Friday, 29 October 2010

Glimpse at image credits on science blogs

Thanks to those who tweeted and commented and posted about this morning's rant. To follow-up, I had a look at some science blogs, and who is citing images.

I'm not out to be a big jerk and point at exactly which blogs I looked at, so instead I've done this by network.
Looking at Scienceblogging.com between about 11:45-1245 est today, I looked at the first 12 blog networks listed, and then looked at the 5 posts under each heading. And then I made this table:


click to enlarge



A few notes:  

  • I tried to use a colour-code from green (properly linked and cited) to red (what are you thinking?). 
  • If the image was clearly the author's own, (a photo of them, perhaps) I included that in the green bar, as a properly cited and linked image. 
  • I didn't count videos. 
  • I only counted images in the body of the post, not the sidebar or banner. 

My thoughts:


  • Weird the Scienceblogs.com posts had no images whatsoever in that small random sampling. 
  • Not enough science bloggers use paintings or illustrations. I'm available for hire.
  • Wired came off looking good to my eyes.
  • I ain't gonna point to anyone.  But a couple of these had the Research Blogging badge on the posts with zero image citations or links.  Are we to automatically infer we have to go back to the paper for those? 


It'd be interesting to do this periodically to see the trends look like.

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
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Why don't more science bloggers cite their images?



A rant.

This is a particular gripe of mine that I have brought up from time to time on various other blogs.  Seems only fair I bring it up here.
I wish more science bloggers would cite their images. The illustrations used are often completely uncredited, as if they are unimportant embellishments to the articles.  If they were unimportant, than they are unnecessary for a blog post.  I think most bloggers realize images are valuable hooks and enhancements of their points, yet they treat them like stickers to plaster on their primary-school binder.

To be fair, all the blogs I linked to above quickly linked the images - they're great bloggers I enjoy reading.  It's an oversight: a common one. 


And It isn't only science bloggers, I know.  Most science bloggers will go to the trouble of citing and linking the sources for their articles, however. Why not a quick caption?  A link?  A citation in the footnotes? 

 An illustrator has gone to school, is scientifically literate and works hard to contribute, and receives no credit.

Drives me bonkers.

Earlier this year, I attempted to raise some awareness by making this little badge:
http://tinyurl.com/imagecite


Maybe I need to start a once-a-week list of bloggers who go to the trouble of linking and citing artists and illustrators. Or finding a way to graffiti their comments. 

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Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Trilobite Boy with Gargoyles (completed!)

© Glendon Mellow 2010
Click here to enlarge: the link on the actual pic is broken. 


“Dammit. It’s raining,” said Trilobite Boy.
 He sat for a while thinking of her, the rain pattering on his cephalon and soaking his socks. Then he flapped his fossil wings and headed over the city.

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This painting was so much fun to do, and I learned a lot about using ArtRage while I did it. I tried to keep my style loose, and just play with the digital paint. And thanks to Eric T. Jones for suggesting the Chuck Taylor's!  Better than combat boots.

The only part of this that was done in Photoshop, was I realized I had painted a decent sneaker on his left foot, but it was too small. I exported the file to Photoshop, used the selection brush to highlight it, and did a free transform to enlarge it, before importing it back into ArtRage.

There's been a lot of posts of this in-process, but here it is, finally completed.  If you click here, you can go to my deviantArt gallery, where you can click again to get the super-big high-resolution picture.

It's also available in my print shop, as a postcard, greeting card and a variety of prints and framed art.

You can see the in-process stuff here.
You can see more about Trilobite Boy here




What should I do next with this guy?
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Tuesday, 26 October 2010

The Art Thief vs the Dinosaur Bloggers



This story concerns online art theft, copyright infringement, a plucky band of bloggers, and dinosaurs.

How Not to Steal Artwork Online 
or, 
The Art Thief vs the Dinosaur Bloggers


Dramatis Personae:

  • ART Evolved, the online paleo-art blog and network of approximately 20 paleontology-inspired artists and illustrators who blog.
  • deviantArt (known as dA), the massive online art sharing site.  When I say massive, as of August 2010, dA has over 14.5 million members and over 100 million pieces of art uploaded into it (Wikipedia). For those in the science community unfamiliar with it, it acts like Facebook and Flickr, but heavier on the painting and drawing than photography with lots of manga and comics and inspired amateurs. 
  • Dr. Manabu Sakamoto, aka Mambo-Bob, an artist contributor to Art Evolved and paleontologist at the University of Bristol. He blogs at The Raptor's Nest
  • *theSpinosaurusGuy, aka Brenden, a dA user. 

The events:
Early yesterday morning, Manabu emailed the rest of the list of Art Evolved members about something all artists fear:  someone else was posting his artwork online and taking credit for it. This person, known by the dA pseudonym of theSpinosaurusGuy (real name listed as "Brenden") had posted about 12 of Manabu's dinosaur drawings on deviantArt and was taking credit for them, watermarking them with his pseudonym and posting dA-enabled widgets in his gallery saying they were not to be copied.

Another artist on dA who is also familiar with Manabu's work had alerted him.

You can see Manabu's artwork here in his online gallery.  Click on Allosaurus-top view for example.
You can see in the screen-captured images below, theSpinosaurusGuy clearly claiming this as his own.  Note the same Allosaurus top view drawing on the left. 

Click to enlarge.  Note the watermark on the right-hand image, claiming that as his own as well.
Note the watermark and the "artist's" comment.

It's theft.  Pure and simple.  It's not a re-use, or a fan homage to Manabu's art.  It's not a gallery where theSpinosaurusGuy collected his favourite pieces of art (dA does have that feature, and everything is clearly labeled as the original artists' work.) He is not claiming to be Dr. Manabu Sakamoto, he is instead claiming the artwork as his own labour.

Manabu doesn't have a deviantArt account.  A number of other dA members do however, and with a minimum of discussion, we acted as individuals, but part of a group helping our respected peer.

I started by making a brief comment on the Albertaceratops, the feathered raptor, the top-view Allosaurus and a few others.  DeviantArt is very aware that this type of behaviour can and does occur, and has a mechanism to deal with it.  Next to every posted artwork, there is a "Report a Violation" link, which allows you to write a brief description of the complaint, and provide a link to evidence it's a violation.

I filled about 6 of these out.  I also left comments beneath each one with links back to Manabu's gallery so others could see for themselves:  deviantArt is a very social site, you can add friends, comment and click "favourite" on art have nested conversations.  I left the comments so new visitors would see that theSpinosaurusGuy wasn't the artist he claimed to be.


The Art Evolved Network reacts:
Letting Manabu and our Art Evolved peeps know what I'd done, I came back a couple of hours later to find that theSpinosaurusGuy had blocked me from making further comments and labeled me a spammer. Of course, the comments I'd made were all deleted.

But it didn't matter.  You see, Peter Bond, of Bond's Blog and one of the driving forces behind the current Pink Dinosaur charity drive is also a dA user, and started to comment on the rest of the ones I had missed. And what Bond did was brilliant: he replied in the nested comments to previous commenters who had unwittingly praised the thief. Now, all of the people praising the work knew Spino-Brenden was a fraud.

While that was done, I had received automated messages from the dA moderators that they had removed the 6 pieces of art I had complained about: within about 4 hours! Not bad for a site with approximately 1.5 million comments daily!

Discussion in the Art Evolved emails was heating up.  More members of Art Evolved, like Ville SinkonnenRaven AmosTrish Arnold and Nima Sassani jumped in and continued to post messages. Ville and Trish posted journal entries on dA about it, Peter re-posted Ville's, and I posted a critique of one of the works. Journals and critiques can't be deleted by the offender.

And we were civil:  let's be clear here, I think all of us recognized that theSpinosaurusGuy is likely somewhat young and naive about art, copyright and social media. This was not a pile-on with the intent rip him a new one.  Most of us called for the artist to stop deleting comments, feel ashamed, and give Manabu an apology.

More artwork was removed by the dA moderators (go moderators!) Some of theSpinosaurusGuy's former dA friends started to chastise him on his message wall. As I write this, only one of Manabu's drawings, a ceratosaurus, is still on the site.  Another dA user, not affiliated with Art Evolved has found that a computer-generated Barney the Dinosaur parody actually belongs to another artist Spino-Brenden has stolen from.

Message to theSpinosaurusGuy:

Once the jig was up, dude, if you're reading this, you should have apologized and taken them down immediately. Comments like the ones in the screen-capture below just enraged everyone.



    Click to read the jackass-ishness.
 
As I said before, I suspect you are younger than many of us in Art Evolved, and probably in your teens.  DeviantArt is a great place where you can find a niche for almost anything and have positive contact with people, and maybe that's what you were looking for.  

And I get that.  One of the ways to appear as a respectable, sensible adult is to take responsibility for your mistakes. It's still not too late.  You'll continue to take some heat from some people on dA no doubt, but suffer through it, and become what you admire.   
 
What this means:  
There's a reason I asked Manabu and our Art Evolved peeps if I could write about this experience.

You see, the online world has changed things. Now, there's a niche for artwork of every kind, and lots of people with similar interests can find each other quickly.  And while dinosaurs are granted a certain fondness and awesomeness in popular culture, there's a relatively small niche of artists passionate enough about them to be really into it.

Theft is going to get found out.

All of us on Art Evolved experienced a point in time where we made a decision to go online with our artwork.  It's a tough decision, and everyone frets to varying degrees about what will happen if our work is stolen.
  • We slap copyright symbols on it, and some of us put obscuring watermarks on the images.
  • We employ Creative Commons Licences, or rail against Google ImageSearch for making it so easy.  
  • We vary on how much we protect our artwork, and how much we like to share it.  
  • None of us is likely to know if an indie punk band in Vienna has downloaded our Diabloceratops for their gig posters.  

So if you're an aspiring artist looking to get into paleo-art or any kind of image, and you're nervous about making a big enough name for yourself online, here's some stuff you can do.

  • Don't steal. 
  • If it's a fan homage, say it is.  
  • Don't re-post someone's stuff without asking.  
  • If they have a blanket statement saying it's okay, make sure you link back to them and give them credit.   
  • Always give artists, illustrators and image-makers credit. Always.
  • Just ask.  Always ask if it's cool.  Most illustrators love feedback.
  • Use the © symbol a lot. State what you want. 
  • Blog.  Post comments elsewhere.  Reciprocate.
  • Become friends and peers to others with similar interests. 
  • If you can, be part of a network or group online. 
  • "I got yer back" is one of the most heart-warming statements you can utter to a friend. 

If someone steals your work, 
  • make a fuss. 
  • Go through proper channels. 
  • Be civil and intelligent when you dialogue. 
  • Ask for help from your support network.  

I encourage anyone to put their artwork online.  And becoming part of a network makes everyone stronger than without it.

Thanks to:
All of the Art Evolved crew for giving one of our own your support and for carrying yourselves maturely. 
To the deviantArt moderators for reacting quickly.
To other dA artists for shaming the behaviour and not shrugging their shoulders. 
And to Manabu for agreeing I should write about this.

-Glendon Mellow
[All above opinions are my own.  Cross-posted on both Art Evolved and The Flying Trilobite]
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All opinions above are my own.
Artwork in those screen captures is by the talented Manabu Sakamoto © 2010 of The Raptor's Nest.

Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
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Monday, 25 October 2010

Art Monday: Haldane's Precambrian Puzzle

This post originally appeared on the 29th of November, 2008 

* * *
"...Evolution makes the strong prediction that if a single fossil turned up in the wrong geological stratum, the theory would be blown out of the water.


"When challenged by a zealous Popperian to say how evolution could ever be falsified, J.B.S. Haldane famously growled: 'Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian.'



"No such anachronistic fossils have ever been authentically found..." -Richard Dawkins

-p127-128, Richard DawkinsThe God Delusion, 2006.
Houghton Mifflin Company. ISBN-13: 978-0-618-68000-9.

A scan of my Haldane's Precambrian PuzzleOil paint on 9 pieces of shale, 2008. Prints now available.

Haldane's Precambrian Puzzle (configuration A): False Rabbit 
available as greeting cards, mounted print, matted print and canvas print. Click here.

Haldane's Precambrian Puzzle (configuration B): True Trilobites
available as greeting cards, mounted print, matted print and canvas print. Click here. 


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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
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Saturday, 23 October 2010

Odds and ends

Lots of little odds and ends this week.

I decided for now to go with MOO for my business cards, and selected these 4 images for the backs of them:








The front contains my contact info and the "Art in Awe of Science" tagline. 

I also re-worked Trilobite Boy's face a bit on the Gargoyle piece.  I felt it was too flat, and didn't match other paintings of the character. 


Click to enlarge a bit more.  Character ©  Glendon Mellow 2010. 

A bunch of exciting stuff on the go, and hopefully next week will have a couple of announcements ready!
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Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Making new business cards

I need to order new business cards.

Here's what I'm thinking for the front (minus the white border my blog puts around 'em):


And here's what I'm thinking for the back:



The qr code goes to my portfolio at glendonmellow.com.

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Trilobite Boy - gargoyle progress #3

Took a bit of time this morning to work on my Trilobite Boy - gargoyle piece.  I may not end up calling it that.

Click to enlarge a bit.

Played with some gradient stencils in ArtRage, and I think it came out okay.  Still need to finish his combat boots, the gargoyles, rooftop, building across the street.  Originally I wanted to leave the wings unfinished and ghostly, since Trilobite Boy doesn't typically have them.  But I like the sky/horizon and maybe they do need a bit of colour. 


I like this close-up. 
It's kind of a depressing piece, which I wanted.  Lots of blues, and Trilobite Boy just ruminating.

This morning I read
this piece by Jonah Lehrer about depression and creativity.  And then I watched this.

More on this painting here.
More about Trilobite Boy here.

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Monday, 18 October 2010

Pink Parasaurolophus

It's done!  My Pink Parasaurolophus submission for Art Evolved's Pink Dinosaur charity drive.  



 

The drive is going great, and there's over 100 pink dinosaur submissions so far!  It's not to late to submit one: we're going to the end of October.

You can see a higher-res image of my pink duckbill in my
DeviantArt gallery or my print shop. I have a couple of posts with sketches you can find here.

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Original artwork on
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Friday, 15 October 2010

Pink Parasaurolophus Painting Progress

Mentioned in yesterday's important post.

Pencil drawing.
Click to hugeify.

Progress so far.  


Click to enlargetate.
Just laying in basic colours and a background.  



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Thursday, 14 October 2010

Pink Dinosaur Charity for Breast Cancer Research

From my co-administrators at Art Evolved:

image © by Peter Bond 2010

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and what better way to promote awareness is there than with Pink Dinosaurs?!
ART Evolved is organizing a Pink Dinosaur Fundraising Event for the month of October to benifit cancer research. I personally know too many people who have passed away and who are currently battling cancer, as I am sure many of you do too. Pink Dinosaurs is hoping to raise $500 towards cancer research (through the Canadian Cancer Society).
There are two ways to donate with Pink Dinosaurs:
First, visit our Pink Dinosaurs event page and donate directly there.
Second, please SEND IN a picture of a pink dinosaur to us here at artevolved@gmail.com and ART Evolved's administration will donate one dollar for each pink dinosaur submitted. We will post each pink dinosaur here throughout October, so find that pink marker and start drawing!
Again, our Pink Dinosaur Event Page is http://cancerevents.kintera.org/pinkdinosaurs


The Pink dinosaur event is already a huge success, and over 80 pink dinosaur illustrations have been submitted so far!  

I'll be donating what I can as well. 

And here's a sketch of my Parasaurolophus entry so far.  I hope To have it ready by Monday for submission.

 
Click to enlarge.



Anyone can enter, at any artistic skill level!  Fun-fun for a great cause. 
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Original artwork on
The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under
Creative Commons Licence.


Art Evolved image by Peter Bond.
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Scicurious Caffeine Swag!

Remember this caffeine molecule tattoo I designed for Scicurious?  



Click to enlarge.

Now you can get that molecule for yourself, on:


variety of mugs

Hyperactive undergarments

Messenger bags

Shirts


The message on all of them is "Are you scicurious?"

All my above links are to the items in Canadian dollars.  Check out Scicurious's online shop
in American here, and Sci's own announcement here.

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Original artwork on
The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
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Creative Commons Licence.

The Caffeine Molecule Tattoo design is under copyright exclusive for use

by Glendon Mellow and Scicurious.  Ask first kthx.
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Monday, 11 October 2010

Art Monday: Trilobite Boy faces

click to enlarge


Lots more Trilobite Boy
here


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Happy Thanksgiving, my fellow Canadians!

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Copyright links



Since taking my artwork online over 3 years ago, I've been learning and thinking a lot about copyright.

Our group, S
outhern Ontario Nature & Science Illustrators (sonsi) had an event on the weekend with a question and answer session with lawyer Paul Sanderson, discussing copyright.

Here's a few links of the type of stuff on my mind.  Yeah, I know some of them are written by me.


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