Yes, I’m a bit obsessed. This is another of my generative AI posts in which I’m experimenting with Stable Diffusion’s ability to imitate the styles of illustrators whose works reside on the Internet (among other places).
All the following illustrators are deceased, which is one of my criteria for using their names this way, as I’ve explained elsewhere.
I carried out a simple experiment. I put the words “illustrator XXX draws men” or “illustrator XXX draws women.” The images below are some of what I consider to be the better outcomes.
It’s true some images I got (and mostly rejected) are a bit weird. Stable Diffusion is still lousy with hands, legs and arms. You’ll sometimes get images of people with three legs or arms growing out of weird places, and hands often have the wrong number of digits, not to mention very long, creepy and crooked fingers.
It’s interesting that the incredible computing power behind these images still can’t count to two and three. I guess that like many of their genius human counterparts, AI artists are crap at the STEM subjects.
Anyway, have a look. You’ll see that each time a different artist’s name is referenced, the AI tends to produce different types of images.
Note that I’ve cut and paste these short artists’ bios from longer Wikipedia entries. For an entire list of illustrators, you can go to this page. There are, of course, living as well as dead illustrators in the Wikipedia entry.
I must reiterate that these illustrations were not drawn by these artists. Instead, I just used their names to help “conjure” the images. They do not reflect the quality of their original art.
Salomon van Abbé – etcher and illustrator of books and magazines
Salomon van Abbé (born Amsterdam, 31 July 1883, died London, 28 February 1955), also known as Jack van Abbé or Jack Abbey, was an artist, etcher and illustrator of books and magazines.
Edwin Austin Abbey – American artist, illustrator, and painter
Edwin Austin Abbey RA (April 1, 1852 – August 1, 1911) was an American muralist, illustrator, and painter. He flourished at the beginning of what is now referred to as the “golden age” of illustration, and is best known for his drawings and paintings of Shakespearean and Victorian subjects, as well as for his painting of Edward VII’s coronation.
Elenore Abbott – American book illustrator, scenic designer, and artist
Elenore Plaisted Abbott (1875–1935) was an American book illustrator, scenic designer, and painter. She illustrated early 20th-century editions of Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Robinson Crusoe, and Kidnapped.
Dan Adkins – American illustrator of comic books and science-fiction magazines
Danny L. Adkins (March 15, 1937 – May 3, 2013) was an American illustrator who worked mainly for comic books and science-fiction magazines.
Alex Akerbladh – Swedish-born UK comics artist
Alexander (Alex) Akerbladh was a Swedish-born comics artist who drew for the Amalgamated Press in the UK from the 1900s to the 1950s. He painted interiors and figures in oils and watercolours. A freelancer, he worked from home, and his pages are said to have arrived at the AP “in grubby condition, with no trouble taken to erase pencil marks or spilled ink”.
Constantin Alajalov – American painter and illustrator
Constantin Alajálov (also Aladjalov) (18 November 1900 — 23 October 1987) was an Armenian-American painter and illustrator.
Maria Pascual Alberich – Spanish book illustrator
Maria Pasqual i Alberich (Barcelona, 1 July 1933 – 13 December 2011) was a prolific and popular Spanish illustrator.
Annette Allcock – English children’s book illustrator
Annette Allcock née Rookledge, (28 November 1923 – 2 May 2001) was a British artist and illustrator.
The Alpha Test
You may have noticed that all of these illustrators have last names that begin with the letter A. That’s because I only drew from the A section of Wikipedia’s list of illustrators, and I excluded living artists.
I mention this to show that these images are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. I suspect that eventually there will be sites, perhaps attached to the AI generators themselves, that use the names of artists as if they were colors in a palette or font styles.
That’s a very odd thought.
Or perhaps they’ll will create algorithms that simply bucket various artists into “schools” and provide examples of those artistic styles. Instead of using Georges Seurat as a “style,” perhaps they will just have a “Pointillist” style that incorporates Seurat into it.
Anyway, we will collectively figure it out. Somebody will probably, perhaps inevitably, make money off the idea. And on we’ll go, with past humanity being used as design tools for future AI.
O brave new world, that has such people in it.