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Ripped off again! UPDATE

28 April 2010 33 Comments

UPDATE: April 29, 2010

Eddie Alterman of Car&Driver Magazine and Mark Neeper have both expressed their sincere apologies. And apologies accepted. Thank you both for owning up to it. I’m glad to finally have this issue sorted out. Best Regards.

Big thanks to Damon of Autoblog and Ray of Jalopnik for running this story. As well as all the support from everyone.

As they say, “back to the drawing board”.

Ah, man, it happened again. Parts from one of my speculative rendering have been ripped off yet again with a sole purpose of creating a rendering of the same model. I HATE THIS.

Remember that RMR/Hyundai drama? (LINK) I’m glad that was resolved.

Another time was when I did my rendering of the then NSX-replacement now known as the HSV-010 (LINK). I created that rendering for 0-60 Magazine and I caught it appearing in some Japanese magazine flipped horizontally but undeniably a direct copy of my work. The magazine denied and refuse to acknowledge the uncanny similarities of both renderings. Unbelievable.

This time, Car&Driver Magazine published an article on the “25 Cars Worth Waiting For“. Great article from them as always featuring this speculative rendering of a blue 2011 BMW M5 illustrated by “Mark Neeper” as posted in the article.

But wait, this F10 M5 rendering looks familiar. Let me post my original F10 M5 rendering to compare. Maybe it just looks similar but nothing else. Heck it’s blue, facing the other way, different wheels on a white background so it must be an original rendering… right?

OK so after comparing it to my rendering I did back in Dec for M5Board.com, I can see that the base image of the 5er is different from what I used. BUT, the parts that I brushed, painted and designed to make a regular 5er look like an M5 (front bumper, Side vents/gills, side mirrors, and side skirt) were all copied and pasted onto the C&D M5 rendering.

But you might be thinking “OK so what’s the big deal?! There are tons of Digital Artist out there that can design and create what you did, which can turn out looking or very similar to yours!

I understand that there are plenty of other artist that create these speculative renderings and this is not my concern. What bothers me is the whole COPYING and PASTING parts from previous artwork which took C&D artist Mark Neeper only a few minutes vs days of airbrushing and painting I’ve spent to create my F10 M5 rendering.

For someone to “copy and paste” parts from my artwork unto theirs and claim it as theirs to be published in a reputable magazine and failing to credit me for the most important parts of his illustration is just wrong any way you look at it.

For example, check out these areas:

Side vents/gills- I remember vividly creating this from scratch so I know how the highlights and shadows go because I put them there. And look, just like the C&D rendering. Don;t you thin that if someone will create a rendering of the F10 M5 that they might come up with their own style of side gills? OK maybe this is just a coincidence… hmm.

SideSkirt highlight reflection – again, I remember trying to decide whether to extend that highlight to span the full lenght of the rocker panel but decide to cut it shorter… and man… this very same sideskirt appeared on the C&D Rendering down to the small highlights.

Ok fine maybe those are just another coincidences right?

Ok how about the Side view mirror.

I remember when I did this where I combined the E92 M3 design with the F10 5 Series side view mirrors. I thought it was very unique which would made my rendering stand out as I was the first to do this on the F10 M5. But, yep looks identical to the C&D rendering again, down to the highlights in the top right corner!?

Still not convinced? OK how about this. Since this wasn’t the first time my work or parts of my work have been ripped off, I thought to look for small details I left in my original work and if it shows up in the C&D rendering, then there should be no doubt that I was indeed ripped off again.

Check out the details of the front bumper:

A faint line mark left from when I designed the front central intake of the bumper based on the spy pictures I’ve studied. Now this line showed up when I decided to reduce the size of the intake. But why is it also in the C&D rendering?!

Another faint line from my own airbrushing and painting created by me not blending the side intake section with the lower lip part of the bumper.

These marks should be unique to my rendering only. The ONLY way for it to both appear, in the C&D rendering is from a COPY and PASTE job.

This mark is the biggest sign of all that this was a slimy “COPY and PASTE” job. See that conspicuous white line mark where the red arrow is pointing at? Well that was left in there purposely in my rendering, not because it shows a reflection from the background but a “watermark” of sort to help me track and identify the parts of the car I’ve painstakingly designed and created.

Again, that very line SHOULD NOT be in the C&D rendering, no reason for it. But only reason again for this to happen is through COPY and PASTE.

One last proof that the bumper I brushed and painted was cut out from my rendering and pasted, flipped horizontally and with a the “WARPED” tool in photoshop was tweaked to match the angle of the C&D M5 rendering.

Check out the TOW HOOK Cover. The TOW HOOK Cover of the F10 5 series are all located in the Passenger Side of the front bumper. If the C&D Artist truthfully created this bumper on his own then the TOW HOOK cover should remain in the passenger side instead of it being on the driver side which was due from copying and pasting my artwork.

Again, our designs looking similar is not the issue here but it’s the act of directly copying (cutting out pieces of my work) and pasting it unto theirs for the sole purpose of creating a rendering of the same model. It’s simply disrespectful to the original artist. This COPY and PASTE process is a cheaters way of creating speculative rendering through existing speculative rendering. I would rather have the artist take time to brush, paint and design the bumper himself with it endiing up looking like mine rather than ripping off parts from my artwork for any reason.

I wrote an email to Car&Driver Magazine to inform them of this issue. And for Mark Neeper, from the previous work I’ve seen from you, you are no doubt a skilled automotive artist. But with all due respect, ripping off parts from an existing artwork to create a similar speculative rendering is downright wrong. You are an artist and I hope you can understand my frustration.

My hopes is that both C&D and Mark Neeper will acknowledge this so we can move on.

I’m waiting for C&D’s reply and will update this post as soon as I hear back from them.

LINK to the Car&Driver article
LINK to the Car&Driver M5 Illustration by Mark Neeper
LINK to my BMW F10 rendering blog post
LINK to my DeviantArt site featuring the BMW F10 rendering
LINK to M5Board who I created this rendering for


  • Stanley said:

    Let us know if we can help in any way. Hate to see this sort of stuff happen.

  • Hammer said:

    bastards! they should use their own fantasy, like we did for Autó Magazin: http://hvtm.posterous.com/bmw-m5-scoop-by-goodie

  • raul said:

    here in spain we have a tale.

    If you have enemies or are coping you… mean that you are doing well

  • BP22183 said:

    It is sad when an artist is ripped off like this – I hope that C&D give you the respect that you deserve.

    Mark Neeper is a fake and doesn’t deserve any coin from this at all.

    Jon just know that you have a loyal following that will always respect your original work and will keep coming back each and every day for another “hit”.


    jonsibal Reply:

    Thanks for the support.

    Mark Neeper from the few work I’ve seen from him posted online, looks like a really good artist actually. It just doesn’t make sense to do what he did… maybe he was pressed for time? I dunno.

    Richness Reply:

    He is ok. You are just much better! I’m thinking he had lagged on it for days and finally hours before its due he needed something quick. I think he could have done a much better job if he had spent the time. Note to self, “Never ever copy any renderings from Jon Sibal! You will lose.” ;)

    BP22183 Reply:

    It was good to hear that Mark accepted and owned up to what he did – still doesn’t make his actions right.

    Keep on rendering Jon, we all appreciate it

    Any word on those “kits” that you designed?


  • Heavyfoot said:

    Man, this is terrible. I really hope that bringing their attention to this will at least make them think twice before publishing Neeper’s work. If Neeper is an artist, there is no reason for him to be stealing your work.

  • xonix_digital said:

    Plagiarism is the lowest form of thievery.

  • Christer s said:

    Hi Jon

    I dont really think it was nessecary for you to write all this, as its CLEARLY a rip off i could see it even from the image at front page.
    im sad to see this, it happend to me loads of times before,and only way to get out of it for me was to make them ” fakish” looking, its sad but true.

    I hope you get ur justiceon this, as its totally wrong of a person to rip you off like that, its so clearly yours as you stated in the images( well done btw ;) good work on that )
    Its easy to see its your copy pasted on his , its so wrong in every way

    Imo i would take legal actions , its only way to go forwards, its like all the easthern people can do what they want lol.

    well i am sad to see this and i hope it gets sorted out, keep me posted mate


    Christer A.K.A Glacius

  • Marco Hsu, Sarbeque Boss said:

    That’s terrible.

  • STEEZY said:

    As much as I hate biters, maybe the best policy is not to post them online. OR, have your JONSIBAL watermark completely covering your works?

  • Albert said:

    Usually imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, unless they’re getting PAID for your work – which this is clearly a case of. There’s nothing worse than someone taking something of yours and passing it off as theirs – classless. Jon, let me know if you don’t get feedback, I’m sure some of us in the industry can make some calls to get this addressed.

  • henry said:

    goes to say how good you are!

  • jay said:

    sucks that this happens, but i am sure i speak for the rest of us when i say that i am glad that this kind of behavior doesnt deter you from doing amazing work and sharing it to all of us.

    rock on, bro

  • Marcus-SanDiego said:

    Jon, I know exactly how you feel. And I understand why you painstakingly pointed out every detail of the ripoff. You don’t want there to be any question as to what took place. Additionally, if you’re anything like me, you hope that Car and Driver will read your blog and see just how blatant this ripoff was.

    As a former news journalist (for more than a decade), I was constantly on the prowl for those who ripped off my work — without citing me. Nothing worse than no attribution.

    But this is worse. It’s worse because this guy flat-out took your work product and claimed it as his own. There was no value added from Mr. Neeper. He, for the most part, just took your work and slapped his name on it.

    Reporters get fired for plagiarizing or making up stories. It will be interesting to see what happens in this case.

  • Andy Blackmore said:

    Sorry to hear about this John. I’ve been through the same experience, with people breaking into my password protected Spotter Guides and re-using the art, passing it off as their own. Surprising how big some of these people are (and thats just the ones I know about). A couple of Grand Prix, a tyre manufacturer, a team, a car company, a few websites and a couple of drivers…. and people wonder why I dont give out the PDF’s anymore.

    Same with my limited concept work, I’ve seen my artwork on Russian sits, with new logos, team usage etc.

    Leaves a bad taste in my mouth…trust you will be sending them an invoice…


  • Nism0o_o0 said:

    I hate copy cat!

  • hamster said:

    I am glad to see that Autoblog picked this up to help get some more exposure..


  • Suave Devil said:

    Jon, Neeper’s actions are disgraceful, regardless of his talent. You have demonstrated, time and again, how good you are with your renders and with your creative work. Man, you are a household name! Don’t worry about this incident, C&D and that renderist will get what they deserve. You will keep doing amazing work. Period. Like I said before, you have been owning the field for a while now. Keep up the kickass work.

  • Jack Sparrow said:

    I support you to the fullest. This is pure stealing.

  • Andrey Filipov said:

    This is such a low-life move! Hopefully, there will be an echo that would reach the people behind this act! Karma better exists, because this is really awful and needs to be taken care of.
    Whoever has their own blogs for example, please try to voice out this story.
    On other note, Jon, you truly are on a different talent level!
    Also, hats off to Autoblog for the exposure!

  • REy said:

    They just featured this story on AutoBlog.com Just thought you’d like to know

  • Whiplash said:

    as a graphic artist myself (by no means on par with jon) ive had my work stolen, and i’ll say from a personal experience.. when you create something, it is yours.. and when someone comes along and claims it as their own.. it somehow taints the whole project.. and leaves a bad taste in your mouth..

    i hope this gets addressed, ive posted this on our site too.
    good luck jon


  • acarr260 said:

    Jon – FYI, this just went live on Jalopnik. Given their size, I doubt that C&D can continue to ignore this. Talk about a snowball effect.

    acarr260 Reply:

    C&D owned up to it in the comments on Jalopnik and promised to follow through on this.

  • Larry said:

    So not cool! C/D has already lost my respect a long time ago. This just puts the icing on the cake.

    Don’t worry Jon, everyone in the REAL auto community has your back bro!

  • lim said:

    The small details including the watermark and its similarities to Neeper’s work are too blatant to ignore. Whatever came through Neeper’s head as he copied your work must be sickening — we all know that your renderings are among few that come closest to the real thing and it must come to no surprise that other artists like Neeper would like to make their renderings similar to yours.

    I also enjoy the fact that you have a intrinsic knowledge of the cars your rendering such as “The TOW HOOK Cover of the F10 5 series are all located in the Passenger Side of the front bumper.”; showing you know your late model BMWs well.

    Best of luck Jon; know that your fans and every other auto enthusiasts support and know where the real talent and value is coming from.

  • Dev said:

    Hey Jon,

    Dev here from the old Digimods. Good to see you’re still pushing out amazing work but it’s just stupid how often things like this keep happening.

    Sadly I’m unsure on how we’d go about protecting ourselves from this. Watermarking doesnt help as they just copy the bits without watermark. We’d have to leopard print it with watermarks, but that ruins the whole rendering.

    I hope Car and Driver has the nads to come forward on this issue, and possibly reimburse you. Otherwise we might have to resort to other means. Though it’s only a fix after the fact. Things like these need to be _prevented_ from happening.

    Good luck with it all Jon,


  • jimmyc said:

    Yo Jon I find it ironic that in the May issue of Car & Driver has a editor’s letter on page 12 talking about Photoshop! As a longtime reader of C&D I’ve noticed the content quality diminish over time. This blatant copy of your work is like the nail in the coffin in terms of me renewing my subscription.

    Keep up the good work and I hope C&D’s public apology is published soon.


  • Bart Steele said:

    Hi Jon,
    I have a somewhat similar digital infringement story.
    Glad you stood up for yourself as well. Keep up the art!!!
    Best Regards,
    Bart Steele

  • Michael Denham said:

    Very frustrating! The only upside from all this that I can see is a lot more people are learning about your work thanks to the links on Autoblog and Jalopnik! I hadn’t seen your website before, but now I have it bookmarked.

  • Thomas said:

    Thats pretty darn rotten there Jon. But I do love all the example that you give….there is no denying you did the work.

    But as I always say “the internet is the wild west…anything goes”

    I bet you would have loved to see your name on Car and Driver though. Thats a burn.