AI Era is “Going To Be Really Tough” For Young Artists


  • Artists and illustrators seem to be in the grip of generative AI disruption.
  • Some artists are already starting to lose their major income gigs to AI image generators.
  • To some people, AI encroachment in the creative field “seems a bit like sci-fi come into real life.”

The burgeoning wave of generative AI, especially text and art generators, is creating some level of concern for people in the creative field, particularly artists, illustrators, and so on, whose works are now being snatched by these AI tools. 

To some, the current situation with AI technology “seems a bit like sci-fi come into real life.” This is the case of Michael Whelan, who made a career painting aliens, dragons, robots and several other stuff for book covers. 

In the 1980s, Whelan was told by an art director to enjoy his work while he still could, as computers may soon take over his cover art gigs. Whelan doubted the possibility of such a thing happening, saying at the time, “When you can get a good digital file or photograph of a dragon, let me know.”

Many Artists are Helplessly Losing Their Major Gigs to AI

Today, AI image generators can create good images of dragons and several other fantastical characters within a shorter period, so much so some artists and illustrators are already beginning to lose their major income-generating gigs.

“I’m finding that a lot of people who would have hired me before are now moving to AI,” said Kelly McKernan, a Tennessee-based artist and illustrator, who, as a result of generative AI, now has to work more jobs beyond illustration to make ends meet. 

With the turn of events and growing adoption of these AI generative tools, Whelan expressed concern for the younger artists who are just starting out in the creative field. 

“As someone who’s been in this genre for a long time, it doesn’t threaten me like it does younger artists who are starting out, who I have a lot of concern for,” Whelan said. “I think it’s going to be really tough for them.”

Artists Seems to be Losing the Fight Against AI

Besides AI taking over the works, artists are agitated that AI companies stole their artworks to train these models that compete for their jobs today. This has since resulted in a growing pile of lawsuits by artists against AI companies. However, there has not been much headway seen from the legislation in that regard. 

“At some level of abstraction, style is not protectable by copyright law at all […] Nor is the loss of wages for human artists a compelling legal argument, said Pamela Samuelson, a law professor at the University of California. “Copyright law is not a jobs program.”

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Ibiam Wayas

Ibiam is an optimistic crypto journalist. Five years from now, he sees himself establishing a unique crypto media outlet that will breach the gap between the crypto world and the general public. He loves to associate with like-minded individuals and collaborate with them on similar projects. He spends much of his time honing his writing and critical thinking skills.

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