Wednesday, 5 April 2023

March of Robots 2023

 So March of Robots is an art challenge I've done a few times because who doesn't like drawing robots and these days of algorithms suppressing free to play content you need to put something out there.

My original stated aim was that I would do all 31 prompts but I'd limit the to no more 30 minutes work but while I managed all 31 sometimes I would get carried away such as this jungle scene for March 3rd.

Life as a human artist in 2023 is a bit frustrating not only are our tech overlords relentlessly fiddling with their platforms in ways that always seem to give you less visibility, generative art from AI is starting to appear on the platforms where those who type prompts in Stable Diffusion or the like are suddenly "artists" and hoover up the likes and praise from those who surf the content for pretty visuals without considering the effort that goes into creating that content.

Much of the AI chat in March was about ChatGPT-4 the AI language model still in Beta that can write your emails/homework/lazy derivative opinions in seconds.  Elon Musk and others were warning about the disadvantages of the unintended consequences of AI although the intended consequence of devaluing certain human tasks is also pretty horrific.  This entry from March 19 with apologies to the Simpsons and Matt Groening was probably my most popular post.

If you want to be generous to folk you would say we are still pretty enraptured by the novelty of this "free" tool not realizing that eventually it will be monetized by tech overlords so that those who provided the content the machines learned from and those who later leverage it will be lining the pockets of those who merely financed a cloud server farm with software.  In the meantime if you're relying on ChatGPT beware that it's usage is throttled which inspired this illustration from March 27th 

Back to Generative AI art vs human art.  On the Instagram explore page for the hashtag you can still easily spot the AI art that has gained traction even though the competition element of the challenge explicitly banned it.  Perhaps I'm a luddite for not embracing the inevitable rise of the machine learning. The Luddites are a good example of a professional craft who even with their campaigning still lost out to cheap mass produced cloth even though at the high end you might get someone to hand stitch your suit for the average Joe we're happy for robots to make mass produced consumer goods.

The established distinctive artists will still garner commissions and magazine slots but those starting out who rely on smaller commissions for caricatures, book covers etc. are going to struggle when a fast and "good enough" result can be delivered from a web site.

Who knows perhaps we'll leverage the technology is a good way to benefit society, but to do so we'll have to rein in some of the Mega Corps that are charging away with rapid AI development.  This cartoon from the 30th March sums up my mood.

In the meantime even if it not pulling in the big bucks there is a joy in the creation of artwork not just the social media attention for the finished article.  So to finish off March here is another robot

Friday, 3 February 2023

Hourly Comic Day 2023

 Every Feb 1 is hourly comic day when comic creators torture themselves by attempting to post a comic for every hour they are awake.  My hack since I have a job is to post every 2-3 hours and even then this year it was a struggle.  Still now that Twitter has withdrawn the ability to make moments I have to preserve my 1st Feb 2023 on here for all posterity.


  • I did figure out how to do the poo stick test the next day (but didn't draw a comic about it)
  • The mindful challenge continued with mindfully unlocking a door but today the challenge is to listen to new music which I do like and I found a decent new debut artist
  • The windows still work

Tuesday, 31 January 2023

Caricature Resolution 2023

 A new year is full of challenges the first of which was ISCA's Caricature Resolution which this year was alternating women and men featuring actors and the characters they had played in biopics which lead to some interesting discoveries.

For example day 9 was Temple Grandin an author and speaker on autism and animal behaviour including cows.  I listened to her TED talks on visual thinking and autism while I drew this caricature of her.

However the purpose of caricature resolution is to hone your caricature skills while being able to see how many other artists approach the same subject.  In a way it's daunting to compare your own efforts with masters of their craft but it was ever thus on social media.  It's sometimes easier when you at least have some familiarity with the subject like this one of Peter 

So sometimes you'd never heard of them, sometimes they were famous actors and occasionally you had to draw someone who you'd drawn before which gives you liberty to try a different approach.  This is Jazz age belle Clara Bow

In this case I feel my previous likeness was better but often with certain folk capturing their essence even if they are well known is elusive.  Denzel Washington was one who many artists thought was tricky and so I was pleased I managed something workable with him.

So who was my favorite - it was probably Ruth Bader Ginsburg of day 17 which without striving turned out better than I was expecting.

You can go onto Instagram and find all the awesome work on this challenge which proves there's always a higher standard to aspire to!

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