Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Finding artists for game projects

I'm a pretty good programmer, and I like to think of myself as a pretty good game designer.  However, I'm pretty much a crummy artist.  I was able to get by with that in the early days of my shareware career, because I was mostly making 2D icons.  The Snood characters aren't great art, but they were useful for the game and cute enough to (I think) keep people playing. It even inspired a real artist to use the main Snood as a subject (see right).

In recent years, I've worked with artists on several projects, including What's New (released by Snood LLC/Word of Mouse Games 5-6 years ago and no longer for sale) and Scryptix (soon to be released on Facebook; a development version with my ugly art is on the Plankton Games site), and another game that I'm currently working on which I hope to get released soon.

However, it can be hard finding an artist to help.  For paid work, I've used iFreelance.com - I've found it a very useful way to solicit bids for artwork, and the artists there are generally professional, skilled, and have portfolios you can see.  The bids are extremely variable, though; for one project I listed there involving about 60 separate small images, I got bids ranging from $25 to $6,000.  I ended up picking an artist in the middle of that range, and I was very happy with the results.  It's free to list a job, though, so it's a no-cost way to see what people can do for you.

Another good option is DeviantArt.com.  For my Scryptix project, which I was funding out-of-pocket, I posted a "help wanted" ad in their forums and got a number of responses, for prices ranging from free to a couple hundred bucks.  A number of people there are excellent artists, and again, you can see their portfolios online to see if their art matches your work.  I ended up using one of the respondents, and I got what I think are great results.  I paid the artist more than the small fee he requested, and I think it was a good deal for both of us.

I'd definitely go to either of these places were I considering soliciting art for a boardgame project.  I'm trying to decide if I need new art for Diggity - The cards look pretty good as they are, but I think I might need something more colorful or exciting for the packaging and maybe the card backs.  Nearly every single GameWright card game has a person or creature on the box, and many other commercially sold card games do as well.  I think I might need an iconic spokescreature for Diggity, or at least for the box.

1 comment:

  1. Good post. I'm glad someone mentioned the importance of art/design in the successful production of a game. I didn't want to say that your game art drawings were bad, but...

    DeviantArt.com might be a good source for designer help as well as searching online or boardgame forums.

    I might consider working with game designer if they are actually willing to pay for the design work. Check out my work at UproarMultimedia.com or BUNNYGO.com