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Faceup Artistry- what constitutes 'copying'?

Dec 23, 2008

    1. Every faceup shop, well almost all of them, say they don't copy other artists' styles and wouldn't like theirs to be copied- that, or they imply it.

      What I'd like to know is what constitutes copying? there are some artists who pretty much just do good quality natural faceups, and yet when they speak of copying..? Copying what? Everyone does natural faceups. Most people also do gothic and fantasy.
      To be honest, although yes each artist has different traits, they are usually so subtle one might accidentally 'copy' them for example in many tutorials it is mentioned, a few different styles of painting bottom lashes or brows, surely someone came up with it originally, are those who learn from tutorials all copying?

      Each doll is a work of art, unless you're a machine, even if you were inspired by someone elses work you'd never directly replicate it, so why all this fuss of copying?
      Besides, how will we get new and daring artists if everyone is too afraid to be daring?

      This isnt related to the other copying discussion in this forum since its about style, not whole dolls and I think it warrants its own thread. I think it has room for some debate in it too.
      I'd like to see the reasoning for claiming one can copy or trademark a style, unless that style is extremely individual. Even then, could one not do their own version?
    2. I'm going to play devil's advocate and suggest that there are some out there who are able to replicate faceups very closely. Although I don't know anyone personally with this ability, I do know people who are able to copy linework almost exactly, there are also those who do very close replicas of paintings by the old masters. I think it isn't entirely out of the question to suggest someone could copy a faceup very closely, especially if it's on the same doll sculpt.

      To me, the line would be drawn at actually trying to copy an individual faceup in every feature of it, whereas I would think someone being inspired by another faceup would actually have several faceups of a similar style to draw inspiration from.
    3. For starters, I think here you've hit upon a major reason (if not the main one!) most artists say they won't "copy" other faceups. Faceup artists are certainly sensitive to issues of intellectual property, but what I have most often read is that the artist feels the product is inferior when she or he is trying to copy stroke-by-stroke (or even colour-by-colour and shape-by-shape) rather than allowing hir own style to guide a faceup inspired by the feel and overall look of the example.

      This interesting issue was touched on briefly in the thread about the ethics of posting tutorials! A few artists spoke up to say that they felt that tutorials teach techniques, but an individual artist's style is more than just the particular techniques (s)he uses. If ten artists of comparable caliber read the same tutorial, you're still going to get ten different styles--although of course some of them will be more similar to one another than others. I think it's important to remember that no artist is basing his or her work solely on a single tutorial, but on the sum total of hir artistic experience.

      I think you're right in suggesting that trademarking a style is pretty much impossible to do, precisely because it's not necessarily any one thing you can put your finger on, like the technique used for eyelashes or the way the lips are painted, although those things come into it. It's something more holistic and less defineable. I think that's why you'll find that a great many artists are willing to do aesthetics "in the style of": they know that although a style is so nebulous that it's impossible to "trademark" that means it's perfectly possible for them to exert their own style in a similar enough way to please most clients.

      Here's a question that occurred to me:
      if someone were to copy a faceup, more or less exactly, on a totally different sculpt, would that be copying, or would the different underlying structure change it enough that it would come off as an original work? The flip side of how two of the same sculpt with different faceups can look totally different...!
    4. As a face-up artist, I have 'copied' before, but even if I get as close as I can, I can tell it is my work. An artist's personal style, from the materials they use, to how they do the hairs on an eyebrow, are highly individual. One might glance at some natural face-ups and think they all look similar, but they would all have their individual characteristics to differentiate the artists. Sometimes a customer wants their face-up like 'it was before', but with more shading, or 'like the default'. And I 'copied' the SOOM face-up for IO because I didn't want to pay for it personally, but wanted my Io to look like that. The copies look like my own version, no matter how close I try to match colors, ect.

      Truly until there are Masters and Apprentices studying under them, there won't be any danger of copies looking exactly like the original. I think the point of suggesting that artists won't copy other face-ups, is to avoid having a customer with unrealistic expectations. Basically, you just can't get another artist's work without getting it from that artist. Heck, even companies suggest that each face will look different and one assumes that the same person is doing a lot of them, and that all their face-ups artists are trained to copy the same style.
    5. For me, I think 'copying' is a result of 'intent'. If your intent is to replicate a certain faceup or style then I believe that's copying. However, this isn't always inherently bad. Like Illustration, many of us start out by imitating what we admire (Usually with mediocre results... hey, everyone sucks at some point!), and to an extent we all learn by copy and imitation.

      But there's also a difference between intent of replication, and absorbing certain elements of existing faceups into your faceup or style. I'd categorise that more as referencing or inspiration. When you see something you really like and think "Maybe I'll try a colour scheme like that" or "I really like the way they drew those eyebrows" but incorporating it into a faceup which is primarily dictated by your particular style or aesthetic.
    6. I suppose one of my issues is why say you cant copy things when copying is almost an impossibility anyhow? A dolls face is not like a paper canvas- there are limits to the shape unless you mod or sculpt your own, and there are further limits to what you can put on it. Further limits if you consider the realm of 'normal' a limit though some don't.

      The issue I'm seeing is although yes, there are subtle stylistic nuances through faceup artists, there will never be totally original ideas- sparkle gloss, done, tribal face tattoos or more intricate designs, done, metallics, done, intense goth, done, gore modding, done... you see what I am getting at? It is becoming so that nothing is original anymore so in a sense everything is copying a little bit. But to say you could copy someones style, thats impossible, as I said a doll isnt a canvas or paper- theres little room for different brush strokes so it'd be hard to go for a vahn gogh look, and if you did a picasso.. well I am not sure anyone would like it much xD

      I suppose it somewhat stems from, people apologizing to artists they feel they 'copied'. Just because someone does thick or dark eyeshadow, that makes it a copy? Lots of doll collectors and customizers come from a similar background and in the j-culture or general asian culture wild makeup is a staple.
      Infringing on someone's style is impossible, I think. Besides that the doll community is so small it'd be spotted and blacklisted immediately. But you will never have that persons hands, and the way they might shake or not, and that persons eye for detail, that persons inspiration, etc. Add that to the fact that BJDs are hitting close to dry on the "original but still looks good" well of general styles, (I wont say theres nothing left, maybe there is, but they are niche things) and I think copying is simply a made up concern.
    7. KakuraChan, I agree with you that people make too much of alleged "copying", but I read the artists' statements that "I will not copy other faceups" or similar as simply stating that they want to work in their own style and don't want to be shown a picture of some other artist's faceup and have someone say "Will you do my doll's face just like this?" Sure, it might not come out looking *exactly* like the picture, but when you're an artist you want to be able to interpret the style in your own way and not have someone looking to see how close you got it to some other artist's picture and did you do everything exactly the same. Nor do you want the reputation of not having your own ideas in a field where the emphasis is on uniqueness.
    8. I think that regardless of how original you think you are, someone has probably done something similar before so someone who has indeed done something similar before you could very easily be like "Person A copied my super awesome faceup style!" I think a lot of people who accuse copycats are more paranoid than anything. I'd say that unless you have some sort of very intricate pattern tattooed on your dolls face and you see someone doing the exact same thing, you could probably scream copycat. But if you see a doll with something fairly generic [ie elaborate eyeliner or something] then they probably weren't intentionally copying you.
    9. My guess/take on why there are faceup artists whom mentioned about "I will not copy other faceup" is probably because they want their customer to value them and view them as artist, not just someone that will 'duplicate' or 'follow' stuffs. Not so much on 'copying' but more like a kind of respect they want, or wanting their customer or future potential customer to value their style and approach them because they appreciate their styles and not with the intention of wanting them to imitate someone's work which they feel insulted with and therefore making a statement that they will not copy faceup. What that i've mention here might not be true because it was based on my own assumption but this could be another reason behind it, not just purely 'copying' matter ^-^!
    10. Just to add on, I've also seen a lot of artists state that they won't copy or duplicate past faceups that they themselves have done. In other words you can't say "I loved how you did that Lishe for so-and-so, would you do my doll just the same way?"

      On the one hand I have always found the artists' statement kind of silly. You can't "copy" yourself, plus most artists work in a recognizable style so all of their own faceups look somewhat similar, plus they'll let you choose the colors you want in many cases, so if the Lishe had black eyebrows and red lipstick and you picked the same colors the odds are you would get much the same faceup from the artist, even if you didn't say "Would you copy your Lishe faceup on my doll here?"

      But on the other hand it makes sense in the context of what Meeve said, that an artist wants to be respected as an artist, giving each person a unique piece of work and not just making the same cookie-cutter thing over and over. Plus, the artist probably wants to have a little latitude to change things that might not look so good one doll to another, such as if the Lishe's eyebrows really would not look good on that Supia Roda, maybe suggest something else to the customer or try something that looks better.
    11. I think nobody should go to an artist with the intention of them exactly copying things, any artist will tell you that just doesnt happen, even on accident. But I see no issue with referencing other faceups or past works to say you want something similar. It wont look just the same, so how is it a copy?

      Perhaps I'm too used to normal art commissioning, wherein it is understood the artist will have some artistic freedom to interpret what you say. Maybe here it isnt the same, but normally referencing other works is perfectly fine such as getting hair styled or makeup done after a celeb look. Each doll is a work of art- But one could argue so are intricate styles and makeup works on humans.
    12. I think a lot of the time people may be to sensitive about the spins they put on faceups (colors, beauty marks, etc.) and feel as though they are being copied. In art as in music there is an infinite number of ways to put the music together, but how many times listening to the radio have you heard the begginning of a song or a riff and identified it with another song? That's the way I look at it.

      Having done faceups for a couple years I realize the difficulty level of painting on a three dimensional surface all too well. I have also gone to art school and had assignments to exactly replicate line drawings into a larger scale. Doing the same thing with a face up is 100X harder, for many of the reasons already stated- different face shape, mods, etc. I think that artists have a tendency to feel like their style can be trademarked or do things they think will only be unique to them, and when the see someone else doing something similar they think because they did it first it's theirs. This isn't so, you can't lay claim to a "style"- even legally products can be replicated with minor changes and produced without ramifications (though it may be morally reprehensible). I'm not saying that this is always the case with faceups, but it could explain why an artist would feel they had been "ripped off".

      Another thing to remember is the people who do faceups are artists. Artists are sensitive about their work. Their work is their product, what they offer to the world, and if they feel like they can't offer something unique they may feel devalued. It's a lot of ego when it boils down to it. I for one have never seen a commissionable artist make a faceup that could be proven to be the same as another. I've seen similarities, yes, but never a duplicate. Style, background, materials, climate, expierience are all determining factors for any faceup artist. Who you learn from and who you are influenced by can change your work too. I know of two artists that are friends, live in the same area, and of all the faceups I can think of I see the most simlarities in their work, there are differences too, but they are less remarkable. Another case is a pair of artists who are sisters, one learned from the other, but would you say because her style is similar that she's copying?

      Yes, copying exists. But I think the parameters in the art world are incredibly loose and it is often the artist who is crying wolf on other's work.
    13. i think that this is a really interesting statement that many people have brought up in different threads. one of them being the thread about portraying self harm on a doll. my whole thing is that while i completely understand the concept of intent, intent doesn't really affect other members of the community does it? in this sense we can never know whether or not someone is copying someone Else's work because we are not that person. the reason i am bringing this up is because it seems to be a consistent theory throughout the debate sub forum.

      someone else mentioned that they feel that faceup artists that say someone has copied them are possibly insecure, i think that is what they said i apologize if it is wrong. to be honest i think that that might be the reason why too. i have been doing facups for my girl for over a year now, and every time i do a new faceup i go through a folder of faceup examples i have. i look for interesting ways of doing the eyes, lips ect. i then usually check out a tutorial that i have. to be honest, i like tutorials a lot because i always learn a new way of doing things.

      is that copying? i don't think so. and i doubt that anyone would be able to tell that i was inspired by their work. copying definitely exists, but i feel that this is usually when someone attempts to use the same style, mold/ sculpt, eye color, hair style, and similar faceup to what someone else has. to create a doll that is almost a replica of someone else's doll. but when it comes to just a faceup, i don't know that it is copying. if someone used a picture of my doll to inspire their art, i would probably have no idea unless, as i stated before, they used everything about my doll. then i might think that was a little weird.
    14. A friend of mine recently came to me with a face-up request. Her tan doll's face-up had been damaged because of the MSC whitening from heat exposure. She asked me to redo it, as similar to the original (with a few requested alterations) as possible. I agreed.

      Only halfway through the head now, I can tell that it is my work and not the original artist's. My brush-strokes are totally different, and since I do not know the original techniques used, I cannot duplicate the effect of certain features. The head will have the same color scheme, and similar lower lashes. That is where the similarity ends, because of the way I handle my materials.

      The owner did not specifically ask me to copy the original down to the last brushstroke, just to acheive a similar effect in terms of coloring and expression (which mostly involved eyebrow placement). Am I supposed to think that I am copying? I am not sure. I do not think that I am. But either way, I hope that my friend is satisfied with the head when it is returned to her.
    15. I’d just like to point out that nothing at all in any art is really “original.” Even someone we think of as radical, like Picasso, has roots in a gradually evolving art form…what he was doing wasn’t totally new, it was just that he applied the ideas in a particularly meaningful way (and he’s the best/most famous artist who painted in that style). Sure, dark eyeshadow is not, in itself, original—but if you looked at some of the original, ten-year-old Volks faceups, and compared them to, say, a recent SOOM limited faceup, you would see a big difference in the way things are executed—just like if you compare a Picasso to a Monet you’ll see a big difference. Because the aim of the art is different—in many ways it has more in common with human aesthetic services (i.e. makeup—which brings up the further point that nothing is being done in the faceup world that hasn’t been done on people for years!) than with 2-D representations of the human form—there is more similarity than between different styles of painting, but there’s still a continuum whereby you could take anything and say “no, this wasn’t original, see, it’s very similar to this,” and at the same time find something to contrast it with and say “yes, this is original, look how different it is from that.”

      I’m a little confused about the idea of artists getting upset about copying…I haven’t seen an artist accuse another of copying, although I know that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. But I wonder if people are just guessing that artists do that, based on things like stating their intentions not to copy faceups, which might have significantly different reasons behind it. But it’s also possible that I’m just misunderstanding what people are talking about. I’d love to hear any more specific support (if the mods feel that’s appropriate), from people who have observed or been part of a copying issue.
    16. All things said have been good. Copying to me is basically if you can copy it stroke for stroke or are doing the faceup with intent for it to look super exactly like the original then that is copying.

      I don't think being asked to make something look similar is any sort of problem becuase everyone does things differently. When I take my comissions I always ask is there some sort of reference the person can give me, whether it be a photograph, an illustration, or even pics of other faceups that they liked some specific part of. I can not (not that skilled) and do not copy, but I take things as inspiration. And I don't think any artist should feel like someone is copying their work when they are being inspired by it, and usually most artists like the fact that they can inspire others.
    17. Well, I think if you look at company default face-ups you see only slight variations and those are probably done by more than one in-house artist. My Souldoll Hye has virtually the same eyebrows and lip colouring as the default pictures online. All Hyes with the factory face-up have the same eyebrows as my Cynthia and although I cannot be certain, I am sure that there would be more than one face-up artist involved just because it would be a huge volume of work for one person to take on and keep performance and product consistent.

      Yes the brush-strokes might vary depending on how the individual artists hold brushes and the angle at which their hand is most comfortable painting, but ultimately if in-house face-up artists can effectively re-do default faces for the same line of dolls, another artist could do the same thing. Where there is art, there is also the art of forgery!
    18. See, I would think of that less like copying and more like restoration. She obviously liked the original faceup, and since it was damaged and had to be redone, she wanted it as similar as possible. She wasn't asking you to make her doll look just like someone else's, but was wanting her doll to look more like it used to prior to the damage to the faceup.
    19. Well, I am a customizer, and I would NEVER copy another work.
      It's happened to me, an exact copy of my work, and no, it wasn't a natural, it was a very particular make up. And I was not happy about it.
      Every artist has an unique style, and natural or goth make up can look similars, but there are make up that CAN'T BE similars!
      And if someone want that make up, he/she can ask the original maker of it.
      Sometimes "copies" are cheaper, or it's easier because the artist is in the same country.
      I can just say BE ORIGINAL and create your own style.
    20. Actually Unidoll's Shinichi has facial tatoos of a very famous repaint artist Illness Illusion did for one of her customers. Unidoll really loved the way the facial tatoos looked, so they did their own interpretation of it on one of their Real sculpts face and when confronted about it they apolozied immediatedly for doing so. They did change and modify the tatoo to fit their character, but it is just too similar to not notice.