Using AI Art to Inspire Digital Drawing in Procreate


Artwork of a Fox in a winter scene

The recent explosion of websites that create artwork generated by Artificial Intelligence has opened up many new questions from artists about copyright related to AI artwork. One interesting idea that I saw demonstrated was from an artist who used AI pictures from Midjourney to inspire a painting that she created in Procreate. I decided to do my own experiment using some AI generated pictures to create my own painting of a fox. Above you can see the two AI images I used for inspiration (on the right) and my finished Procreate illustration (on the left).

I began by generating MANY pictures of a scene using the prompt "Painting of a fox in a winter night scene with mountains and pine trees." I used the website Stable Diffusion and an app called Dream. Both worked well, but I would not suggest Dream for students because it featured the work of various artists and some images might not be appropriate for school. I did like that Dream could let you pick artistic styles to try, and you could also upload a reference photo that it would use to help it generate the art.


multiple AR generated pictures of a painting of a fox.

I saved some of the best images to my iPad photo album, then selected a few that had a good composition/arrangement of items to use for my painting. Since I usually can't generate an idea for a drawing from my head, I found that using AI to make a uniquely created image was a huge advantage to help me get started!


In the screenshot above from Procreate, you can see how I inserted my AI drawing into Layer 1. I traced it on Layer 2. I traced the reference image loosely, moved the moon to a different location, and added a tail to the fox. Underneath Layer 2, I added additional layers where I colored in the picture. Once my "painting" was done, I turned off layers 1 and 2.


I also used a second image as a reference photo in Procreate (above). I used this picture to select the colors for my digital painting. I also modeled my pine trees after the reference photo.

I think you can see how AI generated art can provide a copyright free image that can inspire drawings and paintings. Instead of tracing from a picture that is downloaded from the internet, you can create a work of art that is uniquely your own and created by you. It will be interesting to see if students and other artists can use AI art as a starting point to create their own works. I can imagine this might be a perfect way to help students get started who say "I don't know what to draw."

Call to Action: Do you have any ideas of projects in your classroom where students could use AI generated art for tracing?

One Best Thing:

This post is a part of my One Best Thing Project "AI Art for Inspiration, Creativity, and Learning." I am collecting my AI Art project ideas and resources at this website:

3 replies

January 21, 2023

I found this post so interesting, Karen! This past fall semester, one of my students, an art education major, created a lesson plan where she asked students to generate AI art based on a haiku that they wrote during class. She also included in the lesson discussion about the role of AI in the evolution of art making. I thought it was such an engaging and timely lesson plan for a high school art classroom. Taking the next step and having her students recreate their AI-generated art in Procreate would be a great extension! Thanks for sharing your experience here.

January 22, 2023

Jessica, I love that idea to use AI art to go with a haiku. Lots of possibilities!

January 22, 2023

So interesting Karen, as we (teachers) continue to read about and explore AI in art. Thanks for your beautiful share.

Appreciate Jessica’s comment also about one of her student’s lesson. Lots to learn!

Maximum file size: 400MB

Insert a video

Insert an image

Insert an image

125: 125
220: 220

This action can’t be undone.

Error Message

Are you sure you want to continue? Your changes will not be saved.

This post contains content from YouTube.

If you choose to view this content, YouTube may collect and process certain personal data. You can view YouTube’s <a href="" target="_blank">privacy policy here<span class="a11y">(opens in new window)</span>.</a>

This post contains content from YouTube.

You have rejected content from YouTube. If you want to change your consent, press the button below.