I created this illustration back in 2011 for a contest called "Frame My Future," which was put on by a diploma frame company. That's why I included a huge picture frame on the wall. The winner was chosen by popular vote and the prize was $1,000 scholarship. (I did not win.)
The scene is a fairly accurate depiction of my 2011 workspace - except for the cat, which I added just for fun. I've lost the original reference photos I used for this drawing, but I do have some similar photos so that you can see that it is definitely me:
This illustration has since been turned into a Facebook meme.
As you can see, my illustration was cropped, a texture was added, and a quote purportedly by Albert Einstein was placed on top. I don't know who created this image, but it kind of "went viral" on Facebook over a year ago and was shared thousands of times by thousands of people, and continues to do so. But as you can see, there is no indication that I made the original illustration.
When I originally posted this illustration online, I didn't include any watermarks, because I was young and stupid. I now watermark all my work - although that doesn't completely protect them from people cropped off. Today's moral of the story: watermark all your work with your name and website.
I'm not angry about it, and I'm happy that so many people enjoy this illustration. (Although kind of surprised, since it's one of my oldest illustrations and I never thought it was that good.) It's just a bummer to see how much publicity this piece is getting online when none of it is benefiting my illustration business. Imagine if this had happened while the scholarship contest was going on - I definitely would have won! When this meme pops up now and then on Facebook, I try to add a link to my Deviantart page, and people seem grateful to know who made it.
If you would like to order a print of this illustration, you can do so at my INPRNT shop.
Regarding copyright and the internet: On one thread, people started debating whether I'm right to ask for credit for my own work, and whether content put on the internet is "copywrite" or "copywright." (FYI, it's copyright, people.) People automatically own the copyright to what they create. Filing for copyright with the US government grants additional legal protections. Just because someone posts something online, that doesn't mean that it's "public domain" or that they've given up their copyright. If you share an artist's work online, ask their permission first and/or credit them somewhere with a link back to their website. Most artists are fine with that.