AI art??? What just happened?

My heart has always been in creating unique and captivating images, blending the personality of hand-drawn techniques with the precision of digital artistry. But then AI came along and broke the entire industry for all of us commercial artists.

The flood of AI-generated art has left me feeling lost and heartbroken, and quite frankly in crisis. This is all I’ve done to make a living since I was in my twenties, and I’m now in my fifties—not a great time for starting over. Traditional artists like myself are struggling to keep up, and I’ve been left wondering where my place is in this rapidly changing industry.

To be honest, I thought about closing my coloring store as I watched sales plummet and mass images come online. I see the same trend in cover art (where I earned most of my art living for over a decade and while demand for cover art may not disappear entirely, I’ve already seen a significant decline, especially for premade covers.

I watched my favorite colorists coloring obvious Midjourney-generated images with no alterations. I also watched some other artists embrace the tech and create more images with hand-embellished touches and this, I thought, might work. The question still remained…what was my path forward? It felt like I was facing a soul-crushing decision: adapt or let my art-self die.

So, I decided to give AI a chance, training a model on my own art and using its output as a starting point along with serious prompt engineering and hand to ai to hand to ai and back-again workflows to create more unique works. Even though AI plays a role in my creative process, I still pour my heart and soul into every piece, refining and adding my personal touch through engineering, workflow, manual painting, and digital manipulation. My commitment to producing the highest quality, value-add images hasn’t wavered.

In the future, I plan to explore different creative avenues, including traditional mediums and I will continue to produce art that is not AI-assisted (you will see these coming online in the Etsy shop without an AI statement attached). But adapting and evolving takes time in this quickly shifting landscape. I’m sorry for any confusion this transition might cause, and I deeply appreciate everyone’s compassion, understanding, and support.

To be honest with my audience, I make sure to include a clear statement in any AI-assisted artwork I create. Additionally, when Firefly is released to the general public (this is Adobe’s AI generative model), I will undoubtedly move to this model as it is one-hundred percent ethically trained and geared toward artists and creatives. This choice has been tough and, at times, soul-crushing, but I believe it’s important to keep the trust and respect of those who appreciate and support my work.

It’s okay if you don’t want to color any art that has any connection to AI. (And please check, not all my art will be AI-assisted.) We all have to choose where we draw the line and what feels right to us. This, for now at least, is what I’m choosing to do and I ask for patience and understanding as I try and figure it out in this quickly changing landscape.

I am so grateful for each and every one of you. You all taught me that I had something to offer to the coloring, art, and publishing community and I’ll be forever grateful for that. I am also open to discussions about how you feel, what you’d like to see as far as products you’d be happy with, or anything else. I hope to open a forum for a safe and supportive conversation and community.

Thank you all, again. Hugs.


And now back to your regularly scheduled program:



It was an accident.

I stumbled into it. I can’t say there wasn’t ever an interest. Like most, I created art as a child, often paired with writing. Illustrating my own or others’ stories or cartoons, drawing for hours on end, or making…just about anything. Dolls, ceramics, sculptures, songs. Whatever I could imagine. My mother introduced me to crafting at an early age and it took root. Even now, I doubt there’s a piece of furniture in my house I haven’t painted or refurbished at least once, if not five times. But I’d always considered myself just that. A maker. An imaginator. Someone who dreams with their hands, words, songs.

But art crept up on me. I’d never planned on art as a career, in fact, I went to Berklee College of Music in hopes of creating music. I’ve never even considered myself an artist even though I’ve been making a living with it since the late ‘90s.

But as adulting took hold and I had to pay my way, I found myself magically landing graphic design positions. I had an affinity for computers and a ravenous desire to learn and before I knew it, I’d entered into the corporate design world. I’d work with Fortune 500s and national PR firms and start my own graphic design firm back in the early days of CorelDraw and Pagemaker.

And when the Wacom graphics pad & Photoshop came along it changed me. Formed me. Shaped me. I’d find my home as a cover artist and that would lead me to now. A place I never saw coming. Creating worlds of fantasy and magic, not only in words but in images that I am fortunate enough to share with the world.

So here’s the truth about art for me. I didn’t pursue it. It pursued me. It brought me joy and livelihood. Taught me to see beyond the glance. Really look and find the beauty in everything I saw or imagined. Whenever I enter into a visual creation, I go to another world. A place of zen. Peace. Being. Beauty. Magics. And I want nothing more than to share that sensation with you.

I’m so grateful you stopped by. And so thankful for your interest. It’s you, the viewer, the collector, the colorer, that allows me to continue my dream. Below you’ll find a sampling of my visual creations. I work digitally, combining the disciplines of photomanipulation, 3D art, and digital painting/illustration. You can find everything from coloring to cover creation and in-between. If you’re interested in the “factual” bio, visit my about page.

Coloring Pages

All coloring pages are available for instant purchase on my Etsy store, Affair Of the Arts. Yes. There will be coloring books in the future, but for now, Etsy is where you’ll find all my offerings.

  • "Arwen" Adult Grayscale Fantasy Coloring Page

Endangered Art

My newest passion–or an old passion that’s taken a new form. You’ll find many animal telepathy and welfare themes in my books, especially in my future publications that I’ve been keeping a wrap on.  (For now, if you’re interested, try my bestselling series, ShadowLight Saga, where there’s a particular kind of magic, a Caller, or in the old tongue, Dyra-sogn, a person who can speak with creatures.)

But in Endangered Art, I modernize age-old fairytales and combine them with endangered species and offer them up as NFTs (crypto art). Watch for upcoming releases. And coloring fans, you’ll be able to find these exclusive pieces as coloring pages in the Etsy store once they’ve dropped.

  • SNEAK PEEK! Believe it is Possible will be the first NFT Crypto Art Drop in the Endangered Art series.

Children’s Book Illustrations & Cover Art

I’ve been creating for a decade in a variety of genres and you can find out more at my sister site

  • Urban Fantasy Cover Art

Free Art & Coloring Pages

By signing up at the bottom of the page you’ll get instant access to free coloring pages, artwork, and coloring guides in the Vault and lifetime access to everything I add to the vault (including all stories, artwork, coloring pages, etc.) This is where I house all free stuff and it’s yours by entering your email address below and getting an instant all-access pass. And you’ll be the first to know when new freebies release. Plus, get chances to name art pieces, sneak peaks, win prizes, receive discounts, and more. Here’s what you get right now:

Free Adult Coloring Pages Instant Download PDFs

  • Printing Tips and Mini Color Guide PDF
  • Extended Color Therapy Guide PDF
  • Snow White Grayscale Coloring Page PDF
  • Dream of the Sea Mermaid Grayscale Coloring Page PDF
  • Hooked Little Mermaid Grayscale Coloring Page PDF 
  • 3 Queen’s Honor Coloring pages JPGS – that’s a total of 6 Free Coloring Pages!
  • 3 Free Queen’s Honor Wallpapers


You’re just a step away from access…enter your name and interest below and whether you’re a reader or an art seeker, you’ll get an ALL ACCESS PASS to the Vault.

Thank you for stopping by. Have a magical day.
Mande Matthews Fantasy Author A. Matthews Artist

PS – You might be wondering why two names?

Mainly because it was an accident. I’d used my birth name, Amanda, for my graphics/art business for my entire adult life. When I started publishing, I used my childhood nickname, Mande. I never thought the two worlds would collide, even though it should have been obvious to me.

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