Since you accused me of doing "dubious" business regarding your pencils publicly, I will respond publicly to save what little credibility I may have as an artist. Hear me out or not, it's critical that I address this issue since I'm starting to get attacked left and right by your fans. I hope your fans and those who follow me can keep an open mind as I try to explain my position.
First things first, I do apologize that it came to this. What you clearly do not believe to be a misunderstanding truly is one (on my part at least)whether this was intentional on my agent's part or not, I cannot speak for him. That's something you have decide on your own since you spoke to him more about this than you did to me. You see, I trust people based on referral. And, in this case, I was referred to my agent by one of our mutual colleagues whom I deeply respect as much as I had for you as an artist. I gave all my old stuff to this agent to sell (no sense keeping them if others can appreciate my work). I've given a majority of my stuff to friends and family but there are still more to go through, which includes my original published works of District X, Mutopia X, Stone, and some other Image Comics stuff.
So I figure why not sell it for whatever I can get for each page? Having a small house doesn't help keep these pages safe after all. And getting them damaged can be a likely scenario since our home is one rust away from crumbling on its weight. But know that there was clear understanding between me and my agent that he'd contact the artists I inked over for approvals. He did it for David Finch, and so far, from what I can tell, that's factual. While I'm in doubt at this point if he truly got Mr. Finch's blessings, I still trust our mutual colleague who referred him to me that my agent is trustworthy. So I'll give him a benefit of a doubt. It's the professional way to go about it when you're talking about one man's livelihood (and this is also the reason why I'm not naming names). You don't jump the gun and assume you're intentionally being slighted by a colleague. Then again, it seems like the question here is whether I am to be treated your "colleague" or not. Because if I am, I would have at least been contacted to explain myself privately and be able to sort this matter out with my agent.
Really though, try to imagine yourself in my position (I know it's hard but do try)Ask yourself: If my agent managed to contact David Finch and got his approval to sell my inked pages of blueline'd version of his work; AND managed to get in touch with you to get a HiRes version of a page a client wanted me to ink over (the "Superior" page), what would stop him from asking for your blessings to sell the samples I've done in the past? Wouldn't you just leave it to the expert since he managed to accomplish that much? I don't know what your decision would be but I trusted my agent on this one.
And let's be clear on one thing, based on your comments on Twitter, you made it seem like I inked over your stuff after you sent the HiRes version of the Superior page to my agent, which isn't so. I've been inking your stuff as well as others' (the timeline of my DA account can attest to that) since way back when as samples of my capability to be versatile. I didn't pass them off as pretend samples so I can sell them. They were samples so old I can't even stand my inking style from them.
Let me just address this accusation of "passing off" my ink-work as samples then selling them. You're utterly convinced that I'm scamming the industry and your work. As I said above, they are old stuff. All my old stuff were in a pile, yours included, along with David Finch's, Jim Lee's, Steve McNiven's, and much more notable artists. In no particular order of importance or hierarchy. After all, I've been inking for over 12 years now. And I come up with stuff fairly consistently. So you can imagine how big of a pile I've amassed at this point.
As much as possible I've been told by both Marvel and DC editors that I have to keep my samples fresh. The work I gave my agent were not-so-fresh at that point, which is over a year agoI don't even remember how much in that pile was your works of art. It's been close to three years since some of my inked pages of yours were used as portfolio materials (the ones you can see online). But I kept a majority of them since I have certain attachments to some of the pieces because I really focused on exemplifying your work in them with a brushwork I've been working on for quite some time. While they're not original pencils, my hard work as an inker still shows through it. Nowadays though I've refocused a large chunk of my work on other artists. So please find comfort in this that I'll be sure to stop inking your stuff as you requested moving forward. It's not worth the hassle and clearly not worth my time to consistently defend myself from attacks by the likes of closed-minded "superstars." You really should have made an attempt to contact me first. Disrespecting a fellow artist is the last thing I want to do especially if I want to last in this business. But now that my name is tarnished as a thief and now a "copycat" (I don't even know where that came from), I wonder if I'll even get a call for any gigs at all from this point on.
Then there's the matter of drawing my own "shit". My desired job in the industry is to be an inker. The comic book artist I aspire to be is Scott Williams. Not Jim Lee. Not Whilce. Not youespecially not you at this point (I'm sure you can sympathize why). That said, I can draw my own stuff but where would that take me if the editors want to see the works of notable artists inked by me. I'm not trying to be a penciler after all. But even so, inking isn't easy and it's definitely more than just tracing. So to sum it up, what I was selling was my "labor" over what was clearly blueline'd works of popular artists (but not all of them are blueline'd and are actually original penciled work and majority of those sold already). I'm not passing anyone's work off as my own pencils and inked over to rid of any trace of the blue lines. I dare you to point out in my DA gallery (boysicat.deviantart.com) where you can recognize someone's work and I passed it off as my own. I acknowledge that these are not original pencils I'm inking over. What buyers are paying for is the time I put in as an inker even if that price is only for a fraction of the amount of hours I've invested on each piece. By the way, I don't mass-produce these things like you made it seem in your message. I sell my old stuff because it's still work I completed as an inker. I don't pass it up for anything other than my ink work over an exceptional penciler. My hours and days of effort in each piece is all I have on it. Nothing more.
Regardless of that justification though, I made it clear with my agent that the artists I inked over should be notified and should OK the sale before proceeding.
Why? Two things:
1) I respect the artists' pieces I work on, and
2) simply because I want to avoid these kinds of accusations as if I have done all these on purpose.
I admit that, yes, I should have ensured that the artists were indeed contacted. But that was my only fault and I'll be sure to verify moving forward. My agent should have been there not only for selling the pages but to protect me, my future, and my family.
Speaking of familymisspelled or not, thank you, THANK YOU for smearing my family name by these accusations without even giving me a chance to get things clarified. As of today, you know for a fact that it was my agent who clearly misunderstood the situation and that I had no hand in the whole approved-but-wasn't-really-approved conversation you two had. Other than the fact that I gave him all my stuff and gave him all my trust, what you've done to me is beyond repair. It's hard enough as it is to get a job as an inker and this happens. This is surreal.
Whether you hear me out or not, who cares at this point, right? Damage is done. I just have to deal with the accusations and move forward.
I'm all for "letting it die down". But leaving your Tweets up as if I'm the blame for this misunderstanding, I don't know how that'll ever die down. I'd ask you to take it down simply because it made me to look like the bad guy out of all this when I was pretty much in the dark until another colleague of ours contacted me about your post. But you know, that's up to you, man. You know the facts at this point. You verified it with my agent after my brother contacted you and brought it to your attention that the agent should have asked you for approval. And when you made it clear with him what you had meant, he immediately acted on it. And an apology has been given. I didn't even know this whole thing was happening until a bit later when he told me about it.
I truly do apologize. I understand now how you may be concerned by the "saturation" in the market of my inks over blue lines and that's definitely respectable. It'll affect your and your acknowledged colleagues' business and profitability as you said to my agent. But if you do feel slighted in that way because of my work, I don't think accusing me of piracy is the way to go with this. Again, there's no way you could have not contacted me or my agent before releasing something so damaging. The Filipino arts community is so small that someone you know may be someone I know as well. I love art. I love comic book art and I truly thought I was helping spread the influence of comics to the people I meet in these social media websites. I guess not.
Well, for what it's worth, it's been fun inking your stuff. Maybe I'll try my hand in drawing my own shit after all. Now that you know how to get in touch with me, please feel free to contact me should you have any further issues regarding this matter.
PS: See how this works? You make one 140-character comment, I write an essay explaining my position. I truly hope this does not happen to any artist out there. Because it's the worse nightmare an artist can ever experience. Now, if only I could sleep to literally experience one