The digital artists fighting back against AI-generated art


Nicholas Kole, a 35-year-old Vancouver-based character designer and illustrator, lights up when he recalls his entry into art. “When I was a teenager and was watching the Lord of the Rings movies, a bit flipped in my brain and lit a spark in me,” he says. “I got really excited about character design and the minutiae of how this stuff was made.” Nicholas’s mother is an illustrator, and he was raised in a creative environment where drawing was encouraged. 

Having worked full-time in the digital art industry for 13 years as a character designer in video games, comic illustrator, toy designer for Hasbro and Mattel and TV animator – most recently on Netflix’s Scrooge – Nicholas has witnessed the growing impact of AI in all corners of the industry. But while the technologies have been under development for decades, it’s only in the last couple of months that the concerns of artists like Nicholas have sparked a global debate about AI and its place in the arts.

Nicholas says that the current models of AI-generated art are based on the…

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