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46709 Posts in 5588 Topics by 13299 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 65 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Artist signatures  (Read 4260 times)
drkrash
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Posts: 49


« on: October 15, 2009, 04:03:04 AM »

I have an artist who wants to have a small graphic as a signature, plus a printed signature, plus a website address all on her work.  She wants this for her own protection.  For my part, I think it's too much and draws you away from the use of the art in the book to evoke the game - to me, it reminds me that I'm looking at a picture someone has done and inserted into the text.

Am I being too sensitive about this? How should I handle this?

Thanks!
Christopher
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GregStolze
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Posts: 155


« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2009, 04:39:55 AM »

Wow, is there going to be room for any content?

I'd propose a compromise.  On every page where her work appears, there's a little "Image by Jane Hancock" or whatever in 6-8 point type at the bottom.  Her website appears in the credits -- "Images by Jane Hancock on pages 3,4 and 62-109 inclusive, http://www.mysignatureisenormousbecauseitmakesmefeelmoreprotected.com"  She can sign her pictures in a reasonable way, and if she wants to use some kind of signature graphic, she hides it in the content Easter-egg style -- like Al Hirschfeld and "Nina."

-G.
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Jasper Flick
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« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2009, 04:45:54 AM »

Look at what's normal in the industry and go with that (she's asking too much). If someone demands special treatment they must really be worth it, or give a large discount.

A small icon or signature in an illustration is common, but more than that not so much. An example of more elaborate artist credits are D&D books that often unobtrusively have the artist's name listed in the page borders, you could do something like that. I'd never put URLs in there though, I would limit those to the usual places to list contributors. One mention of a URL is enough.
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Eero Tuovinen
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2009, 05:25:59 AM »

What's wrong with a normal credits page? As long as you proclaim her as the artist, I don't see how a more elaborate signature scheme is really going to protect her any more than the fact that the book claims her as the artist. I could see this in an electronic publication (html especially), I suppose, as it's always possible that an image on a web page is going to be viewed out of its original context, but in a book this seems unnecessary both legally and by convention.

As for how to handle it, I suppose it depends on how much you want her to work with it, and whether she's interested in discussing it. If she's already made up her mind, then it's up to you to decide whether you want to go with it. That sort of thing might be appropriate in some contexts, but mostly I'd expect a normal book or such to look ridiculous with that level of self-importance. Unless the art is the main content of the book, there really is no good reason to scream the creator data at the reader on every page. I don't put my signature on each chapter of text I write, either, and especially not when the text is there just to contextualize somebody else's work.
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Double King
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Posts: 23


« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2009, 06:36:03 AM »

All of those things are somewhat normal requests.  All of them together are a bit heavy handed.  But then you're probably not paying industry standard for spot black and white illustrations.  So at that point it's a negotiation between you and the artist. 

As others above have pointed out, and to reiterate here, a signed illustration with a signature is pretty typical and acceptable; running a byline for the artist in small type on the same page is also perfectly fine.  That could exist as "(c) Jane Q, www.JaneQ.com"  or "(c)www.JaneQ.com" 

Likely the artist is working for you at a greatly reduced fee and you should bend over backward so that they get the credit and protection that they are asking for, even if in this case it might be a little over the top.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #5 on: October 15, 2009, 10:53:54 AM »

Hello,

This is an individual publisher call, and literally no one can make a recommendation. You'll have to decide for yourself. Even citing "what's done" in general is not translatable into "industry standard" - there is no standard, regardless of the most common practice (if there is one).

My own individual call as a publisher is to recommend that artists contributing to my books do sign their work. I don't advocate that anyone else do this, or not to do it. I offer my policy specifically because it is the opposite of your own, to demonstrate the diversity of views that can be found.

Best, Ron
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greyorm
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« Reply #6 on: October 15, 2009, 12:06:21 PM »

I have an artist who wants to have a small graphic as a signature, plus a printed signature, plus a website address all on her work.  She wants this for her own protection.  For my part, I think it's too much and draws you away from the use of the art in the book to evoke the game - to me, it reminds me that I'm looking at a picture someone has done and inserted into the text.

In my professional opinion, yes, that's far too much on one piece of work. Others have given you good advice of how things like this are most commonly handled in the industry.

One thing to do: you might want to ask her what exactly that amount of "protection" is protecting her from?

Think about what happens around here with new designers, who are terrified that someone is going to "steal" their game idea, and so don't want to share too much, etc. and what the reality about thefts like that actually are (nil). In the same way, lots of newbie or non-professional artists are terrified by urban legends about art theft that their work is going to be "stolen", and so go to ridiculous lengths to "protect" it from mostly imaginary thieves, often to such an extent that no one can enjoy the work because it is plastered with "protections" that do nothing more than make the work ugly and unpalatable to viewers.

You may even point out that once it is used in your book with her credited for it, it is VERY easy for her to prove the work is hers; there's really no better protection than its credited use in a publication. Either she wants someone to see her work (and in that case a small signature, or a graphic, or a website address is enough -- one, but not all three per image), or she wants someone to see her protections (and no one wants to pay to see an artist's name and protective devices spattered everywhere).

But ultimately, it is your call, as it is your product, and if you feel these additions would be distracting the reader from the text, then they will distract the reader from the text. As such, I'm hoping this is before the work is actually being done, as a part of the contract negotiations. In which case, if she refuses to budge, you can thank her for her time and find someone else. If she's already done the work, things are vastly more sticky, because now you're in the situation where she has done work for you, but you can't use it/it isn't what was requested (because she's changing it by adding multiple signatures and a website).
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Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
drkrash
Member

Posts: 49


« Reply #7 on: October 15, 2009, 12:26:18 PM »

Thanks, everyone!

I expressed that I needed some time to consider her proposal - and then I ran here and asked for advice! :)

Before I could get back to her, she herself relented and simply asked for a contributor's bio, which I was planning on giving her anyway.

It's all good for both of us and I maintain a relationship with an artist that I like and who I think is simply phenomenal.

C
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greyorm
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My name is Raven.


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« Reply #8 on: October 15, 2009, 12:36:19 PM »

It's all good for both of us and I maintain a relationship with an artist that I like and who I think is simply phenomenal.

Awesome!
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Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
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