Ai and the Illustration Industry

AI and the Illustration Industry Webinar

A collaborative event, exploring the impact of generative AI on the illustration industry, organised by The European Illustrators Forum.

Ai and the Illustration Industry
Illustration by Falko Grentrup

In this webinar we invite four knowledgeable speakers from across Europe to explore ongoing developments in generative artificial intelligence (AI) and its impact on the illustration industry.

Welcoming special guests, Paolo Rui, Nurgül Senefe, Anna Karina Birkenstock and Francesco Archidiacono. We will discuss this rapidly developing topic from several angles, from individual illustrators’ reactions and commercial considerations to European Union wide legislative campaigning.

The event will be split into 4 bitesize sections, covering:

1. Life before AI – Paolo Rui will discuss the status quo vs. how the illustration market may change moving forwards. With more new illustrators than ever before entering the market, Paolo will cover the necessary knowledge and tools that all illustrators will need to prevent their work from being devalued by generative AI developments.

2. Illustrators Respond – Nurgül Senefe will take a deep dive into different reactions to AI developments from within the illustration community. Sharing various viewpoints, from outrage to opportunity. Plus, how illustrators are staying competitive while also passionately protecting their craft.

3. Legalities and Copyright – The use of Generative AI raises many questions, especially around copyright and data mining. Anna Karina Birkenstock will give a brief overview of the very real legal issues surrounding generative AI. Plus, the initiatives of the German Illustrators’ Organisation and other creative organizations around Europe to help protect illustrators’ rights.

4. The European AI Act – Francesco Archidiacono will discuss the European Guild for AI Regulation’s (EGAIR) activities and achievements over the past few months, with a particular focus on the European AI Act (the first law on AI by a major regulator on a worldwide scale). Initially conceived as a tool to protect users, it has rapidly evolved to address global concerns around generative AI. Francesco Archidiacono will discuss these changes, along with possible improvements to current legislation.

Illustrator and Motion Director, Tobias Wüstenfeld, will also do a short introduction about how generative AI Works.

The discussion will be chaired by Derek Brazell, EIF Co-President of the European Illustration Forum, and Publications Manager at the Association of Illustrators. Talks will be followed by an audience Q&A. You can send your questions in advance to

Paolo Rui

Paolo Rui is an illustrator and artist graduated from the Brera Academy of Fine Arts and thanks to a Fulbright scholarship proceeded with his studies at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. He’s been President of AI, the Italian Association of Illustrators and of EIF, the European Illustrators Forum and now sits in the latter’s Board. He teaches at IED in Milan, Novalia Art Academy, at the International School of Comics and is also Educational Director of the Leonardo da Vinci Foundation. He’s received several awards for his work and participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions around the world.

Nurgül Senefe

Nurgül Senefe is a Social Entrepreneur, children's content specialist and ICF certified Coach. She is the founding President of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators Society Turkey, President of the Illustrators Platform, Managing Director of IP Academy (Illustration Academy), President of ZNN Network and an EIF (European illustrators Forum) Board Member. She is an expert in providing multi-disciplinary services as an editor, a writer, a translator, a creative art director, and as a content-concept designer for children’s books. An editor of 250+ books and translator of 50+ children's books, Nurgül has written 20+ stories, and was curator of 6 illustration exhibitions with over 200 artists.

Anna Karina Birkenstock

Anna Karina Birkenstock works as an author and illustrator for various German publishers and has already published over 150 books in several languages. Anna Karina is a member of the political advisory board of the Illustratoren Organisation e.V. (the German Association of Professional Illustrators), and a sits on a panel of experts in “Digitization and Artificial Intelligence” and “Education” for the Deutsche Designtag (German Design umbrella Organisation) and the Deutscher Kulturrat (The German Cultural Council). Anna Karina also represents the German Illustrators’ Association in the European Illustrators Forum.

Francesco Archidiacono

Francesco Archidiacono is an Italian illustrator, comic book artist and art director. As a freelance artist he has worked with communication agencies and private companies. He is one of the founders of MeFu, the Italian association of comic book creators, and of the European Guild for AI Regulation (EGAIR). EGAIR is a network of creatives, associations and companies lobbying for an EU-level protection of artists’ and European citizen’s work and data from AI companies.

Event Details:

Date: Thursday 14th September 2023

Time: 13:00 – 15:00 (BST)

Location: Online via Zoom

Fee: FREE (you must register to attend)


This event is being recorded and will be made available via the European Illustration Forums website at a later date.

Tickets are issued on a ‘first come first served’ basis.

If you are registering from overseas, welcome, please ensure that you have double checked the time of the event in your time zone.

If you have any questions about the event, please contact us at


Exhibition Trailblazers: 20th century illustrators and activism



Illustration Embassy
October 5 till December 10 2023, Westergas, Amsterdam


From October to December 2023 the Illustration Embassy presents the exhibition Trailblazers: 20th century illustrators and activism at the Meterhuis at the Westergas in Amsterdam. 

The exhibition focuses on an exceptional generation of illustrators of the 20th century that were frustrated by the state of the world and engaged themselves​ around specific issues of their time (all of which are still relevant today). From racial discrimination, political memory, human and animal rights, economic rights, to gender, social and thinking norms, these illustrators cared and made images to make others care. For each illustrator, we focus on the strength of their unconventional gaze and the way they shaped our vision of society.

More info here:

Ai and the Illustration Industry

AI initiatives and news in the creative community

Here are some news and activities on the topic of artificial intelligence in our community:


The European Guild for Artificial Intelligence Regulation (EGAIR) represents artists, creatives, associations, unions, publishers and brands from all over Europe (and the world) united in demanding a EU-level regulation on AI companies.
It's a platform to coordinate lobbying activities on a European level and a landmark for whoever is seeking resources or information on the cause, wants to support it or wants to take a more active role.

On February 14 2023, EGAIR launched an initiative to safeguard against the exploitation of creative work and data. They have a 5 point manifesto to sign and a fundraising to cover legal representation.

Derek Brazell of AOI (President of Eif), did an interview on the topic:
Association of Illustrators: Issues around AI Have Alarmed Creatives Everywhere

Our member Grafill has an interesting lecture on the topic:
The Basics of Artificial Intelligence for Creatives

Joint statement from authors’ and performers’ organisations on Artificial Intelligence and the AI Act:
True culture needs originals: Transparency and consent are key to the ethical use of AI:

Getty Images taking legal action (in London) against Stability AI (DreamStudio):

Getty Images have also filed a copyright case against Stability AI in the US stating their website featuring 12m images was scraped:

Three illustrators in US class action against Stability AI, Midjourney och DeviantArt (DreamUp) for copyright infringement, violations of the right of publicity and unlawful competition:

Wide protest against AI-artwork:

Our community reacts on Lensa AI:


Here is an article explaning how the Ai- tecknology actually works:

AI can now create images out of thin air. See how it works.


Eif Diversity Survey 2022

EIF Diversity Survey – Supporting inclusive opportunities for Illustrators across Europe

Eif Diversity Survey 2022
Image credit: Tania Yakunova

Calling all illustrators living in Europe! How can we best support your career and grow our industry for the better? 

The European Illustrators Forum is carrying out a survey to better understand the opportunities and challenges within the illustration sector today, in different countries across Europe. 

Specifically, we want to know the diversity of the group of illustration professionals, review financial income differences between the different countries, and understand how we can best champion under-represented minority groups within the illustration industry. 

Survey results will offer statistical data that can be used by the EIF to identify key priorities and provide important evidence for Government consultations.

Results will also help the EIF to develop initiatives that support a wider range of illustrators in building a successful, sustainable career. 

We are asking all illustrators living in Europe to please complete this short survey and share it with your community!

All responses will be anonymous and confidential. Thank you for your support. 

Click here to complete the survey (it takes between 5 - 10 minutes):

This survey is part of research carried out by the European Illustrators Forum (EIF), financed by contributions from (member associations + countries), to better understand the opportunities and challenges within the illustration sector in different countries across Europe today.

Illustration by Tanya Yakunova

Illustration by Aurélia Durand

AOI Inside Illustration Branding

The AOI has just launched the next season of Inside Illustration which focuses on illustration for branding; images commissioned for company identities and logos, their services, packaging ranges, campaigns and more, which create familiarity and encourage loyalty and identification from consumers and clients. It aims to ensure that brands are distinct from each other, with their own individual personality connecting with, and retaining, customers.

Illustration by Aurélia Durand
Inside Illustration branding image by Aurélia Durand

The suite of content for this season includes a (free) podcast with guests Heidi Lightfoot, Together Design Creative Director and founder, and illustrator/designer branding experts Kate Larsen and Nicola Robson. Search ‘Inside Illustration’ where you listen to podcasts.

For the interview piece (free), Jhy Turley, Head of Studio at Uncommon Creative Studio - Campaign’s UK Creative Agency of the year and UK Independent Agency - discusses commissioning illustration that is right for the brand and the story they’re telling.

The Branding Illustration Basics resource (free) looks at the basics you need to know about illustration for branding, explaining the industry, what you’ll need in your portfolio, and briefs, licences and contracts for branding commissions.

AOI members have the exclusive opportunity to take part in online sessions for the Branding Season Creative Practice Course. Each session a guest illustrator will present on a specialised area of branding illustration: Food packaging, Representing people, Indentity and Logos and Characters for branding. Guest illustrator for the Illustrative food branding session is Kate Larsen; Representing people in branding is with Loe Lee; The Illustrated brand with Justin Poulter and Characters for branding with Chris Dickason

And for the long form article, Branding Is Personal, Alix-Rose Cowie talks to clients commissioning branding work for identity and packaging and hears from the illustrators with a range of styles responding to those briefs.

Illustrators for Peace

The European Illustrators Forum (EIF) invited illustrators to submit images in support of countries dealing with conflict and war to be displayed on the EIF website.

The invasion of Ukraine is a devastating situation. We wish to bring illustrators together, to share visual representations of support for those living in areas of conflict or displaced from their homes. War sadly affects many countries across the world, and your image can relate to any context.

See the submissions here.

We encourage donations to charities who give relief and crisis support. A few suggestions are:
Disaster Emergency Committee
Red Cross
The Voices of Children Foundation

Silvio Boselli

Pay the Creator

Pay the Creator is a Creators’ Rights Alliance (CRA) campaign in the UK highlighting the disparity between creators and other sector workers in the areas of pay, business support and policy making.

Speaking on behalf of 350,000 creative professionals, the Creators’ Rights Alliance (CRA), its members (whcih include EIF member, AOI) and partner organisations are calling for creators to be paid professionally and promptly and to be given the same considerations enjoyed by other sectors of industry.

Pay the Creator brings together CRA member campaigns and the work they do, tirelessly championing creator working rights.

Too often creators are offered payment in kind, through exposure, or opportunity, rather than financial payment for their work and rights.  They are also ignored when policies are being developed and support is being given.

Creators’ work is the foundation of the largest sector within the UK economy. Yet their needs are repeatedly ignored when policy, economic and support decisions are being made.

We must bring to an end a practice that discriminates, stifles access and limits those who are able to work in our industry.

CRA member organisations already constantly campaign on these issues. Through Pay the Creator we are bringing together all our member organisations’ campaigns under one simple banner, to spread our collective message even wider.

Go here for more information

EIF call for entries to Illustrators for Peace

Illustration by Tomas Schats

The European Illustrators Forum (EIF) invites illustrators to submit images in support of countries dealing with conflict and war to be displayed on the EIF website.

EIF is a network of national associations of illustrators in European countries representing over 12,000 illustrators. See the EIF website for more details on the organisation.

The invasion of Ukraine is a devastating situation. We wish to bring illustrators together, to share visual representations of support for those living in areas of conflict or displaced from their homes. War sadly affects many countries across the world, and your image can relate to any context.

Please email your submission in jpeg format to

With text for credits stating:

  • your full name
  • the title of the image
  • your website or Instagram/social media handle

Deadline 1 April 2022. By submitting an image to this call you declare that you are the creator and copyright holder of the work and you give permission for EIF to display on the EIF website indefinitely. EIF do not guarantee that every entry will be displayed.

Keep Your Copyright campaign

Illustrators are increasingly being asked to sign away their copyright, with more commissioners asking for a copyright assignment as part of their contracts instead of licensing the artwork. As copyright is an economic right illustrators can lose out financially from assignments.

Agreeing to these assignments sets the expectation that other illustrators will do the same, which damages our foundation as a licence-based industry.

Illustration Olivier Heiligers

The AOI has launched the Keep Your Copyright campaign aiming to reverse this harmful practice before it becomes too prevalent.

The Objectives

We’re calling on illustrators and commissioners to unite and push back on copyright assignments.

• Let’s create an open dialogue with commissioners, clients and illustrators, around the importance of copyright and licensing.

• Let’s reduce the number of copyright assignments across the illustration industry, and encourage creators to retain the copyright in their work.

• Let’s make information about copyright and licensing accessible to everyone, whether you’re a new graduate, self-taught, or just in need of a recap.

According to the AOI's 2021 membership survey, 34% of illustrators said they don’t have a good understanding of licensing, and 44% don’t feel confident negotiating contract terms with clients.

We want to empower illustrators by equipping them with the tools they need to understand copyright and licensing, and how to negotiate better contractual terms with confidence. We also want to better inform commissioners, so they understand the importance of licence-based industries.

The Toolkit

• For Illustrators - Read the AOI public resource on copyright assignments, including advice on how to negotiate a fairer deal. Link to the ‘How to Licence Illustration’ resource on your website to help clients who are new to commissioning illustration (download a visual hyperlinked button here)

• Commissioners – Read the new resource on the benefits of licensing for all parties involved.

• Subscribe to the AOI weekly ‘Keep Your Copyright’ series, featuring valuable insights from illustrators, agents and commissioners. [include link]

• Sign up to  to the AOI FREE online event 9 February 2022 – Keep Your Copyright: Licensing and Negotiation 101

If you’re an AOI member you can also use the Pricing Calculator to understand how a licence fee is formulated.

How else can you get involved?

Spread the word!

It’s never been more important for creators – including illustrators – to do everything in their power to protect their copyright and retain autonomy over their work. If you are an author, photographer, musician, journalist or visual artist, we invite you to be part of our mission.

If you write for a creative news platform, consider featuring our campaign. Feel free to contact the AOI team (details below) to discuss organising a bespoke article.

Help us get the message out there so that we can connect with as many creators, agents, commissioners, clients and universities as possible. Repost the resources on your social media channels, share your own experiences of copyright and licensing with your communities.

Use the hashtag #KeepYourCopyright to show your support. Download our Press Kit and share our campaign visual, with credit to Olivier Heiligers (@olivierheiligers)

AOI call for entries to the World Illustration Awards 2021

The AOI, in partnership with the USA-based Directory of Illustration, announces that the World Illustration Awards 2021 are open for entries until 15 February 2021.
'This year we will be celebrating great illustration from across the globe, with an emphasis on supporting illustrators many of whom have continued to make amazing work in incredibly challenging circumstances in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The World Illustration Awards have always aimed to connect illustrators with the industry to increase their visibility, and gain new clients and commissions. This year we are particularly proud to celebrate illustration as the vibrant creative and thriving industry it is, by highlighting great work created by illustrators from first year students through to established professionals from across the world.” – Ren Renwick, CEO, The Association of Illustrators

The World Illustration Awards are a year-long showcase of great illustration. This begins with the sharing of selected entries as they come in, followed by an announcement in June of the 500 longlisted projects on The AOI website, and then the release of the 200 shortlisted projects which will feature in an Online Showcase launching in September, and a printed catalogue published in October.

There are also fantastic prizes on offer, including generous cash prizes for the Overall Winners. The variety, quality and imaginative creativity promises to offer something for everyone, as we bring together great illustration into view.

This high-profile competition with ten industry relevant categories are judged by distinguished professionals from the global illustration industry. Commissioners value the Awards for identifying current trends and finding undiscovered talent, and illustrators value the connection and sense of community participating can bring.

“Besides winning, the true prize for me was getting to know and connect with other illustrators through the competition, feeling part of a community of people who are in the same boat as you and sharing tips and experiences. Also the attention my work got online was great!” – Xavier Segers, WIA2020 Site Specific Category Winner

Entries can be submitted until the end of the day 15 February 2021 via the online application form.

To find out all about the awards, the 10 categories, how to enter, sponsors, prizes and cash awards, judges and much more visit: