Thinking about drawing fantasy art

Have you checked out Graphite Prime’s RPG work?

I really like their blog, and I really dig their original art. I’ve just ordered print versions of their adventures, Date of Expiration and Praise the Fallen, and I’m looking forward to not just the content but all of the original art inside.

Also, have you been following the development of AI in visual art and text lately? We’re living through a moment in history that might prove to be a major turning point in what “art” and “culture” are in the future. Are these things going to be original creations from humans, or remixed products from machines (and the companies that own the machines)?

And how is that going to affect us all? What art is “real”? What art has “meaning”? Are machines going to take over making “fun stuff” for humans? Will humans be relegated to merely consuming art, the stories, games, films made by machines?

There are going to be big questions and big consequences, and the saddest part of that difficult process may be that a lot of people don’t care. Or don’t think they care. That’s a lot to think about.

Less thinking, more drawing

But while I was thinking about it tonight, I started drawing. I’ve been trying to figure out what my style is for a while now. Over time, I have discovered that I prefer black-and-white over color now, and that I like ink, and dark blacks, and a certain type of line-work… I’ve been experimenting with so many pens (SO MANY!).

And tonight I was looking a this old post from Graphite Prime about clerics. And their art.

So I tried to recreate that art as a warm-up exercise (left, below). And frankly, I did not do a good job… at all! But then I drew it again, a bit different (center, below), and I started to get a feel for it. And then I drew it again, even more different (right, below), and I felt like I got a really good feel for it. Here’s what I did:

Took about 3 hours to do all of them, throughout the evening. And I’m super happy with where I ended up. I hope to do a lot more art like that third character in future Dungeon Age adventures.

(Pens I used: Micron 01 and Tombow N15)

Practice is a good practice

But the thing I’m really sitting here with is… drawing is such an accessible art form! All you need is paper and pencil (pen?), and a little time to practice. Seriously, look at those three characters above. That first one stinks! But I quickly realized what worked and what didn’t, and I got visibly better with practice! In just a few hours!

Exclamation points!

In addition, I had no idea what that third character would look like before I started drawing. I had no goal. I just discovered the outfit, and the hat, and the weapons as I went along. It was a cool little journey of invention and discovery and creation all at once.

And it would be such a loss if, just a generation from now, no one draws anymore and artists just prompt AI to doodle for them. It almost feels absurd and impossible, but I can absolutely imagine a future where kids “doodle” by muttering at their phones to draw things for them. And that feels sad to me. To think that might be coming.

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