Aesthetic Exploration: Eldritch

The word Eldritch is commonly defined as an adjective to describe that which is strange, eerie, uncanny, ghostly, or similarly fear-inducing. It is also commonly associated with H.P. Lovecraft’s elder gods and eldritch horrors such as Cthulhu or Yog-Sothoth. Below are four artists renditions of an eldritch horror pulled from a simple google search with the key word eldritch.



The first three images show combinations of features one may see in nature with what could be considered corruptions. The first image combining two existing creatures, while the third is only vaguely relatable to any recognizable form. Fourth is an artist’s rendition of Cthulhu, which also seems to follow this pattern of altering forms that are recognizable in nature in order to unsettle the viewer.

Following are two images I pulled from the AI image generator, feeding it the word ‘eldritch’ followed by ‘crow’, a common and mundane creature that likely had a decent amount of image resources for the image generator to draw from.


This aesthetic isn’t necessarily a well documented one as far as precise descriptions go, but a great many examples can be found as seen above. While the works of Lovecraft certainly influenced the modern idea of an eldritch aesthetic, it certainly reaches far beyond his works into many unsettling or fear-inducing visages.




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4 Comments. Leave new

  • I never knew the term Eldritch before seeing your post, but I think it perfectly sums up this “Lovecraft-ian” style. I think a lot of time when we think of aesthetics we immediately think of what is aesthetically-pleasing. However, its really interesting leaning into an unsettling or upsetting motif. Something about all the dark themes remind me of Edgar Allen Poe, especially your AI crow images. I wonder what might change with the AI generated art if you tweaked the prompts a little bit.

    • I have messed around with the prompts, and the program also allowed selection of an image style, but it is not the most complex image generator, and often blended existing images in such a way that it resembled nothing at all, or was otherwise completely mundane.

  • I love this aesthetic and the ai generated pieces are really good. How many times did you run the ai before getting these results? Could you explain more about what a corruption is, or isn’t?

    • I did have to run through a lot of iterations to find images that were not simply incomprehensible, but a respectable percentage were useable. I think of a corruption as points at which the image’s focus deviates from a natural form to something that could induce an uncanny feeling in the viewer. This is often via combining features of creatures, or simply a fractal pattern, as seen in the images above.


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