Let’s discuss the state of community story book covers at the moment.
A pattern I’ve noticed with a lot (obviously not all!) story covers is that they fall into one of these categories.
**1. Completely stolen off of google images, a random photo or random drawing** Pretty self-explanatory. I don't see this much anymore (much more common around 2014/2015) They don't own the art, it's not really related to the story but they wanted something to put up. It's still pretty bad, since it's not your art to use freely. People worked hard, people paid for it, it's not yours. Make something original and unique to your story. If it's from a free to use site like Unsplash or something, then don't stress. But if it's obviously owned by someone then don't.
2. A stolen image but its someone’s commissioned piece or OCs
This is a pretty heinous one, but relatively rare. I’ve witnessed it a few times. Even worse is when the author attempts to passes it as their art that they made or commissioned.
This is when someone takes a piece from an artist that they don’t have right to and makes the character(s) on the cover into the characters of their story. Not only are you taking someone’s art that they made/paid for, you’re also taking someone’s characters in the process. Stop doing this, I beg. I will personally 1v1 you if I catch you doing this.
3. The artist traces
This is the most common thing I’m seeing right now. This is when an artist grabs an Instagram photo, a photograph, a piece of art and traces the body and changes small things (hair,clothes,etc). First of all, there’s 3 reasons why NOT to do this.
You’re tracing someone else’s image. It’s not fair to them because they had to work hard to illustrate or pose or photograph it.
You’re not learning to draw by tracing. You’re hindering your own progress.
It’s VERY obvious when you trace. As a long time digital artist (and tutor/teacher), it sticks out like a sore thumb. You know how I know? It’s because it either has 1: great anatomy but bad shading. or 2: great anatomy in the body but everything else is not done very well. I will actively avoid your story if I see that. However, I know a lot of artists have their covers made for them and they don’t draw it themselves. If you notice an artist who’s doing this, support genuine artists instead (lots to choose from).
4. Repainted art
This falls into category 3 but a bit more detailed. (my friend reminded me). This is when you take photography and just draw over it to make it seem like you drew the anatomy, the hair, etc but in reality you just put some colour onto an existing photograph or drawing. You’re stealing, even if you add onto it.
Let me know what you guys think. Feel free to disagree. For the record, I’m not talking about Episodes characters or such, since there’s not really an issue there.