i know people who draw better than this drinking beer and watchng tv. jamie hernandez, for one. crumb for another. s. clay wilson for another. fotheringham.
you oughta see these guys... a beer in one hand, eyes glued to some ballgame and a pen in the other knocking out these fantastic images in one single fluid line. no white out. perfect. it's like watching automatic writing or spirit drawing.
wish i could do that. fuck yer 'outline stroke function'. learn to draw!
thnx for the tip on zeman. i'll try to find some stuff on him.
you should look up some of dick sutphen's old clip books. he had a wacky sense of humor, that guy. he was a big ad agency art director in the mid 60's. then he grew out his hair,started writing bad erotic poetry (illustrated with his strange clip collages), then moved west where he started channeling and built a cult. he also does a lot of self-hypnosis stuff (lose weight, quit smoking). anyway, he's now a huge name in the new age cult circuit - right up there with ramtha. seems a lot of designers slip over the line into strange religious activites. no lie, you'd be surprised.
things like dover and old clip books were created for the INTENTION of use by the holder. technically, the folks who actually drew that stuff should get money from (if all were fair), guy companies snatched their copyrights (by hook or by crook) and put them out as raw source materials. it's so pervasive that most of the stuff dover sells you can also be found int the collections published by dozens of other companies. it's intentional, and usually there is a statement on the copyright page saying so (go look).
as for other found imagery (like you old midol ad in life magazine, say) that's a bit dicier. the people who control that image are 1) the photgrapher, 2) the company paying for the ad reproduction, and 3) the agency of contract. but usually, in these old magazines, the publishers will take over copyright control because they actually PRINTED it (and evrybody else is lost in obscurity). don't fuck with life magazine, not even the ads in them. go get a copy of something obscure, like sepia. then again, midol is a rather well-known product, and it could be possible that their ad was famous enough that it became part of the product's identity. stay away from it. become knowledgable about the history of all this stuff and you will be able to spot dangerous stuff with greater ease.
then, there's the photographer/agency stuff. i guyi knew swiped an old photo of a rockabilly dude from a rolling stone magazine and put it on a hang tag for some blue jeans. real stupid. i would have stuck to my 3 rules, and it would have worked out fine, but he went and used it straight across. so, the blue jean company gets a call from the original photographer who took the shot (back in the 1950's - guy must have been 80 years old). the jeans company went nova and threatened my friend with extinction, etc. my friend is a very level headed guy, and didn't panic and said, 'i'll handle this, give me the guy's phone number.' (it's always smart to get the lawyers out of the picture as much as possible.) my friend called the guy up and all he wanted was about $300 for usage. that's all. just a little cash and recognition for his creative work. people can be reasonable if you keep the lawyers at bay.
when i used to 'teach', i used to talk about my "three rules of appropriation". i'll present them to you free of charge. (all other who read this are violating my copyright and are subject lawsuits and eventual brainwashing unless you send $29.95 to the above address.):
rule one: TAKE OBSCURELY
don't steal mickey mouse. don't take from playboy, time/warner, national geographic, or rolls royce. they all have lawyers and folk whose job it is to find you and sue you. disney once sued a small mom and pop daycare in seattle for painting disney figures on the walls of the playroom. they had to paint them out and pay a huge fine. i think they went under.
rule two: ALTER SIGNIFICANTLY
in other words, fuck it up so nobody recognizes it. don't take mickey mouse, take his eyeball. and add some flies. redraw it and apply it to george w.'s mealy face. nobody will spot it, not even walt's ghost. but we'll still somehow realise what it means, and where it came from.
rule three: USE APPROPRIATELY
if i'm designing a rcord cover for the rolling stones, i'm not going to put a picture of mickey mouse on it. what, do i look stupid? but if i'm doing a punk poster that's hung on 25 telephone poles in the u-district in seattle, yeah, i steal mickey. try and catch me, fuckers.
of course, appropriation is not about copycatting, it's about re-interpretation. it's one thing to take an iconographic image and re-introduce it with a whole new meaning in a strange inappropriate cultural context, it's another to slop it on a t-shirt and sell it to suckers. use yer fuck'n head.
when i said 'chuck', i meant charles spencer anderson. when i said 'corporation' i did not mean target. that was all done by sharon werner (well, it used to be before they dumped freelancers and started faking it in-house. boy, you sure can see the differenc. sharon used to work for duffy after chuck left). the corporation i mentioned was (i think it's ok to say this) old navy (aka the gap). when i say 'clip art', i mean a whole buncha different things. actual clip art was designed to be used first, by paying usage by actual purchase of lead cuts by letterpress printers, then later as collections either subscribed to or purchased in 'book' form as copyright free images to utilize as you see fit (like dover. usage is covered by the book purchase price.) that material is pretty much free turf. however with digital processes, those copyrights are again in limbo and is being controled by whomever has the balls to grab. microsoft actually owns the digital copyright of the mona lisa. if you use that image and it passes through a digital phase anywhere along your process, you technically violate microsoft's copyright. however, if i use it in a design and it never goes through a computer (say i use a stat camera instead to make plates and film) i bypass microsoft's copyright. pretty screwy, huh?
so, the wonderful world of found imagery is a minefield of violation, theft, and self-expression. i've dealt in this territory all my life and done well, been careful, and never had any serious problems. other guys i know have gotten nailed bad. you gotta know what yer doing.
but in the world of rock posters, it's such an esoteric niche area, that all sorts of things go safely ignored. but don't try to apply underground rules to mainstream clients - you'll find big trouble. i can relate some juicy stories in that area.
one final cosmic design joke. chuck has had such horrible experiences being ripped off by corporate whores (this is not other designers or folks utilizing his clip - that he doesn't much care about) that he's gone and done the unthinkable.
he recently went court to protect his STYLE from a corporation trying to steal it (yes, STEAL his STYLE as corporate id. they readily admitted it and laughed at him - IN SWORN VIDEO DEPOSITIONS! they spent literally years trying to deep-pockets him, but chuck stuck it out - what else could he do? he finally won, but by then the corporation had already exhausted his style for something like ten years. he broke even on the lawyer fees, and lost years of billable hours.
so he went onto the french paper website and built a feature called the 'light table'. for few bucks you can select some images, some textures, some color schemes, etc. and make some design pieces that LOOK JUST LIKE CHARLES ANDERSON! it only costs a few dollars, and you can design just like him!! he turned his own design syle into clip art! all to screw with the corporate guys trying to rip him.