Should Authors Put AI Art in Picture Books? 

Picture books have been beloved by readers for a long time with their usage of words and illustrations to tell stories. However, with artificial intelligence becoming so easily accessible, a new and serious question is being raised: should authors put AI art in picture books? In this blog, we'll explore the pros and cons of using AI art when writing for children.

What is AI art?*

Before we walk through the pros and cons of AI art in picture books, let's cover what AI art is. AI art is generated by computers, using algorithms that analyze data and existing artwork to create new, original pieces. For the user, all they need to do is provide the AI art system with a prompt and wait as the image comes to life.

*DISCLAIMER: AI has changed a lot over the years, and I have a feeling it will continue to change and evolve over time. Therefore, laws surrounding AI and its uses may change. This article is not to be used in place of legal advice.

Should Authors Put AI Art in Picture Books?

The Pros

It's Fast

One of the advantages of using AI art in picture books is its speed. Creating original artwork can be a time-consuming process, but AI can create images quickly. This is especially beneficial for authors working on tight deadlines.

It's (Sometimes) Copyright Free

AI-generated art may be copyright free depending on which platform you use. To determine whether the art generated is copyright free, read the Terms & Conditions of the program you use. In most cases, AI art is copyright free since it’s generated by a machine, but you’ll want to check just in case.

It's Cost Efficient

Hiring an illustrator can be expensive depending on the artist. On the other hand, AI art can be a cost-efficient alternative. It eliminates the need for hiring illustrators, reduces production costs and makes picture books more accessible to authors with limited budgets.

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The Cons

It's Less Customizable

AI-generated art is limited by the algorithms it uses. While it can mimic various art styles, it may lack the depth and personal touch that a human artist can provide. This can result in artwork that feels less unique and untailored to the specific needs of a story.

It's Subject to Change

AI art is rapidly evolving, which means that artwork generated by AI may not remain consistent over time. Not to mention that copyright laws and practices of AI art in picture books may change. This can create inconsistency or disrupt the artistic cohesion of an author’s books.

It Takes Business Away from Illustrators

Perhaps the most significant concern about AI art in picture books is the potential to take business away from illustrators. With AI's growing capabilities, some authors may opt for the convenience and cost savings it offers, leaving fewer opportunities for talented illustrators to showcase their skills and make a living.

The decision to incorporate AI art into picture books is not a straightforward one. Authors must weigh the pros and cons carefully, considering their specific needs and artistic vision. AI art offers speed, cost-efficiency, and copyright-free options, making it a valuable tool for many authors. However, it also poses challenges in terms of customization, consistency, and its potential impact on human illustrators.

In the end, the choice to use AI art in picture books should be made thoughtfully, with a deep understanding of the unique requirements of each project, and as AI art evolves, this debate will persist. It is up to each author to determine how best to balance technology and creativity in the world of picture books.

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