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Using pen tool over clip art/cartoons on internet [legal issues?]

If I were to use the pen tool to copy a simple image, and to use this with text to create a brand for a business would the person who made the image that I traced be able to sue?

While They may never see it or sue... ethically it's wrong and the start of a rocky road. If you do it once, you'll be tempted to do it again.

If you're really having problems with the fireplace logo. Have you started from the basics? Sketches, word association, looking at local competitors, etc?

There's some inspiration here: logo | Abduzeedo | Graphic Design Inspiration and Photoshop Tutorials (and all around you and on the internet)

plus a few links to help, but they are by all means not the be all and end all of logo design:
10 Great Tips to Help You Kick Start your Logo Design | Onextrapixel - Showcasing Web Treats Without A Hitch
How To Design A Logo
Logo Design Process of Top Graphic Designers
Useful Articles to Improve the Typography in Logo Designs|iBrandStudio

hope this helps :)