Sketch o’ the day: Eye Got Mi-Eye On You.

artwork, fantasy, Imagination, monsters, weird...
Sketch of the day

Bertha and the Abomination

artwork, cosmic horror, fantasy, horror, monsters

Bertha and the Abomination is a pen and ink drawing I started a few days prior to New Year’s Eve and finished up the other day. I started it on a morning where we got a snow storm of 10 – 12 inches of heavy wet snow and a layer of ice below it. The roads were so bad I called into work after barely getting out of my parking spot. The next day was the start of my long weekend, so I took advantage of the extra time off by starting on this drawing.

The idea came about after doing some old school paper and dice role play gaming that had some Lovecraftian influences. I did a lot of Dungeons and Dragons in my junior high years and beyond. One thing that stuck with me is the black and white illustrations of the settings and creatures. So, I drew upon those (pun?) and came up with this. The other motivation was my continuing interest in ‘abstract’ horror. That meaning atypical creatures that don’t fall in to the tropes of the horror genre and aren’t easily defined, hence the Abomination.

I like the way it came out, and I plan on doing a short series of drawings featuring Bertha (the name just came to mind while drawing her). With all those scars and funky hair she definetely has a story to her.

Between The Moon And The Darkness, I wait …

artwork, comics, creative writing, weird...

I finished this, I don’t know when. October, maybe? I tried some gray in addition to the typical black and white. Mainly, markers and then some watercolors. It worked out well, and going into next year it’s something I’ll explore more. I also tried some different hatching styles, which I found to be fun and pleasing to the eye.

I’m about half way done with another short comic. It’s a bit longer than Book Worm, which I put up earlier this year. Telling stories through sequential art, or comics, is a lot of fun and something I plan on doing more of in ’23. I have a note book of ideas already, so that’s half the battle.

Thanks for stopping by and have yourself a happy and healthy new year.

Brothers Should Be Close… (Saturday Sketch Day)

artwork, fantasy, horror, Imagination, monsters, Sketchbook, weird...
The early stage ...

Does A.I. get artist’s block?

artwork, essay

So, lately there’s been a barrage of hyperbole, buzz(?) nerd rage (?) angst (?!?!) panic (!) and conspiracy theories (!!!) about the emergence of A.I. apps that are capable of creating art. In case you’ve been living under a rock (lucky you!) A.I. art is essentially an artificial intelligence app that’s been ‘trained’ by a programmer feeding it examples of various styles of art, sometimes with questionable ethical and legal implications (but I’m not a lawyer or a philosopher). The end user (you?) enters various prompts into the app and it spews out a plethora of images based on those prompts. It can be a bit of a sticky widget, and easily get confused by your phrasing of prompts but I reckon it’s only a matter of time before it can decipher any gibberish.

Some people think this is the death of Art made by humans. That there’s no point to develop the skills or the imagination to create art, traditional or digital, if an A.I. can do it faster and cheaper and ‘better’. Some say it’ll put plenty of illustrators, designers, and other commercial artists, unless they’re a ‘top gun’, out of work.

I can definitely agree with the idea that the commercial artists out there are potentially in jeopardy of job loss. The only thing more soulless than an A.I. is a business executive (ooooh burn!) and I can see them totally going with A.I. to design logos, packaging, album art, book covers, and etc to save some serious money and time. This is not unlike the fact that many traditional artists/designers lost their job once Photoshop and CGI rose to prominence.

What happens when AI does the things we enjoy?

But I don’t see A.I. being the doom of all art for all time. I think that art is a creative expression of oneself and something that is instinctive for most of us in one form or another, whether that be drawing, dancing, playing the drums, or singing/dancing out of key and out of rhythm in your bedroom (Just keep the curtains closed, okay?) I have three kids that all go through more paper and art supplies than a college freshman. That can’t be replaced by fancy pants A.I. with its bells and whistles. I think that artists of all kinds enjoy the process of creating with all its challenges and discoveries along the way far more than simply getting a finished piece of art to put on the wall. I also feel that art is an expression of the creator’s emotional state, their curiosity, and imagination. A shard of their soul. That’s something that AI cannot do, at this point, and at best AI may only be able to imitate what it thinks it means to be human. (Okay, I gotta stop there before I go down a rabbit hole with Phillip K. Dick’s ghost). Technology was supposed to make our lives easier, especially when it comes to tasks that’re monotonous, tedious, and/or dangerous. It was supposed to give us more time to spend doing things we enjoy, but what happens when the technology like AI does the things we enjoy?

One benefit of AI would be that it would allow authors and bands to produce cover art for their products in a short amount of time without having to find and pay for an indie artist/photographer/designer, or whoever. I mean, who needs that right? But isn’t it hypocritical to be waving the indie author/musician flag while turning a blind eye to your compatriots in the indie art/design world? What does it say about our creative community if we turn from one another? Obviously, not everyone has the resources to hire an artist/designer but the rest of you out there (Yeah, you), c’mon, man! And don’t forget, there’s AI that’s quite capable of producing literature and short films and music by anyone entering some prompts.

Now you may be thinking, ‘Well, this doesn’t concern me because I’m a ”Fine” artist that makes ”real” art.’ Well, here’s the rub, dude. This summer at Colorado’s State Fair the grand prize winner of the art show was a piece made by AI. (Sacre Bleu! I hope you didn’t choke on your cafe latte while reading that!) Obviously, this stirred up a hornet’s nest and you can read more about it via this link which should open in a new window.

Despite the negative aspects of AI art, I can see it being capable of being used as a tool. It could be used like a brain storming partner, or for generating new ideas about composition or perspective or color, etc. But on the other hand, I also remember back in the 90’s when the internet first emerged from the primordial mire of the 20th century, it was regarded as this great new tool. And look at what we’ve done to it. (‘social media’, internet porn, online hate groups, cat videos). I wouldn’t be surprised at all if we managed to muck up AI art as well.

I imagine that the vast majority of people don’t care about AI art any more than they care about Picasso or that watercolor painting you did last weekend. If AI art becomes the mass producer of art, it could cheapen the creative process and lower art to an intellectual/emotional level of being on par with fast food and paper plates. How would that effect our emotional state?

Obviously, this a broad subject with plenty of opinions. If you Google it, you’ll find a ton of articles. However, I’d recommend watching/listening to the ‘Why Be An Artist When There’s AI’ episode of The Draftsman podcast. Also there’s some good conversations going on in the comments section over at Meeka’s Mind and their article ‘Is ‘Art’ still Art If AI Makes It?’

In the meantime, I’ll be moving my stuff under that proverbial rock …

(Re)Birth

artwork, weird...
(Re)Birth

Pardon The Interruption

artwork, cosmic horror, horror, Imagination, monsters, weird...
Pardon the Interruption ...

RIP: Kim Jung Gi

artwork, essay

I was shocked to learn this morning that Kim Jung Gi died a few days ago from an apparent heart attack at the age of 47. He was well known for his comics, illustration and art. A true master of ink drawing, and someone who did what he wanted rather than conform to industry/cultural norms. I’ve watched plenty of his video tutorials online, which were great. The fact he also managed his own art school and taught there as well is impressive.

But what stands out to me most was his passion to create for himself, his humor, and his ability to entertain while educating.

I always found his thoughts about drawing to be highly relatable, a bit of a kindred spirit, I guess. I am grateful for all his art and videos which will inspire many generations to come.

Book Worm – a short comic

artwork, comics, cosmic horror, creative writing, horror, Imagination, literature, monsters, sci-fi, weird fiction, weird...
Book Worm, page one/Kevin Hurtack 2022
Book Worm, page two/Kevin Hurtack 2022
Book Worm, page three/Kevin Hurtack 2022
Book Worm, page 4/Kevin Hurtack 2022
Book Worm, page five/Kevin Hurtack 2022
Book Worm, page six/Kevin Hurtack 2022

Book Worm is a short one-shot comic of the Weird Fiction genre. The idea came about from the fact that my wife is constantly ordering household goods via Amazon or elsewhere and we have packages showing up at odd moments of the day, and occasionally the waning hours of the early morning/night. It is also came about from my reading history of weird fiction and episodes of Twilight Zone and such.

My intentions are to build up a short collection of short comics all set within the same ‘world’ and then take on a longer format, probably a two-shot comic of about 40+ pages within the same ‘world’. Doing shorter comics like this not only helps me develop world-building ideas, but also the process of laying out a page and etc that goes into a comic.

I’ve started another that’ll be added to this collection, but with three young kids at home my supposed free time is quite limited to the early morning on weekends.

All of the art and lettering was drawn the old fashioned way. The only digital work was some tidying up of stray pencil lines and such.

Champion of Gaia

artwork, fantasy, Imagination, monsters
Champion of Gaia, 2022 Kevin Hurtack