Drue Butterfield
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The mechanics of a board are the heart soul and even skeleton of a board game but without proper art, a game very likely could fail. Personally, when I am looking at new games, it is the art that catches my eye. Right now I am in the process of shopping around for an artist but as I get quotes, not only is it expensive but I worry I have too many pieces that need art. So here's my questions:

1.What is the most affordable way to find and hire a good artist?

2. With having an estimated 125 pieces of art needed for my game should I hire more than 1 artist?

3. If I hired more than 1 artist, is there any tips on how to still make the art feel like 1 coherent game and not lost in the different direction of art?

If you have ever made a board game and had to figure this out, please give me some tips on how to find the perfect artist. Thanks!

 
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Not a boardgame artist, but I have a fair bit of experience of freelance writing to draw on.

dougger16 wrote:
1.What is the most affordable way to find and hire a good artist?


Several ways spring to mind.

Look at the freelancing sites. People Per Hour is probably your best bet.

Search Deviant Art and approach artists directly.

Put up an advert in your local art school/art department of the university.

Be warned, if you pay massively under market rate (expect an absolute minimum of several hundred dollars for a large project like the board) the quality of your game will suffer. Both in quality, but even more crucially the professionalism of the people you're dealing with. You could get lucky. But don't expect an artist willing to work for pin money to be great on things like deadlines etc.

Quote:
2. With having an estimated 125 pieces of art needed for my game should I hire more than 1 artist?


It depends. What's your turnaround on this project?

[q]3. If I hired more than 1 artist, is there any tips on how to still make the art feel like 1 coherent game and not lost in the different direction of art?[/q[

You won't get identikit art if you're using more than one artist, but there's several main ways to minimise that.

Assign different artists to different aspects of the project in full. Don't get several people working on the cards, have one on the cards and another on the board.

Make sure to give extensive and detailed art directions before the work starts.

Keep in regular communication with your artists. This is not the same thing as massively changing your requirements halfway through the work. Do that and you will become the kind of nightmare client that gets blog posts written about them.
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Adam Taylor
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The best piece of advice I can think of is don't spend any money on art yet.

If you just want to make your prototype look nicer for playtesting and pitching then just cobble together what you can from art that has been published online under a creative commons license.

If you're looking to get your game professionally published, there's a good chance that the publishers will have their own artist(s).

Also - while no-one wants to hear this - if this is your first ever game design, it's a learning experience. Make simple prototypes, playtest as much as you possibly can, re-iterate, re-prototype, playtest some more. Repeat. Repeat. Then throw it away and start again with the lessons you've learned.

Until you've been through that process several times - don't spend any money on art.
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Ian Williams
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Be prepared to pay for art. I've come in contact with plenty of game designers looking to get hundreds of pieces of artwork done for peanuts (or a cut of kickstarter profits) and they're scum. Art costs money, so be prepared.

My main thought, knowing nothing about the game, is... 125 pieces of art is a lot. Is there any way to get that lower? Duplicate pieces? Some elements with no art? Even "I have 5 different types of sword... I guess I can just use the same picture" could save a big chunk of money/profit.

Mostly I agree with Adam Taylor. Don't spend yet. Get an awesome game with a hodge-podge prototype, with loads of playtesting, then save up and be prepared to spend spend spend.
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Drue Butterfield
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thats kinda where I am at, I have the hodge podge play test kit. I am play testing the heck out of it and now i want to save for art but i just want to know how to go about it the right way.
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I also agree with Adam above. Don't spend any money on art, UNTIL you have a rock-solid, play-tested prototype. And by play-tested, I mean that you've had your game played by lots of strangers. It also needs to be 'blind play-tested', which means you hand the game to people who have never played it, give them the rulebook, and they play it without needing help from you to explain the rules.

Once you've done all that, you MAY want to hire an artist to help with a 'sell-sheet' (if you're considering pitching the game to publishers); If you're planning on kickstarting it, then I suggest you look on these forums for advice specific to that process, for which I have none
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DicingWithDearth wrote:
The best piece of advice I can think of is don't spend any money on art yet.

If you just want to make your prototype look nicer for playtesting and pitching then just cobble together what you can from art that has been published online under a creative commons license.

If you're looking to get your game professionally published, there's a good chance that the publishers will have their own artist(s).

Also - while no-one wants to hear this - if this is your first ever game design, it's a learning experience. Make simple prototypes, playtest as much as you possibly can, re-iterate, re-prototype, playtest some more. Repeat. Repeat. Then throw it away and start again with the lessons you've learned.

Until you've been through that process several times - don't spend any money on art.


This is absolutely the best advice.
 
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Drue Butterfield
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One thing I yet to hear from anyone is copy writing. Many of you have said to play test it with strangers, do you guys not think it is important to get it copywrited before that?
 
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dougger16 wrote:
One thing I yet to hear from anyone is copy writing. Many of you have said to play test it with strangers, do you guys not think it is important to get it copywrited before that?


No. Very few people are concerned about stealing ideas. Besides, recent lawsuits decided that you can't copyright/trademark/whatever game mechanics. Only artwork and text. So there's nothing you can really do to protect your work beyond working hard and getting your product made first. Making a game is a lot of work for not much money. Don't worry about thieves.

(Well, worry a teeny bit. Be a little choosy on who you share with)
 
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DicingWithDearth wrote:
The best piece of advice I can think of is don't spend any money on art yet.

If you just want to make your prototype look nicer for playtesting and pitching then just cobble together what you can from art that has been published online under a creative commons license.

If you're looking to get your game professionally published, there's a good chance that the publishers will have their own artist(s).

Also - while no-one wants to hear this - if this is your first ever game design, it's a learning experience. Make simple prototypes, playtest as much as you possibly can, re-iterate, re-prototype, playtest some more. Repeat. Repeat. Then throw it away and start again with the lessons you've learned.

Until you've been through that process several times - don't spend any money on art.


This is the best advice here.. Im making my own game as well bud. Honestly i have went from one game to almost a complete turn around due to my play testing. Your game will not be the same you start with. You need to balance you game. Have months of play test with multiple crowds.

The art is the final aspect of the game. try getting art from any source for play testing really. I say google images work for this. But once you are actually planning to sell or pitch it to some one to actually publish it. They will change art change some game mechanics. I do NOT recommend to waste money on artist if you not going to publish by yourself. Are can be expensive and not worth it if they will change the whole thing.

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Adam Taylor
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dougger16 wrote:
One thing I yet to hear from anyone is copy writing. Many of you have said to play test it with strangers, do you guys not think it is important to get it copywrited before that?


There are already lots and lots and lots... of forums on this topic. Very broadly speaking [I am not a lawyer nor any kind of expert] you can't copyright an idea - only the presentation of it.

If you want to assert your authorship of something it's sometimes a good idea to be as public as possible. Post WIP reports and files on BGG - then if anyone does steal your idea, you can call them out and prove that you were working on it first. Gaming is still a small enough hobby that loss of reputation is a significant deterrent.
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dougger16 wrote:
One thing I yet to hear from anyone is copy writing. Many of you have said to play test it with strangers, do you guys not think it is important to get it copywrited before that?


No. Because a) you can't copyright mechanics, b) it is highly unlikely you have a setting that can be copywrited and c) the chances of anyone trying to steal your game are minimal.

If you are worried about this, just make sure you have a verifable record of your game. But I really wouldn't get yourself worked up on this one. It's apparently a common fear among people new to game design, but it's almost entirely groundless.

As a note, it's copyright. Copy writing is something entirely different. I'm not just being pedantic here; it's the kind of thing that causes confusion if you use the wrong term.
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Tony Go
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125 is definitely way too much.

There are many ways to lower that number or procedurally generate matching artwork using templates.

Don't be afraid to share your design. I have self published 3 games and I constantly run into individuals who seek advice in publishing their own games and idea. The biggest barrier is that they are unwilling to share or playtest their games for fear of it being stolen or copied.

My third game started out as a completely free Print & Play game. And in fact, the design was copied adapted by another user for their own game. But I still published it and it was my most successful game to date. The early exposure and honest playtesting that came from sharing the game made it into a much stronger product.

Games and ideas are borrowed from all over, all of the time. I won't say that it isn't a valid fear, but it's something you really need to get over as a designer. In boardgames, there is really no way to protect your design. The smartest way to go about protecting your designs is to simply imagine that it's already been copied. As the progenitor of the idea, you have the distinct advantage of understanding the design and doing it better than anyone else.

If you can't do that for whatever reason, then- isn't it enough that your ideas and designs have been shared with a larger audience? The key here is to get exposure and build your association with the design. The bigger your footprint and link, the less likely anyone will try to copy it, at the risk of clearly looking like theft.

On the other hand, if the issue is about money and revenue... well let's just say you're in the wrong industry...
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One idea to try to lower the amount of art needed is to take parts of the same art piece for multiple cards. Even the giant companies do this.
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Drue Butterfield
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DicingWithDearth wrote:
The best piece of advice I can think of is don't spend any money on art yet.

If you just want to make your prototype look nicer for playtesting and pitching then just cobble together what you can from art that has been published online under a creative commons license.

If you're looking to get your game professionally published, there's a good chance that the publishers will have their own artist(s).

Also - while no-one wants to hear this - if this is your first ever game design, it's a learning experience. Make simple prototypes, playtest as much as you possibly can, re-iterate, re-prototype, playtest some more. Repeat. Repeat. Then throw it away and start again with the lessons you've learned.

Until you've been through that process several times - don't spend any money on art.


I apologize if I haven't represented my game enough. I have already gone through 3 or 4 different iterations of the game including, rebuilding pretty much from the bottom up. I know you cant copyright ideas but only text and art and that is why I wanted to get the art next, to copyright it and then either self publish or find a publisher but you guys are saying copyrighting is a waste of time and money?
 
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dougger16 wrote:
I know you cant copyright ideas but only text and art and that is why I wanted to get the art next, to copyright it and then either self publish or find a publisher but you guys are saying copyrighting is a waste of time and money?


Your work is already copyrighted in US law. It was from the time you first created it.
 
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DicingWithDearth wrote:
The best piece of advice I can think of is don't spend any money on art yet.
A thousand times, this, unless you've already completed several stages of playtesting and received overwhelmingly positive feedback.

I'd also like to note that there's a BGG forum dedicated to game design questions like this: https://boardgamegeek.com/forum/974616/boardgamegeek/board-g...
You can even use these forums to get in contact with a few artists.

P.S.: Ianal, but imho, there's absolutely no point in trying to get copyrights for your game design. You may want to register the game's name as a trademark, though, to prevent someone from releasing a game with an identical name that may or may not bear any similarity with your game.
 
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