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Subject: advice from artists needed rss

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Darin Bolyard
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I am participating in a game project, and my wife is doing all of the initial art by hand (and probably all of it). This is our first time with this sort of thing, and we have no intention of taking it to commercial print. It's a personal project, but we have every intention of making it look as good as we can. She's an incredible artist, and we are both confident in her work. But neither of us (nor others involved) are experienced in digital graphic design. So our initial questions/concerns are:

1. Mediums--she is capable of various mediums. All initial work will be done with pencil and/or pen & ink. Charcoal and pastels are a likely option. Various kinds of paints are possible, but watercolors probably aren't (unfortunately). Which tend to scan better and are easier to manipulate once scanned in?

2. Paper--start with smooth vs. textured? What about advice concerning weight and/or type of paper. This feels relevant since she'll be starting with line drawings.

Right now, we are envisioning the artwork as somewhat gritty, and we want it to have a vintage/sepia tone feel to it--think Expedition: Northwest Passage or Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island.

To reiterate, our concern is how the artwork will transfer from work done by hand to something digital. There'll probably be more as we dive in, and hopefully you all can offer some good insight. Thanks in advance.
 
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Steven Tu
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1. Everything scans pretty much the same. Watercolours may warp the paper which make it a bit harder, but nothing can't be fixed with a bit of weight on the art during a scan. Maybe the messier mediums you want to leave off the scanner, but nothing a fixative and some post-scan cleaning of the scanner won't fix. So just pick whatever you think you're most proficient in.

2. Again, this is a style choice. There's no rule for smooth vs textured. Depending on the way you're going to use the art, one may be easier to manipulate than the other. For example, if your art is to stand on top of other stuff, while being cut out, then smooth is better as it'll be easier to cut out without an obvious texture.

Having a scanner really just means you can scan everything in and it'll be left to digital manipulation to clean up. Do what you like, as long as you're not caking the page with an inch of physical media, I think you'll be fine
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Tim Davidson
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Each artist has their own workflow. Artists that start with paper usually only do sketches on paper, and complete all inking, shading, and colouring digitally. Charcoal/pastel shading and paint do not scan well.

So, typically an artist might do the initial rough sketches on paper and scan those in. (A lot of artists do even this step on computer using wacom tablet, simply for time efficiency.) They don't rely on scanning the lines well. Instead they trace the lines in vector using Illustrator. That way you get nicely defined lines and shapes. If the artwork is meant to be cartoony (solid-ish colours) then the artist will finish the colouring in Illustrator and be done.

Or, an artist will finish the colouring and shading in raster using Photoshop. Sometimes artists skip Illustrator go right to Photoshop (ie. if your style is more detailed less line-y). In raster Photoshop you have control over every pixel, so you can do lots of texture effects and different types of shading. It's a good idea to work at at least 2x the printing resolution (Photoshop work looks better antialias-resized smaller). Cards are printed at at least 300 dpi, so work at at least 600 dpi.

Generally, digital artwork is all about how you use Illustrator and/or Photoshop. And of course there are freeware alternatives, and there are other popular raster painting programs some artists swear by. But Adobe CS is the industry standard. I highly recommend getting your hands on an older version of CS right away. Your wife should just start getting use to them, practice, get her workflow down.

Note this is all digital artwork... you can do traditional artwork too. Your wife can just do a legit painting on canvas and photograph that. That is (all things equal) a lot more work though, and dependent on good photography.

AND we are just talking about artwork here. We havn't even gotten to graphic design. The actual product design, card layout, etc. will be done in vector and text. The CS layout program is InDesign, but you can do it in Illustrator too.
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Darin Bolyard
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So far, these comments are golden. Just the kind of things I was hoping to hear about.
Tuism wrote:
...Depending on the way you're going to use the art, one may be easier to manipulate than the other.
This↑ is what we suspected in regards to paper type.
TimST1E wrote:
...Note this is all digital artwork... you can do traditional artwork too. Your wife can just do a legit painting on canvas and photograph that. That is (all things equal) a lot more work though, and dependent on good photography.
This↑ is likely how it'll start, if not be the primary approach, as she is very much into getting her hands dirty with her art. She has played with photoshop and its freeware counterparts, but only just dabbled.
TimST1E wrote:
AND we are just talking about artwork here. We havn't even gotten to graphic design. The actual product design, card layout, etc. will be done in vector and text. The CS layout program is InDesign, but you can do it in Illustrator too.
The layout and graphic design of the cards and player boards is not even on the table at the moment. I initially became overwhelmed thinking of it all and am requesting only concept drawings of my wife at the moment. So we're still very much in the beginning stages of the project.

Just to be fair and open, this project is a re-theme of an existing game we enjoy. The theme, artwork, and graphic design are going to receive a complete overhaul, but it'll otherwise be a mechanical copy of the game.
 
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The neutral evil villain known as
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I've done several kid's books and watercolor is tough to scan or photograph. it never has the life and depth that the original does.
Guache works wonderfully but it's pretty tough to work with (for me).
Acrylics are great.

Anything else you want to try would work fine if photographed. Photos have held more success for me than scans.

When the light bar moves thru the scan, it picks up shadows from the texture of paper on occasion. So a heavy texture, while good for art, is not good for scans. Also the light can shine thru the paint and show the layers of color as dark spots due to opacity of color.

It's all an experiment when you do it.
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Darin Bolyard
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But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
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In your world, I have another name. You must learn to know me by it. That was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there.
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Phil of Mars wrote:
When the light bar moves thru the scan, it picks up shadows from the texture of paper on occasion. So a heavy texture, while good for art, is not good for scans. Also the light can shine thru the paint and show the layers of color as dark spots due to opacity of color.
This is what we suspected. Trying to keep the project within a tight budget, and I suspect we'll be going through some serious ink before it's over.
Phil of Mars wrote:
It's all an experiment when you do it.
All of my D.I.Y. projects have been. Glad I came here to get some pre-frustration feedback. Really appreciate the comments so far!

 
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