How and why I use AI in my design work

In response to questions I was asked recently, yes, I have been using AI to help with my designs. Just as with my realistic montages of recent years, I proceed by bringing together several elements/images (2 to 10 depending on the project) which I arrange into a collage according to my vision, and I then add details manually. Each design is therefore unique and royalty-free. This collection/arrangement process takes me from a few hours to a few days of work, depending on the complexity of the design.


I am one of the people with the highly unpopular opinion that artificial intelligence is a fantastic tool for artists (artisans, illustrators, designers, and other creatives). Like any new technological invention, this one arouses fear and raises moral dilemmas, that's normal. And like any tool, it can be used properly, or abused immorally.


AI-generated art is not art


“Art history shows that when a new art form emerges, some criticize it. Artists' reactions to new technology are emotional, sometimes violent, and this is completely understandable. Artists don't want to call AI art "art" because their art is their livelihood, and we live in a capitalist society on which our livelihoods depend.


For example, some artists saw the rise of photography as a threat to their livelihoods and Impressionism as a radical departure from traditional styles. For them, photography and impressionism were not art. Likewise, many acrylic and oil painters snubbed digital art in its early days.


By the same logic that AI-generated art is not real art because it is "merely" generated by a "prompt", then is photography not art because it is just the click of a button?


The rise of photography did not stop the sale of oil paintings, and the creation of acrylics did not stop the sale of oil paintings and photographs. Likewise, digital art has not stopped the sale of acrylic art, oil paintings or photographs. It will be the same with AI art: it will not lead to the end of digital, acrylic, oil or photography. »*


AI-generated art is stolen art


“AI uses a set of data to create, akin to an artist having a vast collection of artwork and reference photographs for inspiration. Artists use reference photos ALL THE TIME to create art, and no one asks permission. »* 


I can assure you that all of my artistic explorations since the age of five have been inspired by someone else's art. In my career as a tattoo artist, I participated extensively in plagiarism in my early days. Many still do it without embarrassment, and I find it hypocritical that these same artists who copy a photograph or a comic book character under copyright rebel against artificial intelligence.


When an original image is modified by more than 70%, according to the law, it is no longer plagiarism. So AI that combines hundreds of images to create a new one is infinitely more innovative than me using just a few.


Using AI is lazy


I call that being efficient. Using the tools at your disposal is smart. I have no doubt that the great artists of the past would have taken advantage of this tool, in the same way that those who lit the first fires would have without hesitation used a lighter.


A design that previously might take me many (unpaid) hours to produce can now take me a fraction of the time thanks to Photoshop's new features. Which in turn allows me to offer a larger volume of “flash” for my clients, or to tackle larger projects that previously required too much effort to carry out to be profitable. 


I love tattooing a watercolour style combined with realism. This type of work, even small, requires a lot of time to create by hand, not to mention requests for modifications from clients. It would be unthinkable to tattoo in my style full time with this preparation load. I am a mother, I like having time to get involved in my community, and also to rest. 


In the same way, a person who knits a sweater does not claim to have invented the pattern. On the other hand, they can be proud of their creation, the choice of fiber, the colors, the alterations made to the model, the quality and the time invested in the completion of their work. This person can then sell their product at the price of their choice, to the informed buyer. Following this analogy, I am perfectly comfortable giving up the title “artist.” In any case, according to some experts, the work of a tattoo artist is more about design and craft.


It is also clearly indicated on my website which images are designs/montages and which are my own drawings (also mostly made with references). From this perspective, the use of artificial intelligence is in my opinion neither immoral nor illegal. Furthermore, it’s one thing to have a helping hand in generating ideas, you still need to be able to put them into skin.


That said, I would like to thank all the people who appreciate my work, and who continue to trust me year after year.

- Ruby

*Thanks to Meg Slay for inspiring the writing of this article.

Example of half-sleeve design, with help from AI.

(76 generated images - 18 selected images - 2.5h of conception)

 What AI can allow us to do with your pet's portrait

even if you don't have very good reference photos.

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