever-growing tourist presence and I was thinking that some t-shirts would be fun to sell as well as get my brand out there a bit.

Of course I’ll include animals and some scenes here. Just not sure how to go about it yet. I think my daughter should try some t-shirt designs too! She’s 14 and can draw faces and girls and boys well. She hasn’t tried landscapes or animals yet much at all though. Let’s see what happens!

Copying Artists Techniques is the Best Way to Learn to Create Art

The best way to learn art if you’re just starting out, or really if you’re of any skill level, is to learn from someone who creates art you like and is showing you how they do it on YouTube or Instagram or some other social media platform.

What better way than that? Sure, they don’t show you every single stroke and explain what is going on in their head when they create it, but you do get to see a lot of what is going on.

Can AI Create Art that Copies Famous Artists?

Yes, and it does. Here is the prompt I gave to Gemini AI to see if it would give me a painting in the style of Van Gogh.

Can you create a painting in a similar style as Van Gogh with the subject being kids playing in bamboo like monkees at night?

Here’s what I got (including the image at the top of the page).

Abstract monkeys playing under a Van Gogh sky.
Abstract monkeys playing under a Van Gogh sky. (Gemini created)
Ghost-like apparitions playing in bamboo under a Van Gogh sky.
Ghost-like apparitions playing in bamboo under a Van Gogh sky. (Gemini created)
Can copying make you a better artist?

Yes, absolutely, copying art that other artists have created as practice to improve your skills is a great way to become a better artist. Be careful not to show anyone your copied work.

Can copying make you a better artist?

Copying artwork can make you a much better artist. Every artist copies to some degree. We copy what we like in other artworks. It’s natural. The problem is you must change the original substantially if you’re going to call it your own.

What is it called when you copy an artists work?

Plagiarism is when you copy another artist’s creation and call it your own. You can be guilty of plagiarism even if the style you use or the object of the art you create is just similar and not the exact same.

Is it OK to print someone else’s art?

It is OK to print someone’s art only if you have explicit permission to do so.

Can you get sued for copying art?

Yes, sure you can get sued in a court of law for copying someone’s artwork in many countries around the world.

Leave a Comment