Article #5 – How to get artists

Honestly, FINDING an artist is easy…

Ways to find them:

First, choose your art style from among other games you’ve seen.  It’s all been done (except watercolor?), just find it.

Then…

  1. If you can think of a game with a style you like, go to BoardGameGeek.com and visit that game’s “Game Page” by using the top search bar.BGG Search Bar
    • Find the list of artists for that game on the game page (near the top).
    • Email them.
  2. Go to BGG.com’s Board Game Art and Graphic Design forum.
    • Browse the postings of artists looking for work.
    • “Geekmail” any that you like, politely offering the short list of your terms & rates.
    • If still needed, make your own post regarding your needs like a ‘Want Ad’.
  3. Browse DeviantArt.
    • Use the search bar to find images of what you need.  ie: “Orc”
    • Find and private message a few artists that have the style you’re looking for
    • Post here – http://forum.deviantart.com/jobs/offers/.  You’ll get over 20 submissions in under 20 hours.  No Joke.  You’ll just have to weed through to find the artists that fit your style and needs because everyone and their brother will submit regardless of what you’re asking for.  This can be a good thing, as it might generate an idea you previously hadn’t considered.
  4. If you know any established artists / have hired one already, and you need more…
    Ask them if they know anyone.
    Ask them to make a Facebook post announcing your need, and where people can reach you.  (We tried this with only a few weeks to go and too many pieces left to finish.  It got us 3 new artists in under 3 days, and we finished on time.)

All that being said, finding the RIGHT artist, AND getting them on board your team and vision can be very hard.  Unless of course you do the art yourself, which most cannot.

Do not hire:
An art company that charges you by the pixel.  They exist, and for art the size and quality you need will come to hundreds of dollars per image.  They’ll then “give you a deal”.  It’s like dealing with used car salesman: to be avoided.  Agree with an artist or company to pay by the image based on the image type.

Even before you go looking for artists you need to complete your Design and your Budget.

Design – You need to know how many pieces of art you’ll need of each type, and in what sizes, styles, and level of detail.

Budget – You need to know how much you can afford to pay for each piece.

Here’s a loose break down of pricing you can expect to pay depending on your level of budgeting and your level of establishment; starting at the LOW end.

Lower end prices for a 1st time Kickstarter by Image Type:

$25-$40 – For basic 1 “object” pieces of art with the same repeated background.
$40-$50 – For basic 1 monster pieces with simple to generic backgrounds.
$40-$60 – For monster pieces with decent unique backgrounds; or small scenes with a less detailed style.  Generally, the more characters, the more it’s worth.
$50-$70 – For more critical pieces that you intend to ask for plenty of detail on.
$150+ – For a large scene with lots of characters on a lower detail level (cartoony, etc.) that is worthy of your box cover.

If you have less art to ask for (ballpark: lesser would be 20 to 60 pieces; a lot would be 120+ pieces), you can afford to budget a bit more per piece, and probably should, and you’ll get what you pay for.  If you have a lot more art to ask for… well, you’re not getting any cheaper than the above, so prepare for that.

If you are A) Well established, or B) Demanding really high quality detail in the newest and most fashionable fantasy art styles, or C) Seeking to employ “big name” artists, then you can expect to double or even triple every one of those prices; or anywhere in between.

What gives you the right to ask for lower end prices?  Why offer more?

Above all, you need to be fair and honest.  Let’s be real.  If Parker Brothers offered Boris Vallejo or Julie Bell (of BorisJulie.com) $35 to do a scene of a Dragon bonding with a barbarian woman on a mountain top… well, that wouldn’t work out.

But you are not Parker Brothers, and you are not trying to hire Boris or Julie.
You’re you, and you’re on BGG.com and DeviantArt trying your darnedest to find an artist for a fair price you both can agree to.

Here are things that you can offer artists that may help them agree to your lower than ideal rates:

  1. Getting published.  If they’re a new artist to the scene, they may be frothing at the mouth to get published.  This is good for you.  Fair warning though: most are not.
  2. Exposure.  If you flaunt their work, and advertise for them, you’ll bring them business.  Offer it, but live up to it.  Get a commitment from them in writing to finish your project before ditching you for a better rate elsewhere.  This way you don’t need to fear that happening before the project is complete. (Such things are hard to enforce though, especially internationally.  But it’s a contract of Honor if nothing else.)
  3. The opportunity to be part of something great.  This was something we offered, because frankly, we really really believe in our project with a lot of enthusiasm, and we found a number of artists that did the same.  I praise God for them.
  4. Bulk.  Some artists may be iffy to work only 3 pieces for $35 each, but on the promise of 10 or 20 or 30, they might appreciate the promise of staying busy if they’re in a slow season.

Beyond that… time is money.

High end professional artists who work for W.O.T.C. on MTG make a solid $150 minimum per image.  You can’t afford to pay that, and if you tried it your KS Funding Goal would soar too quickly.  Most artists who consider working on a KS project know this, and are at least willing to talk.  So give it a try.  As with any business venture, it’s about building a team and relationships.

Think of what you would work for, and for far less than you are worth.  Then consider what it would take to get you to agree to do so.  You’ll find there aren’t many things.  Though hopefully your Kickstarter project idea is one of them. ; )

RGB vs. CMYK

Once you get your art, you will need to convert it from RGB to CMYK (for printing), and when you do, you’re not going to like what it does to your more vibrant images.
CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, & blacK) can’t handle the range of colors that RGB (Red, Green, Blue) can; CMYK is ink color, while RGB is light color.  So, your images will get dull and dark when you convert them (in Adobe, or any other).  This is especially true of brighter or more saturated colors.  You may need to spend some time adjusting each one.

The good news it… it’s not going to seem as bad to anyone other than you.  You know your art intimately, so it hits you harder.  When I asked one artist to paint in CMYK so we didn’t have to convert he said “It’s too painful to paint in CMYK, you’re better off with a pretty image and converting later.”
He was right.

That being said, conversion to CMYK can be made relatively painless by importing images to Adobe InDesign, then exporting.  InDesign exports EVERYTHING in CMYK by default on export.  Select a “color profile” suggested by your manufacturer/printer during export and let Adobe do it for you.  Color correction isn’t worth the time because they’re still going to look great once they’re printed even though they’ll darken.  But remember: EVERY printed material you see has been printed in CMYK, it’s the standard, so in print: our eyes are used to it.

Adobe InDesign isn’t free, but you can buy rights to use it for a month at a time for $29.99/m.  Don’t get the subscription until you’re ready with all your files, and cancel as soon as you’re done.

More on RGB vs. CMYK in Article #13.  For now click here to be brought to Article #6: How to Get Minis Made!

 

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2 thoughts on “Article #5 – How to get artists

  1. Pingback: Article #11.3 – Demystifying Game Components (part 3) | Gate Keeper Games

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