It’s this time of year again. What had happened in 2022? Facemask were not mandatory any more, however we still need to be careful as Corona is not marked as a fly by the health organization yet. I was lucky that I was able to working from home remotely, but many had returned to their offices. More and more people were getting vaccinated, though there were still worries about the virus’ mutations and the possibility of new strains emerging. The economy was starting to recover, though there were still some difficulties due to the pandemic. Many people were facing financial hardship and struggling to make ends meet. The conventions was slowly coming back to life, to the much relieve of artists.
We had a very dry summer and needed reduce water consumption. In the main while, war broke out in Europe. Our daily life got more and more expensive. We are all need to cut down and deal more consciously with resources. There are so much problem in the world, we do what we can.
There’s another development closer at ‘home’. AI art generator is trending. It’s truly amazing what the AI can generate! However divide artists into two side. The positive comments are that AI art generator can help artists create new and unique pieces of art, as well as giving them a wider base of knowledge to draw from. Furthermore, it could be used to test ideas quicker and more efficiently than before. The negative comments are that AI art generator could lead to a homogenization of art, with many pieces of art looking the same. It could be used by those who want to make a quick buck without the skill and dedication of a true artist. Additionally, it threatens to devalue the work of professional artists, as well as make it easier for forgers to create false works of art. Next part is about my view of AI art. You can skip it if to read about my goals of 2022 🙂
AI art generators are typically based on machine learning algorithms, which use data to learn and make predictions or decisions. In order to train an AI art generator, one would need to provide it with a large amount of data, such as a dataset of artworks, to learn from. This data is used to train the AI model, which can then be used to generate new art based on the patterns and characteristics it has learned from the training data. Many AI art generators are open source, meaning that the code and algorithms used to create them are available for anyone to use or modify. This can allow people to train their own AI art generator by feeding it data and adjusting the algorithms to produce the desired results.
These AI art generators needs input to learn. The input can be anything, depending on the type of art that is being generated. For example, if a neural network is being trained to generate images that are similar to those of a certain artist, the input could be a collection of images of that artist's work. The AI can then analyse the data, learn from it, and generate artwork that is similar in style. The reaction in the art community to these AI art generators has been mixed. Supporters of the technology view it as a way to expand creativity and open up new possibilities for artistic expression. However, there are also those who are concerned about the potential for AI to devalue the work of human artists. Additionally, some worry about the ethics of using copyrighted or otherwise unauthorized images to train AI art generators.
AI art generator impersonate as the high profile artist by creating (fake) social media accountant and pull some stunts that have a negative impact on the original artist.
For example, it happened a month ago, this AI user calling out to original artist for copying his/her AI generated art. To be clear, the person didn't claim to be an artist, (s)he indicated in the social media post that image is generated. The supporters of the original artist pointed out they were watch the creation of the illustration during the art stream and also the timing of the social media post didn't support the claim of the person who generated the art.
I get the feeling that AI users are constantly testing the ethical boundaries. Another example. AI art generator is an basically a machine learning on algorithm, which uses data to learn an make predictions or decisions. In order to train an AI art generator, one would need to provide it with a large amount of artwork data to learn from. Many AI art generators are open source, meaning any one can train their own AI art generator by feeding it data and adjust the algorithms. So imagine, if one only feeds artwork of a specific artist. It would only have access to the characteristics and styles of that one artist's work. The user can create dozens of artwork within an hour. This happened in real life. I seriously don't know what the AI user, but (s)he was definitely showing off and thinking of feeling of persons. Intended or not, the message that came across to artists seems like that AI can generate in a much short amount of time with similar result, where the original artist needed hours to create and years of training. Also using artist's work without permission.
What put my in awe is that there is case when a person/group actively offer to generate art of the visitors at convention itself! The visitors need to fill in their preferences on a form and they generated it for you. There was an artist to clean up the image at bit. That's the only moment when a real artist were involved. The AI learned it's logarithm from dozens of artists who didn't gave their consents. So, the people who manned the booth get paid for their effort. (I hope the touching up artist got his fair share.) It made me so mad, practically they are selling art what is not their own. In my opinion, allowing people to sell at conventions should be based on two aspects: 1) it must be made by human (for Artist), or 2) it's licenced (for Dealers). AI can't claim their own generated art. When art doesn't falls into any, doesn't mean that it's okay to monetize it. But that's what the owner of the booth did. (At least a splatter artist put some effort by adding filters on the copyright image.)
I, and am sure that any other artists agrees with me, believe that this is not the goal of the Artist Alley. It's conceivable that in the (near) future non-artist claim to be artist and sell AI generated art. I hate to see that visitor are deceived and believed that there are tons of working in the piece of art that they have bought. But in the end it turned out to but just simple generated. Well generated AI art is almost not possible to distinguish from artist drawn art. What I also fear is that at people at conventions tells me that they are also able to generate the art themselves so why buying hand draw stuff. This has huge impact on original (print) artists, which I don't the know solution for it other than to improvise..
I've notified a few conventions about my concerns of the issues above. At least what they can do is explicitly updating their policy by not welcoming AI generated art their Artist alley
Basically, I'm not against new technology. What annoys me this will be (ab)used by thoughtless people and the toxicity and unconsidered that comes from a few people who are using it.
O boy, I’ve spend so much space to talk about AI art. Imagine that all this really happened in 2022. But now back on reflection of my goals.
Merchandise goals of 2022
|Poster/print/illustration||Planned: 10||Done: 11||Yes!|
|Buttons||Planned: 20||Done: 31||Yes!|
|Charms||Planned: 20||Done: 30||Goal achieved: Yes!|
|Standee||Planned: 4||Done: 1||No…|
|Wall scrolls||Planned: 0||Done: 0||No…|
|Mugs||Planned: 5||Done: 3||No…|
|Pages Artbook||Planned: 10||Done: No||No…|
|Pages Comic book||Planned: 20||Done: No||No…|
|Note/memo pad||Planned: 0||Done: No||No…|
|Sticker sheet||Planned: 2||Done: 0||No…|
|Misc||Planned: 5||Done: 5||Yes!|
I definetly happy about the result this year, though it’s conflicted with the amount of not achieveing the goals. The ones that doesn’t made it were uncontiously low in priority. For next year I will order the list according the prio. The prio was really on the charms and illustration. I wanted to draw all current genshin impact charms and almost succeed this year. Though I expected that. But 30 new charms are quite impressive. Good done, past me.
It’s the third year using Notion and contributes a lot of planning / effectiveness again. It’s so intergraded in my workflow, unthinkable to use another app.
I made a few detailed prints this year and oh boy they took long to finish. The Beidou illustration even took me around 40 hours. including time that I redo the line and base colours because the file was lost. But I so proud of the end results. It’s actually what I want to focus with my illustration: quality over quantity.
Because of focussing on digital illustration, I didn’t had time for the Waterclour project. Actually, I just forgot. I wanted to draw a few girls (Shogun, Noelle, Ning Guang and Beidou) but it never happened and only notice it now. Actually, Water colour prints seems to be very popular as I asked on my socials what people like to see the most as merch. Most anwsers were the male characters in watercolour prints. So, now I have already 8 planned. Then amount is perfect because it is the same amount to renew all the display print on my booth! I also might make a few girls, but as a online shop only edition.
There are the illustration made this year:
The square print (below) took less time compared with Beidou, but still 30 hours. Though, it has more details in the background. Skipping the lineart phase helped me a lot. And also, art flow is not restricted and move a lot better. You know what I mean? To be honest skipping line art is scary and daunting. But this is something I need to work on.
This quare print is even my first foiled print. It wasn’t planned though. The space on the right was (unintentional) empty and feel some text give some extra to the print.
Dokomi approaches me to draw a illustration for their ball event. I greatly accepted it, because it fits my style. It was challenging to draw orginal detailed design. I feel like a been a levelled up, but still not there yet. Despite the flaw, I’m very proud at this one. I the mean time, my skills are little better and gonna fix a few things. The background is just a sample, so I need to work on this illustration anyway.
Pika small print set is done. I haven’t present it as a set though, I might had forgotten about it? (The left one is done last year)
As for the Fire emblem: Three houses, do I want to continue on that? To be honest, I’ve kind of moved on with it. So, after catching up with drawing all Genshin chibi characters, I need to think about my next charms project.
As for this year, I’ve created 31 new buttons, mostly reusing a part of the charm art, and created 28 new Genshin charms en 2 new commission charms. Phew, I’m almost there, still 10 or so to go. The last batch was the biggest one with 11 new art. The character designs are incredible detailed that it hardly needs any shading. With the basic there, art is almost finished. Also I simplified my shading and highlighting, because the previous way of doing was kinda overkill.
STANDEES, WALL SCROLLS, MUG AND PASSPORT CASES
I have been focussing on charms and illustrations so the other product hadn’t really a priority. I’m satisfied that i could make 3 mugs. It took me far more more time than I’ve expected. After all, graphic design is for me a whole other field and don’t have much experience with it. It’s still fun though and had learned a lot. Oher things like sticker sheets and memo, notepad was put off in the back burner.
This standee was one of the proud product what I made. It was a message board where you can erase, so reuse, it. Erasable message standee is not new, but I haven’t seen it at conventions yet. The beautiful part is that standee is customizable. The part where the little pieces go in the base have the same size. Moreover, they are printed double sided with a front and a back of the characters, not flipped! So, one can any where they want. It really too me some time to add those extra effect.
This year we launched a new product and it was well received. It’s very convenient for people who used cards everyday. The holders are good for for example student pass, commute pass. Or give your self a tag. “I’m the …. ” So many uses. I reused the existing art, but added a few designs for people who want something else than a chibi. To be honest, I don’t like to reuse art, but this okay since charms and card holder won’t compete but complement with each other. I will continue creating new cute art for these holder. And also they will be limited, because the holders are quite bulky to carry around.
Exhibition at conventions
We have change our strategy this year. In stead of displaying every item, we change into display the big items to stand out between other artists. Most of the artist are now trying to presenting as much as possible on their booth. We have big items (aka banners and A1 posters) to attract visitors to our booth to browse in folders. We got this idea because people kept asking if we have more print that is not displayed. Okay, the reason is also that we’re outgrown the 2 meter table. We got so much stuff that we easily can fill 3m booth.
Art skills goals
That’s it for the merchandise creation part 🙂 and now on to the skills part
- Improvement anatomy. Planned to spend at least once a week on drawing poses from reference. It hadn’t integrated with my my workflow, because I was focussing on creating illustration. Still, I think it’s important, because I spend too much time on getting the anatomy correct than working on the composition of the illustration.
- Switching to Clip Studio went great! I’d used 3 programs: procreate for sketching and basic colouring, Painttool Sai for shading and Clip Studio for details. I found a few brushes, tweaked it a little and use it all the time. It’s now my art program to go. At some point I want to create my own brushes. The only neg about Clip Studio is that you can’t use Liquify on several layers.
Let’s end the post here. I hope you all will have a splendid and productive 2022!!