How to write effective AI art prompts | Zapier (2023)

Good prompts are the backbone of good outputs. This is true for ChatGPT and even more so for AI image generation tools. But while ChatGPT provides solid responses even with super basic prompts, AI art generators tend to require more attention to detail—and more attempts—before you get what you're looking for.

AI art prompting is much more of an art than a science, but I've put together a starting point for you. I'll start with the structure of a good AI art prompt, and then I'll give you some starting words and expressions you can use to make images go from "ok…?" to "wow."

  • The structure of an AI art prompt

  • Part 1: Image content

  • Part 2: Art form, style, and artist references

  • Part 3: Additional details

  • Advanced AI prompt tools and strategies

  • Where to find AI art prompt ideas

  • Automate your image generation

Follow along: Want to turn your reading session into a crash course? Take a look at our list of AI art generators and pick your favorite. Each AI model works with prompts differently (and each attempt will be different, too), so you'll see variations in your results.

The structure of an AI art prompt

I've seen a lot of unique AI image prompts over the past few months, but all of them share a set of common characteristics. Here's the general structure, in order of writing:

[image content/subject, description of action, state, and mood],

[art form, style, and artist references],

[additional settings, such as lighting, colors, and framing]

As you add more elements to your prompt, be sure to separate them with commas. This will help the AI model interpret your prompt, and it will make it easier for you to remember what you've asked for.

How long should an AI art prompt be?

There aren't hard limits on how long or short a prompt should be: Midjourney works well with 60-word prompts, while Stable Diffusion does best if you stay below 380 characters. And AI image generators can get confused if you give them too much to work with. But play around with it—you never know what you'll find.

What style of language should you use in an AI art prompt?

Vivid details and concrete language produce more predictable results. Poetic or abstract wording can produce surprising results. Mix and match depending on your objectives.

As you become more experienced, you can play with the structure, length, and style of your image prompts, but first, let's drill down into each of the main components.

Start with the image content

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Start by stating the subject or content of the image. This part is self-explanatory, and entering it into an AI image generation app will produce predictable results. Do you want a picture of a city at sunset? A green forest at dawn?

In addition to the content, you can also describe:

  • Actions that the subject is doing (e.g., looking up, playing, or running)

  • How they're doing these actions (e.g., joyfully, fearfully, or boldly)

  • The mood of the image (e.g., ominous morning rain, dangerous sunset mountains, nostalgic coffee table)

The more details you provide, the better your chances of getting a more interesting result. But it depends a lot on the model you're using, since each one interprets the input in a different way due to its training and configuration.

Include the art form, style, and artist references

Next up is guiding the AI model toward the overarching aesthetic. Is it a watercolor painting? A sculpture? A lo-fi image? When you add an art form to the subject of the image, you can already see a major shift in the end result. Here are a few common art forms to explore.


How to write effective AI art prompts | Zapier (2)

(Video) How to properly write AI Art text prompts

Photography will be a recurrent prompt you'll use, especially if you're going for realistic pictures. There's a lot you can control here: you can state the framing, lighting conditions, and even the type of camera you're "using," down to the camera/lens brands and specifications.


How to write effective AI art prompts | Zapier (3)

You can explore all sorts of angles here:

  • Techniques (e.g., oil painting or watercolor)

  • Art movements (e.g., impressionism or Fauvism)

  • Artist names (e.g., Cézanne or Kahlo)

For unique results, try mixing techniques, movements, and artists together. (And if you're publishing the images later, consider crediting the artists you used for inspiration.)


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Other illustration types to try:

  • Pencil drawing

  • Charcoal sketch

  • Cartoon

  • Poster

Digital art

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Film stills

How to write effective AI art prompts | Zapier (6)

And more

There are plenty of other art forms you can explore. Some examples:

  • Sculpture

  • Collage

  • Street art

  • Textile art

  • Installation art

  • Ceramic art

  • Lithography

Mix, match, and be amazed.

Add more details to your prompt

Do you like to tweak everything to the last detail? After adding the subject and art form, there are plenty of extras you can add to your prompt to further influence the end result.


Framing refers to how the subject or content is positioned in the image, and you can use it to influence image composition.

(Video) Midjourney Prompt Tips (My Process for better AI Art)

It can be challenging to control the framing depending on how you write the first part of your prompt. For example, if you're having trouble with close-ups, try stating the subject first and describing the background after. Here's an example.

First, I tried using this prompt: Person standing inside a forest fire, strong determined attitude, close-up shot, realistic. Midjourney didn't care much about "close-up shot":

How to write effective AI art prompts | Zapier (7)

Then, I moved a few pieces around in the prompt: "Person with strong determined attitude, forest fire background, close-up shot, realistic." Now that the prompt says the forest fire is in the background, it's getting closer to what I wanted:

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The expressions used for film directing and camerawork apply here, so you can use "wide shot," "point-of-view," or "dutch angle," among others.

Want more control over image composition? Try AI outpainting to expand an image beyond its limits and then crop it in the exact way you want it.


How to write effective AI art prompts | Zapier (9)

Especially in photography, lighting is critical and can change the look and feel of an image. Consider tweaking your lighting prompts using "soft light," "hard light," or even "dramatic lighting." You can also mention times of day, such as "morning," "sunset," or "golden hour."

Color scheme

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While controlling lighting already introduces a level of color control, you can also play with color schemes to influence the color of objects, light, or the entire image look and feel.

Level of detail and realism

How to write effective AI art prompts | Zapier (11)

Prompts like "4k" or "8k" give the AI model the instruction to increase the level of detail in the image. (Keep in mind that it doesn't increase the actual resolution of the image output.)

You can also use the "Unreal Engine" prompt to get the familiar feel of images rendered using that game engine. And if your photos aren't looking believable enough, make sure to add "realistic" or "ultrarealistic" to your prompt.

Midjourney parameters

Midjourney (which you use via Discord) accepts a few extra parameters at the end of the prompt. Type a double hyphen or an em dash followed by the parameter name and the value. Here are a few useful ones:

  • --chaos changes how varied the results will be, with 0 being the least varied and 100 the maximum. For example, --chaos 80 would be highly varied.

  • --no handles negative prompts, meaning you can write what you don't want to see in the image. For example, --no buildings will prevent the model from drawing buildings.

  • --ar changes the aspect ratio of the image. For example, --ar 16:9 would render the image in the 16:9 aspect ratio.

Here's the full list, but keep in mind that these are specific to Midjourney. If you're using DALL·E 2, DreamStudio, or another tool, there will be a different set of parameters (and they'll be presented differently too).

Advanced tools and strategies for AI art prompts

Now that we've gone through the basics, here are a few tools and suggestions to help you reach Legendary Imaginator status:

  • Reverse engineer real images to find new prompts. CLIP Interrogator is an AI model hosted at Hugging Face that takes an image and gives you a text prompt based on its content. You can then use that result to build more detailed prompts and enter them into text-to-image models.

  • Image-to-image. Text-to-image is just one option. You can also provide an image as inspiration and further tune it with text or model controls. Try it with Runway.

  • AI outpainting. You can upload an image to an AI outpainting model, and it will expand it beyond the limits of the frame, creating a larger image. This is useful to get the exact framing you want or to create a larger image from a smaller detail. It works with non-AI-generated images too. Try it with

  • Fine-tune generation settings. Some models, like Stable Diffusion, let you adjust advanced generation settings. For example, by increasing or decreasing the number of steps, you can change how processed the final image should be. More steps usually lead to more detail.

  • Train your own AI image model. Tools like Leap AI let you train your own image model, so it can better match a unique look and feel you're attempting to create, reducing the variance in outputs that you get from "public" image generation models.

    (Video) Secrets to Creating Stunning AI Images: Expert Prompts

  • Edit images with AI. You can select parts of images and change them using a text prompt. Try it out in Canva or in Photoshop.

  • Use ChatGPT to generate better text prompts. Yes, you can use AI to prompt AI. When you ask an AI chatbot to write prompts for you, you may be able to unlock new aesthetics, compositions, or subject combinations that you didn't think were possible.

Where to find AI art prompt ideas

When writing your first prompts, it's challenging to visualize the exact results you're looking for. More than that, it may take multiple tries until you get something usable. That's tough if you're not using a free AI art generator and there's a cost to the experimentation—credits fly out fast when you're having fun.

The good news: you can lean on the past experience of other creators like you. If you use Discord, you can join OpenAI's server and Midjourney's server to keep up with the discussion on image generation (and, in the latter, use AI generation with the /imagine command). You can engage with the community, ask questions, and collaborate with others.

There are also lots of places to browse a collection of images and corresponding prompts. Here are some of my favorites:

  •'s public library (scroll down and click on the images to see the prompts)

  • Websites like Lexica for Stable Diffusion prompts.

  • Midjourney's Discord channels

You'll get great hints on how each model interprets prompts, and you'll draw inspiration as you read original descriptions and fresh detail combos.

AI art prompt examples

And just to make things easier on you, here are all the AI art prompts I mentioned in this article:

  • A child playing on a sunny happy beach, their laughter as they build a simple sandcastle, emulate Nikon D6 high shutter speed action shot, soft yellow lighting.

  • Impressionist oil painting of a cute robot.

  • Illustration of dinosaurs drawn by a child, the illustrations are cute and heartwarming

  • Isolated convenience store in the middle of the desert at sunset, car parked outside, lo-fi, nostalgic.

  • Buildings on fire, old film still

  • Person with strong determined attitude, forest fire background, close-up shot, realistic.

  • Lonely evil bananas on a table, hard light chiaroscuro, realistic.

  • A futuristic hopeful busy city, purple and green color scheme.

  • A distant galaxy filled with tiny colorful stars, a blue, Earth-like planet in the foreground, realistic, colorful, 8k, trending on artstation.

Automate your art generation

Once you lock in on your prompting strategy, you can automate parts of your image generation workflows with Zapier. Here are a few workflows to give you some ideas, but you can connect apps like DALL·E, Leap AI, and Hugging Face to all the other apps you use at work.

Create images with DALL-E for new Airtable records

Create images with DALL-E for new Airtable records

Try it

  • How to write effective AI art prompts | Zapier (12)
  • +2
  • How to write effective AI art prompts | Zapier (13)

Airtable, Filter by Zapier, OpenAI (GPT-3, DALL·E, Whisper)

(Video) Understand PROMPT Formats: (IN 3 Minutes!!)

Airtable + Filter by Zapier + OpenAI (GPT-3, DALL·E, Whisper)

Post new images generated in Leap AI to Slack channel messages

Post new images generated in Leap AI to Slack channel messages

Try it

  • How to write effective AI art prompts | Zapier (14)
  • How to write effective AI art prompts | Zapier (15)

Leap AI, Slack

Leap AI + Slack

Generate images based on Google Form responses and save them in Google Sheets

Generate images based on Google Form responses and save them in Google Sheets

Try it

  • How to write effective AI art prompts | Zapier (16)
  • How to write effective AI art prompts | Zapier (17)
  • How to write effective AI art prompts | Zapier (18)

Google Forms, OpenAI (GPT-3, DALL·E, Whisper), Google Sheets

Google Forms + OpenAI (GPT-3, DALL·E, Whisper) + Google Sheets

Zapier is a no-code automation tool that lets you connect your apps into automated workflows, so that every person and every business can move forward at growth speed. Learn more about how it works.

Writing the best AI image prompts

AI image generation is a lot of fun, and it's getting better—and more accessible—at each turn. Make sure you think about the ethics of using AI-generated images, and explore every possibility.

It can take a few tries to get right. But as long as you have an experimentation mindset and keep iterating, you'll be able to progressively reach better and better results with your AI art prompts.

Now, please excuse me while I go back to trying to put the Eiffel Tower on Mars.

Related reading:

  • The best AI productivity tools

    (Video) Discover this Powerful Tool for Learning Effective AI Art Text Prompts

  • AI at Zapier: 12 apps that will revolutionize the way you work

  • Stable Diffusion vs. DALL·E 2: Which image generator is better?


How do you make AI art accurate? ›

How to Create Better AI Art: 9 Tips and Tricks
  1. Choose the Highest Resolution Output. ...
  2. Upscale Your Image. ...
  3. Use Outpainting to Expand Your AI Artwork. ...
  4. Fix Mistakes Using Photoshop. ...
  5. Download the Image Without a Watermark. ...
  6. Write a Good Prompt. ...
  7. Learn About Different Art Styles. ...
  8. Collect Inspiration for Prompts.
Jan 25, 2023

What prompts to use for AI art generator? ›

AI prompts should include a subject (person, object, or location) and descriptors (adverbs and adjectives that describe the subject). Avoid using abstract concepts because they lead to inconsistent results; use concrete nouns instead.

What are some good AI prompts? ›

24 AI Art Prompt Ideas You Should Try
  • In the Style of a Well-Known Artist. Referencing the masters of art history is a great place to begin if you are stuck for ideas. ...
  • Pop Culture Icons. ...
  • Art Styles. ...
  • Portraits. ...
  • Fantasy Landscapes. ...
  • Architecture. ...
  • Creature Creation. ...
  • Patterns, Shapes, and Geometric Design.
3 days ago

How do I master AI prompts? ›

To write a good text-to-image prompt, it's recommended to be clear with the main idea and to define the details and styles you want to replicate. A prompt with at least 3 to 7 words is ideal, as it provides the AI with a clear context, and using multiple adjectives can infuse multiple feelings into the artwork.

What is the best AI essay writer? ›

5 Best AI Essay Generator Tools of 2023
1.Textero AIThe best AI platform for generating essays
2.Jasper AIA universal AI writing tool
3.Copy AIA perfect AI tool for content creators
4.RytrOne of the most affordable AI writing tools
1 more row
Apr 24, 2023

What is the most realistic AI art generator? ›

Best AI art generator overall

Bing's Image Creator is powered by a more advanced version of the DALL-E, and produces the same (if not higher) quality results just as quickly. Like DALL-E, it is free to use. All you need to do to access the art generator is visit the website and sign in with a Microsoft account.

Does AI art count as real art? ›

AI Art Isn't Original

Even among manmade artworks, some experts consider true art as that which is unique and emotive in a way never encountered before.

Does AI-generated art count as art? ›

Artificial art lacks its own intrinsic psychic meaning to the agent. AI agents are not creating art; rather, they are replicating art. For example, the CAN agents were trained on tens of thousands of original artworks created by humans.

What are negative prompts for AI? ›

A negative prompt is a way to use Stable Diffusion in a way that allows the user to specify what he doesn't want to see, without any extra input. It is a parameter that tells the Stable Diffusion model what not to include in the generated image.

What are the 5 big ideas of AI? ›

In this fun one-hour class, students will learn about the Five Big Ideas in AI (Perception, Representation & Reasoning, Learning, Human-AI Interaction, and Societal Impact) through discussions and games.

What are the Big Five ideas in AI? ›

Five Big Ideas in AI
  • Perception: Computers perceive the world using sensors. ...
  • Representation and Reasoning: Agents maintain representations of the world and use them for reasoning. ...
  • Learning: Computers can learn from data.
Oct 27, 2022

Is AI art generator legal? ›

US law states that intellectual property can be copyrighted only if it was the product of human creativity, and the USCO only acknowledges work authored by humans at present. Machines and generative AI algorithms, therefore, cannot be authors, and their outputs are not copyrightable.

How to outsmart AI? ›

Minimizing student use of AI

Avoid the use of knowledge recognition and recall through the elimination of multiple-choice questions. Decrease the use of essays that focus on the regurgitation of knowledge from one source and that require repackaging the information as the substance of the assessment.

Is a master in AI difficult? ›

This can be difficult to obtain, especially if you're starting out. Complexity: AI is complex and involves understanding a variety of fields such as computer science, statistics, calculus, and more.

Is it hard to master AI? ›

Is AI easy to learn? Learning AI is difficult for many students, especially those who do not have a computer science or programming background. However, it may be well worth the effort required to learn it. The demand for AI professionals will likely increase as more companies start designing products that use AI.

Can AI essays be detected? ›

In response to the new wave of AI software that is available, Turnitin (a well-known plagiarism detection software provider) introduced a new AI detection tool named “Originality” on 4 April 2023. Turnitin believe that Originality can detect if essays have been written by AI with 98% confidence.

Can Turnitin detect AI writing? ›

Does Turnitin offer a solution to detect AI writing? Yes. Turnitin has released its AI writing detection capabilities to help educators uphold academic integrity while ensuring that students are treated fairly. We have added an AI writing indicator to the Similarity Report.

Is AI writer worth it? ›

AI writing tools are excellent for businesses that conduct content marketing. If you're constantly producing copy for blog posts, website landing pages, product descriptions, ads, social media posts, video descriptions, and/or emails, AI writing software can help you.

Do AI art generators make money? ›

Print-on-demand products made from your AI art are one of the most lucrative ways to make money. You should simply transfer your plans to sites like TeeSpring and RedBubble. Your artwork will be printed on a variety of products from mugs and t-shirts to posters and notebooks by these websites.

What app is everyone using to make AI art of themselves? ›

YouCam Makeup is one of the best AI image-to-cartoon apps in 2023, offering 5 different AI cartoon styles for users to transform their images freely. With the AI cartoon-style feature, you can turn your images into a piece of art, and further edit with effects, makeup filters, hair colors, and more.

Can you sell AI generated art? ›

Yes, you can sell your AI-generated art. You will need to ensure that the artwork is unique and of high quality to attract buyers. Additionally, it is important to understand copyright laws and other legal considerations when selling digital products online.

Why is AI art controversial? ›

And, perhaps unsurprisingly, new research has just proven that, yes, AI art generators reproduce copyrighted imagery. Image diffusion models such as DALL-E 2, Imagen, and Stable Diffusion have hogged headlines over the last few months thanks to their scarily detailed text-to-image generation.

What are the pros and cons of AI in art? ›

Conclusion: Overall, there are both pros and cons to using AI in art. While it can certainly lead to increased creativity and innovation, as well as greater efficiency, there are also ethical concerns and the risk of losing the human touch and personal connection that are often present in traditional art.

Will artists be replaced by AI? ›

The short answer is no. Suggesting that AI can produce Art is no different than implying a pencil can draw illustrations or write stories. A pencil, just like AI, is not human — it's a tool.

Can you tell the difference between AI art and real art? ›

AI-generated art is created using artificial intelligence algorithms, while human-made art is created by human artists. AI art can be produced quickly and in large quantities, and it can be highly detailed and complex. However, it may lack the emotional and personal touch that human-made art often has.

Why is human art better than AI art? ›

AI algorithms can only generate images based on the data they have been trained on, meaning that they can only produce images that are similar to what they have seen before. Additionally, AI art lacks the emotional connection and personal touch that human art has, making it less meaningful and less impactful.

Is AI-generated art ethical? ›

AI Art takes jobs from human artists, designers, illustrators, and uses their work without their consent or compensation to create what it calls “new work”. It also devalues the years of practice, unique vision, skill and experience that human artists work hard for.

How do I create a midjourney prompt? ›

To give a prompt, simply type “/imagine” then press SPACE, and start entering your prompt!

Which AI makes art look good? ›

Deep Dream Generator

One of the most popular AI art generators on the market, Deep Dream is an online tool that enables you to create realistic images with AI.

How is everyone making AI portraits? ›

The trend has seen people posting selfies and portraits of themselves in totally different styles, made using an app called Lensa. The app, available to download on the App Store, has something called a "Magic Avatars" tool, which helps people to create artwork using AI based on real photos which you upload.

How is everyone making AI portraits of themselves? ›

Social media users have been having fun with an app called Lensa and its latest "magic avatar" feature. The app lets people upload photos of themselves, which are then turned into magical, whimsical AI images.

How do you make a good prompt? ›

A good writing prompt should be evocative.

Rather than being a flat task—“Tell me about two characters who meet in a bar”—the best writing prompts should make you think of something new. A well-worded prompt should feel almost like a burr in your side. It should make you feel provoked, edgy, spurred to respond.

How do you make your own prompts? ›

Here are five easy ways how to generate your own creative writing prompts.
  1. Use Images. If you are writing fiction, old postcards are great – charity shops can be a treasure trove. ...
  2. Make a word jar. ...
  3. Pick a line from a book. ...
  4. Do a meditation. ...
  5. Use these generic prompts as fall-back options:

What is U and V in Midjourney? ›

The U buttons upscale the selected image, creating a new larger version with extra details. The V buttons create four new variations of the selected image, matching it in style and composition. There's also a Re-roll button that will re-run your prompt and generate four new images.

What is the best selling AI art? ›

The most expensive piece of AI art is the portrait called “Edmond de Belamy” sold for staggering USD 432,000 at Christie's auction house in New York City.

Can I sell AI-generated art? ›

Yes, you can sell your AI-generated art. You will need to ensure that the artwork is unique and of high quality to attract buyers. Additionally, it is important to understand copyright laws and other legal considerations when selling digital products online.

Do I own my AI generated images? ›

Any images that are produced by giving a text prompt to current generative AI models, such as Midjourney or Stable Diffusion , cannot be copyrighted in the US. That's according to the US Copyright Office (USCO), which has equated such prompts to a buyer giving directions to a commissioned artist.

What's the best AI image generator? ›

Best AI Art Generators — Our Top 10 Picks
AI Image GeneratorBest ForPremium Pricing Starts At
Starry AIcreating and owning images$15.99
Dream by Wombobeginners due to ease of use$9.99
Nightcafegenerating creative images$4.79
Synthesys Xgenerating your own version of any image you find online$12
6 more rows
May 26, 2023

How does AI prompt work? ›

The text fed into the AI to elicit a response is called a prompt. The whole point of a prompt is to take advantage of natural language processing (NLP), which lets you ask an AI a question using normal words and syntax as you would a real person. There's no programming involved.


1. Make BETTER Prompts - MidJourney AI
(Olivio Sarikas)
2. Stable Diffusion BEST Tutorial for Prompts, Beautiful Results | Master Prompts for Stylized Art
(AI Art Alchemy)
3. Dall-E - How To PROMPT Like A PRO (In 3 Minutes!!!)
(Royal Skies)
4. Steal AI Art? AI Creates Text Prompts from Any Image!
5. Stable Diffusion Prompt Guide
(Nerdy Rodent)
6. How to Write Better Prompts for AI-Generated Art
(NightCafe Studio)


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