Q: I'm a war/vintage style artist and I was wondering how can I legally use aircrafts and vehicles in all my prints?
I have been a huge fan of ww1 and ww2 engineering and designs. I love to use military items to create totally new designs that celebrate a famous ship or a plane for example. I also create fictional stories within the ww1/2 era by using famous planes and cars in scenes (like artist James Dietz does so well). My question is do I have to pay a license or ask someone to draw a B17 with a crew and a parked Classic Mercedes next to it? Also, when I use references from books or the internet (for planes, vehicles, patches, nose arts, insignias, uniforms and everything military) I find myself worrying about copying someone else's photo, but a plane is a plane, I cannot modify it if I want to be historically correct. What's your advice on this issue? I love to follow in the footsteps of famous artists that made famous ww1/2 compositions or comic books. Thanks very much.
A: As long as you aren't lifting the entire image and photo reproducing it no. You may paint a subject already painted--many art students do this. I'm not seeing the concern. If you are painting an aircraft shown in a photo it's not a copyright violation. I believe you may be over thinking this but if you have a specific concern why not ask a copyright lawyer.
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