The Phantom Inker



The Forest Curse

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Elaine should have listened when they said the Deep Forest was cursed. But unlike a lot of travelers who dare to enter it, at least she'll be able to leave — even if she's the one doing the walking instead of her horse.

I really needed a quiet drawing weekend, so today, I started and finished this. First, I made Stable Diffusion stably diffuse me a whole bunch of matte paintings of spooky forests. I tweaked the background until there was one I really liked; and then I put it in CorelDRAW and drew Elaine on top, entirely from scratch to finished color in a single eight-hour sitting.

I don't feel like it has to be AI versus artists. Both are valuable, and each can contribute. In this case, I got inspired with a specific mood that I wanted to draw against, and was I happy to let an AI fill in a background painting that matched that mood, so I could focus on the parts I really wanted to start drawing. I added a bit more fog than the original had, to help make Elaine pop.

Here's background prompt, for those who're curious, and it was run against the Anything v3 dataset. Took a couple dozen or so tries to get the kind of background that I wanted.

a matte painting of a dead juniper tree in the middle of a clearing in a dark forest, crooked trunk, gnarled branches, small tree leaning over, spooky and mysterious, glowing blue fog in the background

A high-resolution copy can be found in my Patreon.

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