The 3 Golden Rules Of Talking To Artists

This is the penultimate blog post to this campaign and it was a pleasure writing for you all. This time, we talk about how to talk to artists. Wanna borrow an artwork to put in your video? Ask the artist and see if they’ll give you permission! Like someone’s art? Here’s what to say without making them feel super uncomfortable! This is the go-to post for interacting with great artists online.

  1. The number one rule is always be polite!

    Artists put their works online to selflessly share their love of something , whether it be for an existing show or game, or their own characters. Nothing could be worse for an artist to see any form of disrespect toward them or their work! Consider how you would feel if you made content and put it out there only to receive messages like ‘if you do (insert something bad) to your characters, I swear I’ll hunt you down and burn your house’. Sound extreme? Well, Alex Hirsch – writer and creator of Disney’s Gravity Falls cartoon – had something to say about it in this series of tweets. Be mindful of how your words can be interpreted by the artist. Creators are only public out of the goodness of their heart (as well as a little ego, can’t deny that) and sending badly-worded messages whether as a joke or otherwise can hurt them enough to withdraw from social media as a whole.

  2. Try not to compare the originality of an artist to something that already exists.

    Some artists may find it flattering, but it normally isn’t. Saying ‘oh, your character looks like X character from TV show’ is the same as saying ‘you didn’t put enough effort into your character’s design and you’re just copying from an already existing source’. Sure, most ideas are recycled and it’s very likely your designs will look a little like something else, but there are a great many pioneering designers that have and will create unique designs in the future! Just look at the spectrum of children’s cartoons: when was the last time you heard of a story about polymorphic rocks with strong character and unique design? Or the daily life of three bears trying to get by in the human world? Artists’ lives revolve around creativity and claims of unoriginality will only serve to demotivate them.
  3. Respect their decisions!!!

    Did you work up the courage to ask an artist whether you could use their work for something of your own? That’s great! Did they say yes or no? Now, here’s the part that might hurt your pride:

    Artists are entitled to say no to you.

    Artists create content and by right, they should be able to control where it goes on the internet and beyond. If for whatever reason an artist refuses your request to take their art, even if it’s as small as ‘I just don’t want anyone taking my art’, respect that decision and move on. Yes, rejection will hurt a little, but it is better than a potential future where artists simply close shop and disappear because their art escaped their control because of a few people who disrespect their wishes. Create an environment where artists feel safe posting their art without the threat of theft pr loss and artists will repay in spades of lovely artwork.


  1. Be polite
  2. Don’t compare artists
  3. Respect artists’ decisions


image source from jppi on MorgueFile

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