As an artist, I have used images of people in my art that I found online without their consent for my brand Letter Shoppe. I will never do this again.
Since many of the people I drew were BIPOC, this is more than a copyright issue, it’s one covered in anti-Blackness and white privilege.
When you steal images from BIPOC as a white-passing person you are not being “inclusive” you are using them as a prop for clout. You are taking away the personal agency they have over their bodies and violating it.
If I had asked permission or used Stock images then I wouldn't have hurt anyone. If I referenced them without using their likeness or made up my own characters, no copyright issues or racist actions would have occurred.
I do not want to hide from this pattern of behavior. I want to be held accountable for my actions.
I am actively reaching out to everyone I have ever drawn for approval and have offered payment to feature them in my art. Most have graciously accepted.
Any images you see in my shop of people are approved and credited, or it was referenced from a Stock image.
For anyone that wishes to end ties with my business Letter Shoppe, my Model Ambassador Program or the Women of Illustration community I have built, I completely understand. I hope I can once again earn your trust.
Moving forward I have a lot of work ahead of me that I'm still figuring out.
For now, I wish to stop posting on all my social accounts to think about my actions and the best way to continue in an effort to create art with more of a positive impact. This also includes putting a pause on both of my Patreon accounts.
For all-new pieces where I use another person's photo, I will be offering upfront payment and will have them fill out a Photo Release Form before any work is started. I will also be looking towards my Model Ambassadors for paid references on top of using more images from stock sites in the future.
I will continue to talk about this issue to stay accountable but to also inform and educate other people on this mistake. No one should ever have their images stolen.
Thank you to everyone that has come forward to call me out on these actions and offer advice.
I’m so genuinely sorry for everything.