Artist Creates Relatable Cartoon Posters Of Super Women By Using AI And Drawing By Hand
According to Iman Thomas: “I’m a 41-year-old artist, wife, and mom, enjoying a newborn and a teen at the same time. I had to quit making art professionally two years ago because of my health. My husband and teen son have worked really hard to help me get back to creating. They are my heroes, saints, and nerdy art directors.
Bed rest for chronic illness is incredibly boring, Pandas. I have Ehlers-Danlos and Lyme and it’s hard to find care so there’s not a lot of hope for full recovery any time soon. To stave off depression, I’ve been studying cartooning on my iPad. My older kid and I watched Ms. Marvel and were inspired. (The actress even shares my first name.) I found the process of creating the poster uplifting.”
“That got us watching other movies and shows and I realized that kids today have some amazing heroes to look up to. The most time-consuming part was researching quotes. I didn’t want to just use the standard quotes you can find with a google search. I wanted to highlight moments that encapsulated the characters but also could be a fun, relatable, or motivating sentiment for people who haven’t seen them on screen.
Part of my process incorporates AI (artificial intelligence) to make the most of the precious few moments I have to draw while the baby is sleeping/nursing. Using AI is very controversial right now, so I’ve been researching how it can be a tool for artists and want to explain how I combine it with traditional art in a digital setting.”
“When I say AI, I don’t mean a computer generates fully completed detailed art at the push of a button. It’s actually difficult to craft a prompt that gives you decent results. And takes lots of trial and error to get some of the great results you’ve seen.
If you’re an artist who is concerned about AI replacing human artists, I recommend getting a trial membership for one of the big generators like MidJourney or Starryai and actually try to make some art. My results were hilariously bad.
Art should be fun. Yes, it’s practice, and learning a new skill takes time. But even the practice part should be cathartic or soothing or fun. If you’re not having fun, change it up. Adding AI to my process added fun back into my art practice.”
“Not all AI is text to image. Some exciting explorations of the tech are apps you can use on your phone with your own photos. I use AI (Voila and Faceapp) to help make the reference sketch accurate but still a stylized cartoon. I’m able to test poses and expressions quickly, to narrow down my favorites. This is what I use to create the sketch that will be the base.
Once I have the colors blocked in, I use PaintCan to paint really loose messy brush strokes around the edges. I like a deconstructed look and this allows me to replicate natural mediums really quickly.
I spend most of my time in Procreate, with my Apple Pencil, painting in simplified details, and adding loose brush strokes to define shapes like I would on canvas.”
“All of the typography is done in Procreate. I use the iFont app to manage system-wide fonts from Google. (Please don’t make my mistake of installing fonts directly to Procreate, it’s much harder to organize later.) Then I customize the fonts with clipping masks to add texture. This way I can change the colors and textures and fonts without flattening the layers. Leaving layers editable is so important when you’re creating an art series. I went through several iterations before I landed on these designs. I’ve also made my own texture brushes. Just having organized brushes has sped my process up quite a bit.”
“Finally, I’ll run a pass of the Remini app over. This is a new find and so much fun. This polishes things up and it’s wicked cool how it can read my brush strokes and maintain the painted texture where I want it as well as read the parts I’ve detailed and somehow know the difference. I’ll mask this later to only highlight certain details because I don’t want things to look fake.
The final result is a stylized cartoon portrait that also serves as an expression study and a way to practice making digital art look and make it feel traditional.
A note to aspiring artists: art needs humans. To dream, to imagine, to remember. Art doesn’t need us to jump through hoops to exist, and art doesn’t need artists to suffer to be good.”