The art of imitation
Copy right When is copying another artist okay? Pro artists debate the use of third-party imagery that goes beyond basic reference
A huge, listing orc boat dwarfed by the Great Sea – waves barrelling, breaking over saw-toothed rocks. It’s a painting meticulous in detail, right down to the proportion of the rivets. Craig Mullins created the World of Warcraft piece as part of Blizzard’s Fine Art Project back in 2012, which he only recently uploaded to his personal website.
An animation ( http://ifxm.ag/CraigGIF) posted on Warosu.org shows two sections of Craig’s waves closely resemble those in the 1907 painting Southwesterly Gale, St Ives by American realist Frederick Judd Waugh. Much handwringing across message boards
followed. Craig responded with a Facebook comment, saying the image was a working comp for a physical oil painting: “I’ve used photos, 3D models (mine and others) paintings (mine and others) in every combination you can think of. If I had to ask what method I use mostly, it would be a simple block model (that I make) and painting with that in a reference layer. But 90 per cent of the work I’ve done is pretty much straight painting.
“I’ve also talked at length about the difference between art and commercial art. I’m an illustrator and paid to make an image that satisfies a client. I would say every
New wave: Craig Mullins referenced a painting by a long-dead American artist to create this World of Warcraft image.
Southwesterly Gale, St Ives by Frederick Judd Waugh: the piece Craig Mullins used as close reference in his painting for Blizzard (main picture).