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  • Mark Eberhardt

AI Art for Games - Airplane Tutorial: Time to Sketch

In our last blog, we collected AI generated reference materials for wacky airplane racers. Today, we’re going to put that reference material to use, inspiring a set of concept sketches for a game we’re calling “Mayor Waffles’ Wild Skies.”


Artists use references for their artwork, whether it’s drawing from a live model, still life, or maybe books, magazines, or their own photography. The proliferation of AI generated images gives artists a new way to add to their reference catalog.


We’re working on concepts for our racers, for a game set in the world of Mouse Cheese Cat Cucumber. The goal is to fly across the continent in a rally/scavenger hunt using wild and wacky flying machines.


We’ve seen what AI thinks a wacky airplane looks like but before we start working on our aircraft, we’re going to do some digging for real life oddball planes. Knowing what a real plane looks like (especially strange or experimental aircraft) is going to give some life and believability to our concepts.

After drawing up some sketches based on real aircraft, we move onto making our own. We’ve separated out the parts of the AI generated images that we like – the goofy proportions, the steampunk engine and wheel details, and the markings on the wings – for reference while we start drawing. At this stage in the process, we’re looking more for overall design and feeling rather than a finished, beautiful piece of artwork

In our airplane research, we ran across a really funky looking plane called the Stipa-Caproni. Basically a jet engine with wings, we’re using that as inspiration for the body of the plane. Everything that the AI came up with was biplanes but we really like the look of a triplane, so we’re adding wings above and below the body of the plane. The last thing is an open cockpit; what’s the point of having Mayor Waffles fly a plane if we don’t get to see Mayor Waffles in the plane. With all of these ideas in mind, let’s get drawing.

Once the sketches are done, the next step is to share our work! Mark will take this and two or three other drawings to Bob to see if they meet his vision of the theme. After any revisions, he’ll add color and a background, and it’ll go to art testing and be put in front of people playing the game.

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