Narnian Witches: The White Witch (AI Remix)

Or  “The Persistence of the Big-Ass Crown.”

AI art engines have come a long way since last summer, which is when I started using them — being sick at home with COVID was the perfect excuse. They’re also a neat way to visualize a character using your own prompts. Such as, what would The White Witch look like if designed after the characters in the 1968 SF movie Barbarella?

There’s both a blonde and a black-haired version! I prefer the latter even though Lewis never specified the color of her hair. Notice the tinseled, silver costumes of the extras behind her.

A white witch after William-Adolphe Bouguereau, done in NightCafe, that turned out to be more like the Pauline Baynes illustration in the book. The engine ignored the instructions about her crown, which was to be small. Still a nice depiction  with the stern look on her face.

The same prompt in StarryAI, with additional words indicating a background. Now she has a broomstick and some chagrin that the snow is melting so quickly. Ignore the hotdog fingers on her right hand, please. Again we get that big-ass crown.

A photorealistic angry White Witch who, I imagine, has just sighted Aslan and knows that he will be her foe.  As is par for the course ifor AI engines, the human expressions lack subtlety, looking more like commercial stock photography than anything naturalistic. Aside from the black, featherlike protrusions on top of her crown, it could be real.

A quartet of gorgeous White Witches rendered in Midjourney v.5.2, using “graphic novel” as the prompt and P. Craig Russell as the artist (he did the work on The Problem of Susan). As is par for the course, more decorative and “commercial” than not. I am most fond of #4. That would be a great costume design for a new LWW movie.

I tried to see if the same engine could replicate the look of Baynes’ illustrations from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, but it repeatedly ignored my instructions for a “very simple pen sketch, B&W.” This was the best I got out of several attempts.

NOT pen and ink, and NOT simple. All the ones in this batch tended to look like Catherine Zeta Jones, for some reason. Notice she has a right foot, but no leg!

The same prompt but with Frank Frazetta as the artist.

Now that’s a witch! Even if her hands are doing something murky, and she’s got tree branches stuck in her crown.

Finally, I uploaded a sketch of Baynes’ for reference — it was of Queen Lucy dancing with Mr. Tumnus from The Horse and his Boy, very simple yet evocative.

Hmm, it looks the hand of Pauline Baynes has merely copied the look of the same woman who modeled for the two pictures above. But honestly, I think it’s the best I can get out of that particular program, and finally, her crown is of normal size.

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