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[Drawing] - Copyright Basics
January 20, 2009

Copyright can be very confusing so I thought I'd share with you what I know to be true.

This subject came about during my Mum's visit over the holidays. Mum had to do a painting for her Art Group. I gave her some books to look through to get some ideas on what she would like to paint. Mum was worried, she didn't want to infringe copyright by stealing material from photos.

Goodness me, most artists flick through books or magazines for inspiration and ideas. They don't copy these images but they can use an idea that attracted them, or some technique that intrigued them.

When it comes to copying, I think the biggest thing is whether you are going to use it for personal use or for monetary gain.

When you are learning to draw, you copy all kinds of things. But, none of us run out and sell it! Well, it's not likely, is it? We are encouraged to copy from the beginning.

Don't worry about copying from drawings or pictures when you practice. You know they're not going to leave your house. You should have your signature/name and date on the back of your drawings. It's also good to note where you copied the drawing from, for later reference.

We can't copy from photos taken by someone else either, unless you obtain permission from the photographer. Now, I have copied from photos without getting permission, but I also haven't attempted to sell those drawings. Everything I have copied is for my own use and benefit. This is the rule of thumb that I work by.

In a nutshell, these are the basic copyright rules:

Copyright protection does not last forever.

Although a work may not be under copyright in the United States, it may still be protected in other countries.

One helpful rule is that all works published in the United States before 1923 have no copyright. There are numerous other works that have fallen out of copyright due to failure to renew.

Anything from 1923 to 1963 has a good probability of being free of copyright.

After 1978, it's the life of the author plus 70 years before copyright expires.

If you want to know more, you can read this comprehensive copyright article by Attorney Lloyd J. Jassin.

What's New at

I finally got a new page done! It actually contains a very handy drawing tip that can be applied to any subject that you would like to draw. Make sure you check it out, here:

Sketches Of Cars

Tip of the Month

While you are drawing, hold a ball of blu-tack in your other hand. Use it to blot both of your hands and keep them free of graphite. This saves any mess or smudging.

If you also use blu-tack as your kneadable eraser, keep this blotting ball separate. I keep mine in a sandwich bag to stop it from attaching itself to my pencils. Just mark the bags so you can tell which one to use.

It's such a handy little substance. My house is just about held together with blu-tack!

I'd like to say thank you to everyone who sent in Christmas and New Year wishes. I was very touched by all of those beautiful thoughts and wishes.

, thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to read this issue, I appreciate that.

You are welcome to reply to this email if you have anything you'd like to share with me.

Take care,


"You don't have to see the top of the staircase to take the first step." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

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