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Artwork and Artist

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northgun
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I'm approaching the time where I need to find artists to create the many creatures and other required work for my board game. I have some graphic design skills personally, but they are too limited to draw creatures and such. I was able to create the front of the cards and backgrounds.

My question is, how do you go about finding artists? How do you handle compensation? Has anyone had any success offering to add credit for the art to each card and the instruction booklet then offer to put them in a drawing for a free board game? The other idea I had was to offer the drawing for those who only submit a small amount of work and offer more to those that do much more for the project, but what do I offer?

Any opinions or ideas? I'm pretty doubtful I'd find many artists that will work under the conditions I've mentioned above.

Fhizban
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1. artists dont want to get

1. artists dont want to get into your game, they do art for a living (or a bonus income)
2. you will have to pay someone per piece of art at the usual rates
3. dont think someone will paint for free (except its a really good friend of yours)
4. be prepared to spend several hundred dollars on art
5. think about if you are able to sell enough copies to justify that cost

just my 2 cents from my personal experience

ElKobold
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1. No-one likes to work for

1. No-one likes to work for free.
2. Expect $50-150 per illustration.
3. Why do you need art? I.e. is the game for personal use? What are you planning to do with it?
4. How many people tested your game?

chris_mancini
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Pay your artist. You may

Pay your artist. You may negotiate a bulk rate if you need many illustrations, but the lowest I'd expect that to put your investment would be at $50 each as ElKobold mentioned. I have a good friend of mine creating over 60 illustrations for a card game, and I pay him his rate with a bit of a bargain as I don't expect our friendship to give me anything for free.

Use stock art if cost is such a concern, or to have acceptable placeholder art for testing. There are a couple sites which offer low-cost board game artwork, card templates, etc.

You should always give a finished copy of a game to the artist(s); it's just good business.

Most importantly, don't even think about paying for art until your game is truly finished (group tested, blind tested, manufacturing quote and confidence you can sell it on your own. If you plan to license the game to another company, don't waste your money on art, just create an "inspiration board" of art you like that represents the tone of what you see your game having.

Lastly, never ask an artist to work "for the exposure." To a professional, it's just insulting.

northgun
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You both are confirming my

You all are confirming my suspicions on the cost of art. Thank you to all of you for your input. I will plan on a larger budget for artwork. Hopefully I can get a much better deal than 50 a piece since many of these illustrations will be small.

chris_mancini
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I'd say find a few artists

I'd say find a few artists whose style you feel matches your vision and create a thorough list of pieces you'll need, the general size of these pieces, and how you want them to look (painted? toon-shaded? black-and-white?) You may choose the "best" artist for key characters, and another less expensive artist for icons, backgrounds, etc.

A thorough list will give the artists enough information to judge the amount of time it will take, which is typically the driving factor in quoting a cost. If you'd like to split up the work among several artists, create the segments that make sense (characters, icons, backgrounds, card format, etc.)so they can quote a segment or the entire project.

Have your own realistic budget in mind. There's nothing wrong with telling an artist how much you can afford and going from there...so long as your being reasonable. If say you need 20 small and simple icons illustrated, they may be able to crank out 2-3 per hour, so if their rate if $50/hour, you're only paying about $15-$25 each.

Once you're ready to proceed, have the artist sign an agreement that their works may be used for commercial purposes, whether or not you want to allow them to post the works on their own website or use them as portfolio pieces (never really any reason not to once the game is released and available, unless the art would be a spoiler for the game, like in the case of Time Stories).

Art is one of the most challenging (and expensive) parts of game design. It should always come last, once the game is truly complete and has a great response from play testers. No amount of great art will hide a poorly playing or outright bad game, so focus on what matters in the gameplay, and let the art elevate it once you're certain your game is great.

There's a ton of useful info here on BGDF...hunt around the forums and you'll find just about everything you need to know!

ElKobold
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northgun wrote:You all are

northgun wrote:
You all are confirming my suspicions on the cost of art. Thank you to all of you for your input. I will plan on a larger budget for artwork. Hopefully I can get a much better deal than 50 a piece since many of these illustrations will be small.

50 a piece is an extremely good deal.
Most good artists will ask 100+

And small illustration doesn't take much less time to make than a big one.

Tell us more about your game though.

radioactivemouse
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Not sure if my experience fits here...

I'm an instructor at an art college. That should say everything right there.

I actually have it opposite. Students know that I create games, so they come to me looking to do work in my game, so I kinda have a leg up on looking for an artist.

But I won't expect them to work for free. Even though they are students, they need to be treated like professionals...even pay them like so.

For me, I have my publisher local, so I can easily have the artist tacked onto the royalties as a compensation for the art.

So I guess the suggestion could be...look at art schools for talent, but don't rip them off. Also, if you can reign in the artist to get part of the royalties, then you got a lock...assuming they will give you the art you need on time while being able to implement the changes you ask for.

Yeah...get a publisher. They take care of a lot of things you forget or don't want to deal with. Believe me, I know it's hard to get there, but it means bringing your "game" up. You can do it!

northgun
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chris_mancini wrote:I'd say

chris_mancini wrote:
I'd say find a few artists whose style you feel matches your vision and create a thorough list of pieces you'll need, the general size of these pieces, and how you want them to look (painted? toon-shaded? black-and-white?) You may choose the "best" artist for key characters, and another less expensive artist for icons, backgrounds, etc.

Have your own realistic budget in mind. There's nothing wrong with telling an artist how much you can afford and going from there...so long as your being reasonable. If say you need 20 small and simple icons illustrated, they may be able to crank out 2-3 per hour, so if their rate if $50/hour, you're only paying about $15-$25 each.

Great ideas :) This would be very doable

northgun
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radioactivemouse wrote:I'm an

radioactivemouse wrote:
I'm an instructor at an art college. That should say everything right there.

Awesome, I am also a college instructor, I teach economics. Never once has it occurred to me to talk to the art department. Great idea :D

northgun
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ElKobold wrote: Tell us more

ElKobold wrote:
Tell us more about your game though.

Can't talk much about my game at the moment. I'm in talks to acquire permission to use copyrighted/trademarked materials. Until those talks are finished and agreed upon, I can't talk about my game. Once those are done, I'll gladly share :)

radioactivemouse
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The idea is worthless

northgun wrote:
ElKobold wrote:
Tell us more about your game though.

Can't talk much about my game at the moment. I'm in talks to acquire permission to use copyrighted/trademarked materials. Until those talks are finished and agreed upon, I can't talk about my game. Once those are done, I'll gladly share :)

Thomas Edison said it best:

"Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration"

The idea is not going to get you anywhere. It's the idea + work. People can argue with me all they want, but if you have an idea, you're doing the work. If someone else steals your idea, then they are doing more work than you. An idea means nothing without work and work is nothing without an idea driving it.

In this community, we are all working on our own ideas. Sure we may get inspiration from others, but the game industry is not like the product industry. Ideas are shared...mechanics are copied and used. You see it all the time.

I've openly put out my ideas. In fact, I usually give out my best ideas freely to my students. 9.9 times out of 10, they don't do anything with it...even though the idea is awesome. That .1 time get the idea, run with it, but usually execute it horribly wrong. Work IS PART of the process and the work is a skill that needs to be practiced on.

I can understand not revealing your idea, but at this level, no one is expecting anything from you, nor are you famous enough to warrant such a protective stance. Bottom line is that if you're really passionate about your idea, then no one will "out-idea" you. In fact, being open will only help refine your idea...especially when you're a first time designer; no one does it right the first time. I teach game design, I've worked in the video game industry, I've been taught by reputable game designers...and when I released my game, there were glaring issues I noticed after the fact. But I chalk that up to experience, I've learned a lot.

I'm not trying to convince you to reveal your secret, but you need to see that it's not just the idea that's important, we do this because we want to put OUR spin on a particular idea.

McTeddy
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He mentioned that he's in

He mentioned that he's in talks over licensing and copyrights... definitely don't talk about it. You've pretty much got the only excuse that'll get me to say that.

northgun wrote:
You all are confirming my suspicions on the cost of art. Thank you to all of you for your input. I will plan on a larger budget for artwork. Hopefully I can get a much better deal than 50 a piece since many of these illustrations will be small.

If you want to save money, you'll need to be clever.

First, reduce the asset count. Reuse images, use recolors, use more text (Or reuse icons)... whatever. Obviously, the less you need to buy the less money you'll need to spend in total.

Second, Consider buying existing art. Artists will often license or sell existing pieces for cheaper than custom art. It doesn't require extra work, so they often go for less. (A blend of custom and existing makes for a cost effective set)

Third, Some artists are willing to negotiate on pricing... especially in bulk. Don't expect to get cheap art, but you may be able to save a bit on a full set, or if you're willing to wait longer for the work.

Finally, I've worked with professional paid artists and I've worked with passionate amateurs. 9/10 times the paid artist is easier to work with, better quality and, most importantly, more reliable. Not starving can be good motivation.

The costs are intimidating, but a good artist is priceless. Take the time (And pay for small "Test" commissions) to find someone you work well with and benefits will outweigh the price.

- - -

Oh one last thing... make darn sure you actually need the art and that you know exactly WHAT you need!

You can lose a boatload of money buying things for a game that never actually ships. Just be careful.

benjaminsantiago
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yeah you should pay folks for

yeah you should pay folks for art, seems like everyone is saying the same thing.

I'm interested in game design so I (personally) would be interested in bartering to some degree with copies of the game, or if you've got some Khans of Tarkir Fetchlands or something. I think people would go into board game-related projects knowing that it is a smaller industry than say, marketing animations.

I also wouldn't discount the power of good (graphic) design. Many card and board games out there would benefit from some solid type and graphic design choices. The cards in the current version of Flux, as an example, are (in my opinion) god awful, but the game is great.

I'm not sure what you're looking for, but my stuff and contact info is here:
http://drawings.benjaminsantiago.com/

northgun
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Thanks for the good advice

Thanks for the good advice McTeddy!

benjaminsantiago wrote:

I also wouldn't discount the power of good (graphic) design. Many card and board games out there would benefit from some solid type and graphic design choices.

I couldn't agree more benjamin.

I'm currently working with one artist, but I'm sure I'll need more help later. I'll keep you in mind :)

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