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My New Insubstantial Friend - Greeting Card

My New Insubstantial Friend - Greeting Card

This design, one of my favourites, has a convoluted history.


About a year ago, a meme crossed my path in my Facebook feed, a black and white photograph of a trench-coated man in the rain holding out an umbrella over a ghost. The street looked Parisian and the ghost, while clearly floating with no supporting legs, was of the bedsheet with eye holes variety. I thought it was hilarious, so I did a reverse image search and found out it was a doctored version of a photo by Robert Doisneau. In the original, the ghost was a cello in its case, one of an often humourous series involving the cellist Maurice Baquet and his instrument. I made my own version of the ghost photo using public domain vector art of silhouettes I found on Pixabay and made it available on a shirt in this store. I liked it a lot, so much so that I ordered three of them, one for me and two for Rowan, and they are in heavy rotation. You can find that design as well as a bunch of work by Doisneau in this blog post.


I very recently decided to revisit that design with the help of Midjourney, the AI image engine, and set to it last week. It took a while to get to this point, as MJ flatly refused to produce an image of a man holding an umbrella over a small ghost, preferring instead big ghosts holding an umbrella over a man. As usual, the finished product was made by combining and editing together a number of results.


The title for my original silhouette design was "My Insubstantial Friend," a reference to a line spoken by Brian Blessed in the first season of Blackadder. This updated version creates a scenario that I find even more intriguing, mostly due to the glowing nature of the umbrella (I added the spreading cone of light to emphasize it) which suggests it is projecting a field that enables the existence of the ghost. That puts a possible "Men in Black" interpretation on the dark-suited man holding the umbrella. Hmmm...




Manufactured by Printful.


"Expressing your sentiments or planning an event can be hard. Take some of the weight off of your shoulders by getting yourself an authentic greeting card!

• Material: 14.77 oz/yd² (350 g/m²) paperboard

• Sizes: Small: 4″ × 6″ (101 × 152 mm)
Medium: 5″ × 7″ (127 × 178 mm)
Large: 5.83″ × 8.27″ (148 × 210 mm)

• Product weight: Small: 0.39 oz (11 g)
Medium: 0.6 oz (17 g)
Large: 0.85 oz (24 g)

• Toner-based printing
• Vibrant colors
• Comes with a complimentary envelope"


#midjourney #doisneau

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