Regarding "Tracing"... January 7, 2024
One of my first works for Scott Cawthon involved illustrating some promotional mascots for the game "Freddy Fazbear's Pizzeria Simulator." One of these characters, the cup in the Fiztime Pop Soda advertisement, is equipped with hands and feet that strongly resemble those of the well-known character "Mickey Mouse." Many users were upset about these similarities and understandably concluded that the illustration must have been traced and thus stolen.
At this point, I don't want to delve into the specifics of where to draw the boundaries between inspiration, reference, and outright copying in drawing, as the topic is very extensive and complex. The fact is that, yes, I did draw inspiration from the Disney Mouse to create a retro-cartoon mascot. At that time, I thought it would be amusing to draw a parody of a well-known film character, and that the community might also appreciate it, perhaps recalling the popular "Cuphead" at that time.
Shortly after the game's release in 2017, when I became aware of how much the community was angered by my "art theft," I immediately contacted Scott Cawthon and informed him of my mistake. I received a prompt response. However, for contractual reasons, I cannot disclose the content of customer emails; I just want to emphasize that I took the accusations seriously back then and took action.
Unfortunately, after this incident, more of my fan arts were compared to graphics from other franchises, stock photos, and the like, and accusations of art theft multiplied. I decided not to comment at that time but deleted all relevant artworks as a consequence.
It would be beyond the scope to address each individual case where one of the artworks in question resembled another image. Reasons for the parallels are for example the use of stock photos as reference (in one case for example, I had provided the stock material myself on a work-in-progress post), redrawing characters with vector-based media (which requires high accuracy and is therefore worth staying close to reality with screenshots), using very famous poses or, as in the Mickey Mouse case, the intentional parody of another character. And in some cases, the similarities were purely coincidental.
At that time, I had no sensitivity to what could disturb an online community and acted based on my knowledge at that time. Now, I have a better understanding and can recognize the criticisms myself. Unfortunately, I cannot undo past missteps, but I now spend much more time reviewing my designs and ensuring that the quality of my work meets not only the expectations of my clients and my own but also those of the online community.
About the Comic
January 6, 2024
In 2017, I published the FNaF fan comic "Daydreaming" online. The comic depicts a scene in which William Afton (the murderer from the
Five Nights at Freddy's games) stares at an injured girl through a window and fantasizes about killing or harming her. Unfortunately, a significant portion of the gaming community interpreted the
scene as Afton having sexual thoughts upon seeing the girl.
Child murder is a recurring theme in the Five Nights at Freddy's series and often forms the core of the stories surrounding the successful horror franchise. As a devoted fan of the game series and a passionate horror comic artist, my goal at that time was to portray the madness in the mind of a child murderer and find an explanation for these horrific crimes.
When I became aware of how disturbing my comic appeared to the community due to misinterpretation, I deleted it from all my social media channels. Unfortunately, the rumor and many posts with screenshots of the comic featuring the "pedophilic" William Afton persist to this day, despite my attempts to explain.
In this context, screenshots of old Steam forum posts from 2015 are often shared, discussing the motive behind the murders. At the time of these forum posts, the novel "The Silver Eyes" had not been released, and the murderer William Afton was only known as the "Purple Guy" with no additional information. My Steam posts from that time have nothing to do with the 2017 comic "Daydreaming," but they are unfortunately mentioned repeatedly in this context.
I sincerely regret not handling this difficult topic with more sensitivity and understanding. Since I still draw and publish (often morbid) comics, I now have beta readers to alert me to potential ambiguities in the future, and I earnestly hope that such incidents will not be repeated.