It’s the end of September and here I am, pondering life as usual. I found this watercolor doodle in my sketchbook, and it reminded me of how M used to jokingly call me “Foxtasia.” He has all sorts of nicknames for me, and the cutest is probably “Honeybunny.” He has a thing for animal references, as you can tell.
I just read an alarming article about how easy it is to create picture books with AI. I am overwhelmed by how it’s not just picture books that AI can seamlessly generate, but anything “creative” that has historically been a purely human endeavor. It’s natural to wonder what my career will look like as technology advances, but I hold onto the belief that our humanness is irreplaceable, and that my creations will endure in their own way.
I have been practicing digital painting, because I’ll be teaching a Creativebug class on the subject in a couple of weeks. Although it isn’t technically AI, I often think about how digital painting makes it easier to paint and fix errors. The irony is that flaws and imperfections and textures need to be deliberately added in when using programs like Procreate, which is my go-to. Otherwise, like much of the AI-generated art that I see, the digital paintings can look too smooth, “perfect,” generic and — perhaps it’s just me that thinks this — un-charming.
I painted these squirrels using Procreate. I go overboard with materials that I’m interested in, so I’ve invested heavily in many, many digital brushes and have also been creating my own. For the left squirrel, I used the moreslowly brushes, which are some of my favorites lately. I also enjoy the native brushes that come with Procreate. I don’t know when the Creativebug class will be available, but I’ll let you know when I find out. It’s gonna be a fun, casual one.
I love digital painting and I love traditional watercolors. It’s not either/or. I taught a workshop for kids and their parents/guardians at a library in Sumner, Washington this past weekend, and there was something so nourishing about getting messy with actual paints. The children were fantastic and so, so funny. Kids are endlessly imaginative, and I taught a “splotch” exercise that involved creating an “oopsie” splotch on the paper, and then transforming it into an animal or plant or anything else they wanted. I delighted in the space portal, alligator, rose garden, and so much more that emerged from various splotches. I told them that I always, always make mistakes when painting (and in life) and look for ways to make the mistakes into something better in any way that I can.
A little splotch-turned little Japanese house from my sketchbook
Anyway. Squirrelly thoughts for the end of the month. I hope you are all doing well, and I’ll be back here in a month!