A Comprehensive Guide to Optimize AI Art Prompts for Maximum Impact


Last Updated on January 5, 2024

As an artist, you might be intrigued by the potential of AI art prompts and the ability to create innovative and unique pieces. In fact, after publishing my recent article, “AI Art vs. Human Art: What AI Reveals about Creativity” many readers, motivated to experiment with AI-Generated Art, have asked me about which specific prompts to use in creating a unique and consistent style.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore how to optimize AI art prompts for maximum impact, provide specific approaches and examples, and offer inspiration to help you embrace this groundbreaking technology.

How Visual Artists can incorporate AI-Generated Art in their Practice

Visual artists can incorporate AI art into their practice in several ways that allow for a dynamic and innovative fusion of technology and creativity. One method is to utilize AI-generated art as a source of inspiration or a starting point for their own work. By inputting initial concepts, sketches, or themes into an AI system, artists can obtain a range of generated outputs that can inform their creative process, helping them refine their ideas and develop unique styles.

AI art generators can also offer the opportunity to experiment with different styles and techniques, giving artists a chance to quickly, and virtually, expand their creative horizons and discover new approaches. For instance, a traditional painter without extensive computer skills can use AI art generators to experiment with digital art techniques or add new visual elements to an existing piece. Such accessible technologies can open new creative doors and help them take their artwork in exciting directions.

AI Art Generators are continually being updated and improved. Currently, there are plenty of free and premium options to try out. Most free options have restrictions on the number of generations you may produce and on the usage rights of the images. Below is a list of 6 AI art generators to check out:

  1. Midjourney: Midjourney is an AI art tool that offers a range of AI models and features and is known for its ability to create realistic and visually stunning images. Accessing Midjourney requires setting up a Discord account first and then logging onto the Midjourney Server. Most examples in this post have been made using Midjourney AI.
  2. DALL-E: DALL-E is a neural network created by OpenAI that can generate unique and original images from textual descriptions. It has a slightly different look than Midjourney and is nice for variations, but for me a close second, when it is stable that is.
  3. DeepDream: DeepDream is an AI-based image generation tool developed by Google that can create surreal and abstract images based on user-defined inputs.
  4. NeuralStyle: NeuralStyle is an AI-based image style transfer tool that can apply the style of one image, including uploaded images, onto another. This tool is popular among artists for its ability to create unique and interesting combinations of styles and themes.
  5. RunwayML: RunwayML is an AI art tool that offers a range of AI models and features, including image generation, style transfer, and object detection, and ai assisted photo and video editing.
  6. ArtBreeder: ArtBreeder is an AI art tool that allows artists to create and evolve images using a combination of genetic algorithms and machine learning. It has a cool collage function and is popular among artists for its ability to create unique and unpredictable combinations of elements.

Although the options are increasing each day, my suggestion to determine which AI Art Generator best suits your style and needs, try using the same prompt on multiple sites and compare the differences.

What is an AI Art Prompt?

Art has always been an evolving field, and with the emergence of artificial intelligence, the creative landscape is witnessing another revolution. The key to harnessing this powerful and evolving technology is mastering the inputs or prompts you give AI to create desired images.

AI art prompts are textual or visual cues provided to an AI algorithm or model, which, in turn, generates a unique piece of art based on the input. These prompts act as a starting point for the AI, guiding its creative process while allowing for a wide range of artistic expressions.

AI art prompts can vary in complexity and detail, ranging from simple, single-word inputs (e.g., “mountains”) to more elaborate descriptions that include specific elements, styles, or themes (e.g., “a Van Gogh-inspired painting of a sunlit mountain landscape with vibrant colors”). The AI interprets the provided prompt and generates artwork that reflects the user’s intent while also adding its own creative flair.

The quality and relevance of the generated artwork depend heavily on the effectiveness of the prompt. A well-crafted prompt can lead to stunning and unique AI-generated art, while a vague or ambiguous prompt might result in less accurate or less visually appealing outputs. To get the most out of AI art prompts, users should aim to provide clear, concise, and detailed instructions that guide the AI in producing the desired artistic result.

Mastering AI Art Prompts: A Step-by-Step Guide

To get the most out of AI art prompts and create stunning and unique artworks, it’s essential to understand the nuances of crafting effective prompts.

Before diving into AI art prompts, it’s essential to consider your creative goals. Are you looking to create highly detailed images, or do you prefer a more abstract approach? Different AI tools offer varying levels of control and customization, so choose one that aligns with your artistic vision.

This step-by-step guide will walk you through the process of mastering AI art prompts, using specific examples and prompts to inspire your creativity.

Step 1: Begin with a Clear Concept

Your art prompt should have a clear and concise concept to guide the AI in generating the desired output. Avoid being too vague or overly complicated. Instead, focus on one main idea that AI can work with. For example, if you want to create a futuristic cityscape, your prompt could be “A futuristic city skyline with flying cars and neon lights.”

ai art prompts future city

Here, we can see how the AI has interpreted the prompts: Neon Lights, Futuristic, and Skyline.

Step 2: Add Descriptive Details

Once you have a clear concept, add descriptive details to provide context and enhance the AI’s understanding of your vision. Include details such as mood, lighting conditions, background context, or level of detail. This will help the AI produce more accurate and visually appealing results.

Continuing with the futuristic cityscape example, you could refine your prompt to: “A futuristic city skyline at dusk, featuring towering skyscrapers, flying cars, and glowing neon lights reflecting on a river below.”

ai art prompts future city dusk

In this image, AI successfully added the warm hues of dusk to the overall lighting. The reflection of the city on the water has also been illustrated.

Step 3: Experiment with Style and Technique

Incorporate specific artistic styles or techniques to give the AI a better sense of the visual aesthetic you want to achieve. For example, if you’re interested in a surrealist interpretation of your futuristic cityscape, you could add “inspired by Salvador Dalí” to your prompt. The revised prompt would read: “A Salvador Dalí-inspired futuristic city skyline at dusk, featuring towering skyscrapers, flying cars, and glowing neon lights reflecting on a river below.”

ai art prompts future city dusk dali

In my opinion, AI hasn’t fully grasped the style of Salvador Dali in the way I had hoped. Having kept the old inputs and images as references, AI simply adapted my prompt making the image slightly more surreal with its droopy lines of the cityscape in the distance melting into the sea.

Step 4: Iterate and Refine

AI-generated art often requires a few iterations before achieving the desired result. Experiment with variations of your initial prompt, adjusting keywords, and adding or removing elements until the AI produces a satisfying piece.

AI-generated art is an iterative process. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different phrasings, details, or styles in your prompts to see how the AI interprets your ideas. If you’re not satisfied with the initial results, revise your prompt and try again. For example, if the first prompt didn’t produce the desired level of surrealism, you could rephrase it as: “A dreamlike futuristic city skyline, merging Salvador Dalí’s surrealism with towering skyscrapers, flying cars, and glowing neon lights reflecting on a river below.”

ai art prompts future city dusk dali dreamlike

In this final example, the command “dreamlike,” having been inserted first as a prompt, took priority. The drooping of the city into the sea was retained but as an afterthought.

Step 5: Learn from Successful Examples

Pay attention to successful examples of AI-generated art and analyze the prompts used to create them. This can provide valuable insights into what works well and help you improve your own prompt-writing skills. For example, you might notice that certain keywords or phrases consistently produce better results, or that specific styles and techniques lend themselves well to AI-generated art.

20 Examples of AI Art Promts to Convey Art Genres

Conveying a particular Style in your AI Art Prompts can be as simple as specifying a genre of Art like Pop Art or Cubism. Such prompts result in drastic variations of color, form, and composition. For instance, including the prompt “Digital Art” as a style, will result in hyperreal and dynamic pictures.

Likewise, you can ask to recreate images in the style of a famous known artist, like Picasso. Here is a list of various Genres you can experiment with. Try sticking to one subject and re-create it multiple times using multiple genres.

Abstract ExpressionismImpressionism
Pop ArtCubism
Pixel ArtPointillism
Art NouveauSynthwave
VaporwaveGerman Expressionism
Medieval GothicFauvism
BauhausOrthodox Iconography

AI Art Promts of Artistic Techniques and Mediums

Another way to convey style in your AI images is to include prompts that generate the look and feel of certain mediums. For instance, prompts that input techniques of the artwork such as Watercolor, Oil Pastel, Colored Pencil, or Japanese Woodblock Prints will greatly impact the way AI interprets your request.

Below is a list of 15 Prompts that offer very distinct visual styles.

EtchingScreen PrintOil Painting
Crayon on Dark PaperStained Glass WindowContour Line Drawing
3D RenderWatercolorCharcoal
Post Card CollageVintage IllustrationLego
Play-Doh SculptureRelief PaintingHand Painting

Including prompts that describe the artistic medium influences the form and texture of the image. For example, when using a prompt such as Play-Doh Sculpture, the subjects take on the consistency and surface tactility of Play-Doh. Check out this “play-ful” example of the two birds on a mailbox.

szureikat play doh sculpture two birds in blue and yellow sitti 8f475148 d692 434f 8dad 3c7357700c82
Midjourney prompt: play-doh sculpture, two birds in blue and yellow sitting on a mailbox.

10 Atmospheric and Mood Prompts for AI Art Generator

Atmosphere and Mood are important for getting the right tone in your images and conveying the appropriate reactions from the viewer. Just as you would strive to achieve mood and emotion responses in your handmade artwork, AI greatly benefits from prompts to cue it as to which emotions should be stimulated.

By using the prompts below, artists can create AI-generated art that captures specific moods and atmospheres. Whether they are seeking to create a sense of tranquility and peace or a feeling of excitement and energy, prompts are a powerful tool for guiding the creative process and creating works of art that are evocative and expressive.

Heavy BurdenedLight Hearted

Creating Photo Realistic Images Using AI Prompts

As an artist working with photography, it is an interesting experiment to try to produce photo-realistic images using AI. For instance, you can ask AI to create an image in the style of a famous photographer. Another tip could be to specify Aspect Ratio to give photorealistic proportions, i.e. 4:3, 6:6, 6:7, etc.

In Photography, many physical variables can affect the sharpness, detail, lighting, and overall look of a photograph. When it comes to translating these variables into prompts, there are many specific instructions to tweak AI photographs, from the camera angle to the exposure settings, to the focus range, and even the camera type.

Below is a list of 10 Prompts to create more photorealistic Images.

Macro PhotographyPinhole Photograph
Expired FilmCamera Light Leaks
Wide Aperture – Shallow Depth of FieldDutch Angle
Studio Photography LightingFilm Grain – High ISO
Camera Blur – Slow Shutter SpeedMedium Format
si ma pinhole photograph black and white low camera angle ultra 2cd811d5 e5ed 4088 a817 1b10357ed4aa
Midjourney AI prompt: a pinhole photograph, black and white, low camera angle, ultra photorealistic, visible film grain, Central Park, New York.

7 Tips on How to Achieve Consistent Results with AI Art?

Achieving consistent results with AI art can be challenging due to the inherently unpredictable nature of AI-generated outputs. However, by following these tips and best practices, you can improve the consistency of your AI-generated artwork:

  • Be Precise with Your Prompts:

As mentioned before, ensure your prompts are clear, concise, and contain specific details to guide the AI in generating the desired output. Vague or ambiguous prompts may result in inconsistent results, as the AI might interpret your intentions differently each time.

  • Set Weights and Breaks to Prioritize or Highlight Specific Prompts

Weights can be used in prompts to assign higher or lower importance to certain words or concepts. In most language-based AI models, the default weight for all words is 1, but weights can be adjusted using certain modifiers. For example, using the “::” symbol in a prompt creates a hard break, as opposed to a comma which signals only a soft blend. Using a double colon “::” tells the model to prioritize the words that come before it. Similarly, using the “::n” modifier assigns a weight of n(number) to the words that come before it.

Weights can also be assigned to images using the “–iw” modifier. This tells the model how much importance to place on the image when generating the output. A weight of 0.5 will result in a balance between the words and the image, while a weight of 10 will prioritize the image over the words. These weights can be adjusted depending on the desired outcome, allowing for greater control over the model’s output.

  • Use Reference Images:

Providing reference images along with your prompts can help guide the AI in producing more consistent results. Many AI art platforms allow you to upload reference images to provide additional context and inspiration for the AI to work with.

To add an image to the prompt box in Midjourney, you can drag and drop the file directly into the prompt box or copy the image link by right-clicking on the image and selecting “Copy Link” before pasting it into the prompt box. If you want to keep the image private, you can upload it in your Direct Messages with the Midjourney Bot to prevent other server users from accessing it.

  • Choose a Specific Style

If you’re looking for consistency in style, choose a specific artistic style or technique and stick with it throughout your prompts. This will help the AI understand your desired aesthetic and produce artwork with a more uniform look and feel.

  • Limit Variability:

Reduce the number of variables in your prompts by focusing on a single subject, theme, or style. This will help the AI generate more consistent results by limiting the potential variations it can create.

  • Experiment with Temperature Settings:

Most AI art platforms have a “temperature” setting that controls the randomness of the generated output. Lower temperature values produce more conservative and consistent outputs, while higher values produce more diverse and creative results. Adjust the temperature setting according to your needs to achieve the desired level of consistency.

  • Use a Specific Color Palate

Limiting your Colors or sticking to specific colors in your prompts, will create a distinctive look in your images. When you combine Style with a restricted Color Palate throughout your various AI-Generated Images, you start to create a recognizable pattern and consistency between your works. Certain AI models will learn your preferences over time and you can slowly teach AI what vision you are after.

Collaborating with AI

Altogether in this article, we have listed over 50 different prompts for you to use and have fun with. From prompts specifying art genres to technique and medium to photo realist settings, the sky is the limit when it comes to communicating your desired output to AI.

Remember that working with AI is a collaborative process. You provide the initial idea and guidance through your prompt, but the AI interprets your input and adds its own creative flair. Embrace the unexpected and use it as a source of inspiration. Be open to refining your initial concept based on the AI’s output, as this can lead to exciting and innovative artwork that you might not have envisioned otherwise.

By following these steps and experimenting with different prompts, you’ll be well on your way to mastering AI art prompts and creating stunning, unique, and impactful artwork.

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