Posts Tagged ‘horror art’

Back in 2021, I got my first author fan art. Iseult Murphy, my friend and colleague, created a couple of pictures based on a made-up creature I mentioned in a tweet, the dragon bats. You can see them below.

Pretty cool, especially since they didn’t belong to any story. At least, not then. The fan art inspired me to write a novelette, “Disillusionment and Trauma Sometimes Go Hand-in-Hand.” That story was published in Ink Stains: A Dark Fiction Literary Anthology in October 2022.

And this past month, Iseult created some more fan art, which she’s sent me. The first is a story-accurate picture of the dragon bats, down to the orange fur and cat-like faces. Even their scaly, armored bellies are featured! Now imagine if one of these were real, and as big as a large dog! Now imagine hundreds of them, flying around and feeding upon you. Did I mention they may be venomous? A single bite can be deadly!

But that’s not the only piece of art Iseult sent me. Yesterday, she sent me this picture based on my story “The Dedication of the High Priestess.” That story is a fusion of ballet horror with the cosmic horror entity The King in Yellow. Check it out:

DAAAAMN! That is beautiful! The dancing figure of Anastasia in yellow, her shadow underneath her, and the giant form of her master, the King in Yellow, watching over her as she dances. It’s just an amazing piece of art. Also, was that painted with oil pastels? Because it looks like it, but I’m no art expert. Iseult, please let me know.

Whatever it’s made with, I LOVE this picture. I’ve said it before, but I feel like “Dedication of the High Priestess” is one of my favorite and best stories. And fan art is one of the sincerest forms of flattery you can give a creative, as well as showing your love and appreciation for that creative and their work. And from this, I really felt the love Iseult has for this story. So, I printed out a copy of this picture, bought a frame for it, and am now trying to find a good place to hang it up.

Check my Instagram to find out where I eventually hang it up.

Anyway, I wanted to post this fan art for you all to see. Iseult’s art needs to be appreciated by more people, so I made sure to put it on my social media and on my blog.

And I hope to receive more fan art in the future. Not just from Iseult, though I would be happy to see more of her work. I hope, as I continue to publish more stories and reach more readers, I’ll see more fan art based on my work. And, as long as it’s manageable to do so, I may even post more fan art to this blog and to my social media.

Perhaps there will be more fan art once Hannah and Other Stories releases later this year. I can see the stories Queen Alice and Fuselli’s Horses getting some fan art.

In the meantime, I have plenty of stories that are worth reading. You don’t have to create fan art from them if you don’t want to. I just want you to read them. And maybe let me know what you think. And you should also check out Iseult Murphy’s stories, which you can find links to on her blog. I recommend 7 Days in Hell and 7 Weeks in Hell.

Anyway, for my books, here are my links. For starters, if you want to check out “Disillusionment and Trauma Sometimes Go Hand-in-Hand,” you can grab a copy of Ink Stains here. If you want to check out “The Dedication of the High Priestess,” you can listen to it on the Tales to Terrify podcast here. And below are the links for my books.

That’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I’m off to work on a new short story while trying to figure out where to hang Iseult’s picture. Until next time, good night and pleasant nightmares.

The Quiet Game: Five Tales to Chill Your Bones: Amazon, Createspace, Barnes & Noble, iBooksSmashwords, and Kobo.

Snake: AmazonCreatespace, Barnes & Noble, iBooksSmashwords, and Kobo

Rose: Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada, Audible, B&N

The Pure World Comes: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, Kobo, Goodreads, Audible, Chirp, BingeBooks, LIbro.Fm, Storytel, Palace Marketplace, Hoopla, Vivlio, Smashwords, Thalia, Scribd, Spotify

Mother of the King: Amazon

Agoraphobia: Amazon

Hello, Followers of Fear. There are sixty days till Halloween. What have you done to prepare?

Artwork produced by artificial intelligence, or AI art, has become kind of a thing as the technology has advanced. In fact, some months back, there was an app that became a fad for horror writers to generate images and even book covers. And earlier this week, John Oliver featured it on his TV show, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. Here’s the video, if you’re interested. It’s hysterical.

John Oliver’s wife and children must have such a blast telling people who don’t know who he is what he does for a living. “Oh, my husband/dad? He sexually harasses Adam Driver and marries cabbages on TV once a week.”

Anyway, it got me interested enough to want to play around with AI art, so I made an account with one of the recommended companies, Midjourney, and went to work. The results were not only fascinating, but gave me some thoughts on the nascent AI art industry.

First, here are some of my successes. As it turns out, Midjourney’s AI program does very well with Lovecraftian/cosmic horror entities. For example, here’s Cthulhu destroying Las Vegas because I’m not a big Vegas fan (though under the right circumstances I’d visit again).

Then, in order, we have Yog-Sothoth, Shub-niggurath, Nyarlathotep, Azathoth, two pictures of the Deep Ones, the Color from Outer Space, and the King in Yellow.

And portraits of famous people tended to go well with the program. Here are Stephen King, Anne Rice, and HP Lovecraft, three of my biggest influences as a writer, as well as one of Lizzie Borden with an axe. Because why not?

And because I love ballet and try to put dancers in my stories when I can, I made a series of ballet posts, with their titles in the captions.

Dancer and Wolf on the lake
The Little Ballerina Ghost
Dancer in the Egyptian Temple
Dancers on a Moonlit Beach
Little Dancers Running from Lava
Little Dancer and Anubis

Pretty cool, right? Most of them look really good. However, those were success stories, like I said. Here’s what happened when I tried to create Jason Voorhees from the Friday the 13th films.

Yeah, I know. None of those come close to looking like Jason! He’s arguably more famous than Cthulhu, but these were the results. And then there was my attempt at Freddy Kreuger from A Nightmare on Elm Street. Oy freaking vey!

Yeah, who is that? Not Freddy Kreuger, who is definitely more famous than Cthulhu! Honestly, it looks more like my conception of Leland Gaunt, the antagonist from Needful Things by Stephen King. How could the AI get our favorite subconscious serial killer so wrong?

And those are just a few examples. I went through several failures trying to get anywhere close to a specific idea or image, only to give up when I realized the program just couldn’t create it. I couldn’t even create a decent Sailor Moon or an accurate tiger image, and both those prompts have enough references out there that they should have been easy to create something accurate.

Even some of the successes took a lot of work and experimentation, such as The King in Yellow or Little Dancer and Anubis. I won’t even go into detail about how hard it was to get a good Alice in Wonderland pic that wasn’t too trippy. I mean, I know the source material is plenty weird, but not all art based on it has to be super-surreal!

And while I call some of them successes, they aren’t perfect. You can especially see it in the ballerina series, where features like the head and limbs look odd or bent in ways you wouldn’t see on a normal dancer or a Degas painting. Only the tutus and bodices come out well. The rest of their bodies can be a mixed bag.

It kind of reminds me of that scene in 1986’s The Fly, where Jeff Goldblum puts steak through the teleporter and it comes out tasting weird. He figures out that the computer hasn’t learned how to move organic materials, and is instead creating an interpretation or bad imitation of what it thinks steak is. That’s what we have here: the AI has learned how to mimic and create, but it’s still leagues away from making certain things.

And honestly, I’m glad. Art is art because there’s someone behind it with a vision or a passion. You can program a computer to recreate famous art pieces or original pieces, including Batman comics and scripts or horror screenplays. And the computer might even do a good job at times. But there won’t be any passion or soul behind it. Art is art because we’re putting our love and soul into our creations.

And getting to work with a creator? That’s even more special. Believe me, I’ve done it before, and it’s amazing to see your vision come to life with their help. Especially when working on art pieces like book covers. That truly is something special.

That being said, I can see AI-generated art being used for cheap book covers as the technology improves, and the services of artists becoming more expensive. This could especially apply for small presses or independent publishers who need to lower costs while maximizing profits. The only time publishers may use a real artist is if the author is big enough to warrant it.

Hopefully that doesn’t happen, because it would mean we wouldn’t get to see some really amazing collaborations. So, for the meantime, I’ll stop with the AI art (I’ve scratched that itch and I don’t want to pay a subscription for Midjourney, anyway), and continue supporting the artists who create amazing art. Especially horror art.

And now, here are some more pieces I created. Except for a few I’m waiting to reveal till the time is right, here are my other successes. You can ask what was going through my mind when I created these in the comments below. Enjoy, and until next time, my Followers of Fear, pleasant nightmares!

Vampire Mothers and Child
Jump Rope with a Ghost
Jack the Ripper in an Alley
Flaming Giraffe #1
Flaming Giraffe #2
The Necronomicon
Bunny Girl and Hammer
Spooky Alice in Wonderland