Killistrator. Technology Will Destroy Human Illustration. Discuss.

We live on the edge of an artificial intelligence revolution that will change everything from industrial design to illustration. Or do we?

Tune into a discussion between Berghs Studio Creative Director Adam Horne, and Berghs’ Illustration Course Director Brian Rea about the intersection of technology and communication, AI and illustration.

“AI” is on everyone’s minds and lips… All. The. Time.

In Sweden, between September and December 2022 the Google Search Term “AI” maintained above-average search interest throughout the Autumn. But how does this elusive and omnipresent technology impact the artists and communicators at the core of the industry, and at the top of their professions?

The rise of AI for computer-generated images, such as DALLE-2, gave us at Berghs pause for thought, considering the implications of this technology for professionals. Even before it was made available to the general public, DALLE-2’s commercialization rose some concerns for the creative industries.

In conjunction with the launch of our new course – Illustration – we invited Course Director Brian Rea in for a chat to hear about his thoughts on the question.

Search interest in the term “AI” from September to December 2022 in Sweden.

Watch the discussion below.

An extra word from Brian on the use of AI in Illustration:

“If we go by the anxious conversations and noise on social feeds about AI-developed imagery, it seems like an asteroid has hit the illustration industry. A lot of the concerns have centred on where the images (to “train” AI) are being pulled from, how images on the internet are being mined and whose work is being used in these programs. On top of all of this are the major legal ramifications of using artists’ intellectual property without their consent. 

Though I don’t see AI taking over the illustration industry, I do have serious concerns about art work being taken and reused without consent.

To be clear, AI is not being “trained”. It is given a prompt by a user, that is fed into a defined set of instructions (set by developers), to “take” pieces of perhaps millions if not billions of stored images, and then puzzling parts of these pieces into an alternate image. 

Artists are not receiving any money for their work being used in these applications. However, the companies creating these applications are. Recently we’ve seen these AI image-making apps near the top of the most downloaded list. The general public clearly enjoys the novelty of creating playful avatars with these apps. However, the normalizing of this software in daily use can bury the bigger concern- that taking artists’ work for free and reusing it for profit is not ethically or legally ok.

A simple solution would be to implement an OPT OUT or REJECT ALL option for artists and their art work. Companies were recently required to build cookie consent into their respective sites and clearly provide details of how their data was being used. If AI databases provided a similar option, it would rightfully return control back to the artists of how, and where their work is being used.”

Interested in taking your illustration to the next level? Our new online Illustration course with Brian Rea can help you improve your sketch process, sharpen your tools, your style, and your portfolio.



Improve your sketch process, sharpen your tools, your style, and your portfolio. This course is designed to help emerging illustrators raise the bar and prepare for professional practice

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