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Old Oct 9 2011, 09:01 PM   #1
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Default Fire Lizard sculptures

For a fee of $1,800us you can own a copy of this "fire Lizard" . While rather pricey, it is very well done. They are done by commision by WJP Studios.

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Old Oct 9 2011, 09:06 PM   #2
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Default Re: Fire Lizard sculptures

The sites web address is WJPstudios.com
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Old Oct 10 2011, 07:05 AM   #3
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Default Re: Fire Lizard sculptures

I'm a bit confused. I thought that anything to do with Pern was property of Anne and her family. I don't see anywhere at this site that this person has permission to sculpt and profit from selling a Fire Lizard that they specifically state is based on Whelan's painting and Anne's books?! I could be wrong. . . it's been known to happen! Nice sculpture, but I don't have that kind of money.
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Old Oct 10 2011, 10:08 AM   #4
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Default Re: Fire Lizard sculptures

You are right Priscilla. I think this is illegal. It is so clearly copied from Ruth on Michael Whelan's The White Dragon cover that is should be obvious to anyone. On their website it is shown first under the heading "Fantasy" but when you click on it it says "Fire lizard".

But I do agree with Dragonfan, it is very beautiful and vastly overpriced
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Old Oct 10 2011, 10:21 AM   #5
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Default Re: Fire Lizard sculptures

Duh...

He explains it himself on this page: http://wjpstudios.com/FireLizard.aspx and even puts up the White Dragon cover.
But inspired by... uh, uh. I'm not sure how strict Michael Wehaln and his wife are but I definitely think he's tresspassing on copyright here. If not Pern than Michael's.

Sorry Will Pettee. Your work is beautiful but inspired by means something else then copied from in my book :-(
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Old Oct 10 2011, 11:31 AM   #6
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Default Re: Fire Lizard sculptures

Beautiful, too expenseive for me. It looks like Ruth to me. Is the term Fire Lizard copy writed?
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Old Oct 10 2011, 01:31 PM   #7
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Default Re: Fire Lizard sculptures

"Fire lizard" is not trademarked (copyright only protects works in total, it doesn't protect words, phrases, or titles--you have to go the extra step and expense of trademarking those.)

However, because it REALLY strongly resembles Whelan's artwork and we all recognized it without reading the description, it could be considered copyright infringement (on Whelan's image or, if he sold the rights as a work-for-hire, the US publisher's) and by extension on Pern licensing rights. Calling it a 'fire lizard' alone wouldn't be actionable, but making one that is blatantly meant to be a PERN fire lizard without permission is.
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Old Oct 10 2011, 02:17 PM   #8
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Default Re: Fire Lizard sculptures

Thank for explaining.
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Old Oct 10 2011, 04:38 PM   #9
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Default Re: Fire Lizard sculptures

Beautiful. But I wouldn't buy that if it cost 18dollars if it's illegal!
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Old Oct 10 2011, 07:41 PM   #10
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Default Re: Fire Lizard sculptures

My first thought was "What fire lizard? That's RUTH!"
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Old Oct 11 2011, 10:01 PM   #11
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Default Re: Fire Lizard sculptures

I'm so happy to hear that my sculpture is recognizable as Ruth -- that was my intent.

It is titled "Fire Lizard" because this particular sculpture is about the size of the Fire lizards in Anne's books. It is listed as "inspired by" because it is not an exact copy of the print material.

Unfortunately it seems I've stirred up some commotion over something intended as:

1) an homage to the work of both Anne and Michael &

2) a showcase for others to see the possibilities of what I can do

I understand it's a costly venture to commission a sculpture. However, it would have been made as a "one of a kind" for someone who I hoped was a fan and wanted this piece to celebrate Anne's character as envisioned by Michael Whelan. The price quoted for this was for a piece sculpted from scratch that involves over 100 hours of labor, is built to withstand shipping across the country or over seas, and is 16" long.

While I would love to make a smaller version of this that is affordable to all those who would want one, I don't currently have any intentions of doing so. Rest assured, I would not pursue that course without the express permission of both Anne & Michael or their appropriate agents.

It is not copyright infringement to make a "one off" sculptural representation of this artwork for private use, but if it helps you, I did contact both Michael and his wife regarding it months ago as I have a friend who is friends with Michael.

As for Anne, I'm a fan of her work and would not want to be perceived as profiting off of her work without her permission.

I would encourage anyone who has questions regarding an artist's work to reach out to them and ask them directly. Not just the price for the work, but the other questions or concerns you've addressed here.

Thank you,

Will Pettee
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Old Oct 12 2011, 03:52 AM   #12
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Default Re: Fire Lizard sculptures

Quote:
Originally Posted by Will P View Post

I would encourage anyone who has questions regarding an artist's work to reach out to them and ask them directly. Not just the price for the work, but the other questions or concerns you've addressed here.
Well said, Will. And good luck with your business. The price seems very reasonable to me. As for the rest, well, I'd like to hope that you found this thread because someone did ask you a direct question. If not... We don't always shoot to kill first and ask questions later, honest!
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Old Oct 12 2011, 12:34 PM   #13
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Default Re: Fire Lizard sculptures

It is a beautiful piece. For all the work put into it not a bad. If I had the money I would be intrested in buying it.
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Old Oct 13 2011, 07:30 AM   #14
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Default Re: Fire Lizard sculptures

It's certainly very realistic, that's for sure.
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Old Oct 13 2011, 07:54 AM   #15
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Default Re: Fire Lizard sculptures

Will, I beg to differ with you on the meaning of "inspired by". Apart of the wing shape your wonderful statue is an exact copy of Michael Whelan's unique depcition of the white dragon Ruth; the fact you call it fire lizard because of the size is totally irrelevant and not important (because fire lizard isn't copyrighted anyway).

The one off aspect isn't relevant either I think. That is only an excuse if you make a one off for yourself without intention to sell and/or make a profit (as you actually say so yourself) although I understand even that's debatable because of the amount of work hours

You say you contacted Michael Whelan or maybe his agent (IIRC his wife). It would be very interesting to hear what they answered and if they gave you permission to sell this statue. And uh, I also have a friend who knows Michael, her name is Anne McCaffrey

Anyway, your work is fantastic and the quality is outstanding. Maybe instead of "overpriced" I should have said "not in my price league" or "not what I would pay for it"; because I do admire the craftmanship of what you produce.

As for your remark about asking questions... Maybe I'm reading too much between the line(s), but I do reserve the right to critique and discuss an artist's (sculptor, author whatever) work without asking him or her questions.

I do appreciate the fact you posted in this thread to try an explain things Like Kath I wish you succes with your (other) business.
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Old Oct 13 2011, 09:16 AM   #16
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Default Re: Fire Lizard sculptures

The sculpture is lovely but I have to agree with Hans and the others here. It's a copy of Michael's work, beautiful as it is. And as much as I love collecting anything to do with Pern, I wouldn't pay that much for it either.

But it is very well done.
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Old Oct 13 2011, 12:44 PM   #17
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Default Re: Fire Lizard sculptures

I'm so happy to hear that this group feels this is an accurate representation of Michael's vision of Ruth. I am truly humbled and grateful for your comments.

Hans -- Yes, you are reading too much between the lines. I actually appreciate hearing critiques, for better or worse. I take them as an opportunity to become a better sculptor and businessman.

As for Michael and his wife -- They have not responded, yet. Your post prompted me to contact them again today. In the meantime, while I'm waiting for their reply, perhaps you can contact Anne and ask her opinion. I'd greatly appreciate it if you could.

NOTE: I have removed the commissions note from the webpage of this sculpture. Furthermore, I will not be taking or offering any commission to sculpt it.

Once again -- My sincere thanks to all of you for your comments on my sculpture, and the well wishes for my business. Both are greatly appreciated.
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Old Oct 13 2011, 04:30 PM   #18
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Default Re: Fire Lizard sculptures

If you're not taking money for it, it's fine. If you are, because Pern is trademarked and Whelan's art is copyrighted, you cannot sell it without written permission from the owners. (I would guess Anne's people at least would say no. The rights to merchandise are closely tied to the movie rights, and those don't belong to her but to Copperheart Entertainment.) They can and have gone after people selling Pern mechandise before even where there was a vague permission granted, let alone without any contact.

And it is AMAZINGLY like Whelan's painting. (Which is actually what would cause the problem--it's clearly his Pern art, even if you just called it 'fire lizard.') You did an incredible job. Way, way more than I would pay for a sculpture like that, but I'm sure you wouldn't have trouble selling your own designs for quite a lot if they're all that quality.
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Old Oct 16 2011, 11:30 PM   #19
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Default Re: Fire Lizard sculptures

This is an amazingly beautiful sculpture Will...for all you time and effort involved [IMO] it is more than worth the money...B U T...the fact that is a *Pern* dragon [Anne McCaffrey's imagination] is what really makes your sculpture worth that kind of money, not just all the excellent work that you put into it...but because of all the incredible work that Anne McCaffrey has put into her books for years, is why you could make that kind of money from this kind of sculpture.... all the *Pern* fans that are out there wanting to collect anything and everything that has to do with HER *Pern* world... and also why your sculpture is causing all these comments.
If it was just another beautiful dragon sculpture it probably wouldn't sell for anything close to that kind of money...sorry!

Good Luck and happy sculpting
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Old Oct 17 2011, 07:22 AM   #20
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Default Re: Fire Lizard sculptures

Very well put Maelin, and I think you have touched on the "heart" of the matter!
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Old Oct 17 2011, 12:59 PM   #21
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Default Re: Fire Lizard sculptures

Priscilla -- What is the "heart of the matter"? -- That you feel I could not command the money asked in my quote if this wasn't someone else's imaginative work? i.e. Pern or Michael Whelan?

Perhaps then I should note, that I consistently sell my own imaginative creations for more than this. I quoted this piece low, because I assumed that it was for a fan (and since I'm a fan...wanted to share the love of the work with someone who would appreciate it for what it was -- an homage to Anne's character). This quote was for a PRIVATE commission and NOT intended as a PUBLIC offering as assumed by the original post in this thread.

Funny this should be called a "Thread", because I feel I'm having to address these comments like falling "thread" on Pern.

My intentions have always been honorable, and I believe I've shown this through my comments on this forum and in my actions of pulling any reference to the sculpture being for sale from my website.

I hope in time that Anne & Michael's representatives return my inquiries and that an agreement can be reached which will allow me to create smaller versions of Ruth and other Pern characters as "collectible" items at very reasonable prices (as is available when molds are made and pieces mass produced).

However, in the meantime, I will continue to focus my attentions on my own imaginative creations and historical pieces.

Once again, I greatly appreciate the accolades on the sculpture and those who feel it is worth the time invested in it.

Everyone -- I sincerely thank you for voicing your opinions and I hope that my answers adequately address your concerns.
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Old Oct 18 2011, 01:41 AM   #22
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Default Re: Fire Lizard sculptures

Maelin's comment boggled me a little as well. As much as we all love Pern, realistically it's a small and shrinking franchise, while more generic dragons are just as popular as ever. And there are other fandoms out there with dragons of their own - Temeraire is probably leading the pack right now, but he's far from alone.

Admittedly, I've not done any marketing research on this area, but if I was working on a work of art for sale I'd be most concerned with making it beautiful and appealing to as wide an audience as possible. If that DID mean targetting a specific audience - which I doubt - I'd be hammering on Naomi Novik's door first and foremost.

And given her attitude towards transformative works compared with Anne's, I'd probably have a much better reception anyway.

I'd even go as far as saying that Novik is also a better writer than Anne, and if the age and disposable income levels of fans aren't skewed by that as well, I'll eat my copy of Temeraire. Another factor for the high-end artist to consider.

Last edited by Kath; Oct 24 2011 at 02:11 AM.
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Old Oct 18 2011, 12:17 PM   #23
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Default Re: Fire Lizard sculptures

I am a Member of the PUBLIC who inquired on a price of an item found on and offered for sale on your PUBLIC Web site. This is not a Private sale.
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Old Oct 18 2011, 12:40 PM   #24
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Default Re: Fire Lizard sculptures

I'm pretty sure, as I said, they're going to say no. Anne doesn't own the rights to the films and I'm 99% certain because of what's happened to others, merchandising rights went along with them as film production companies want the right to create ancillary merchandise and profit from it. Whether Whelan can market his Pern art separately and would be able to license it will depend entirely on how the image was sold when he created it for hire (it's not just a piece of art he made, it was a commission for a publisher.)

And Kath is right, Pern's a very small market and not one with deep pockets, while dragons in general sell. A few tweaks and removal of Pern references (heck, change the tail a little and color it red or black or some other non-Pern color) and for something that nice $2k is probably not unreasonable.
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Old Oct 18 2011, 01:57 PM   #25
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Default Re: Fire Lizard sculptures

Dragon Fan -- Please note, that my message wasn't to call you out on the Forum. It was just meant to highlight the fact that your inquiry to me I believed was intended as a Private sale. i.e. Between you and me -- not as a general price for anyone & not made for anyone who wanted one. Had I intended this to be available to everyone at the price quoted, I would have just listed as such on the website. My apologies for the confusion that this has caused and if I have offended you.

Perhaps the first post can be edited to note that this piece is not for sale -- only display.

Anareth & Kath -- I sincerely appreciate your support. Sounds like I should contact Naomi Novik! Thanks for the tip.

I don't knock Anne, her fans, her writing, or her business dealings or those of her agents & representatives.

I highly respect them and everyone who has come to offer their opinions on what should or shouldn't be done in regards to the creations of her imagination -- and I applaud all of you.

I am a fan of Pern and of Anne's writing, as I am a fan of Michael Whelan's illustrations. That's why I made Ruth (Fire Lizard) in the first place. In time I would love to see one of my sculptures of thier work grace their homes or those of their childeren, just as their work graces my shelves.

We are all here (on this forum) to discuss and share our delight over Anne's body of work, and perhaps we should just focus on that.
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Old Oct 23 2011, 10:56 PM   #26
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Default Re: Fire Lizard sculptures

Kath...Perhaps you should have begun your statement with *In My Opinion*...as there are many who would NOT agree with you about Ms. Novak being a better writer than Anne is.
I don't believe any of this thread had anything at all to do with weather Anne's Pern is a shrinking concern or not or who's a better writer...and... *In My Opinion* it was quite tacky of you to make that kind of a comment on a forum dedicated to Anne and her writings.
It also sounds like you are trying to convience Mr. Pettee that he should be putting his time and effort into sculpting Ms. Novak's dragons instead of creating one of his own...which with his wonderful talents he wouldn't have a problem doing.
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Old Oct 24 2011, 02:12 AM   #27
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Default Re: Fire Lizard sculptures

Maelin - You appear to have misread me quite a lot there. I'm very much expressing opinion rather than stating fact, and you're putting actions into my posts which quite simply are not there. Please read my posts again. I've bolded some key words.

Maelin's comment boggled me a little as well. As much as we all love Pern, realistically it's a small and shrinking franchise, while more generic dragons are just as popular as ever. And there are other fandoms out there with dragons of their own - Temeraire is probably leading the pack right now, but he's far from alone.

Admittedly, I've not done any marketing research on this area, but if I was working on a work of art for sale I'd be most concerned with making it beautiful and appealing to as wide an audience as possible. If that DID mean targetting a specific audience - which I doubt - I'd be hammering on Naomi Novik's door first and foremost.

And given her attitude towards transformative works compared with Anne's, I'd probably have a much better reception anyway.

I'd even go as far as saying that Novik is also a better writer than Anne, and if the age and disposable income levels of fans aren't skewed by that as well, I'll eat my copy of Temeraire. Another factor for the high-end artist to consider.
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Old Oct 24 2011, 03:50 PM   #28
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Well, if he wants to hook up with a franchise that's expressly going places, Novik's Temeraire is a better bet. (Peter Jackson wasn't interested in buying the rights to Pern, he was interested in Temeraire.) Pern belongs to a smallish company best known for horror films, whose last horror film..didn't do so well.

Of course, it's easier all round to stay away from licensed properties completely and just do general Dragon Art, and get noticed that way. Given the quality of work that shouldn't be an issue, and an established artist with a good sales record looks better when trying to get licensing rights for anything.
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Old Oct 24 2011, 08:33 PM   #29
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Kath…I don’t believe that I MISREAD any part of your post…I think your post speaks your opinions quite plainly, as does mine.
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Old Oct 26 2011, 09:41 AM   #30
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Default Re: Fire Lizard sculptures

I think we've beat this issue to death now. As site owner I get to both close this thread to further discussion while also getting the last word in. If there are those who are still interested in a discussion of dragon artwork, please start a new topic on the matter.


We are, as a fan community, unusually passionate about protecting copyrights (whereas often fan communities lead the way in breaking copyrights). But I'm pretty certain none of us are either copyright lawyers nor agents of Anne hired to find violations. So, having expressed our opinions on the matter, the issue is now done.


As individuals in the fan community, we have various different opinions as to how popular Anne's works currently are, and the value of Pern as a franchise. It should not be a question as to whether longterm members of this forum are true fans of Anne, we've all shown it over the years. But that doesn't mean we all should or do think the sun rises and sets with Anne's writing, or that we shouldn't be able to offer critial opinions as to how her work stacks up against other writers.

This forum is not meant just for those that will only shower praise and offer no other opinions. We are a group of intelligent people, who can enjoy and express joy in reading Anne, while also enjoying other authors - whom we may *gasp* even think are better authors than Anne.

We are here to share our common enjoyment of Anne's works, while also building a community in which we can talk about other aspects of our lives including other works we are fans of. We are not here to try to argue or show who's a better fan.
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