Comics community concerned about impact of AI on illustrator income – The Bookseller

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Research into the UK’s comics community has revealed a major concern around AI and its impact on artists’ income.

The newly published document, “Comics Cultural Impact Collective Community [CCIC] Stakeholder Roundtable Report: Mark 2024 – Identifying challenges and opportunities in the UK comics community”, is based on a roundtable discussion of 100 people on 16th January this year. 

The level of pay and conditions was flagged in general and the report said they “do not reflect the time and skill required to create comics”, that funding opportunities are difficult to apply for and “the rise of AI for illustration is already robbing artists of opportunities that would previously have provided them with income”.  

The 43-page report reads: “While the future is unknown, it seems clear that opportunities for living artists are already being lost to the lure of cheap technologies. AI-generated imagery is problematic in other ways, too, including the fact that it is built on the non-consensual use of artists’ own intellectual property; and that it has been shown to perpetuate biases such as racism.  

“While at the moment we consider best practice to be that AI imagery is not used in commercial settings, we understand that we are at the beginning of a fast-moving revolution, and we commit to a regular assessment of how artists themselves are working with the technology, and how this is being reflected across society.” 

The report also discussed the need “to break into mainstream cultural channels” and the importance of greater approaches towards diversity and inclusion: “Efforts need to be made for all aspects of the comics community to be more inclusive of minoritised groups. We need to encourage best practice, better accessibility and proactively promote diversity, inclusion and equality of opportunity.”  

Additionally, the report recommended that resources be disseminated more widely to encourage “change-making” groups and introducing more comics into the education curricula to foster the next “generation of comics readers and creators, as well as improving the overall acceptance of the comics artform”.   

The CCIC was founded in April 2023 with the aim of raising awareness of the cultural potential of comics in the UK. It is a Community Interest Company led by an independent group of professionals within the UK comics community. 

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