Hundreds of illustrations by Fincham Press cover artist Rudolf Ammann are now available to download and reuse, with licensing that lets you take, remix, and play, for free!
In spring last year I was invited to join an unusual comedy project which trained artificial neural networks on several years’ worth of historical Edinburgh Fringe festival programmes to generate new virtual show listings. My brief consisted in developing the brand identity and building the website, but, having familiarised myself with the project, I suggested that the purely textual show listings should also be accompanied by illustrations, which I’d be happy to create and supply. Eventually, ImprovBot.ai went live at the start of the Festival in August, and for three weeks kept churning out a dozen illustrated AI-generated show listings a day. The images are now available for creative re-use as non-restrictively licenced stock Illustrations. Here’s some very brief discussion and a few pointers to the various ways of getting hold of the images.
Producing digital illustrations by the hundreds requires a certain serial approach to their manufacturing, so it helps to have archives on hand that can be drawn on for visual elements to tweak and recombine. I have documented some of the elements in the ImprovBot.ai series elsewhere. In this post, let me just point out some areas of overlap with my book cover artwork for Fincham Press.
As a designer and a visual artist I have been collaborating with ImprovBot.ai’s project lead, Melissa Terras, for more than a decade. Prior to ImprovBot.ai (see Melissa’s account of her recent adventures in AI, incidentally), we’ve worked together on a variety of projects, including her book published by Fincham Press, The Professor in Children’s Literature, which I typeset and whose book cover I designed. This cover, based on a drawing by W. Heath Robinson, is among the elements I’ve remixed repeatedly as part of the series’ ‘extras‘ (fig. 1).
The extras, as their name suggests, are perhaps not very central to the ImprovBot.ai series. By contrast, ‘moresque patterns‘, an ornamentation style that was in wide use across Europe for much of the Renaissance and Baroque periods, are a core element. They appear frequently, often occupying a middle ground that holds a composition together.
For many pieces in the series, I passed historical moresque patterns through algorithmic deformation filters, thus experimenting further with an imaging technique I had first used on the cover of a recent Fincham Press anthology, In which Dragons Are Real But (see full cover art).
Many instances in the series (e.g. fig. 2) resemble the initial Dragons cover in that the computationally deformed moresque patterns remain the dominant element.
Some of the illustrations are more complex in their composition, featuring moresque patterns along with other elements, such as mojibake and glitch captures (e.g. fig. 3).
The whole set of Improvbot.ai illustrations is available for reuse and can be picked up individually from the project website and the Twitter feed. The images , briefly reviewed by category on a separate page, can also be browsed by these categories. The categories most suitable for re-use are probably these:
Moresque | Capture | Dataviz | Base64 | Network | Hardmod | Mojibake | Noise | Extras
Also available, but perhaps less suitable for reuse might be these categories:
Identity: ImprovBot | Identity: Improverts | The Bot, incl. Multiples Edinburgh and Multiples Shakespeare |
A zip archive of the full illustration set is available for downloading from Zenodo.org, and a subset of individual illustrations is distributed via Pixabay.com.
The illustrations are distributed under the CC-BY-NC licence, the image set on Pixabay under even less restrictive terms.
Reuse? Feel free to let us know about it!
Some of the images might be suitable for book cover art, a blog post illustration, or they might inspire you to simply play with them and produce a few remixes of your own. If you find a use for them, feel free to drop us a link and let us know via any of the Fincham Press social media presences!