Epic or Comic Style? The Struggle of Deciding on Game Art
Updated: May 9
Our fantasy artwork was all over social media lately. It looks truly epic! Yet recently we began to doubt if this heavy style fits our light game. Would a comic style fit better? Here are eight alternatives that we commissioned from a wide variety of artists. Welcome to a story full of artwork and creative doubt!
Feedback from our Community
It is far from a secret that we have commissioned a great artist Nicoleta Stavarache to create epic fantasy artwork for our game Hidden Leaders. As we highly value feedback from the community we decided to get your opinion on the first batch of 12 (of 60) heroes. Additionally to the posts all over on social media sites, we set up an extensive google form, to get detailed feedback on our artwork by a selected number of 20 fans.
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Feedback for the Manhunter one of the 12 commissioned characters
As you can see from the example above, the results were mixed. Most found the overall artwork epic. Some heroes polarized and four of them went right away into revision. Yet one feedback stuck with us and really bothered us for quite some time: "Does this artwork fit with the complexity of the game you are making?'' Similar advice we heard on an episode of the amazing Boardgame Business Podcast (#51) soon afterwards: "The artwork must reflect the complexity of your game!" The thought did not leave us since.
Comic or Epic Artwork?
We looked at the epic, realistic fantasy art style we had commissioned and the simple, quick and fun card game we are making. We asked ourselves: Does this fit together? Some heated internal discussions followed and the "rebels" among us negotiated a 14-day ultimatum to deliver something more fitting for the same price.
Here is some of the sample artwork we commissioned. We hired most of the artists via Fiverr. If you don't know it already, it's an amazing platform to find and hire artists. If you use this Link you get 20% off your 1st order and we get a small voucher for more awesome art!
Example artwork commissioned mostly via Fiverr. Check out the links to the artists bellow!
As you can see, we provided many artists with similar instructions. Ranging in price from 20 to 70€ per hero. Luckily we cannot spend money on drinks and board games at the moment, so we decided to invest it in game art. To us each of the artists above (full list at the end) created a great and unique piece of art. Yet we asked ourselves again: What is the game we want to make? What is the story we want to tell? How does the world we want to show look like? Is it serious, epic, high fantasy? Or is it a comical world full of humor?
And just as important: When seeing this artwork what game would you expect? A heavy strategic game taking 2 to 3 hours? A complex deck builder? A well thought through trading game? Or a comical side dish for your next party?
Some more artwork with different instructions.
Artwork Fitting the Gameplay
The background for our game is the fantasy world of Caerlon: A world with insidious leaders and foolish heroes, with serious conflicts and comical culture. Hidden Leaders itself is a light and fun 20 to 30 minutes card game. It features characters like the "Superfluous Desert Warrior", the "Underpaid Serial Killer" or the "Unreliable Henchman". Do we see that in the epic art we commissioned so far?
There is nothing inherently wrong with the epic artwork we commissioned up to now, in fact, many of your liked it a lot! Yet as hard as it was we decided to move away from this epic style to find artwork that blends better with the light game and the humorous world we envision.
Which one of the artists will we choose in the end? Stay tuned to find out! Leave us your comments on the social medias and who knows, maybe your favorite will make it!
Stay sane and keep the games coming!
Markus, Raphael & Andreas
(Marath, Jovius & Kurk of Wurmburg)
2 : Lailamon
3 : Ellen May
4 : Zayyinhaidar
9: Madi Boi