Fan Art Friday—January 13, 2023

It’s Friday the 13th, and you know what that means!

That’s right: absolutely nothing! Because Friday the 13th is just another made-up holiday invented by Hallmark to sell more greeting cards.

Tsk. Tsk.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t have a scary nightmare-themed fan art Friday, centering around some of the most horrible creatures imaginable. I hope you brought adult diapers, because the horrors I have for you today will have you wetting yourself with fear.

Introducing the Red Sisters

As a tale of high adventure, Advent 9 would not be complete without some seriously frightening monsters to fight. This demand is met by the Red Sisters—mutant experiments of a mad scientist killed decades earlier, yet his creations live on in the tunnels underneath Hearth City.

The text of the book describes them as gigantic. Ranging from seven to ten feet in height. With too-wide faces hosting too-wide mouths that are filled with rows of shark teeth spiraling all the way to the creatures’ throats, and long shawls of blood red hair that hang past their waists.

Paul Pederson’s illustration (shown above) shows them a bit more slender than I imagined. The book describes them as stocky, fat, creatures with voluminous gullets. Nevertheless, the above images are a suitably chilling interpretation.

As they have a collection of features not normally found together, it is very hard for an AI to approximate the Red Sisters. But we’ll give it our best shot.

Wave 1: The Humanlikes

The text of Advent 9 is unambiguous about the Red Sisters origin. They were clearly once human.

But that doesn’t mean they’re meant to look human, and this puts the Midjourney AI at a disadvantage, as it is biased toward human faces (it even has trouble painting everyday animals). Still, with a focused prompt and a lot of do-overs, we found a few good candidates.

But the first ones still look too human.

And my inner Simon Cowell is rolling his eyes, going, “Yes, it’s very nasty, very grotesque, now can we please get to the people with talent?”

Have you ever seen a monster cry? No, because Simon Cowell doesn’t cry.

Apart from the fact that the Red Sisters walk on two legs, they’re not supposed to resemble humans. It should be impossible to make eye contact with one of them, because they’re eyes are too far apart and too shrunken.

Luckily, I’m persistent, and with a little more effort I was able to prod Midjourney in the right direction.

Wave 2: The Suitably Grotesques

By emphasizing the sharklike qualities of the Sisters, I was able to coax Midjourney into something that was almost like what I had in mind.

Here’s what I eventually settled on.

The red hair really needs to be longer (the Red Sisters are not supposed to have frontal baldness). All said though, this is a good interpretation, definitely progressing toward my original vision.

Perhaps this idea is simply too new and different. Or maybe a thousand words is sometimes worth more than a picture. In any case, we’ll have enough nightmare fuel to last the winter.

But because it’s Friday the 13th, and therefore not particularly special, I’m going to do what I always do and try on different art styles for this week’s subject. These ladies are ready for a makeover.

Wave 3: The Just-for-Funs

Frank Miller largely concerns himself with the darker aspects of human nature, but I imagine he could draw a monster if he wanted to. Let’s see how he would handle the Red Sisters.

And just to shake things up, let’s see the Red Sisters interpreted as a Rankin/Bass stop-motion holiday classic.

Santa’s reindeer will one day learn how valuable her deformities are. Then they will let her join in the Reindeer games.

Akira Toriyama once again makes a beautiful monster.

And Lisa Frank makes her fan artist debut with a late entry.

Honestly, I’m 90% convinced to go on a Lisa Frank-ing spree with all kinds of artworks. All it would take is a little push.

There’s a lot of potential subjects still lined up for future Fan Art Fridays. Which one are you most interested in seeing.

And will you be doing the painting? I’d like to see what you’ve got.

Never miss a secret. Subscribe to the blog.