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If I cannot stop the flood, I better learn to ride the waves.

Let’s be honest, we were all steamrolled when AI entered the scene. And if you are anything like me… my mind is unable to grasp the far-reaching implications AI will have on all aspects of life. But I do know it will impact the industry I chose to work in. We can wail and scream, but AI is here to stay.

My stance on AI

I started experimenting with text2image AI in July 2022. I might be one of a few illustrators and artists who is open about these experiments. I was in New York Magazine, Spiegel, and on German tv. People tell me I should keep these experiments to myself. It would hurt my reputation. I think transparency and an open mind are needed.

Right now, people are scared. Scared for their jobs, scared to lose the things they love (writing! drawing! music!) But fear clouds our judgement.


As my first experiment in August 2022, I combined ai-generated scenes and backgrounds with my own illustrations and storytelling. You can find the book here:

One thing I learned: people may joke about hands or other errors in AI output, but the speed with which these models develop will make the output flawless within the year.

I created a second book in a similar way, a Xmas present for my nephew. With the newer models, I could have gotten a lot closer to my personal style, and I will probably do that in future personal projects.

The legal and ethical implications

I watch the outcome of the legal battles with interest, especially the ones concerning the legality of the datasets. I believe the Getty lawsuit has a more solid base than the artist one, but I am not a lawyer.

I am vocal about not using living artist names in prompts. If all you enter is an artist name, and get output that vaguely looks like their work? The AI has too much work linked to that name. Legally, styles cannot be copyrighted. I believe with the advent of AI, this has to change. It is unethical to copy or steal an artist’s style and work.

In my professional work, there can be no question about who owns the copyright.

For that reason alone, my professional work does not contain AI output or elements.

AI will not replace me

Grumpy mole double spread

How I use AI

I use AI for ideation and references, the way I used Pinterest, photos, or Google images before. It is a creative slot machine, presenting me with 100 possible sketches and ideas and perspectives in 5 minutes. Yes, I find it inspiring and eye-opening and sometimes frustrating.

I often give it sketches and final work, to get variations or new ideas from that. At all times, AI is a starting point for my sketches… and by the time I am done, there is no AI left in my work.

As AI develops, I do think it may open up different ways to work. I could give it a piece of mine to create other perspectives or poses. Change the lighting. Improve continuation between pages. Draw within the AI to guide the output. As Terry Pratchett said: “May you live in interesting times.”

Why AI will not replace me

At heart, I am a storyteller. I weave details of the story into every page. There are hidden details on every spread. There is intent in every stroke, in every word.

AI has no intent. The best-looking AI images rely on chance, and it is delusional for a prompter to believe that they were the creator. That said – artists using AI in their workflow can run circles around people who can only type keywords. We can feed it sketches and final work, truly elevate the output by developing it further, and actually understand the needed storytelling that AI on its own is missing.

In addition, all creation is a team effort. My critique group, editors, and art directors are vital in my process. Their feedback and our brainstorming sessions result in my best work. None of my clients would replace my unique insight with a machine.