Most of the images on “Sad But True” are cases where a designer cuts and pastes from a source and adds it to their image, leaving OBVIOUS artifacts that are easily identifiable if you are familiar with the original artist.
This one is a bit more sneaky, because it’s clear that the plagiarist mostly used his own lines, but there is no doubt in my mind that this example goes beyond a simple “pose swipe”. For those that don’t know, “pose swiping” is something that is commonly done in the comic book industry to save time. Personally, I have always felt that it is a lame thing to do, but over the decades it has become somewhat of an accepted method to meet deadlines for a lot of comic artists. What the artist will do is basically find a similar pose to what they want and just visually copy it. This takes away all of the problem solving and saves time. Sometimes, it’s pretty harmless if the pose is rather generic. But sometimes an artist becomes known for very specific types of poses and it can still be pretty identifiable depending on the pose. In many cases, it is done visually (meaning the copier is just doing it by sight alone) or if it’s being traced directly, they overlay the artwork and only block in the sketch circles and drawing the rest of the piece themselves. Either way, in order for it to be ethical, you need to still create your own artwork on top of it and create something new. You can’t sit there and trace details and themes and expect to not be called out for it.
And that is what we have here. The artist in question, Attchit, took Gary Ronaldson’s design and traced the silhouette almost exactly. He did change details, but the silhouette is precisely the same and goes beyond a pose swipe. I’ve added some examples in the image above where you can see the cloth “bumps” on the shoulder are the same cloth bumps. Also, many themes are stolen including the stitched lips, the rectangle background, the logo’s position, etc. And even though a lot of the details are different, some of them are just clearly traced over like the eyes and nose. It’s just too close. This is not a direct “copy/paste” like some of the work on SBT, but it is absolutely plagiarism and sourced from a peer in the heavy metal art industry.
Ronaldson is a living, working artist in this field. It’s absolutely unethical to seek out other artists, take their work, and use it for your own designs.