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Wednesday, September 6, 2023

New Work Published: Other Town by Ray Wennerstroem

 I kind of missed the boat on the publication date on this one by a couple of months, but this is another novel I have illustrated (including the cover).  "Welcome to...Other Town" by Ray Wennerstroem is a YA novel in the style of Clive Barker's "Thief of Always" or Ray Bradbury's "The Halloween Tree".  From it's Amazon description:

"When Georgie Robinson falls off his bike and gets lost in the woods, a strange adventure awaits.

Wandering through the forest, Georgie discovers an abandoned town that is not abandoned at all, but is filled with folks that are strange, wonderful, and frightening. While his dad and best friend, Pete, are searching for him, Georgie sees a Furliz, meets the Picklock Clan, and is guided through a strange town by a peculiar mayor with jellyfish skin and a very big hat.

But when a sinister plot is exposed, will Georgie find the help he needs before it's too late?"

Aside from the cover, I've provided several interior illustrations for this project.  This one was a bit experimental for me.  Around the time I started on this, AI art was just beginning to hit big, with several tools becoming available to the public.  I decided to play around with the tools and see if I could make an ethical use of AI generated images.  So for some of the images in this book, I fed prompts into a couple of AI tools and had them generate images that I used to help nail the composition and perspective of the finished images I would eventually create.  I printed out the generated compositions and traced over them on my light table, adding and changing details as I thought necessary, then scanned them back into my computer and digitally inked them on my tablet.  I wouldn't say this is my best work (although there is one image in the book I am especially fond of), but it was an interesting change to my process that opened up some new possibilities.

For anyone who has strong opinions on AI art, I'd love to know what you think of this use of the tool.  Was it ethical?  Is this a fair use of computer generated imagery, or just higher level cheating?  Feel free to drop a comment and let me know what you think.

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