What’s the purpose of being an illustrator? for me its about telling the story I am asked to in the best way I can. its about giving my personal version and vision of a an idea or story or setting. I get a description and I let my mind go wild, sort the ideas and try to distinguish the good from the bad. When I narrow down on an Idea I try to push everything towards the goal. every single stroke, color and rendering choice is added towards the end goal I set out to reach.
A friend of mine fed a bunch of my artwork into a computer and gave an Artificial Intelligence the task of painting a “Jesper Ejsing Goblin” with watercolors. The result is amazing! I looked at it and my first thought was: “That’s it. I will be unemployed in a couple of years now. Better start looking for a new career”. But then I started looking closer at it. Its very decorative. I like the composition and the color choices. It has even got an intensive focus around the figures face. It has gotten great contrast and focus and areas that are soft and undefined pushing the attention towards the figures face. All stuff I would do myself.
But there is no mind behind any of it. No idea; no intention. It looks like a goblin holding a magic box of some sort. If the painting was mine, I would have made him present he magic item with a smirking self-confident emotion, as if he was urging you to try and open it. His other hand would be inviting and the blurry sidekick next to him would be looking anxious and afraid at what might happen should you chose to accept. All of these ideas would be my intentions towards guiding you into a certain feeling and narrative: my narrative. And it comforts me to know that an AI cannot do that – yet.
It got me thinking about what it is that I dislike about some of my own paintings sometime. If a painting is driven mostly by cool rendering and ton of details, if i become infatuated by my own ability to render and create difficult materials – bottom line: if I fall back on rendering without an end goal or focus, the illustrations die. And it is a huge pitfall. its easy to relax and forget where the narrative or the focus of a painting is going, since most of the time you are working on the same canvas for days on days. But that’s the trick. And this AI painting sharpens the mindset for me. “Don’t paint like a computer – Paint like a person with an attitude, and an intention”. Draw with feelings – paint something that hurts your feelings or give you a sense of joy. Feeling – that’s what its all about.
What do you think? is this the end of art? an AI can learn stuff. And probably way faster than I can. I am not sure, and I am not sure it matters if I am soon replaced by a metal artist. But what matters is my resolution to amp up on the emotions and feelings involved in creating my artworks. that’s what I am taking away from this.