As I'm sure you'll notice, Abby's clothing has changed.
When drawing new characters or outfits for existing characters, I'll often look at people or pictures of people and how they dress. For instance, for the wedding arc I went tuxedo and wedding dress shopping online, looking at different styles to find the outfits I wanted Ethan and Lilah to wear at their wedding. Ethan's day-to-day outfit is the same t-shirt and jeans combo I was wearing when I first drew him.
When I was writing Abigail into the current storyline, I had envisioned her as a sort of punk/hipster type of girl. Since this isn't a style of dress I'm very familiar with, when it came time to draw her, I needed to find reference for a punk/hipster outfit.
I looked at a lot of pictures from the punk scene looking for clothes that matched my idea for the character. I found one I liked in a blog article about punk concerts. I used this outfit for Abby.
However, the picture I used was not a photograph, it was a painting. A digital pinup of a punk girl. The artist was not credited in the article and I regret to say that I did not exercise due diligence. I did not think to seek out the artist or ask him permission. I treated it as a photograph, as merely reference for a clothing style. I didn't look at it as a character, I looked at it as I might have looked at a magazine ad.
That was a mistake on my part. It was not photograph or a magazine ad, it was somebody's artwork. It may not have been a character in a story, it may not have invented the style of dress, but as artwork it still deserves respect and consideration. Respect and consideration that I'm embarrassed to say I didn't offer.
It was never my intention to infringe on the artist, but my negligence did just that. The artist, whom I know now is Hector Moran, is a very talented digital painter, and he has a fantastic gallery of his works online to enjoy. I reached out to Hector via email to discuss this with him personally, but I have not heard back from him.
Nevertheless, I have changed Abby's outfit in all prior and future comic strips out of respect for Hector and his artwork. The inspiration from his quintessential punk girl is still present, but I've added a different spin to the clothing to take it in a different direction, while keeping with the overall look I wanted for this character.
Again, I never intended harm or deceit. I apologize to Hector for not remembering to offer the courtesy he deserves as an artist.
And I apologize to you, my readers, for my lapse in judgment. You expect better of me and I will continue to try and be better for you, and to conduct myself more responsibly in the future.