Making a teenage boy who reluctantly helps with haymaking — that was the plan. First off, the Artbreeder AI doesn’t have a clue about tools. Tools are just some sticks floating around each other and sticking out at weird angles. Once you add the keyword “hay”, the sticks get beards and start looking like brooms trying to win a Finnish eco design award.

A young man with long hair holds a staff to which some hay is fastened
Interesting cross-over of Finnish eco design and Far East martial arts, set in fantasy viking age Iceland

So I omitted the tools and focused on the teenager. It’s hot and dry in summer when you make hay, alas omitting the shirt seemed logical as well. But then your teenager becomes a Mr Universe contestant. Apparently all the algorithm ever encounters, bare-torsoed teenager-wise, are tanned, muscular, blond underwear models.

A shirtless teenage boy with long hair stands in front of a stack of straw, arms crossed
I can’t think of a way to make this more cliché

I want my fantasy vikings to be at least remotely relatable and have a wide range of body types, skin colours, etc. So bye-bye Mr Universe. Nice meeting you. Now go sip your green tea and don’t forget to put on your cucumber mask before the next shoot.

Then I got the one I really liked. And he … had no hands. My fantasy vikings can have disabilities. But this one ist just too surreal. It looks like something Magritte could have thought of, but he would have dismissed the idea because it was too dark and not at all humourous.

A shirtless teenager whose arms are grown together so he has no hands
Here’s one teenager who has all the reasons in the world to be gloomy

Okay, let’s put the shirts back on, and hopefully the hands as well.

This one has interesting lighting and a good expression. But a weird hand.

Teenager with a gloomy expression, arms folded in front of his body
This viking boy is going to pull out the headphones from his cross-body bag and listen to some heavy metal as soon as the haymaking is over

If you want to experiment with those fantasy viking boys, 👉 head over to my Artbreeder and give them a remix! Let me know of your versions in the comments!