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However, in borrowing the image, I was instructed to "make it my own".
There is a difference in copying a work of art down to the brush stroke,
to copying a select portion out of a work of art. In the first case, some
teachers and professors have a student copy a work or an artist to
understand how such works were created. Copying a work of art and passing
it off as your own is wrong.
Selecting a portion of a work and reproducing it in your own work has been
done by numerous artists. It is used in a variety of ways, such as
critiquing or paying homage to a particular view or artist. Is it
acceptable or legal? I do not know.