Inktober Book Plagerism Accusations



  • @StudioLooong said in Inktober Book Plagerism Accusations:

    If someone is unfamiliar with other drawing fundamentals books and watches Alfonso's argument, it definitely looks like Jake copied, but if you take a minute to compare Alfonso's book to all the other books out there on drawing fundamentals, you'll see that may of the concepts that he claims that he invented predate him by quite a bit.

    I just watched it and I think this is pretty spot on.

    There were some similarities between things like texture techniques, but if no one can make a tutorial about making fur in ink because someone else once made one is not going to fly.

    Some of the examples he gives are basic techniques yes, but if you watch the whole video there is clearly evidence of 'borrowing' layouts, images, and ideas.

    Both books have a very similar form and intent to teach all-around inking technique. There are obviously going to be sections in them about line weight for example. How different ways can you illustrate different hatch marks? This is going to be tough because the differences are going to come down to subjective opinion instead of demonstrative point-by-point evidence.



  • I am glad you are the one to open the topic on the forum because it can't be avoided in all this noise. Sadly it is harming the reputation of both artists.

    If the issue needs to be acknowledged, I hope people will be less passionate on the forum. Comments are indeed nasty on Youtube from both Jake's or Alphonso's supporting teams...


  • SVS Instructor Pro

    Watched the video. My verdict: I don't know.

    There are two different issues being blended in the video. Content vs arrangement of information.

    As for content -- I've never seen Dunn's book but nothing he highlighted was unique or original to me. I've been drawing, learning, and teaching a long time and these are simply concepts and techniques that I've learned over the years. They are fundamentally facts. Facts are not protected by copyright.

    Arrangement of information: Given that this is a fact-based book that is designed to teach, the arrangement of information is important and is more readily protected by copyright. From the video there appears to be a basis for a claim on this point.

    BUT Dunn has not seen the finished book. Amount and nature of infringement matters. The only way to properly evaluate is by putting each book side by side and carefully evaluating both. Ideally, done by an impartial third party.

    Instead we are only seeing one side that is clearly highly biased.


  • SVS Team SVS Instructor Pro SVS OG

    @Julia Thanks. Yea, it's a bummer. I love Alphonso's work and he seems like such a cool guy. And jake too. I wonder what happened to just calling someone if you have a problem and talking about it? Seems like people could avoid a lot of headache!



  • I am very glad there is a thread here - the discourse on social media and on the art groups (facebook/discord/etc) I am in have turned absolutely vile and nasty.

    I agree a lot with David Hohn on the content vs layout. I think it's unfair to compare a finished book with one that's not out yet. I don't have enough information to form an opinion either way.

    HOWEVER I don't think it's my responsibility or the responsibility of the collective internet to make that call. I think this entire situation has been handled incredibly poorly on Alphonso's part - bringing this to social media instead of his agent (if he has one), his lawyer (if he has one), and his publisher (is the place I would have gone to first, honestly) is absolutely out of line. Even he doesn't want to give Jake a call, this should have been handled differently. If he thought he had a case, he should have gone to a lawyer or his agent FIRST, because posting the video he did puts his case in serious jeopardy.

    Handing this straight to the social media outrage machine, especially since Jake's kinda got a target on his back surrounding Inktober anyway, comes off as an incredibly callous and cruel move to me.



  • @korilynneillo i agree. I understand he got upset and made that video out of anger, but that was a mistake.
    I like Alphonso, he makes good videos. But this was a bad call. Contacting Jake would have been the right idea, or a lawyer I guess.



  • I've only just seen this story come to light, but I agree that this should have been handled with agents and lawyers.



  • I was not even able to make it 5 minutes into Alphonso Dunn's video, because here's the thing: he starts out talking to his students to teach them to protect their work - and talking about how much effort it is to make a book as if immediately assuming Jake didn't do a lot of work on his - and comparing a preview on amazon to his book is the LAST way to do it.

    If he wanted to teach his students rather than use their inexperience to get them on his side, he could have been professional about it and talked about it later.

    Maybe I have too much of an svs bias already, but a teacher that always thinks they're right drives me crazy. He thinks it's proof that he's right, and it isn't, he starts out walking through how he got upset, so I can't watch. This is a good example of why it's always a good idea to question teachers.



  • Wow it is really rough out there.

    I've watched Dunn's video and I'm going to piggyback off David Hohn's words about content a bit. A lot of what Dunn points out as his work are things that I learned in one of my first art classes, Principles of Visual Communication. I've also heard these lessons from multiple teachers (I think Lee even covered a lot of stuff about the mark making and how to get different values with ink in a class called Quick Sketch, which was all in ink) and I could grab most any book on my shelf teaching drawing and it would have a good chunk of similar information. It feels and sounds like what happened on some level is Dunn has come to these art fundamental conclusions on his own, which would be incredible. I feel this would also give you a sense of ownership of a technique or way of mark making.

    By no means am I trying to take anything away from either artist, making a book like this is no joke. I think it's important to have multiple books on the same subject. A particular teacher could have a way of conveying information to you that just clicks even though you've heard it from someone else in a different form.



  • Absolutely gutting for both men. Both to believe that someone has stolen your work and to be accused of doing so. I feel for both of them. I hope Jake is ok and that the publishers and their lawyers can sort this out.

    There are definitely elements that will be common to all instruction on the same topic, because they are the skills that are required to e.g. draw well. And there might be an element of someone teaching something so clearly that it seems the obvious way to teach it to people going forward.

    What a horrible situation for you both.



  • Yep! He should've contacted Jake first.

    Anyway, I hope it gets resolved quickly and without anymore nonsense.
    And I hope everyone involved gets over it!



  • @carolinebautista I agree, it's hard not to think about this from the bias of respecting Jake and his work and wanting to do Inktober. It also doesnt help that Jake was blasted on social media rather than this being handled more professionally.

    Inktober helped rekindle my love of art, has helped me get my confidence back, and even got me my first illustration job. I still want to participate...but man, I dont want to deal with people possibly berating those of us who still want to do it and participate in this. I dont know if anyone else felt that way?

    I certainly hope that this gets resolved for both artists sakes.



  • @lpetiti I definitely feel the same way! I've posted a couple of "getting ready" posts since I'll be using Inktober to finish up a project this year and have already gotten a little bit of flack.

    But I'm taking it as an exercise in letting bad mojo just roll off. Bad comments are going to happen sometime in your career, it's just what happens when letting things loose in the wild wild internet. Let the bullies bully, I'm gonna make something really freaking cool this year and if they don't want to be around for the cool thing they don't have to be. I'm still super excited, I'm still going through and grabbing last year's pieces and seeing what can be improved/where my holes are in my story, and I'm still super pumped to get this project out into the world! I don't have time for haters!


  • SVS OG

    @Lee-White this is horrible. why would he do this? It’s like he’s saying we can’t use perspective because he invented it.



  • Bottom line seems to be that both Jake and Alphonso books do not contain anything new or original. Therefore Jake could not have plagiarized Alphonso. I have many books on drawing so thank you Jake for advising me that I do not need another.



  • @korilynneillo I really like what you wrote (your art is awesome too btw!). You're right...I guess I'm so used to avoiding conflict like the plague (which makes more sense these days, hahaha) that I forget that about negative confidence. I cant imagine dealing with this on the level that guys like Jake and Alphonso are...you really have to have rhino skin to deal with it.



  • @lpetiti Thank you so much!! It took a lot of practice (and being on the "wrong end" of an issue according to the internet mob a while back) to get here. I come from the music world, which is a similarly small community and honestly a lot of the same stuff goes on there too. Small communities get amplified by the internet and people don't look into things to form their own opinion, and I've learned that the only way to completely avoid content is to not engage at all!

    I also can't imagine being on Jake's and Alphonso's level - I don't know if it'd be for me! I'll just stick with "can feed myself with my work", thanks! My heart goes out to both of them though, this isn't easy on either side and is going to cause some upset for what's probably going to be a pretty long time.



  • I know you asked us to wait to make any judgements, but without seeing either book and not having seen the video, I must point out that I am disappointed one artist used the internet to accuse another without contacting him directly. Bad form. If you have the time to make a one hour video, you have the time to speak with a colleague. I have not changed my intention to buy Jake's book. Please let him know his reputation as a generous teacher and artist carries weight with his community. I wish him well.


  • Pro SVS OG

    @Lee-White This should have never been handled this way, esp given Jake's track record of helping artists and the fact that he has been teaching these very concepts for years.

    Trying to ruin another person's livelyhood without even talking to them and trying to work things out is unacceptable.

    Similar yes but this does not seem like an open and closed case and he had very few samples to pull from.

    He is acting like he invented drawing. Horrible situation all around.

    Mob mentality is strong and unfortunately for Jake the internet mob is coming for him.

    Praying for him and hope any misunderstandings get worked out soon.



  • @Lee-White Hi Lee - I just watched this video with a man reviewing Alphonso Dunn's books. He mentioned at least three times that what was presented in Alphonso's books is basic knowledge. After listening to his review I wouldn't be a bit surprised to see some of the same knowledge in Jake's book as well. Maybe Jake can use the information in this video to back himself up if necessary. https://youtu.be/AD1AX-yXPL8


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