In Progress


Horrors: The Scary Story RPG - Finishing Up

TRA: Troubles In Two Worlds - Still the early stages

Pick Up Group- Card Templates in progress

Thursday, March 5, 2015

The importance of art

The importance of art in your role-playing game

Now I don't just mean that you need some art in your RPG, that should go without saying. I want to talk about getting the right art for your game.

Click read more if your interested in hearing how I pick my artists and see some never before seen art for Directive: Invasion and Horrors.

Too many times I check out an indie rpg to find it with either very cheap looking art or with the kind of bland, generic looking art that could be from anything.
Some of these choices might be what the designer wanted, it could be a personal preference issue, but sometimes I wonder if the designer just didn't realize how important art is to your game.

Your choice of art will set the tone for the entire game. Should I say it again so it sticks?

Your choice of art will set the tone for the entire game.

When I started looking for an artist for The Robotic Age I knew how I wanted the setting to look. I found tons of artists who could draw robots very well, but I needed someone who could capture the look of the over-the-top 80s cartoons that I had in mind. I looked over dozens of online portfolios until I found Daniel Olsen's work.
You flip open The Robotic Age and you know exactly what you are in for just from the art alone. The art tells your players to go big, to be quick to action, and make the character their own.

With Horrors you play as the hunted, not the hunters. You are not trying to win, you are trying to survive. I needed art that turned your hair white with fear even before you started making characters. That's why when I saw the ink drawings by Julie Fletcher I knew she would be perfect for this book.
Horrors ghost

When you see the art for Horrors it has the opposite effect that Robotic Age does, you are given the sense that you are supposed to go slow and careful. You don't bust the ghosts, you flee from them. You don't slay the demon, you hope it doesn't notice you. You don't engage the monster unless you are sure you can take it out, because you've seen what happened to those it killed.

The perfect artist is waiting for you

So now that you know the tone you want to set you now have to find the perfect artist. They are out there, you just need to find them.
Go to DeviantArt, or any other art website, and start searching for the tone you want. If your game is about super heroes, look through random people's super hero art. You would be surprised the gems you will find that are aching to do bigger jobs.

Even better then that, though, is to go to conventions. Go to the artist alley of any con you attend and look through EVERYONE'S work. Just because they have anime at the front of their portfolio doesn't mean there isn't gritty sci-fi in the back.
I found Julie at a local con, and she only had two pieces of inked horror-esque art on display. 

Horrors zombie

I also found Rob Carter at a local convention showing off his mecha designs. I started talking to him and now hes done the box cover and all the space ship designs for Directive: Invasion.

Grey Mothership

Robot Mothership

All these people i've hired are indie artists looking for bigger jobs to help get their work out there. They were just as eager to talk to me as I was to them. The perfect artist for your game is out there, you just have to know what you want.

I was hoping to show off some of the new art for The Robotic Age: Mars in this post, but it isn't ready yet. It will be a bit of a tone change, but hopefully it will still look great. Maybe next update you'll get to see it.

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