How to Make AI Art – Starter Guide for Beginners


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Key Takeaways

  • Choose an AI art generator that works for you and for your preferences.
  • Create an AI art generator if current services do not satisfy your requirements.
  • Understand how text prompts work and learn to write text prompts correctly.
  • Study art fundamentals to spot mistakes in AI-generated images.

What Is AI Art?

AI art example results from Lexica.art.

AI art is art created using artificial intelligence algorithms. This form of digital art is commonly produced by providing text prompts for the algorithm to generate images (text-to-image) or by using an existing image (image-to-image) as input to create a new transformed image.

The models used to create AI art are trained on datasets such as LAION 5B. You can also make your own AI art models by creating text-image pairs as inputs or using an existing base model, such as Stable Diffusion 1.5 or 2.0, etc., to train your own AI art model.

What Are AI Art Generators?

An AI art generator is software that uses artificial intelligence to automatically create images through text to image or image to image. Text-to-image involves feeding the tool millions of images and annotating them with a text reference, then tweaking and training the machine until it can consistently recognize photos and accurately generate its own.

Image-to-image generators often use neural style transfer to blend content and style images. AI art generators are simply execution software based on datasets. Prompting or writing prompts is how you communicate with the software and algorithm.

Choosing AI Art Generator

Lexica.art example results.

Every AI art generator is inherently different, as the base model and training set (dataset) are often different. Midjourney and DALL-E 2 AI art generators will produce different results as they use different datasets. Some AI art generators like NightCafe uses many different algorithms such as Stable Diffusion, DALL-E 2, CLIP-Guided Diffusion, VQGAN+CLIP, and Neural Style Transfer.

If you are using services like Midjourney, Lexica.art, Fotor, NightCafe, or any other, you are using a premade dataset and trained AI models.

If you are looking to create your own AI art model to differentiate your AI art results from others, then you should use Stable Diffusion and train your own AI model for it.

There are also AI art generators specifically for anime AI art generations and generators for vector art.

The easiest way to get started with AI art generation is to use the following AI art generators:

Understanding How Prompts Work

Text prompts are the way to communicate with the AI algorithm. AI art generators are based on a dataset and the training put into them. Whether models simply copy and interpolate between individual training examples is still vague.

Writing good prompts is somewhat of a skill, as you need to understand how prompts work.

Notice how the same text prompt (portrait of a white tiger girl) will create a variety of results.

Example prompt (image above):

portrait of a white tiger girl, surrounded by flowers by karol bak, james jean, tom bagshaw, rococo, trending on artstation, cinematic lighting, hyper realism, octane render, 8 k, hyper detailed.

Analysis of the prompt:

  1. Describes what is wanted from the AI generator (portrait of a white tiger girl).
  2. Further describes the setting in which the object should be (surrounded by flowers).
  3. Names artists to describe the artistic style of the image (karol bak, james jean, tom bagshaw).
  4. Fine tunes the style and output further with words like cinematic lighting, rococo, octane render, etc.

How to Write Good Prompts

Text prompt example: Stylish haute couture outfit in the style of 90’s vintage anime, surrealism, akira style. detailed line art. fine details. inside a space ship.

To write good prompts, you need good English language skills (Grammarly can help with that, I personally use it daily). You must also be clear on what you want the algorithm to create. Naming popular or famous artists helps the algorithm to implement a certain style to the image.

Adding words like hyper-detailed, realistic, render, etc., will help direct the algorithm to produce realistic results instead of cartoony results.

Some services like Promptbase can help you get used to writing text prompts for AI art generators.

Check out: The Best Stable Diffusion Prompts

Negative Prompts

In Stable Diffusion, you can use negative prompts to define further what you don’t want to see in the image.

Negative prompts do not require a mask (for example, a grey square painted to the image to neglect a part of the image) and can be input as text, making them more convenient.

An image showing the use of a negative prompt. On the left, you can see people (negative prompt not applied), and on the right, you can see an image without people (negative prompt applied(people, humans)).

Using negative prompts is a useful skill, as you can fine-tune what you want and don’t want to see in the image.

While the image looks good, it is by no means correct, rational, or making sense. Using a negative prompt can correct the output and fine-tune what you would like to see in the image.

Improving Your AI Art

Becoming an AI artist requires you to learn new skills, such as text prompting and English language skills. When you understand how prompts work and how to write good prompts, it’s good practice to also understand art fundamentals so you can spot mistakes in AI-generated images. AI art by no means is perfect and actually quite far from it. AI art looks good, but it has mistakes here and there.

Understanding light and shadow, perspective, color theory, etc., helps you improve your AI art as you can better guide the algorithm with your text prompts.

Studying text prompts and understanding the underlying AI art model helps you create better AI art, and when you are ready, you can train your own AI art model for specific and unique results.

Tools to improve your AI art:

  • ControlNet: If you are using Stable Diffusion, you can use a tool like ControlNet to control the subject poses and even do semantic segmentation.
  • Adobe Creative Cloud: When your image is generated with AI tools, you can further improve the quality of your artwork with tools like Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator.
  • Kittl: When you are thinking of selling AI art, Kittl is a powerhouse that you can use to create merchandise-ready designs.
  • Install Stability’s Photoshop plugin for further adjusting generated images.

Feature image credits.



Digital Artist

I’m a digital artist who is passionate about anime and manga art. My true artist journey pretty much started with CTRL+Z. When I experienced that and the limitless color choices and the number of tools I could use with art software, I was sold. Drawing digital anime art is the thing that makes me happy among eating cheeseburgers in between veggie meals.

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