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Subject: When to Hire - When to DYI rss

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Clint Stoker
United States
Utah
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I wanted to share a few more thoughts on art in games. I'm gearing-up for KickStarter and have done a lot of hiring and a lot of my own design. I think I have some valuable information to anyone who is looking to do the same.

I've worked as a graphic designer in the past, and I have some digital drawing skills, but I hired an artist for the character design on my game. And I did all the "boring" graphics work, like layout, branding, type setting, etc...

Yes, I 'could' have done it all myself and saved some money. But I'm self-aware enough to know that it would be an inferior product. I see this too often in indy games. The concept might be good. The mechanics -- everything could be amazing. But the art doesn't look professional. That is a huge barrier to overcome for someone considering a new game.

If you plan to create a game that requires art, I think it is invaluable to know a little Photoshop and Illustrator. Understand anatomy and color theory. But unless you can produce objectively professional looking art, don't do it yourself. Use this knowledge to spot and hire a professional. There is no shame in hiring out. The same goes for graphic design.

Ever since I started thinking of my creative endeavors as project management first, and creativity second -- my project look so much more professional. If you want to make a great looking game, you could spend years perfecting your artistic abilities. Or, you could save a little money -- work a little over time and pay someone else to do it. Then you can focus on what you are good at.

Of course, if your goal is to be an artist that works on games, then of course the art goes first. You have a different challenge of finding someone to pay you to work on their game.

It comes down to specialization. There is a reason why mankind specialized. It works out better for everyone.

I wish someone would have told me this before I started, so I hope someone out there finds this useful.
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Jon Ruland
United States
Tucson
Arizona
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"specialization is for insects."
--robert heinlein

but i disagree with the above quote. good post and well said.
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Pat Turner
Canada
Vancouver
British Columbia
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Good post Clint. I had read the title of your post and groaned as I thought it was going to be another weekend blog post about how to create a game at no cost and make billions. But you actually hit the right tone and I agree with most of what you are saying. Most people think they know art and "good enough" will suffice but your game competes with thousands of others in the marketplace. Would you hire a plumber to do the electrical wiring in your house? I've been producing game and book cover art in the SF and F , military genres for about 20 years and playing games a lot longer than that. Going with mediocre visuals in today's market guarantees a poor response.
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