Art Sourcing Primer
How to Credit
In most card games, there’s a field for artist credit somewhere near the bottom of each card. In Magic, you can find it right at the bottom, just to the right of the set and language codes.
So what exactly do you write here? Well, here are some examples…
For traditional or digital art, real names are the most authentic option. Most professional or semi-pro artists will have their real name listed in their DeviantArt or Artstation profiles. Screen names and professional pseudonyms are also fair game. If the artist posts primarily on a social media platform like Tumblr or Twitter, you might want to use the full URL of their artist page. There’s no need to give the URL of the particular piece of art you’re using.
Film stills should be credited to the film’s distributor, and game screenshots to the game’s publisher.
If the art you’re using is edited, you should list both the original artist and the editor, and make it clear which is which. If you’re only making very minor edits, such as cropping or adding backgrounds to transparent art, you need not list yourself as an editor.
How Not to Credit
No credit, no sell.
Come on, you can do better than this.
Merely stating the website on which you found the art is insufficient. For this reason, we don’t consider Pinterest an appropriate source, as it’s just a content aggregator and uncredited reposting is rampant. We also don’t allow wallpaper sites, since most are also full of stolen art. (Sites by actual wallpaper artists, such as digitalblasphemy, are an exception.)
How to Find Sources
What if you find some rad-looking art, but it’s on Pinterest, or a wallpaper site, or reposted on someone’s blog? Don’t worry, there are a few ways to trace art back to its original source. We highly recommend Tineye.
Upload an image or copy a URL into Tineye and it’ll find every instance it can of that image on the web. Make sure to sort by oldest first to find its earliest appearances and you may well be able to track down its original posting by the artist. If that doesn’t work, try Google Reverse Image Search.
Drag and drop your image straight into the search box, then click on “all sizes” near the top of the search results. Unfortunately, Google Images doesn’t let you sort chronologically, instead sorting by size, largest first. Nonetheless, clicking each version for the summary will sometimes find you a DeviantArt, Artstation, or similar.
Sometimes, clicking what seems to be an image source will take you to the page for a completely different piece of art. DeviantArt is especially bad for this. In this case, try looking through the sidebars and bottom bar of the page to see if the image you’re actually looking for is listed as related or in a collection.
Finally, one small tip that might save you a minute or two: a lot of fantasy art is signed, usually in one of the corners. Artist signatures are often completely illegible or written in non-Latin alphabets, but, if you can work one out, try feeding it into Google.
Good luck and good hunting!