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The Pros and Cons of AI: Illustrations and Copyright

If you are planning on publishing a book with illustrations, you might be considering whether to use a graphic artist or artificial intelligence (AI).


In the ever-evolving landscape of creative endeavors, AI has made significant strides, particularly in the realm of illustrations. From generating stunning artwork to assisting artists in their creative process, AI holds immense potential. However, alongside its benefits come a set of challenges, particularly concerning copyright issues. Let’s delve into the pros and cons of using AI for illustrations and the complexities of securing copyright in this digital age.


colorful coral like image created by AI
AI generated imagery

Pros of Using AI for Illustrations:

  1. Efficiency and Speed: AI-powered illustration tools can significantly expedite the creation process. They enable artists to generate concepts, refine designs, and produce high-quality artwork in a fraction of the time it would traditionally take.

  2. Enhanced Creativity: AI can inspire creativity by offering suggestions, exploring different styles, and pushing artistic boundaries. It can serve as a valuable tool for artists seeking new perspectives and innovative approaches to their work.

  3. Accessibility: AI illustration tools can lower barriers to entry for aspiring artists by providing intuitive interfaces and user-friendly features. This accessibility democratizes the creative process, allowing individuals from diverse backgrounds to express themselves artistically.

  4. Consistency and Accuracy: AI excels in maintaining consistency and precision, ensuring that illustrations meet the desired standards. This reliability is particularly valuable in commercial projects where uniformity is essential.

  5. Exploration of Styles: AI algorithms can analyze vast amounts of artistic styles and techniques, enabling artists to experiment with various aesthetics and find their unique voice. This versatility expands the creative palette and fosters artistic exploration.


artificial intelligence being used to create a butterfly in nature
AI created butterfly

Cons of Using AI for Illustrations:

  1. Lack of Human Touch: While AI can produce impressive artwork, it may lack the nuanced touch and emotional depth inherent in human-created illustrations. Some argue that AI-generated art can feel sterile or devoid of soul, diminishing its appeal to certain audiences.

  2. Dependency and Skill Erosion: Overreliance on AI tools may lead to a decline in traditional artistic skills. If artists become overly dependent on AI for concept generation and execution, they risk losing the ability to create independently, limiting their artistic growth and expression.

  3. Ethical Concerns: The use of AI in illustrations raises ethical questions regarding authorship, ownership, and the commodification of art. Who owns the rights to AI-generated artwork, the creator or the developer of the AI algorithm? These issues require careful consideration and legal clarification.

  4. Uniformity and Originality: While AI can ensure consistency, it may also inadvertently contribute to a homogenization of artistic styles. Mass adoption of AI-generated illustrations could lead to a saturation of similar-looking artwork, diminishing the value of originality and diversity in the creative landscape.

  5. Technical Limitations: AI illustration tools are not without their technical limitations. They may struggle to accurately interpret complex concepts, generate original ideas, or replicate certain artistic styles. Artists must navigate these constraints to harness the full potential of AI in their work.


child holding balloon playing outside with butterflies
AI created this image for our blog as an example

Securing Copyright in AI-Generated Illustrations:

Securing copyright for AI-generated illustrations presents unique challenges due to the involvement of automated processes and multiple stakeholders. Here are some considerations:

  1. Authorship Attribution: Determining authorship of AI-generated artwork requires clarification of whether the artist, the AI developer, or both hold copyright. Legal frameworks may need to adapt to accommodate these complexities and ensure fair attribution.

  2. Licensing and Usage Rights: Clear licensing agreements are essential to define the terms of use for AI-generated illustrations. Artists and AI developers should establish agreements regarding royalties, usage rights, and commercial exploitation to protect their interests.

  3. Derivative Works: AI-generated illustrations may be considered derivative works based on existing copyrighted material. Artists must ensure compliance with copyright laws and obtain appropriate permissions when using AI to create derivative artwork.

  4. Digital Watermarking and Tracking: Implementing digital watermarking and tracking technologies can help deter unauthorized use and track the dissemination of AI-generated illustrations online. These measures enhance copyright protection and enable artists to monitor their intellectual property.

  5. Legal Recourse and Enforcement: In cases of copyright infringement, artists should be prepared to take legal action to protect their rights. Collaboration with legal professionals specializing in intellectual property law is crucial to navigate complex legal issues and enforce copyright claims effectively.


The use of AI in illustrations offers numerous benefits, including efficiency, creativity, and accessibility. However, it also presents challenges related to artistic integrity, ethical considerations, and copyright protection. As artists embrace AI as a tool in their creative arsenal, it is imperative to address these complexities and establish robust frameworks to safeguard artistic expression and intellectual property rights in the digital age.


Be sure to visit www.loc.gov for more information about how to file a copyright if you are publishing a book using Artificial Intelligence (AI) images.

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