Copyright Information for Artists

I went ahead and borrowed this from Dan. It says everything I wanted to say without getting too involved in the subject. I do want to add that, unfortunately, you will be probably get screwed in the film business. Everyone does. It’s shocking to hear property still being stolen in such obvious and obtuse ways, but it happens all the time. The best thing you can do is try not to burn too many bridges.

“Copyright laws for visual artists are pretty simple. . . so if you’ve been worried about your artwork being copied without your permission, or you’re not exactly sure how to use the copyright symbol ( © ) next to your art, the following paragraphs should help.

First off, the moment you create ANYTHING visual—paintings, drawings, photographs, sculptures, etc—the only person who is allowed to copy that art is you. If you decide to sell prints of one of your paintings, you can. If anyone else does, without your written permission, you have the right to take them to court and sue for damages.

In fact, copyright laws are so strong that your family or legal heirs will still own the copyright to your artwork until 70 years after your death.

Artists that display their work online or allow their art to be published in books or magazines often put a copyright symbol (along with their name and the year the artwork was created) next to the reproduced image. This practice isn’t actually necessary—you still own the copyright, even without using the symbol—but at least this will remind people not to copy your work.

Additionally, if you find out that someone HAS “infringed” on your copyright, and you can prove that the copyright symbol was next to the image of your artwork that they copied, you’ll have a very strong case against them if the issue ever goes to court—which is exactly why so many artists choose to put up that copyright notice.

You should also be aware that even after selling an original work of art to a collector, you still hold the copyright to it. The buyer cannot make prints or sell copies of your art unless you’ve given them that express permission in writing.

Now, even though you own the copyright to your art immediately after creating it, there are still ways to officially register your copyright claim with the US government and most other governments (if you live outside the US) as well.

Some of the reasons to officially register your artwork are:
1. Registration creates a public record of your copyright (more proof in court)
2. Registration is the first step required before you can sue someone for infringement
3. Registration often increases the amount you can sue for

If you don’t plan on suing someone, here are a few other reasons to register:
1. You’ve created something especially valuable (ie, the next Mickey Mouse).
2. You plan on selling the copyright of your art to someone else
3. You’re very, very cautious.

In the US you can register your copyright with the US Library of Congress Copyright Office by filling out an application and paying a fee. For further information about the application form and costs, make sure to visit”


Tools of the Trade: SmudgeGuard

Whether you are working on those fancy wacom cintiqs or simply designing with a pencil, here is a nice secret treasure to have.

The glove seems simple enough, doesn’t it? The best things are simple. This glove was originally intended for left-handed people, because they have to drag their hand over what they have written and it often smears.

Obviously the application of the glove evolved to art users working with graphite as a great way to avoid smearing and smudging on a picture.

Now wacom users are using them on tablets! Why? It not only helps to protect the screen and keep it clean, but it also helps for when that tablet gets too heated and your hand starts sweating and sticking to the surface.

Because the glove is only wrapped around either just the pinky or both the pink and ring finger, you don’t have all the constraints of a regular glove when creating.

Pick up your own for relatively cheap at smudgeguard online. The site also offers videos and pictures and recommendations from other art users. Price isn’t too bad either, about 15 bucks!

Happy creating!

Transmedia Plan: The Hunger Games

I wanted to go ahead and post and paper I did suggesting how to incorporate gaming with the release of the Hunger Games movies. This was written a year ago, and I’m somewhat happy to say that a lot of my ideas were also thought of and executed by the marketing team.

Because the paper is somewhat long, this post will be short.

Hunger Games Transmedia Plan

Happy Reading!

Speed Paintings

I love, love, love watching Speed Paintings. It is simply my favorite thing to do on youtube. And, if you are able to learn by watching, it is a great way to pick up a few tips for yourself. Not only that, but thanks the technology, we are finally able to watch an artist’s process without having to know/ be next to the artist.

I don’t know about you, but whenever I doodled something in school, it always attracted a large audience. If anything, it is nothing short to be awed it.

I’ll provide some links to my favorite speed paintings. Take note that this isn’t really anything to help you learn about the programs they use or the technology. However, the best speed painters around hardly use the software to make their work brilliant: they use traditional techniques, same as anyone, just with a different tool.

The video above features the use of the new Cintiq 24HD. If you have read my previous post, then you know how much I want this thing. Here’s a good example of it being used in full swing!

This video is real time, so it’s about 2 hours long. I’ve watched the first thirty minutes about 5 times -this is where, in my opinion, you are able to learn the most. This artist is chinese so don’t even try to understand what they are saying.

This artist here studies realism. He does some amazing things!


World Building

The real long-lasting success of stories are properties are all attributed to one thing: world building.

Think about Star Wars. It goes beyond the movies, it goes into cartoon shows, books, video games, etc. The world of Star Wars is so expansive it keeps on giving to the fans, keeping it relevant and a wealthy property. Need another example? Harry Potter. This world was able to expand into it’s own theme park. It will be interesting about what happens now that the author is not relinquishing control of the world to others or continuing with the property. There may be a day where Harry Potter is no longer relevant. Batman is another viable franchise.

What all these things have in common is the depths of which the story and the world were catered to. If you put in enough effort, and you have enough imagination to create a completely different universe, you will have the beginnings to something big. Something people will be able to love and live in.

There  are many books on how to design a world available for the average consumer. If you are a writer, I would go ahead and check them out.

In cases of the world, I would never limit yourself to one medium. Create a fantastic story that can be applied to games, movies, books, television, comics, etc.

Possibilities are endless!

Gaming Design

So you are probably wondering why I’m talking about gaming when this blog is about design in movies. Well, really, worlds are converging. A single property generally transcends mediums and are often used to either support each other or add something special to the fantasy world.

The easiest example of this being The Matrix. Beyond the three movies there is a ton of expansion to the world, which in part is delivered in gaming. The Matrix had an online game that continued after the movies, often featuring huge events that would go along the timeline of the world. This way, it is more immersive, more real-feeling. What shocked gamers most was the day that Morpheus, the beloved character, died in the game. He died in the world. His character in The Matrix is, from henceforth, dead.

No doubt a lot of planning went into the Matrix and the games.

A recent development in education, I’m pleased to say, is the recognition of video games as a viable career and a legitimate art form. And of course the best thing about games has always been the interactivity, the ability for us to control what is happening. This happened with limitation in gaming, naturally, until the game Heavy Rain was released. This was the first game where, if a character died during any process of the game, that character stayed dead and thus changed the story. Every decision the user made had an impact on the outcome.

We are creeping into an area where design has to evolve past a frozen point in time, a single movie or a single attribute. It has to be stable yet flexible enough to adjust. It needs to evolve, just as humans do, with every change that occurs in it.

Hopefully we will be seeing more studies soon on how to work with and develop these new kinds of designs for the new age.

Teaching Through Media

I have a five to ten year plan in place to get me to where I want to be in the animation industry. Along that journey, or maybe even after I retired, it has always been somewhat of a passion of mine to try to teach kids through media.

I’m not talking about boring PSAs or Sex Education tapes either. I shudder at those terrible things.

Below is a very crude video I made a long time ago about my views on “play” and how integral it is to our growth and understanding. No need to watch it, but it better explains the theory behind using things such as gaming and new media to teach kids.

My first attempt at teaching through animation was a short I did in Japanese. The idea is to teach those learning Japanese the “~nagara” grammatical structure. The theme given to me was the Dinosaurs being hit by the comet, so I did a somewhat existential post-effect.

I’m hoping to get a teaching position in either Korea or Japan in order to continue with this goal of teaching through media. It’ll be simple things, like examining the cultural contexts in scenes the kids are familiar with, or helping them learn language through cartoons.

I plan to expand upon these ideas one day.