Oh, how the tables have turned – no sooner have we taught neural networks how to art, they think they can teach us how to draw. Given how rubbish I am at drawing anything, they may be right. Art Sqool is a game by Julian Glander about wandering a pastel synthwavey world, doodling pictures that will impress your AI-powered art teacher. Maybe you’ll make a transcendent work that’ll reduce all to tears. Maybe you’ll just draw a variety of brightly coloured phalluses and the AI will say ‘yeah, okay’. Check out the launch trailer below and its irritatingly catchy song.
There’s more to Art Sqool than just MSPaint-style doodling. To create proper digital art, you need brushes, and to get brushes you’ve got to help Froshmin explore the Art Sqool campus. The tools you can collect include the ‘rainbow pencil’, ‘mop’, and ‘wiggle brush’, which don’t sound like proper art equipment, but I’ll give the game the benefit of the doubt. Maybe under its tutelage, I’d be able to draw something more complex and evocative than a stickman – please be gentle, Professor Neural Network.
Honestly, I’ve a sneaking suspicion that Art Sqool is just training people to be more like Julian Glander. Just look at that trailer. Then look at this silly short he did for Adult Swim. Now look at that kaleidoscopic (but soft and soothing) palette of colours. Before you know it, you’ll be creating whole worlds in pinks, pastels and blues, slathering it in weird synth tunes, becoming irresistibly attractive to whichever genders you’d like to show interest. Or you could just have a bit of fun – the developer estimates Art Sqool will take 4-6 hours to finish, and there’s over 200 prompts to draw, so it should be good for a second trip, too.
Art Sqool is out now on Itch and Steam for £8.36/€8.99/$10.79. It’s officially published by Glanderco, which I have a sneaking suspicion is just Julian Glander wearing a T-shirt that reads ‘business’ in an ironic font – maybe Comic Sans.