SFAU #26, by Eric Wayne. Digital drawing, 18×24″ @300 dpi. 8/11/018. [CLICK TO SEE IT IN A NEW TAB SIZED FOR YOUR SCREEN.]

If you are new to this series all the images are based on recent photos of me after basically being fed through a neural network (which can change age, gender, etc.), then edited and painted using various programs. None of the people actually exist, and thus they are like self portraits from alternate universes.

It’s been about 2 months since the last piece I completed for this series. I’d decided to abandon it, perhaps try to work on material that at least had the potential to make some money… But I never felt right about discontinuing it. When I made a video showing the fist 25 images morphing into one another, several people shared their sustained interest in the series, and so I realized it wasn’t just me that got it on several levels.

A little research on Google revealed that so far, I’m the only one doing this sort of project using FaceApp, which kinda’ surprises me. I suppose it requires a certain audacity; digital art and traditional skills; photo editing; and probably a fine art and conceptual foundation. I guess the ball fell in my court.

This one is an old and goofy version of me. And here I have to tell you one of the odd things this series is doing to my mind. In my dreams I’ve become older. I’m wondering if there’s a psychological coping mechanism to do with accepting aging, that you adjust your self image to accommodate your increased wrinkles and so on, and so seeing them exaggerated I am perhaps doing this. Whatever the psychological mechanism, I’m regularly surprised that I don’t really look like the image above.

In case you are wondering, no, I haven’t had any dreams in which I was female, despite half the images being female versions. I have become I think a more astute observer of the bizarre nature of gender, however. More about that some other time.

Here’s the original photo (I was making a face), what FaceApp did with it, and then where I took it:

I exaggerated the less flattering characteristics. And even though I don’t think I’ll ever look quite that goofy, I see it as very strong likeness. I made the ears and tip of the nose bigger; of course he’s more bald, and I made some artistic improvements like making the underside of the nose and chin stand out more.

I used a different technique this time, which is more drawing oriented, while most the other ones were more painterly. Here, my drawn version has more detail and contrast than the photos (especially because FaceApp only makes a postage stamp sided image, which is itself useless as art).

Here’s a detail:

And at actual pixels:

I just used one brush in Photoshop to do this. I made a basic outline, and then put my outline next to the photo and copied it, making various changes according to my sensibility. When I say “copied”, I mean I looked at one and drew the other one using a stylus and tablet.

This is one of my favorites in the series. It has a Chuck Close sort of look about it, and I’d forgotten, I think, to mention before the connection to his art. I’m about the last person I would have expected to do a series of self-portraits, unless of course I knew that I’d find a way to change age, gender, and even race.

Now that I’m back into working on this series with conviction, I hope to finish a new one about once a week.

Here are the full 26 images so far. Just click anywhere in the gallery to go into the screen-show mode.

~ Ends

And if you like the (experimental) sort of art that I do, and you don’t want me to have to quit or put it on a back-burner, please consider chipping in so I can keep working until I drop. Through Patreon, you can give $1 (or more) per month to help keep me going (y’know, so I don’t have to put art back on the back-burner while I slog away at a full-time job). Ah, if only I could amass a few hundred dollars per month this way, I could focus entirely on my art and writing. See how it works here.

Or go directly to my account.


Or you can make a small, one time donation to help me keep on making art and blogging (and restore my faith in humanity simultaneously).


7 replies on “New Art: Selfies From Alternate Universes # 26

  1. Eric,

    Would you rather I donate money directly to you ? I don’t want some web service to take a pay cut of your donation I don’t have much being unemployed right now but I want to help. Keep on creating. I would love to see a version of your selfish as a mixed of another race. You can say an Asin fan request of that. Please reply what method I can donate to you.


    On Tue, Sep 11, 2018, 10:29 AM Art & criticism by eric wayne wrote:

    > Eric Wayne posted: ” If you are new to this series all the images are > based on recent photos of me after basically being fed through a neural > network (which can change age, gender, etc.), then edited and painted using > various programs. None of the people actually exis” >


    1. Hi Trang. Great to hear from you, and unexpected. In fact I have a few pieces in early stages that are combinations of me and another person (each is a different person). Hmmm. Maybe I’ll do one of those next. I already have enough material for a couple dozen more pieces, and lots of ideas of avenues to explore and branch off into.

      For donations, well, I’m in Asia, as I have been for over a decade, so Patreon or Paypal are really the only methods I’ve used for donations. Paypal and Patreon both take a cut, but Patreon’s is negligible. A lot of people don’t like it because it’s ongoing payment, but on my end it’s really nice getting the monthly payouts, even if they’re small. It also looks good for me to have more patrons. Anything helps – I value my $1 a month contributions – and it’s super easy to cancel. You just press one button, and it’s obvious. But some people really prefer to make a one time donation, and then Paypal works well enough.

      You can wait until you are working again. I’m more happy that someone from my grad school actually likes what I’m doing than I am about a donation. I tend to forget I had one or two supporters among the grad students.

      Last we talked I was living in China, and I think I got sidetracked with my teaching job… or was moving to another country. That was more than 5 years ago.

      Hope all is going well with you, and you are making art.


  2. Hi Eric

    Unlike many of the others in this series, even in a thumbnail there’s no real mistaking this for a photo. That’s not a criticism (if anything it’s a compliment on your digital painting skill) I just really appreciate the variety, not to mention the slight goofiness here. It kind of takes me back to the sort of bold illustrations I loved looking at as a kid.

    Your thoughts about the mind’s mechanism of coping with the ageing body is interesting. When drawing myself freehand (without a reference) I would often exaggerate the lines of my face, looking older than I am. For what it’s worth I often feel like I’ve aged more than I actually have.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. HI Craig:

      That’s how I see it, too — this one reads as a drawing and doesn’t look like photorealism. And I feel the same way about it. It adds something new, and even if I come to prefer this method, it’s better that the earlier ones were in another style because it adds variety.

      I’m not sure if I put it in color if it will still seem as much like a drawing, but I’m trying that next.

      I did a bunch of portrait drawing tutorials recently, and I think honing those skills shows in this image. Mostly, it’s just using a different approach, though.

      Thanks for commenting.


  3. I really like the latest one, and your showing of some of your process with the details and comments on how you modify certain features. Amazing work. I get a charge out of seeing the whole series each time. Great to see you’ve regained momentum on this project!


    1. Another one will be out within a few days. I’m using this technique, but in color. As for this series, the haters made undermined my confidence by serving up hatred as a response to my work, but a little later my supporters came out vocally and completely overshadowed the negative attacks. It’s worth continuing this series if there’s even a handful of people who follow it and remain interested.

      Liked by 1 person

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