While the title of this thread might imply an oxymoron, let me explain: For the sake of argument, a client wishes to include elements in a project which inspire subtle to non-so-subtle homages to known characters. Original artwork, but intended to look like existing characters as a means of instilling nostalgia in a player. The question is, even with original work, at what point do you cross a copyright boundary? For example, some of the default artwork in RPG Maker clearly honors known video game characters if you know what you are looking at, but these are vague enough references to be clear of legal issue. How different should an image be in order to be considered clean? As I know this can be a rocky subject, the question is posed purely to garner popular opinion.