20 December 2022

Building Books with AI

A Brief Note on Controversial AI Images

I know there is some debate about AI Art and copyright. I am not going to get into that a lot. The current models don’t offer enough protections for Artists. Regardless of where we are with the models we have right now. I believe AI art which is considered fully responsible and reasonable use, will be reached. The full details and depth of that issue are outside the scope of this post.

Creating Childrens Books with AI

I was playing around with some of the newer AI tools. Originally, using GPT3 to write a book with my son. Then I started using DALL·E 2 and Stable Diffusion to generate images to illustrate the book. As the holidays approached, I wrote another for the kids cousins. This year grandparents, cousins, and some aunts and uncles will receive printed copies of books my kids helps write and illustrate with the help of AI. It has been a fun a rewarding project, and is easy to do. It is wild that you can work with a 3 year old to build a book they will feel invested in and proud of.

Sasha and the three pigs

Outline of the Steps

  1. Find a topic the kid is interested in. I generally took a favorite classic fairy tale story
  2. Generate some of the pages with GPT3, allowing the child to accept or reject pages or add in details of interest
    • for example, My son wanted to become a squirrel and feature squirrels in the book
    • My daughter wanted to be dressed as a puppy and have pigs in the book
  3. Once you have a good story, move on to illustrations. I created one image per page.
    • I often tried the exact text of the page to make an image but found it needed adjusting
    • I most often used my prompt, digital art to get art-like images as opposed to anything looking like photos, 3d, or the like
  4. Build out the format in a Google Doc or word doc, print it out, and read it to the kids, taking edit notes
  5. Finalize the book
    • make final edits
    • decide on the final formats, which likely have requirements
    • I used Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing: Self Publishing
    • This requires specific margins, 24 pages of content, making a cover, etc

My Son Theo as a squirrel

Unique Personalized Gifts

It is fun to make these with the kids or generate a bunch of images myself when I have the time to review them with the kids later. Writing short stories and inserting friends, family, inside jokes, and funny family context is amusing, and the result is unique. After making a few more of these, I am sure I will have the process and flow down well enough to make a genuinely personalized book for friends in a bit of time. Publishing several particular children’s books isn’t something I really could have imagined doing before experimenting with these tools. Now I could see all sorts of interesting mixed media creative experiments I could build with my kids.

The Cousins save the world

What’s Next?

I am looking at moving to really put us into the stories and have started to work with Stable Diffusions Img2Img to generate images that the kids could act out or help design. This way the kiddos can get even more involved with some of the creative aspects and make the book even more special and unique to themselves.

a img2img photo of our family