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How important are watermarks on portfolio pieces?

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It was always impressed upon me in art school that you should watermark your online portfolio pieces. I started to do this, but I really think it detracts from the artwork and I think I'd rather not. I'm wondering if other illustrators choose to watermark their work. Why or why not?
#1 - September 07, 2017, 12:24 PM
"There is pleasure in the pathless woods"

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It's up to you. Some artists do and some don't.

Personally I'd never put up art without a © notice anymore, even though it does look better without it. I've had art stolen and used to sell products before. Once they even used an image with my © still attached and wouldn't take it down. It doesn't have to cover the image (though that does make it more safe).

Good luck with whatever you decide!
#2 - September 07, 2017, 04:16 PM
Site - http://sruble.com
Twitter - http://twitter.com/StephanieRuble

picture book: EWE AND AYE (Disney-Hyperion)

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It's up to you. Some artists do and some don't.

Personally I'd never put up art without a © notice anymore, even though it does look better without it. I've had art stolen and used to sell products before. Once they even used an image with my © still attached and wouldn't take it down. It doesn't have to cover the image (though that does make it more safe).

Good luck with whatever you decide!

Wow. Ok, in that case I think I'll leave the watermark! Thanks for sharing your experience. It certainly is validating.
#3 - September 07, 2017, 05:21 PM
"There is pleasure in the pathless woods"

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I've never bothered with them and you don't see them on most Illustrators on line portfolio's or on Illustrator Agents sites. I've had Images lifted and used in the past, not often enough to worry about though. These people that stoop to steal weren't about to pay me for my work in any case and though they might make a few dollars from some coffee mugs or tee shirts, it doesn't take away from my ownership of the work.
If you were to start selling your images though, that would be a different story in my opinion, mine are portfolio examples. If for instance you have prints of a piece for sale on etsy say or if you sell the images to be used by crafters for stamps and such, then you want to protect each piece because theft cuts into YOUR sales.
#4 - September 08, 2017, 01:56 AM
"Penelope and the Humongous Burp"
"Penelope and the Monsters"
"Penelope and the Preposterous Birthday Party"

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I have noticed that artists at the top of their game rarely watermark their online work. According to several art directors I've spoken with directly, a big fat watermark in the middle of images detracts enough from the work, that they will often skip viewing a portfolio. I place a copyright notice and my logo on my pieces online, small and at the bottom of each image. This is mainly so art directors and editors can download the images to save and still have my name and contact information attached. I wrote a blog post on watermarking pros and cons. As I have matured in my career, my watermarks have gotten smaller and smaller. http://wendymartinillustration.com/wordpress/2014/02/25/placing-watermark-illustrations/
#5 - September 08, 2017, 06:21 AM
patreon.com/wendymartin
Animal Totem Mandala 2016
The Story Circle 2016 (Piñata)
Color and Conjure 2017 (Llewellyn)

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I don't do a big watermark either. Mine is similar to what Wendy described.
#6 - September 13, 2017, 12:05 PM
Site - http://sruble.com
Twitter - http://twitter.com/StephanieRuble

picture book: EWE AND AYE (Disney-Hyperion)

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I have noticed that artists at the top of their game rarely watermark their online work. According to several art directors I've spoken with directly, a big fat watermark in the middle of images detracts enough from the work, that they will often skip viewing a portfolio. I place a copyright notice and my logo on my pieces online, small and at the bottom of each image. This is mainly so art directors and editors can download the images to save and still have my name and contact information attached. I wrote a blog post on watermarking pros and cons. As I have matured in my career, my watermarks have gotten smaller and smaller. http://wendymartinillustration.com/wordpress/2014/02/25/placing-watermark-illustrations/

Wendy, your blog post was informative. Be advised, though, that the link to Kelly Light's blog post is :rip  Apparently her old website was hacked and she started a new one in October 2015.
#7 - September 13, 2017, 12:43 PM

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Thanks, Anne.
#8 - September 13, 2017, 01:25 PM
patreon.com/wendymartin
Animal Totem Mandala 2016
The Story Circle 2016 (Piñata)
Color and Conjure 2017 (Llewellyn)

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