A search for AI tools for artists inevitably brings up any number of applications that will create AI artwork for you.  That is not what I want.

I am not a fan of AI (Artificial Intelligence) generated art. It’s probably very complex and clever in the background, and I’m sure the elements of a painting (composition, tonal values and colour theory) are all executed perfectly. But that’s precisely what I think the problem is – it’s too perfect. And it has no soul.  It doesn’t reveal the artist’s hand with all its quirks and imperfections. For that, a painting needs a human touch.

AI tools we’ve already been using

Most of us have probably been using AI tools without even knowing it.  In simple terms, AI is just a self-learning algorithm. It didn’t suddenly appear one day. Computer programs have become smarter over time as more and more data has become available.

  • Project management tools: Trello and Asana use AI to set reminders and prioritise tasks.
  • Trendspotting: Google’s DeepDream or IBM’s Watson can sift through data and suggest creative ideas
  • Marketing: Hootsuite and Buffer automate social media posts and can analyse audience data for you
  • Relationships: Salesforce and Hubspot can predict what your customers might like.
  • Inventory and Sales: Artwork Archive and Art Galleria use AI to track inventory and sales
  • Legal and Financial: LegalZoom and Quickbooks can generate documents and check that you’re following regulations
  • Skills Improvement: Skillshare and Coursera use AI to suggest courses that match your interests and career goals. Also, AI tutoring tools can offer personalised feedback.

How many of these have you used? And did you know they were all AI-driven?  (Note: I have used a number of these – not all. Aside from Artwork Archive which I use constantly and wouldn’t be without, I can’t comment on the usefulness of  any of the other tools in this list)

New ways to use AI tools for artists

Two new ways I’ve worked with AI in my art practice are both word-based. Here’s what they are and how I use them:

Write, write, write

ChatGPT is becoming my saviour – but not in the conventional way. When I am struggling to get started on a blog post or newsletter, I put a few points together and drop them into ChatGPT which then produces an article. But that’s just a springboard for me to get started.  It gives me a structure and some ideas of extra aspects to include in the piece. I then go through the text rewriting it in my voice, deleting paragraphs I don’t think add real value, and adding extras.  Having a good chunky starting piece to work on saves so much time if you like the approach I take.  I know some people just let the AI write the whole article and post it. But that feels too much like cheating to me. If you’re reading my blog, I want you to be reading something written by me, not a computer.

Analyse your art

Another one I came across recently looks useful and I’m testing it.  Theobot.ai creates a description and analysis of a piece of artwork.  If you’ve ever spent hours trying to write a website description about a collection of paintings, you’ll know just how useful this might become. More than this, I found it provided a suggestion for improving a painting that was at the final tweak stage. And it was right!  The suggestion was in line with the changes I was about to make. I’ve just signed up for a trial, and it looks promising. It seems there’s a lot more to it than just a painting analysis, so watch this space. (The post image is a little section of this painting that I am drawn to. Lovely angles of branches and foliage).

Loosen up

And just to add a different twist; this week I had an AI massage. Painting and computer work get my back and shoulders all knotted up. The AI massage chair was quite an experience. After scanning my back and neck, it calculated where to apply pressure and how much. I have to say, my back was a lot better after the session.

Where to next?

The possibilities with AI are fascinating. We’re only at the start of this journey. The trick will be to get AI tools for artists to enhance our lives by making routine and boring tasks easier.  Then we can simply head over to our easels and paint away!