Skip to Content

Need help with Art Direction.

28 replies [Last post]
Three
Three's picture
Offline
Joined: 08/31/2011

Hey guys. Posting here has been helping me a lot lately so I thought to put this out. In play-testing and on forums I've been seeing the same comment geared towards the artwork for my game. It's not necessarily bad, I don't think, but it's caught my interest.

This link features all 16 character cards that would come with the base set. Download and or print this to see it at full resolution. Focus on the characters themselves.
https://docs.google.com/file/d/0ByWVLhRVj0ykVlFmUzBLQjRqN1E/edit

When I started working on the game seriously I made up a fantasy world where animal-folk lived in harmony with nature. If I'm being embarrassingly honest kids shows like Franklin, Little Bear, and games like Animal-Crossing inspired it. When I drew these characters a year ago I was thinking about making cartoon animals. Instead what people are seeing are "naked" animals. I mean, they are naked...but when I watched Franklin I never thought "man, Bear should put on a shirt."

Even looking back today the thought never came to mind. Little Bear was even weirder in that Little Bears parents were always fully clothed...yet he never was. Actually that's a lot weirder now but the point is I never thought about it before today! In both those shows the characters aren't drawn "cartoony" like Sonic characters. They looked like, to me, drawn animals. This won't necessarily make me throw out all the artwork and start from scratch but it has been bothering me.

TL;DR: What do these characters look like to you? Some people call them "naked animals" and are put off others call them "cartoon animals" and aren't bothered. Any comment / thoughtful advice would be appreciated.

Thanks, 3

Leeton
Offline
Joined: 04/28/2013
Request

Hey, I sent a request to download it there because it says I need your permission before I can, so click the button when ya can. :)

Just a quick note too to say that I, too, watched (and thoroughly enjoyed) Little Bear! No shame. :P

donut2099
donut2099's picture
Offline
Joined: 01/09/2014
Me too I mean about

Me too

I mean about permission, not Little Bear. I'm sure I probably watched it with my kids...

Three
Three's picture
Offline
Joined: 08/31/2011
Gah, I did it again... This

Gah, I did it again...

This happens every time I update the doc. I forget to fix the sharing options too. It's good to go now!

Leeton
Offline
Joined: 04/28/2013
Me likey!

I really like those images! They're well put together, portray what type the character is, and all have a unique look to them that gives them that sense of character right away.

I only noticed they were "naked" since you said it. They're animals, why would they have clothes?

They actually reminded me a bit of Pokemon. They had the same cartoony, cutesy yet threatening look that makes it appeal to all ages. And Pokemon don't wear clothes, yet they're one of the biggest things going!

I think your artwork is spot on. I think anyone complaining that they're naked is too caught up in the nonsense of modern day PC censorship. :)

Three
Three's picture
Offline
Joined: 08/31/2011
Thanks. It would have a

Thanks. It would have a resemblance to pokemon, since the older games are another big inspiration. Like you said I wanted to replicate that mass appeal by making them cute despite being combatants.

Like I said, I'm confident in the direction I took. I just want to gauge peoples take on it before I draw more characters as I make additional sets.

donut2099
donut2099's picture
Offline
Joined: 01/09/2014
I can only comment on the

I can only comment on the first two, the rabbit and the cat. Google docs apparently doesn't play well with my android phone. they do seem slightly anthropomorphic, perhaps its the pecs on the bunny and the apparent lack of fur. I think they are meant to be furry but they have a smooth look to them. Perhaps a little more texture would make them look more animal and less 'naked'.

Squinshee
Squinshee's picture
Offline
Joined: 10/17/2012
I like the art direction.

I like the art direction. Some characters are more successful than others, but overall it's fun. I like cartoony styles a lot.

The most successful ones are: Rikko, Clarissa, James, Molly, Saren, Hoss, and Mallow. They're exaggerated in a way that gives them strong personality. James rocks (ha).

The remaining guys seem bland in comparison. The red background for the "Fighters" is incredibly distracting. Rufus is Umbreon on steroids. Fyver is Mew with a hat. Martyn is Mewtwo. Van looks naked - I half expect a dick to be flying around. Halberd is small yet awkwardly muscular. I think these guys could be tweaked just a little each to really come alive.

Another problem I have is that the backgrounds and characters share a similar visual aesthetic - a fuzzy filter - and often times a similar color scheme. This is preventing the characters from POPPING as much as they should be. It's also weird that some guys have a unique background while others share the same one.

Three
Three's picture
Offline
Joined: 08/31/2011
Some of the pokemon

Some of the pokemon comparisons there made me giggle, because I didn't think of them that way normally. I can see Mew and Mewtwo being Fyver and Martyn theme wise, but not so much Rufus just because he's black with long ears. Minor disagreement there.

A lot of them could use some tweaking / updating. Mallow was one I redrew recently in fact...so I'm not against revisiting a few of these guys. The one I've been getting the most comments toward seems to be Van. Think it's the fact that his peach fur looks more like skin. As for the backgrounds they aren't necessarily unique to just one character. They show their birthplace in their world. Originally the game game with 25+ characters which was reduced to 16, 4 of each class. There are more characters who are from where Clarissa is from for example...they just aren't in the base.

rene.shible
Offline
Joined: 01/30/2014
great images

Although you did put the idea in my head, I think these look great and not necessarily 'naked'. The three images closest to giving off this vibe were more clearly anthropomorphised with very clear anatomy and muscle definition, which is why they might give that impression (these were Jo, Spike and Van).

Funnily enough, you've already employed an effective solution to that visual quirk on some of your other images. An accessory, like a scarf or a bag, is a great way to make an animal seem 'clothed' without clothing them.

Oh also, these are super cool. I showed these to my other illustrator friends, we all really like your work.

~R

Three
Three's picture
Offline
Joined: 08/31/2011
Sometimes I don't think I'm

Sometimes I don't think I'm much of an artist, but it helps knowing people like it. I work professionally as a graphic designer, where I don't necessarily "draw" very often.

Last night I sat down and started drawing a few characters I really thought needed an update. Right now I have a rework for Saren and Van. Saren because the way he is now isn't very accurate (He's much younger than his card art would suggest), and Van because he's the one I see comments on the most frequently.

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-IEtd_DX1_D8/UvYqjCgm8jI/AAAAAAAAAPo/VgzWxoTKUr... Saren
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-HQxznuBAlYw/UvYyC3ObcdI/AAAAAAAAAQA/8RDkOqiFsk... Van

Gonna work on Sally next since she and Van are siblings...and at least to me there's a noticeable difference in stylization between them now.

Three
Three's picture
Offline
Joined: 08/31/2011
Also!

I was going to post this in a different thread but it probably makes more sense to put it here.

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0ByWVLhRVj0ykYVBnZ2g3MDE2QkE/edit

This is the rulebook that players would print with the game / that would come with the base set. I'm also looking for whatever advice you guys can give me towards making this better. I definitely think I'm a better artist than I am a writer.

Aerjen
Offline
Joined: 08/28/2008
n=1

I looked at the illustrations before reading the post and noticed nothing "wrong" with them. After reading the question about nudity I went back to look at them and can see what you mean. For me I still only notice it with a couple of the animals. So, I guess it's just a question of priming.

rene.shible
Offline
Joined: 01/30/2014
love the new van! like I

love the new van! like I mentioned before, I think the accessories help a lot! :) saren was already good, I thought, but the new art is good too, so whichever you like best I suppose (obviously). I haven't read the rules yet, but they seem nice and simple. I feel like this game would be a good candidate for TGC, since there don't seem to be too many components!

~R

Three
Three's picture
Offline
Joined: 08/31/2011
Sally!

This is an alternate version of Sally.

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0ByWVLhRVj0ykeTA5NjFJRGFZU1k/edit

I think she's the last of the characters I'd flat out redraw. All the rest I'd either tinker with or adjust slightly. For now though I'd like to focus on the rules. I had a link posted for the rulebook in this thread, but for simplicity sake I'll put it here again.

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0ByWVLhRVj0ykYVBnZ2g3MDE2QkE/edit

The game is print and play. Right now with the Character card pdf (first post), those rules and this board https://docs.google.com/file/d/0ByWVLhRVj0ykOVc4Z0p5b2wxVm8/edit you can print the entire game and play it now. Card art won't be updated just yet. If you do decide to play the game or just give the book a look over please let me know what you thought. I do realize there's a lot of cutting involved...once the game itself is ironed out I'll start looking into getting it made via TGC. With the free version still available on my blog of course.

ON A SEPARATE NOTE how much would you guys actually pay for a game like this? Not giving much thought into pricing yet. When you answer keep in mind that I'd be adding new content (boards, character packs, match types) to the base game after it picks up. For now though we're talking 1 match type, 1 board, 1 rule book, 16 character cards, and character/damage markers.

rene.shible
Offline
Joined: 01/30/2014
something to look forward to

I'm crazy about the new Sally, that's a really fun image.

As for the print and play, I'm going to assemble a game for my group's next game night and give it a whirl! I'll be sure to send you some feedback, but I should let you know that won't happen until next Sunday! So it will be a while, but I'm definitely looking forward to it!

~R

Three
Three's picture
Offline
Joined: 08/31/2011
That'd be great! Let me know

That'd be great! Let me know what you think...so far there's never been a test without me there. Not that I know of anyway.

For your game you'd probably need this as well https://docs.google.com/file/d/0ByWVLhRVj0ykdDNzVjlGMDFQSEE/edit
9 Lives is the first and only unique Match Type for Red. It probably won't be the only one included in the base set though. A quick summary: Each player has a stock of 9 lives (which can be raised or deceased for desired length), victory is awarded to the player who can knock the other's lives down to 0 first by knocking out their characters. Doing so generates XP, which can be used to purchase Items in the Start Row.

NOTE: The link of revised Sally was corrupted, so I had to make a new one.
https://docs.google.com/file/d/0ByWVLhRVj0ykOU9XSmhvam9VdGc/edit

richdurham
richdurham's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/26/2009
n = 2

I don't see them as nude animals, but can certainly see how some people would. If it's a concern that your audience might be put off by it, put some clothes on them and be done with it. Even a shirt OR pants would be enough. Crazy Donald Duck.

Three
Three's picture
Offline
Joined: 08/31/2011
I'm not concerned with it as

I'm not concerned with it as much as I was before. That said I will keep that in mind while designing characters in the future. In the mean time I'm trying to focus on the rules / balancing out the character's. I may make a separate thread for that seeing how this one is for another aspect of the game.

Hunter
Hunter's picture
Offline
Joined: 11/18/2013
A couple cents to throw in the mix...

I would say the fact that the animals are slightly anthropomorphized is why some people may be reacting to their nudity. Not so much a solution as an observation, but still - possibly helpful.

Three
Three's picture
Offline
Joined: 08/31/2011
Quick question! So I'm

Quick question!

So I'm bopping around TCG's templates, right? I'm finding good ones for each of the pieces. Nothing exact, but I can edit files to make them fit better. The only aspect of the game I can't seem to do this with would be the cards, the character cards in particular. Right now the printed version of the game play's it's cards at 6 x 4.5 inches...the jumbo card size is the closest to that but the aspect ratio is wrong.

Before I go making separate files specifically for TGC version of the game is there a way to make custom file templates? I must have looked over the whole site for it...if it's there I completely missed it.

Shoe
Shoe's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/21/2012
I think the Naked comments

I think the Naked comments come, not only from the antrhopomorphism, but the similar to reality physiology. The musculature and human form is a little too real. Think the difference between Bugs Bunny and like Star Fox.

If star Fox was naked, you'd notice because he is built more like a human with a fox head. Bugs Bunny is spindly and blobular and built more like a toy or a baloon animal than a real creature.

The ones that look nude to me include Van, Jo, Fyver (due to the pose he is in and the wearing a hat), Spike, and Martyn. With all of the others, they look less humanoid and more cartoony in thier builds. Tufts of chest hair, humanoid musculature and the like tend to make "nudity" more obvious IMHO.

larienna
larienna's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/28/2008
I understand why people say

I understand why people say your characters are naked. It's because you seem to have used an human silhouette and added animal features to it. This is why they look naked.

Just the first character is a rabit with a 6 pack. That is too humanoid. For inspiration of drawings of fantasy animal, take a look at www.neopets.com.

They are come by default naked and they are nice because they do not look human. You can of course put clothes on it, but it's optional.

Three
Three's picture
Offline
Joined: 08/31/2011
I've redone some of them

I've redone some of them already based on the comments in the forum. This is one of them I posted here a while ago.

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-HQxznuBAlYw/UvYyC3ObcdI/AAAAAAAAAQA/8RDkOqiFsk...

I'm going over all of them to make the same adjustments. Didn't update the cards just yet though...Right now what I really need help with are the rules.

http://www.bgdf.com/node/14053

questccg
questccg's picture
Offline
Joined: 04/16/2011
Much improved

Three wrote:
I've redone some of them already based on the comments in the forum. This is one of them I posted here a while ago.

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-HQxznuBAlYw/UvYyC3ObcdI/AAAAAAAAAQA/8RDkOqiFsk...

Well that's a VAST improvement for the look of VAN.

Chip Molter
Chip Molter's picture
Offline
Joined: 11/20/2013
For some tips on drawing characters more "cartoony"

and less anthropomorphised, check out the classic cartoon templates of Preston Blair. Your redesign of Van is very good, and falls well within what these guidelines would suggest.

http://johnkstuff.blogspot.com/2006/05/animation-school-lesson-1-constru...

Three
Three's picture
Offline
Joined: 08/31/2011
This helped a lot. While I

This helped a lot. While I was resizing the cards I also sketched up an update for this guy...

Spike https://docs.google.com/file/d/0ByWVLhRVj0ykaVlNRVZXc0JNN0k/edit

Definitely like this one better than the older version. Starting to see where I went wrong adding too much definition to some of them.

EDIT

Also! The only template on TGC that has the same aspect ratio as my cards is the poker set. I made a test print of one of the wordier characters at that size, Rufus. Looking at it gave me some very bad flashbacks of reading Yugioh cards. I raised the point size on the cards specifically for the TGC version. If you were to buy this game I might recommend printing the character cards from the free version.

Three
Three's picture
Offline
Joined: 08/31/2011
Card Size

Hello again guys. I've been going snails pace with reformatting assets...the rulebook in particular. Since I'm remaking assets to fit on templates I'll have to replace the ones that show up in the book too.

I've been having trouble finding card templates on TGC that adhere to the cards current size at 6 x 4.5, however while looking through the mats I found something pretty cool. The 5 x 5 square mats are printed on the same material as the cards, are a nice shape, and fit all the information on the cards without much resizing. I'm liking them a lot better but what do you guys think?

Ps. The only rectangular card I have is 300dpi, so it looks a lot bigger in comparison. The square card is at 72 for viewing purposes only.

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0ByWVLhRVj0ykbGhYeDlJWjE5M0k/edit 6 x 4.5
https://docs.google.com/file/d/0ByWVLhRVj0ykQ2Z3N2dyWlI5NU0/edit 5 x 5

Three
Three's picture
Offline
Joined: 08/31/2011
Long time no see, everyone.

Long time no see, everyone.

I have my own copy of RED in my hands, with 2 copies of all 16 of the characters. The box I bought rounded out to being 50 dollars, which was a reasonable price for me. For the version I want to make for online purchase I'll be releasing characters in packs to lower the price. The base set coming with 4 characters, the board, and the rulebook. Individual character packs / characters can be purchased in clumps of 4, or printed off the blog.

Just an update!

Syndicate content


forum | by Dr. Radut