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Umgowa
08-09-2018, 09:48 PM
Using Photoshop, I have created an image of a person I want to put on the cover of my book. The image I created is composed of two parts:

A photograph of the person's torso and the wooded background. I removed the face.
The second part is a photo of a painting of a different face which I have placed on the torso. The original painting has been sold and hangs in a private collection. I am using an image of that painting which the artist has on her web site.

Here is my question: Since I have created a totally new piece of artwork, independent and different from the photographer and the artist, do I need to get permission from both the photographer and artist to use the new image I have created?

Put another way, when one creates new art from pieces of other art, does the assembler of the pieces need to get permission from the people who created those pieces?

Thanks for any insights you can give me here.

mrsmig
08-09-2018, 10:07 PM
Your artwork is not "totally new." You cobbled together two other artists' work to create your cover art.

Look at it this way: I'm going to take your published book. I'm going to replace all the proper names with names of my own. I'm going to change the location to someplace totally different - say, a desert instead of a big city. I'll rework about half the sentences to change their structure and punctuation. And I'm going to rename that book and stick a new cover on it and publish it and call it mine. And if anyone calls me out on it, I'm going to say that my work was "inspired by" yours.

Does that sound fair to you?

Umgowa
08-10-2018, 12:38 AM
Excellent analogy. Makes the point very well. OK, so let me follow up. What constitutes legal permission? Do I need to get a lawyer involved or can I ask them by email and have them respond by saying they give permission. And have their positive permission via email serve as my legal cover? Does that work?

veinglory
08-10-2018, 02:05 AM
It depends how likely you think it is to go wrong and your risk tolerance. A legally signed agreement is the safest choice.

BenPanced
08-10-2018, 04:33 AM
And be prepared to fork over some $$$, depending on the rights involved. IANAL, but something tells me the artists who created the original pieces will want some sort of financial compensation for the work they've done.

CathleenT
08-10-2018, 06:00 AM
The safest thing for images is to go to a site like pixabay.com where they have lots of photos that you can use attribution-free. You can mix and match digitally or pick one and use it as is if you're lucky enough to find one that suits.

It's so much easier to use images that nobody minds having on your book cover. No permission required. :)

mrsmig
08-10-2018, 06:53 AM
And be prepared to fork over some $$$, depending on the rights involved. IANAL, but something tells me the artists who created the original pieces will want some sort of financial compensation for the work they've done.

My guess is that the artists in question won't appreciate the OP bastardizing their work, and will very likely turn any requests down flat.

Polenth
08-10-2018, 06:58 AM
Pixabay can be great, but I'd add a warning to check the user who uploaded the photo. If their account looks like the work of one person, all is well. They decided to put their stuff in the public domain. If it looks like they've uploaded everything they believe to be public domain that they could find on the internet, don't use the images unless you can track down the original source (and it turns out it was public domain). Accounts like this usually have a huge number of images in very different styles taken with more camera models than most people would ever own.

cool pop
08-12-2018, 12:13 AM
Why go through all this hassle? If you want to make covers and not deal with gathering permission from photographers, models, etc., use stock photos. Easy as pie. Self-publishers and publishers use stock images all the time. You buy a license to use a photo for your cover and you're done.

Umgowa
08-13-2018, 08:46 PM
Epiphany last night. I just noticed that some of the most engaging book covers in my fiction genre, are not photographs at all but arresting illustrations. You can often create a better visual effect with illustration and artwork than via a photograph. . . hence the appeal of impressionism and abstract art. I'm thinking of just taking my photoshopped image to a great illustrator and ask them to use it as inspiration for creating a totally new piece of art. It would be similar to the elements I cobbled together but it would not be those elements. It would just be inspired by them. And I could have it tweaked any way I wanted to get the optimal effect I wanted. I appreciate any thoughts you might have on this.

mrsmig
08-13-2018, 09:19 PM
Epiphany last night. I just noticed that some of the most engaging book covers in my fiction genre, are not photographs at all but arresting illustrations. You can often create a better visual effect with illustration and artwork than via a photograph. . . hence the appeal of impressionism and abstract art. I'm thinking of just taking my photoshopped image to a great illustrator and ask them to use it as inspiration for creating a totally new piece of art. It would be similar to the elements I cobbled together but it would not be those elements. It would just be inspired by them. And I could have it tweaked any way I wanted to get the optimal effect I wanted. I appreciate any thoughts you might have on this.

I think that's a great idea.

Umgowa
08-15-2018, 02:08 AM
Thanks, mrsmig. I really appreciate your input. I am definitely going this route.

Devil Ledbetter
08-15-2018, 04:20 PM
Epiphany last night. I just noticed that some of the most engaging book covers in my fiction genre, are not photographs at all but arresting illustrations. You can often create a better visual effect with illustration and artwork than via a photograph. . . hence the appeal of impressionism and abstract art. I'm thinking of just taking my photoshopped image to a great illustrator and ask them to use it as inspiration for creating a totally new piece of art. It would be similar to the elements I cobbled together but it would not be those elements. It would just be inspired by them. And I could have it tweaked any way I wanted to get the optimal effect I wanted. I appreciate any thoughts you might have on this.That's what I've done with my soon-to-be-published WIP. I hired a talented illustrator who is a college student. She was thrilled to get the work and I am thrilled with her initial sketches. Being familiar with her art, I know it's going to be great. I sent her a PDF of a late draft of the story, and a link to my Pinterest inspiration board. What she has so far is brilliant.

As with my previous self-published novel, the cover is where I spent the most by hiring a professional. Unless you're also a graphic artist, hiring a cover artist is smart money.

Umgowa
08-16-2018, 09:40 PM
Continuing on with my cover issues . . . . This will be my first published book. It is a crime novel. The current plans for my cover have the title at the top. The center is my illustration and at the bottom I am torn between two options and I would like your advice here. Right now I have the following: "A crime novel by Jason Freeman". I figure that adding the words "A crime novel" will give potential readers an idea of the kind of book they're considering. More established writers in my genre just have their names. They don't need to inform potential readers the kind of book it is. My other option is just showing my name . . . "By Jason Freeman". But I'm thinking that, because this is my first offering and readers won't know what to expect, I perhaps need to include "A crime novel by." I'd really appreciate your thoughts on this. Thanks.

veinglory
08-17-2018, 01:31 AM
I think You cover art should be enough for the browser to know "a crime novel by", because pictures are quicker and more effective at getting that message across than words.

starrystorm
08-17-2018, 02:17 AM
I think you should leave off the "a crime novel" part. If that was the name of your series, I would put something like that. Otherwise, it just takes up space on the cover. Same with the "By" part, partially because I've never seen that done.
Someone can just read the back blurb and tell that it's a crime novel. Or the front cover.

Laer Carroll
08-17-2018, 11:06 PM
I usually use art/photos that are in the public domain or which are copyrighted but explicitly allow the images to be used without permission or attribution.

I sometimes use images from any one of several websites which allow use without attribution but which sends a nominal sum to the artist having a copyright. A $5 minimum is usual but I often give $10 or $20. The sums are small but for really popular images can add up to a goodly sum, which is why these artists contribute their work through these sites.

cvolante
08-19-2018, 08:24 PM
You can find pics like those described above on Shutterstock or Getty or going to advanced image search on Google and setting it to "ok to use, change, etc. even commercially." Just be careful to triple check that it's okay to use commercially.

CathleenT
08-25-2018, 08:51 PM
Do yourself a favor first. Go to Amazon and look at the bestselling crime novel covers. I don't really know the genre well, but I'm assuming it's related to thrillers.

Thrillers have a very definite look to them. Often they're a dark silhouette against a light background with a gritty cityscape in the background.

No matter how good your cover is artistically, if it doesn't fit genre expectations, the book is likely to tank. Your audience just won't find it.

You're likely to get a more positive result by purchasing a pre-made cover. Thrillers are a particularly easy genre to find lots of examples for since you don't have to worry about eye and hair color due to the prevalence of silhouettes.