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Democratizing Design: My First Impressions of Using AI to Illustrate My Children's Book

Author: Cocoy AITime: 2024-01-05 08:10:00

Table of Contents

Experimenting with ChatGPT to Illustrate My Book

I've been trying to wrap my head around what is the skill set that I need as a design leader to extend to my teams and to set them up for success for this new future that's ahead. This week was the first time that I felt like the future is here - this is really something that democratizes visual design. Working with ChatGPT and DALL-E from the very beginning was a completely game-changing experience.

I used one of my prompt conversations that I had used to help me iterate on my book and I asked ChatGPT to illustrate the story. I gave it a few visual clues of what I wanted stylistically - I wanted it to be simple shapes, geometric shapes in the style of Mary Blair. Pleasantly, I was surprised that ChatGPT blocked that reference and gave me a path forward to solve the problems I was trying to get at. It didn't just stop me in my tracks, it gave me a path forward.

Asking for vibrant colors, geometric shapes, whimsical visual style, and flat art were things that ChatGPT understood really well. With a few back and forth conversations, it was able to give me four images that represented the first four frames of my book. That was incredible!

Giving ChatGPT Artistic Direction to Match My Vision

The prompts that ChatGPT gave to DALL-E to create those images were really good - longer than I would have written, but produced really consistent results. It asked if I wanted to continue illustrating the story. I said yes, and it continued on. Every time it would start to stray away from the style I wanted, I would remind it - 'No, I need it to be a little flatter' or 'Can you make it more playful?' - some kind of direction. And it responded! I was then able to iteratively guide ChatGPT to illustrate my story in the visual style I envisioned. With a few tweaks and nudges, it matched my artistic direction remarkably well. I'm excited by the potential for this kind of intuitive human-AI collaboration on creative projects.

Iterating with ChatGPT to Refine the Illustrations

Being able to have a back and forth conversation with ChatGPT to iteratively refine the automatically generated illustrations was game-changing. I would provide feedback like making certain elements more geometric or colorful, and ChatGPT would incorporate that into the next iteration. It felt like collaborating with another creative professional - suggesting small tweaks here and there until the visuals matched what I had envisioned. And it was able to continue building on its previous illustrations to progress the storyframe by frame, carrying over the stylistic adjustments I provided earlier on. Exciting!

Trying Out the New ChatGPT Audio Tool to Bring My Story to Life

I was very excited to see that there was this audio version of ChatGPT finally available. I'd seen several clips of it directly from Anthropic, and was excited to try it out.

I copied my story prompt into the audio tool and the result was mesmerizing - this artificial voice was so captivating! I felt like even the writing in the story that came from the audio conversation was better than almost all of the iterations I've done so far just typing prompts.

Being able to not only automatically generate illustrations, but also an audio narration of my story, makes bringing a children's book fully to life feel truly achievable for amateur creators like myself. The future is here!

My Excitement and Concerns About How AI Will Impact Creative Careers

We are at a really interesting time in AI's history - this is the worst it's ever going to be, and it's already really good. So I don't know how to process that right now. It's a mixture of real excitement, but also a little fear. This is one of the first times I've actually had a bit of fear.

I've been pushing the gas pedal down in terms of let's create the AI models that we want to see, let's make them more diverse and inclusive. But is that further accelerating the destruction of a career that I love so much? A career built around creativity, visual hierarchy - are those things going to be gone?

These are things I am genuinely concerned about. This is just my first reaction to exceptionally rapid AI progress - a mixture of awe at the new creative possibilities, but also worry about the disruption to human creative professions. I'll continue reflecting on this in future videos. Like, comment and subscribe to follow my thought journey!

Concluding Thoughts on Democratizing Design with AI

While there is legitimate concern about AI's impact on creative careers, the democratization of design through models like DALL-E and ChatGPT is undeniably exciting. What was once accessible only to those with years of specialized skills and training can now be tapped into intuitively by everyday people to bring their ideas to life.

I can suddenly visualize and even narrate a children's book with captivating automatically-generated illustrations and audio. That kind of empowerment can open up whole new creative worlds for talented amateurs robbed of time or resources to hone their craft.

So while we should thoughtfully discuss AI's influence on human creativity, I choose to remain enthusiastic about this step towards mass creative enablement. The doors to realizing our imaginations are blown wide open!


Q: How did you direct ChatGPT to illustrate your children's book?
A: I gave ChatGPT some visual clues about the art style I wanted - vibrant colors, geometric shapes, a whimsical and playful visual style with flat, simple art.

Q: What was it like hearing ChatGPT narrate your story out loud?
A: The ChatGPT audio narration of my story was captivating and mesmerizing. The writing and storytelling were better than my own attempts at iterating on the prompts.

Q: What are your concerns about AI and creative careers?
A: I have some fear that AI could accelerate the destruction of creative careers that people love and are passionate about, like visual design. I wonder if concepts like visual hierarchy will be gone as AI democratizes design.

Q: What were your first impressions of using AI to design?
A: My first experience using ChatGPT and DALL-E to illustrate my book was game-changing. The AI was able to take my artistic direction and create consistent, high-quality images.

Q: How good is AI graphic design right now?
A: The current state of AI design tools is the worst they will ever be, and they are already remarkably good. It's an exciting but concerning acceleration of progress.

Q: Should designers be worried about losing their jobs to AI?
A: It's reasonable for designers to have some fear about AI replacing creative roles, but the technology also presents new opportunities to leverage AI as a collaborative tool.

Q: What next steps do you have for your AI and book project?
A: Next I want to continue iterating on my children's book story and illustrations with ChatGPT. I'm excited to see how much better the results might become.

Q: How can people follow along with your experience using AI in design?
A: You can follow along and get updates on my YouTube channel by liking, commenting and subscribing!

Q: What advice do you have for other creatives exploring AI design tools?
A: Keep an open and growth mindset - guide the AI and provide artistic direction instead of expecting perfect output immediately. Iterate and have a conversation.

Q: Where can people find out more about leveraging AI for design?
A: There are great communities forming of designers sharing their experiments with AI tools. Twitter is one place to connect and learn from others pushing this space forward.