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Artwork Questions

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Over_Thinker
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Joined: 04/29/2016

I am probably thinking ahead on this, but I want to know what the road looks like, so any advice is appreciated. I'm thinking about artwork for a game. Here's what I want to know.

Question #1.
If you contract with an artist to do artwork (let's say for cards and box), how do you get the created art onto the cards? Do you need to pay a graphic designer to make the artwork digital for printing? Is there any other way to get written artwork into a printable format? I seriously don't know anything about art, so I welcome all advice.

Question #2
How do you decide on board artwork? If the board itself has little need for complex art (grid board with relatively basic art needed), should I get a graphic designer to do the board or is it something I could somehow do myself?

Question #3
What else should I be aware of in terms of creating art for my game? What haven't I thought through? I realize there are probably a lot of answers, but I'm not discouraged, so please let me know. Thanks!

questccg
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Some answers...

Over_Thinker wrote:
Question #1.
If you contract with an artist to do artwork (let's say for cards and box), how do you get the created art onto the cards? Do you need to pay a graphic designer to make the artwork digital for printing? Is there any other way to get written artwork into a printable format?

You require software like Adobe Photoshop/Illustrator and then you need to design the card layout and use layers to put the artwork at the right position (depth). If you have Graphic Designer talents you can do it yourself... Otherwise you would need to pay for someone to create you a PhotoShop/Illustrator template in which you can "insert" the artwork.

What this means is setting up the layer properly with it's clipping mask. I don't know how to explain this in non-techie terms. Picture a photo and the mask is like a frame that goes around the photo.

Over_Thinker wrote:
Question #2
How do you decide on board artwork? If the board itself has little need for complex art (grid board with relatively basic art needed), should I get a graphic designer to do the board or is it something I could somehow do myself?

I'm thinking for a prototype, you probably can do just fine with a Black & White board. You could use Adobe Illustrator and make the board yourself. Once you become familiar with Illustrator. It's not too tough, but it ain't easy either... You'll have to surf online for tutorials. But you'll get the hang of it. You'll probably only use about 10% of Illustrator to do a standard Black & White board.

Over_Thinker wrote:
Question #3
What else should I be aware of in terms of creating art for my game? What haven't I thought through? I realize there are probably a lot of answers, but I'm not discouraged, so please let me know. Thanks!

Remember artwork in bulk means a discount. You should be able to negotiate a better per piece rate. Start off with one or two samples and see if you like the artist. Pay them and then you have a starting per piece price... Negotiate based on volume.

If you need a Graphic Designer/Artist, I know of a couple. PM me if you would want their contact information. It's hard finding good people so, I can refer you to a couple. One I know charges $20/hr (USD). You'd need to get an estimate (number of hours) required for whatever you want done (board/card template/other). You'll have to "express" whatever you need to get done and he'll tell you how many hours it should take.

The other does a lot of freelance work - but I don't know how much he charges for card templates or some simple board design in Illustrator.

That's all I can offer...!

Note: To actually PRINT on PAPER your cards, you'll need a service like "The Game Crafter" (TGC): http://www.thegamecrafter.com. Or "Board Games Maker" (BGM): http://www.boardgamesmaker.com , another is by AdMagic "Print & Play": http://www.printplaygames.com

These services you can use once you have JPG or PNG 300 DPI Images of each one of your cards and card back.

Note #2: Once you have a PhotoShop or Illustrator template with the artwork you can save (or export) to a 300 DPI PNG or JPG file.

Soulfinger
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Joined: 01/06/2015
It's kind of like when you go

It's kind of like when you go into one of those stores where there aren't any prices on the merchandise. If you have to ask . . .

You don't have the skills to do this yourself, and you can not realistically achieve technical competence in less than two years. Graphic design falls into the category of things, like photography or writing, that amateurs think they do well at but generally don't. Therefore, you will be entirely dependent upon contracting an illustrator and graphic designer.

Most illustrators will provide you with a digital copy of their work. Make sure that you have purchased commercial rights (an artist may be selling digital copies of a piece for $20, whereas commercial rights cost $500, and this doesn't necessarily preclude them from selling the artwork elsewhere without an exclusivity clause). This is implicit in your needing to understand the fundamentals of contract law when drafting your agreement. Make sure that any digital copy is of sufficient resolution. For example, 300dpi is the standard for commercial printing, but you'll want a higher resolution for scaling, although most illustrators will provide you with a vector-based image that makes this a non-issue. That's especially important when dealing with that "friend who knows Photoshop." We all love that guy!

Your graphic designer will then take your text and art and compile it into a marketable product sent to you in PDF format. If your product doesn't use a lot of art then the layout and design elements are even more important. The important thing for you is to become conversant in the terms of the trade so that you can effectively express what you want and be able to differentiate value from overpriced and sub-par work. A good way to get a handle on the essentials is to actually contact whoever you have in mind for printing this thing and let them start hitting you over the head with technical specs. It is also worth noting that you'll be paying a lot of money for all of this -- like, getting your car fixed sort of money. While it is possible to cut corners hiring students and unknowns, the going rate for these services is a professional one.

I like to direct people to this site for examples of what not to do when dealing with a graphic designer and how frustrating uninformed customers are from the other side of things: http://clientsfromhell.net/

Soulfinger
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questccg wrote:Note: To

questccg wrote:
Note: To actually PRINT on PAPER your cards, you'll need a service like "The Game Crafter" (TGC): http://www.thegamecrafter.com. Or "Board Games Maker" (BGM): http://www.boardgamesmaker.com , another is by AdMagic "Print & Play": http://www.printplaygames.com

Note that these services are best for small print runs and prototyping. There are plenty of specialized card printers, for example, that will give you much lower bulk rate pricing for orders as small as 100 decks. That said, don't give the same degree of hand-holding.

Hook
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Joined: 09/22/2014
yes yes yes

Question #1.
I do a lot of interviews with artist on my blog greenhookgames - because I think art is a big part of the experience - even in abstract games. Artist and their skills and strengths vary. Some artist work (like me) directly on the computer with a digitizer pen (like Wacom) so it is digital from start. And some artist like Vincent Dutrait (that I soon will post an interview with ) always start with pen and paper and then scan the artwork himself to adjust colors on the computer. MOST artist would deliver the art to you digital/online in 300dpi (highresolution / dots pr inch) and CMYK (because RGB does not print well). But an illustration could be the size of a poster - so if you need it on a card you cant just send it to the printshop the way you recieve it. They need it (and they usually have their own specs ) in the correct format layout - with bleed and crop marks.

That is why some games use two type of artists - an illustrator and a graphic designer / dtp layouter. Like my interview on Space Race - the artist Dalibor only did the illustrations and the layout (and I presume print ready files) was done by Zak Eidsvoog. Some artists can deliver the cards ready for print.

So in short. If an artist work on paper it need to be photographed or scanned to a digital artwork. Then it need to be setup for print (I would use InDesign from Adobe)

For the box layout you need a cutting die template with correct measurements from the manufacturer. So the artist can layout on top of this.

Question #2
I think that it is a good idea to let the artist give it a shot. Just be clear in your brief that you don't want too complex art. But I am sure that a good artist could elegantly lift the visual experience - even on a simple board.

Question #3
Try to write a clear brief. Note down the feeling you want the game to give the players. The tone - and maybe some examples. (but often I would leave out the examples and let the artist try something first.) Do you want the art to be jagged and rough and explosive - or do you want it to be soft and fluffy. Colorful or earthtones or dark etc. Sometimes a word like Cartoony seems descriptive - but it can be a lot of different things. Do some tests before ordering 20 illustrations.

Hope this could help. Daniel Solis is running a Class on Skillshare where he describe how to layout cards. (If you want to do it yourself)

Over_Thinker
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Joined: 04/29/2016
You are all awesome! This is

You are all awesome! This is all super helpful!

I should have mentioned that I have a friend who does independent art for people occasionally. He told me that he could either do the art himself or have one of several other artists he is close with do it depending on what I needed from him. I honestly had no idea where to start, and you have given me that and more.

I also know 3 different graphic designers who do freelance work as well.

I will be looking into the websites you provided, and I may have more questions to come as I move forward on my project. Thanks everyone!!!

lockey25
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Joined: 06/04/2016
A good place to start with for boardgame related artwork &minis
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