If you are a frequent Tumblr user, chances are you’re already familiarized with therm ‘reposting‘. Despite it being a long-running problem that’s been explained by users countless times, reposting is somehow still a thing. The problem gets even worse when it’s fan art that is being stolen and posted elsewhere.
Fan artists work as hard as any other fan creator, but they are often more vulnerable to getting their work stolen. The general consensus when it comes to sharing other people’s work on Tumblr seems to be 1) ask for permission, 2) add the source. Number 2 should be a no-brainer and something that every Tumblr user should know how to do already. However, asking for permission can be confusing and even intimidating for some users. Don’t worry – we have prepared a complete guide on how to ask for permission and everything you should know before doing so.
Asking for permission on DeviantArt
DeviantArt is probably the most well-known site for artists to share their work, including fan art. In fact, the majority of fan artists on Tumblr often have a link to their DeviantArt on their blogs. The first thing you should know is that DeviantArt doesn’t own any of the works featured in their website, so if you ever want to use a fan art, you should ask the artist, not DeviantArt.
To do so, the first thing to do is checking the artist’s profile to see what their policy is when it comes to sharing their work. There will be some artists that don’t want their work being shared anywhere under any circumstances, meaning your job here is done – you just can’t share that fan art. Most of the time artists will just ask to be notified and asked for permission before you share it. There will be some artists who don’t care about being notified because just adding the credit and a link to the original post is fine by them. Because of this, it’s important to take your time to research the artist’s policy before you message them. Something else you should check is the description below the art. Sometimes the artist will have their sharing policy below the art, or perhaps they have already shared their art on their Tumblr, so you can just go and reblog the original post instead of making a new one.
You have now done your research and you can share the work, but you just need to ask for permission. Well, there are different ways to do this. Sometimes the artist will leave their personal contact information on their profile like their Twitter or email address. The easiest way, though, is to just send them a personal note on DeviantArt. You need a DeviantArt account to do this. If you don’t have one, it’s very easy to do (you will also be able to follow your favourite artists and leave feedback on their works!). Didn’t get a reply after 2 weeks? Try a different way, keep waiting or let it go, but don’t just assume that just because the artist didn’t answer it’s OK to post the art!
WHAT SHOULD YOUR MESSAGE CONTAIN?
–Feedback. Fan artist don’t get paid for their work (unless it’s a commission), so a nice comment complimenting their art can mean the world to them. There’s a reason why you want to share this fan art, so let them know!
–Where you would be sharing the art: Send them a link to your blog and let them know what you would be adding in the post (credit, a link to their account, tags…) so that they can take it into consideration before agreeing to it (eg: if you run a NSFW blog, some artists might not feel comfortable with their art being shared there).
–Be flexible with their requirements: Let them know that you’re flexible and you’re willing to follow their instructions if they want something specific to be added in the post. ALSO!! The artist has the right to ask you to take the post down if they were to change their mind!
–A final thank you.
Asking for permission on Pixiv
If you belong in an anime fandom, you have probably heard of Pixiv. In short, Pixiv is like the Japanese DeviantArt, but if artists already hate having their art being stolen, Japanese artists hate it even more. Sadly, there are many Japanese artists who have stopped sharing their work or refuse to post it in the first place out of fear of having it stolen.
I know what you’re thinking: “I can’t speak Japanese, let alone write it”! Fortunately, there are a lot of Japanese-speakers on Tumblr who are kind enough to provide some templates for asking for permission. Just like with DeviantArt, you will need to have a Pixiv account in order to send messages to the artists. Don’t worry, though, it’s very easy and quick to set up! After you’re done, you will have to go to the artist’s account and check their personal information to see what they have to say about republishing their work. Google Translate can be very useful for this!
___様が描いたイラストは[adjective such as かっこいい/cool or かわいい/cute]と思うので、tumblrと言うブログサイトで紹介したいです。ブログはここです：[tumblr url]
[series/ship name]が好きで、[illust url(s)]をブログで掲載したいです。
After you get a reply, and if Google Translate is not accurate enough, you can check out this reply guideline too. For more detailed information, read this post by Hetalianforever, who gives a great step-by-step guide on asking permission on Pixiv. You can also follow letsrespectpixivartist for more information.
The process might seem a bit intimidating at first, but it’s very quick once you get used to it. Bottom line is: there’s no excuse not to ask for permission!
CAN’T FIND THE SOURCE? BONUS TRICK!
Want to ask for permission, but don’t know who the original fan artist is? You can use TinEye! TinEye is a reverse-image search browser that allows you to upload a photo to find out where else this exact image has been posted, including the original poster.
Google Reverse Image Search is also a good tool if you use Mozilla Firefox.
Hopefully this guide will be helpful for those who might be a bit lost or insecure when it comes to asking artists for permission. Keep in mind that, while awesomely talented people, fan artists are still normal fans like you. As long as you’re nice and polite, everything will be fine!