Can Artificial Intelligence in coloring books make illustrators obsolete?

coloring book, coloring pages, artificial intelligence

Recently, there have been discussions around AI and its impact on creative professionals, such as photographers, painters, and designers. The use of Artificial intelligence in art-related projects is a topic that has been debated for some time among artists and especially among illustrators of coloring books.

There is a serious fear among illustrators that their profession will become obsolete, and they raise very valid questions about how AI will be exploited in order to produce time-consuming coloring books in a very short period of time.

Indeed, some people who have never been involved in art and don’t even know how to draw have already begun to take advantage of AI’s possibilities to produce artistic works, such as photos, articles, graphic images, logos, coloring pages, etc.

But what is artificial intelligence and how is it used in image production? Artificial intelligence has started to find many applications, among them in image production. For example, if you are a blogger and you need some images for your article or if you are a marketer and you need images to enhance a post on social media, you don’t have to pay an artist or a photographer. You just go to an AI platform and describe how you want the image to look, and there it comes. AI creates the image for you.

Artificial intelligence uses images found on the internet and composes them in an original way to create new images. A common example given by artificial intelligence advocates is the image of an astronaut on a horse. No photographer has ever photographed an astronaut on a horse. However artificial intelligence can use existing photos from the internet and produce such a photo.

Nowadays, the internet is full of images uploaded by thousands of users, which AI platforms consider as “free sources” for creating new images. This does not seem very ethical for the artists. However, from the AI developer’s perspective, their work is completely legitimate. Where do they base their legitimacy? On the fact that they create new content that does not imitate directly the source images. The new image produced by AI does not copy an existing image in an exact way. It only uses many images from the internet to compose new artworks.

It is true that the images generated through AI are novel. However, it is important to note that this requires content from the internet which is created by creative minds such as photographers, designers, illustrators, painters and writers. A few individuals have put in a lot of effort to produce the images that AI systems can utilize without any charge.

Artificial intelligence capitalizes on the content published online by people who have shared their work publicly.

I am of the opinion that Artificial Intelligence will likely have a detrimental effect on creative industries. It is clear to see that we are heading towards a future where the internet will be filled with quickly generated works. Thousands of books and images will hit the market. It is too difficult for a creative worker using traditional methods to compete with this kind of technology.

On the other hand, I believe that there will be a decrease in the quality and value of the work produced. When one can write a fairy tale in seconds, complete with its illustration, then the fairy tale, as an art form, ceases to have value for humans. When it becomes easy to design something in a short amount of time, then the value associated with the design process is diminished. Anything that can be created easily begins to be taken for granted and become commonplace.

Let’s see in practice the possibility of AI in creating coloring books. I’m already a member of an AI platform that deals with text-writing, however this platform recently added the development of AI images as well.
I prompted the AI with the phrase, “Fairy Tale Daisies Coloring Page” or “astronaut on a horse” and It produced the following images. The outcome is far from ideal and further modifications must be made to the images. On the other hand, it’s impressive how quickly it created the images—literally in a second!

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