How to ask for copyright permission

  • Way back for the March 2020 prompt (the rattling shaking one) I did a piece that was set in the recently built New York Public Library about the kids that grew up there (it was my thinking that the kids would be old enough to make trouble in the 1920s). Later, I took David Hohn's basic perspective class and redid the piece and made it into a series trying to get the perspective right.

    Based on the comparison below of a reference photo and one of the pieces, it seems like a good idea to ask permission somehow. I traced it back to a woman's blog post and can contact her that way. But any discussion or idea of how to understand underlying issues better or how to ask (even though it's just for my portfolio) would be much appreciated.



  • @carolinebautista I’m curious if anyone responds because I’m not sure you need to if you aren’t selling the piece, and you’ve made many changes with it. But I’m not super well versed here so I’m interested in if anyone has insights.

    HOWEVER, I’ve done something similar before using music for a video on YouTube and I just reached out to the person and asked if I could use their music with credit and they were happy to let me use it. So I would assume that you could just write her and showed her the image you created and asked if she was okay with you using the image in your portfolio with credit in the description.

    Not an expert at all here, but that’s what I would do. Sorry if that wasn’t helpful lol

  • my goodness this is a pretty piece. I really admire it!

    I agree with @carlianne that you've pretty accurately drawn a famous public building much more than you've referenced that specific photo. If contacting the photographer gives you peace of mind, I'd reach out via her blog and include a thumbnail of your piece with an explanation of its purpose in your portfolio right now. I bet she'd be stoked to hear from you!

  • @carolinebautista I've sold photos on stock sites and it averages about £3 ($4.20) per picture to license commercially. If you were using a photo of mine for reference and emailed me to ask I wouldn't charge anything. You're making an artistic transformation so I wouldn't want to charge for that.

    It's inside a public building though and if you were selling it commercially then it would be a license/permission from the location and perhaps the photographer. But I wouldn't consider it for this illustration because you have transformed into your own background by adding other elements, colour change and removing details like the signs/flag, stone pattern and inscriptions.

  • @carolinebautista For reference, here is the license page for New York Public Library with prices for usage -

  • As a rule If I use references (mostly for buildings, sets and objects) I always try to learn the key features of the subject in it and try reproducing it without relying much on the reference, change the angle of it to make it my own and force my brain to figure out the object/building/scene and/or build a 3D model which I can change the angle at will and then use as a base to work on.

    As I see it, you kind of did that since you had to build the perspective and only used the photo to understand the details of the building since you added details not seen in the photo and overall even the perspective is not a perfect match.

    But like Valerie said, if it gives peace of mind, you could contact the person about it.

  • @carlianne thank you! this was what I wanted to do, but didn't know if it made any sense. My reasoning was that If I can't travel to NYC it seems nice to thank the person that did. 😆 So it wasn't anything to do with selling, but may as well start with best practices now.

    @Valerie-Light thanks so much! I did it in color based on advice from a portfolio review with @NessIllustration where none of my pieces were finished.

    @sigross and @glenfx Thank you for all this, it helps me think through how I could have gone about it more professionally. I used a pinterest board with tons of photos, not meaning to stick to any single one, but as I was cleaning it out it seemed like this one was too similar. I think the true problem here is licensing with NYPL which I didn't think about since I made them as pieces I wouldn't be selling, kind of like fan art in my portfolio.

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