Working with Board Game Artists
For many of us, games of all types are a part of the everyday entertainment. Oftentimes, we are attracted by games with brilliant visuals. This is true for table top games too. Artists involved in the creation of board games have become a key factor to a successful board game.
For our previous game - Wongamania: Banana Economy, we have engaged one artist to be our lead illustrator. His role was to illustrate, to help portray the game’s art direction and to create artworks that are as attractive, yet suitable for the game. This was simple enough – working with the artist was much like how we work with other partners. Communications must be regular. A lot of time was also invested up front to share our concept and idea of Wongamania: Banana Economy with the artist so that he can turn those into art.
Fast forward to the development of our latest game to be launched - Debtzilla, we decided to work with multiple artists. We wanted to acquire the experience of managing multiple artists in preparation for bigger products in future. We thought the fastest and most effective way to learn was from experience rather than to try to understand what others have gone through.
Managing multiple artists for one project requires a little more effort. Our case gets a little more complicated as Debtzilla was to reside in the same fictional universe of Banana Republic as Wongamania: Banana Economy. This means that the art of both games should bear similarities, and supporters of both games will surely be quick to notice them too.
As such, one of the artists that we have engaged was Andy Choo from Andimoo Studios, the same artist who helped illustrate and set the art style for Wongamania: Banana Economy. We got him to illustrate key assets that will set the tone for Debtzilla. Next, out of all the artists and graphic freelancers available, we decided to engage Alan Bay from Smallguydoodle to illustrate the other assets of the game, and to follow the set tonality. There was a lot of coordinating work done between us and the artists to ensure that the overall art direction of the game is coherent, yet at the same time allowing both artists to showcase their styles.
Time management was also another factor we had to manage as well. Because we have a set date planned for Debtzilla’s Kickstarter launch, assets drawn have to be up by the time we are ready for Beta-testing (i.e playtesting with people outside of the team, gathering feedback etc). Hence after the idea of each asset was conceptualised and drafted out, all parties (including us) will have to provide suggestions and feedback on those drafts before finally moving on to the inking stage. We were grateful and the privilege was ours to work with these two artists who were prompt and quick to respond to any feedbacks.
All in all, the team is pleased with the outcome of the artworks produced by our two talented artists, each with their own style of art. Knowing right from the start that different artists have different styles, proper planning and selection of artists even before the first line is drawn is paramount. After that, timely coordination and prompt response from feedback will be critical to minimise time wastage and miscommunication between any parties. At the end of it all, what you will get is a product you will be eager to showcase to stakeholders and the first feedback you will get is “I love the artwork!”