5-minute sketch: A duck putting his shoes into his backpack

On Discord, I have asked my gaming pals to suggest 5-minute drawing prompts. This one was suggested in March, so I’m months late, but here it is, nonetheless!

A duck putting his shoes into his backpack:

Drawn in Procreate using the 6B Pencil. Also, per Procreate, this took 18 minutes because I kept changing the feet.

And I whipped up a colour version because I could:

Your Shoes Are Toast Human!

I decided to look for some daily drawing prompts to help grease the ol’ drawing, uh, wheels. Or hands, I guess.

Some sites essentially hide everything away until you sign up, or are weirdly specific, like “write something about your daily life…every day!” I live my life, I don’t want to draw it, too. Well, maybe a little.

And then there is drawingprompt.com, which gets points for the most on-the-nose web address.

But it offered this as its first random prompt when I visited:

And the would-be English teacher curled up my toes in horror at the missing comma. Or maybe it wasn’t missing, and Toast Human is a thing. Then I noticed “cloths” instead of “clothes”, using “their” and then “he” to describe the bulldog and, really, just how weird the prompt is, but weird in a wholly unappealing way.

Then I decided I don’t need to find a daily drawing prompt, I’ll just make something up. Take that, SEO-driven, AI-addled internet! I’m using my own brain!

In which AI gets sued by Disney

silhouette of person standing near a doorway with bright light
This is apparently a parallel dimension. OK! Photo by Mo Eid on Pexels.com

Years ago, I wrote an (unfinished) novel for National Novel Writing Month that involved a parallel dimension. I never had a good title for it, and used the clunky working title “Start of the World”, which sounds a bit like a bad translation. Then I thought, why use my brain to come up with a title when I can ask an AI chat program to do the mental lifting for me?

It turns out the answer is because it comes up with incredibly banal titles. Or maybe my prompts suck. In any case, I asked ChatGPT for 10 titles and #10 would likely to result in a call from Disney’s legal department1Actually, tittles can’t be trademarked, but try telling that to Disney less than a year after the second Dr. Strange movie..

Give me 10 titles for horror novels that involve alternate dimensions

  1. “The Shadow Realm”
  2. “Parallel Terrors”
  3. “Through the Void”
  4. “Twisted Realities”
  5. “The Other Side”
  6. “Gateway to Horror”
  7. “The Fourth Dimension of Fear”
  8. “Infinite Nightmares”
  9. “Beyond the Veil”
  10. “The Multiverse of Madness”

These are all so bland, I wouldn’t use any of them. Yes, even the one Disney actually used. Undaunted, I asked ChatGPT to give me 10 more:

  1. “Dimensional Descent”
  2. “The Darker Side”
  3. “Alternate Realms of Horror”
  4. “The Otherworldly Terror”
  5. “Twilight Dimensions”
  6. “The Doppelgänger Effect”
  7. “The Abyssal Gate”
  8. “The Haunted Multiverse”
  9. “The Sinister Parallel”
  10. “Terror from Beyond”

A few of these are not horrible, but they’re all still incredibly generic. I especially like the on-the-nose “Alternate Realms of Horror.” That’s a novel name that is very much “what it says on the tin.” Maybe the prompt itself was too generic. I tweaked it a little. Probably too little.

Give me 10 titles for a modern horror novel featuring parallel dimensions

  1. “Interdimensional Nightmare”
  2. “The Multiverse Horror”
  3. “Parallel Panic”
  4. “Beyond Our World”
  5. “The Alternate Abyss”
  6. “Dread Dimensions”
  7. “The Parallel Paradox”
  8. “The Multidimensional Menace”
  9. “The Terrifying Twinverse”
  10. “Portals of Horror”

These are also pretty uninspired, but I like the alliteration it leaned into, especially for “Parallel Panic” and “Dread Dimensions”. “The Terrifying Twinverse” made me laugh, so there’s that.

I’ll try this again at some point when I can think of a prompt that will at least produce bizarre results, if nothing else.

10 light blog post topics

Once again, I consulted my favourite AI after the Master Control Program in TRON, ChatGPT, for 10 light blog topic ideas.

Rather than spread them out over 10 separate posts, I’m going to include all of them conveniently right here!

First, the topics suggested by ChatGPT:

  1. “5 easy DIY home decor ideas”
  2. “10 fun outdoor activities for families”
  3. “Healthy meal prep ideas for the week”
  4. “7 ways to boost your productivity at work”
  5. “A beginner’s guide to mindfulness meditation”
  6. “The benefits of practising gratitude daily”
  7. “How to create a successful morning routine”
  8. “The best books to read for personal growth”
  9. “Budget-friendly date night ideas”
  10. “The importance of self-care and ways to do it”.

And all 10 topics covered below, squashed into this one entry for your convenience and/or reading pleasure:

5 Easy DIY Home Decor Ideas

  1. Don’t just put your kids’ “interesting” drawings on the fridge, paper all the walls of your house with them. You may need more productive kids or many more kids to really make this idea shine.
  2. Take the plastic off your furniture. It’s time.
  3. Get rid of your pets. They shed all over everything. Fish are OK.
  4. Win the lottery and hire a professional interior decorator because let’s face it, you probably don’t know what you’re doing.
  5. Paint the walls with optical illusions that make it look like each room of your home is actually just a shabby corner of some grand palace.

10 Fun Outdoor Activities For Families

  1. Try to get the dog in the car
  2. Try to get the dog out of the car
  3. Lawn darts (note: I think this might be illegal now, so maybe check first to avoid getting arrested and/or having your kids taken away by the child welfare people)
  4. Jumping in puddles in the rain. Works best if you are under six years old.
  5. Count the ants at your picnic in the park
  6. Run away from the bees
  7. Go hiking around a lake, with trees and shit*
  8. Abuse nature with your off-road vehicle
  9. Visit exotic sand dunes, then relive the experience for the next week while you try to get the sand out of everything
  10. Crash your neighbour’s backyard barbecue. You’re pretty sure they like you.

* stolen from McSweeney’s

Healthy Meal Prep Ideas for the Week

  • Salad
  • A plate of raw vegetables
  • More salad
  • Tofu Surprise
  • Probably some more vegetables, maybe in soup this time. But no salt. Sodium is bad.
  • This feels like the right time for more salad
  • Eat out at that vegan place that curiously has no reviews after being open for four months

7 Ways to Boost Your Productivity at Work

  1. Hire someone better than you to do your work
  2. Put in long, grinding, soul-destroying hours
  3. Sharpen pencils on your own time
  4. Rig up one of those little dipping bird things to peck at your keyboard
  5. Get ChatGPT to do all of your programming, writing or email. Basically, anything that you would type out as part of your job.
  6. Encourage management to hire lousy slobs to make you look better in comparison
  7. Redefine your role to best suit your limited skill set

A Beginner’s Guide to Mindfulness Meditation

  • Remember to breathe, or you might pass out or maybe even die
  • Ignore the neighbours screaming and throwing things upstairs–it’s all part of finding inner peace
  • If your yoga position is causing excruciating pain, just remember: The pain is all in your mind

The Benefits of Practising Gratitude Daily

Gosh, this one is tough. I mean, I guess if you’re grateful for something, your life doesn’t totally suck, so that’s good! And being grateful usually means you’re happy about something, so you’re not thinking about how that rat you thought was your friend still owes you a hundred bucks. What’s their deal, anyway? Also, if you’re grateful, maybe you’ll enter an elevated state of mind where you come up with some super genius idea like cold fusion that works, or how to lick climate change. I mean, it’s theoretically possible.

How To Create a Successful Morning Routine

  1. Get up while it’s still morning.
  2. Do the things you need to do.
  3. Repeat every day until the day you die.
  4. You probably don’t need to do this as a ghost or whatever.

The Best Book to Read For Personal Growth

  • Any book with “growth” in the title that is not referring to fungal growth
  • Any book with “habit” in the title that is not about nuns. Or maybe a book about nuns is exactly what you need, sister!
  • “How to Influence People Through Hypnosis and Trickery”
  • Oh wait, I was only supposed to mention one book.
  • Fine, read The Handbook of Etiquette. Sure, it was written in 1860, but that probably means it’s free now, so you save money to put toward your personal growth. And it’s bound to have some decent advice in it. What’s really changed in 163 years?

Budget Friendly Date Night Ideas

  • Have your date pay for everything.
  • Stimulating conversation at the kitchen table
  • $10 bottle of wine and a $15 tent bought from Walmart, in the backyard. Make sure the dog is inside. The house, not the tent.
  • Watching the stars from a grassy hill. You may need to move to the Australian outback for this to really work now.
  • Charades. I’m kidding, you probably want a second date. Or to finish the first one.
  • Troll people on your favourite social media site. Make it a game you play together. See who garners the most angry responses or blocks!

The Importance of Self Care and Ways to Do It

First, if you don’t brush your teeth, it’s highly unlikely someone else will do it for you. So it’s important to do stuff like that unless you have extremely close and generous friends.

Taking care of yourself is best learned through watching endless hours of self-improvement videos on YouTube. There’s too many to list, but you’ll find them. Just watch them all for a few weeks. By the end you’ll be self caring like a mofo, as the kids say.

Also, avoid donuts. I know they are delicious, but they are bad for your teeth–which you have to brush yourself–and they probably contain chemicals that cause cancer.

If you find my advice useful, please support me through my Patreon.

ChatGPT weird drawing prompt #5: A spaceship shaped like a giant slice of pizza

A star destroyer would have been perfect, but maybe too perfect, so I went with this retro thing, with rivets and all. But piloted by a giant alien (the satellite provides scale).

Five prompts to go!

Name 10 weird things to draw

  1. A two-headed unicorn
  2. A giant potato wearing a top hat and monocle
  3. A house made entirely of cheese
  4. A robot with a pet dragon
  5. A spaceship shaped like a giant slice of pizza
  6. A mermaid riding a unicycle
  7. A palm tree with arms and legs
  8. A giant hamster in a tutu
  9. A cactus wearing a sombrero and a bow tie
  10. A chicken playing the drums

Revisiting an old Inktober prompt

I was poking through some of my old Inktober prompts in Procreate and came across the one for Wild (original post). I discovered I had botched a lot of the technical aspects of it (layers are a complete mess, for one thing), and always thought the hills and mountains in the background looked more like a cave entrance.

I duplicated the prompt, fixed the technical bits, then added some muted colours and shading. I like how it turned out! It was fun and enlightening to go back and repair my original slapdash behind-the-scenes stuff.

Here’s a before and after.



ChatGPT Weird drawing prompt #4: A robot with a pet dragon

I did both the dragon and robot without any reference. I think this means I’ve seen a lot of dragons over the years, which is impressive when you consider they don’t exist.

The full prompt list:

Name 10 weird things to draw

  1. A two-headed unicorn
  2. A giant potato wearing a top hat and monocle
  3. A house made entirely of cheese
  4. A robot with a pet dragon
  5. A spaceship shaped like a giant slice of pizza
  6. A mermaid riding a unicycle
  7. A palm tree with arms and legs
  8. A giant hamster in a tutu
  9. A cactus wearing a sombrero and a bow tie
  10. A chicken playing the drums