As most of us no we can’t sell or publish any artwork that isn’t ours without given permission. Which in most cases you will always want it to be written down on paper in the form of a contract, just to be safer than sorry. The reason is because you don’t want a legal issue coming up saying you were stealing someone else work. In the art field you have to be very careful of this because the companies of big fan art like with Marvel and DC Comics are high on people that try to sell there work without permission.
I bring this topic up again because recently I had tried to sell a drawing I created of Spider-man, Mary Jane, and Black Cat in full color with Adobe Photoshop. Now I have this drawing already on this site and other social blogs, but I had recently tried putting it on a site called www.redbubble.com.
Redbubble is a website where you can submit art and they will display your art on things like blankets, cups, phone cases, beach towels, Canvas, etc. Now with that if you upload your drawing and lets say someone buys a phone case with your artwork on it they will give you a percentage of the profit from what they make from the product. Now when I first did this I didn’t realize that Marvel was going to be looking out for fan art like this on other sites like redbubble.
I get a email saying my content was taken down because it had copyright violations. Guess who wrote the complaint. Marvel of course. So I researched it because I felt as if well I’m not really trying to make a profit from this I’m just designing new artwork and wanted to see how it would look on a phone case and other products. But according to the law unless I have written permission I can’t sell any fan art. Now its funny because you have to know the game to play it because from what I’ve researched and from what I’ve seen sometimes if you’ve done work for the company like Marvel or DC comics at Comic Cons they will sometimes let the artist sell fan art without any given permission.
I have seen in other places fan art sold like Batman, Super-Man, Flash, etc, on websites and at Comic cons. Now one thing I can say is for example lets say someone is selling a few drawings of fan art for lets say less than $100 worth of drawings, well the chances are Marvel isn’t going to spend the time, money, or resources to have a lawyer go out to either give a warning or sue for $100 worth or artwork. You know big comic book companies like Marvel, DC Comics, Top Cow, the hole comic book industry is coming down harder on this as more people are profiting off their work on a big scale. So when I think of it I understand why these comic book companies are becoming so strict because its their work and if they do let you sell something that is from their work they expect to see a profit to as it is their creation. You are just using it to make another creation. So before considering to draw fan art do your research and read all the rules on sites like redbubble, DeviantArt, etc. Always when creating something that isn’t your idea make sure you understand the copyright laws before attempting to sell. What you see above it my own in that can be found in my Art gallery Pencil&ink Gallery Page.
Remember its not illegal to draw or post Fan Art, its just illegal to try to sell as a profit that’s actually called stealing. I will be posting a artist tip talking about the warning of fan art and why its sometimes better to just go with your own design and artwork. Thanks for reading stay tuned for more updates.