Drawing a blank?


In the world of audio-video works, it can be difficult to show the substantial similarity between an author’s original work and somebody else’s knock-off. This is due to the large number of variable and design elements in such works, and the mostly lawful ability of someone to create an homage or ‘inspired-by’ sort of piece that apes a prior piece’s style.

Below is a link to a YTWWN reader’s original work, which lampoon’s the layperson’s lack of hockey knowledge, and includes creative and quirky hand-drawn animation adds. There is also a link to a Luminosity ad that had the author of the first video scratching his head. It is not yet known if little white spiky jagged animated streaks shot forward from his head as he did so. Is the second piece an homage to the first? A rip? To what extent is there a difference?



Last fall I was working at a design studio in Seattle called Digital Kitchen and was able to work on a personal project. For those who know me well, or even briefly, know that I am a diehard Canadian-born hockey fan (Canucks) living in the US. I decided to use this as the subject matter and wanted to get the opinions of some of my fellow American creatives on the sport of hockey, which they may or may not know anything about. I combined that with a simple cell animation style that I had yet to really experiment with.

The project turned out great and I had a lot of fun doing it. It wasn’t a style that I invented or even advanced in anyway, but rather a simplified version of some other really magnificent work.

Then last week I got a few emails and messages from design friends saying that they had seen a commercial on TV that looked exactly like my Hockey 101 video and if I had done it? I hadn’t, but still checked out the link I was being sent and sure enough it was an almost shot for shot remake with different content animations and people. It was the same simple white drawing overtop of footage as people answer questions or expressed thoughts and the imagry appeared. As opposed to my video where I hand drew each animation, theirs was a cheaper knockoff with looping animations that didn’t have the same effect. I didn’t know whether to be flattered or angry.

My animation had generated me no profit, nor was I interested in it doing so. I would have been thrilled to have been contacted by Lumosity or whoever was producing the content to create something similar to my previous video and be able to benefit that way. Instead someone basically cookie cut my concept, framing, execution, and animation without any reference to myself and generated a ton of views and is probably profiting from online and broadcast spots.

I may be wrong and just need to toughen up, but I would love to get a few more perspectives or some advice on how/if I should proceed in any way.



Posted by jdashscott  |  12 Comments  |  in Advertisement, Advice, Animation, Design, Film, TV, Youtube

Rip off Tshirt contest winner

This is the Original from Bradley Sharp

























I’ve just been contacted by someone telling me my work has been stolen…

The design which looks very similar has recently won a competition with a $1000 prize, and the winner, Mike Krisza, has said on his site he is currently selling the design on tshirts successfully.


The copied design, and winning T Shirt design.









Posted by buud  |  18 Comments  |  in Advice, Design, Deviantart, Print

Braid Box Art – In Russia, artwork traces YOU

Okay. So normally I’m quite relaxed when it comes to people using my artwork as reference, stock, or inspiration. But when somebody somewhere roughly slams two pictures together and makes MONEY out of the end result – that’s when I get annoyed.

In 2009, I posted some fan art of the indy Video Game ‘Braid‘ on my DeviantArt website. This picture -

My artwork, done in 2009











I didn’t see much else in the way of good fan art for the game, so I was pleased my little picture was up on the internet for all to see. Whilst doing a quick browse on Google in 2009, the only other piece of art for the game that I notably took a liking to was this one, which was drawn in 2006 as official concept art for the game -

Art for Braid by David Hellman











Flash forward to 2011 (just now), and I see an article on Kotaku about the Box art for Braid upon it’s release in Russia. -

Russian Braid Jewel Case Box Art

Okay. That's pretty horrifyin-waaaait a minute...

















At first I wasn’t sure. I thought whoever did this might have just eyeballed both our pictures and crudely slammed them together. But no, I’m afraid they’re traces. Even the base lighting has been traced. Still not convinced? Then look again -

A quick trace show

What, he even traced the KEY?! That's just sad...


Needless to say, I was stunned that someone got away with showing this to the studio, then selling it in another country. I also wonder if David Hellman knows that his official artwork has been traced by another artist for the same game.

I am contacting Jonathan Blow at  Number None Studios (the Indy company that made Braid) and letting him know about my situation right now. But other than that, I’m not sure what else to do about this (other than kick up a polite fuss until something gets done!) So any advice anyone could give me about what action to take next would be very much appreciated. Please leave a comment, or contact me through andyroosteruk”AT”

I am especially annoyed that someone can get away with this, as I am a games designer and artist myself; and it is hard enough to get noticed in the games industry without other people leeching your artwork and ideas.

Posted by Scifer  |  9 Comments  |  in Advice, Design, Deviantart, Video Game, Web

Conan’s New Logo

So during the whole Conan/Leno debate, I was on Conan’s side. After the “I’m With Coco” graphic was made I thought I’d make one of my own. So I made this:

You can see the original post here:

It got posted on the I’m With Coco Facebook fan page, as well as several news blogs. It was even used by a protestor to make a sign.

Then later, when the TBS announcement was made, I made this:

Then when the official Team Coco website started going up, I couldn’t help but notice an extreme similarity to my idea and their new official logo. Which, after watching the first episode of Conan, is in the opening credits!! It’s also all over their website.

I have brought this up on some other blogs before and some people are with me and think it is a blatant steal, others say that his hair is so iconic that it isn’t that crazy for someone else to come up with the same idea. I think that it is too coincidental, seeing the popularity of my image on the internet and it being on places that were seen by the Team Coco people. I’m not really asking for money, but it would’ve been nice to have been asked or to have some recognition. The “I’m With Coco” portrait image is hanging up in Conan’s office. I’m sure he asked that guy for a print.

Posted by timmelideo  |  29 Comments  |  in Advice, Design, Fine Art
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