D&D Artist Confirms They Used AI Artwork in New Sourcebook

By qaxio

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One of the artists working on Dungeons & Dragons’ newest bookBigby Presents: Glory of the Giants!, has stated that they used AI to help generate “certain details or polish and editing” in a recent post on X, on the site formerly known as Twitter. Ilya Shkipin, who drew the art in question, has deleted his posts, but records remain as screenshots.

Image for article titled New Dungeons & Dragons Sourcebook Features AI Generated Art

Screenshot: X | Ilya Shkipin

Shkipin states that a lot of painted elements were “enhanced with ai rather than generated from [the] ground up.” However this does not change the fact that AI generated images were put into the book, and there is apparently no disclosure on the images at all. It is unclear if anyone involved in the production of Bigby Presents was aware that Shkipin used AI art in his process.

Additional screenshots received by io9 confirm that Shkipin used AI art generators, but at the time when this art was being developed and turned in, generators were not of a high enough quality to generate proper images, and Shkipin claimed to others via private message that “overall it was painted digitally.”

Left: Final artwork in Bigbys Presents. Right: Initial sketches

Left: Final artwork in Bigbys Presents. Right: Initial sketches
Image: Wizards of the Coast | Ilya Shkipin

Shkipin is well known for using AI art generators like Pika Labs AI and operates an NFT marketplace out of superrare, putting him at odds with many in the D&D and TTRPG communities who do not hold with either NFTs or AI generated art. He has also provided early initial sketches on X, as a way to show what he used to prompt generators.

A source at Wizards of the Coast has said that Shkipin’s use of AI was not something that the team was aware of. Further, they state that no text in the book was AI generated. Wizards has said that they will update their guidelines to more explicitly prevent these sorts of incidents from happening in the future. On August 5, D&D Beyond posted a statement on X, emphasizing that they had no knowledge that Shkipin used AI generators in his art process.

While io9 has reached out to Ilya Shkipin for clarification and comment, he has not been in contact with us. Shkipin stated on social media on August 5 that “the future of today[s] illustrations is being discussed.” This is likely due to the intense backlash he—and Wizards of the Coast—received after this realization came to light online. There is no information yet on what Shkipin has been providing drawings and illustrations for Wizards of the Coast for nearly 10 years, having been first employed in 2014 to help contribute to the first round of fifth edition books.

Image for article titled New Dungeons & Dragons Sourcebook Features AI Generated Art

There is no information yet on what “reworked” means in this context. Bigbys Presents: Glory of the Giants! is scheduled to be released on August 15, which means that physical copies have been printed and are, most likely, already on their way to distributors if they are not already in their stores, ready to be set out, AI art and all. We have reached out to Wizards of the Coast for additional comments.

Update, August 6, 1:30 p.m.: Added Wizards of the Coasts’ official statement on X, and provided more context for these statements, including people’s reactions on social media.

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