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When should you contact artists?

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Squinshee
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At what point during development should you seek an artist? Is it bad to contact one when the game isn't finished? How far in development should the game be?

Glide5
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Better to start sooner than later

From my experiences, if you are playtesting your game, it is time start getting an artist to make basic sketches of your game to help design the world and characters. Talking with artists also will give you a different point of view on your game and world, since artists see the world in a much different way haha.

I would suggest checking out Fiverr.com if you need starting artwork. For my game, there are 10 main characters who I know aren't changing story wise during playtesting so I'm having them designed while I playtest.

What kind of artwork are you needing?

Squinshee
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Well I've actually contacted

Well I've actually contacted an artist and we've been exchanging emails and I started to worry that I contacted her too early because my game isn't finished.

questccg
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My opinion

First I would start with a LOGO. This can be designed by either an Illustrator/Artist or a Graphic Designer. That should give you some satisfaction about the purpose of the game.

Next I would commission the BOX COVER. Many people say wait until the end of the artwork to produce it, I'm in the other camp. I say get it done early and make sure it is very appealing. This will help motivate you. And in term of people and how they do it: remember Scythe started with one illustration/art = the box cover. From there he built his community.

If you plan on Kickstarting (or any crowdfunding), well then I would "invest" in preliminary artwork you can put on your KS page. Depending on your artist, I would probably invest about $1,000 (at most). That should at least get you 10 pieces of artwork. Again other people will disagree with me, this is my own experience talking... Your artist may charge less and so you may simple need to invest less money.

Something along those lines...

I Will Never Gr...
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Squinshee wrote:At what point

Squinshee wrote:
At what point during development should you seek an artist? Is it bad to contact one when the game isn't finished? How far in development should the game be?

As an abrupt departure from the previous responses, typically not until you have tested, tested, and tested some more and you are sure you have a great working game.

Then decide if you will self publish or contact publishers who may sign it.

Then, if self publishing is the way to go, you start dealing with art.

Any earlier and you may risk throwing money into a project that ultimately will change too much or not go ahead at all. Or a publisher will completely change it on you with their own artists and style.

ElKobold
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You can get decent quality

You can get decent quality pictures for $30-50.
(It may be more for the box art)

However, there's no reason to do it until you are well into blind playtesting. And you consider the game "finished", with only polishing left.

In fact, you only need (some) artwork when:
a) You are displaying your game at a convention and "placeholder artwork from internet" that you've used until that point can potentially get you in trouble.
b) The game is ready and you are launching your crowdfunding campaign.

Squinshee
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I Will Never Grow Up Gaming

I Will Never Grow Up Gaming wrote:
Squinshee wrote:
At what point during development should you seek an artist? Is it bad to contact one when the game isn't finished? How far in development should the game be?

As an abrupt departure from the previous responses, typically not until you have tested, tested, and tested some more and you are sure you have a great working game.

Then decide if you will self publish or contact publishers who may sign it.

Then, if self publishing is the way to go, you start dealing with art.

Any earlier and you may risk throwing money into a project that ultimately will change too much or not go ahead at all. Or a publisher will completely change it on you with their own artists and style.

This sounds right to me. The only thing I'd consider doing art wise would be promotional material if I were to go to Cons.

Soulfinger
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For a portion of it, I

For a portion of it, I rationalized it this way: Would I be happy just having this stuff on my wall? I hit a point where I could say "yes" to that question and started contacting artists whose work I admired on my list for a cover illustration. Even if I never publish the game, the piece costs as much or less than what I'd pay for a decorative piece, and I own the commercial rights if I ever want to do something in the future. It can actually be a nifty way of sprucing up your home and getting into art collecting.

Glide5
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It wouldn't hurt to have some

It wouldn't hurt to have some unique art for your game, but don't put thousands of dollars into it yet either. In my world, you should have an artist on your design team or a part of the design process before you reach the polishing phase. I'm not saying have all the art done, but a few sketches (even just black and white) of what characters look like, maybe an environment or two still has its' uses when you show the game off.

Soulfinger
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Also, depending on what sort

Also, depending on what sort of game you are doing, there is just SOOOOO much public domain work out there. When Kenzer & Co released their Hackmaster Basic rulebook, I recall at least half of the artwork as being public domain.

Plus, using Photoshop, you can turn just about anything into a black silhouette, which viola, free art! But, it also gives you some substantial placeholders that let you focus on form, layout, and visual appeal, which you can then fill in with illustrations later.

adversitygames
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Soulfinger wrote:Plus, using

Soulfinger wrote:
Plus, using Photoshop, you can turn just about anything into a black silhouette, which viola, free art! But, it also gives you some substantial placeholders that let you focus on form, layout, and visual appeal, which you can then fill in with illustrations later.

"just about anything"?

Surely only something that's permitted for reuse? If not, why does turning it into a silhouette get around copyright issues?

Jage
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When to get art

I designed a card game which required a lot of different art. From my experience, my recommendation would be to get the game pretty well play tested before you bother with art. This will give you clear idea of what all art you need. I used Freelanced.com to find artists. You post a project and artists will apply. Then you can review portfolios and find people who have the styles you want.

Soulfinger
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iamseph wrote:Surely only

iamseph wrote:
Surely only something that's permitted for reuse? If not, why does turning it into a silhouette get around copyright issues?

As I understand it, it really depends on how recognizable the end product is. You can't just silhouette Mickey Mouse or Corey Haim, but slap a helmet and sword onto some stock photo guy and you are golden. The nice thing is that the process can turn a relative mish-mash of trainwreck components into a coherent whole.

firstcultural
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I'm an artist and a game

I'm an artist and a game designer. My recommendation: Talk to an artist or graphic designer at the very beginning (and pay them for their time), get art made towards the end when you're ready to promote the game.

How the information is presented, what is emphasized, where on the board it is, etc has a big effect on gameplay - there's a story of how in wargames people tend to focus on territory that's physically closest to them on the board.

X3M
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I think that doing art

I think that doing art yourself is a starting point. It may look like crap. But it gets you in the direction you want. A play test with some pictures.

Soulfingers suggestion is a good one regarding silhouettes. I tried this one myself. And I am happy about it. It helped me actually reshape parts of the game.

And regarding having a piece of art on the wall. Why not?

When you are satisfied with the results of your play tests. I am sure you know how big/small/shaped some parts of your game can be. You can now contact an artist that can take these matters into account as well.

lockey25
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A good resource

I agree do some doodling yourself just so you get some perspective. Start putting your thoughts on paper. You will have to push them across to the artist in any case.

Just sharing a link to a good resource for boardgame development

http://thebmkdesign.com/tabletop-game-development/

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