A great game mechanic keeps a player coming back to a game but I believe great art is the hook that gets the player to pick up a game for the first time…
In starting this idea of self publishing I knew art is something I would not be able to do alone for a finished project. My simple photo shop skills would only carry the game so far, in this case it was through the prototype phase. Although final art was not something I could accomplish myself it was an obstacle with an easily defined solution:
Hire an illustrator!
Knowing I didn’t have the bankroll of an established game company I needed to find alternatives to hiring the most known and established illustrators. My goal was to find someone trying to break into their industry much like myself. This was a great first step to finding an illustrator, but where was that step leading me? The internet is a voluminous world with many paths to take. Luckily a graphic designer in my extended family worked with me to point me in a few different more focused directions. After researching various websites I determined my best bet was making use of a site called fiverr.com, this site allows you to see countless freelance illustrator’s portfolios. With so many choices I was confident this was the answer to my art problem. After searching through pages of illustrators I found the illustrator, or so I thought, that would be perfect for my game.
First attempt, swing and a miss:
Fiverr allows you to hire illustrators by gigs, a set type, quality, and quantity of art assets for an agreed upon price. The particular illustrator I was set on had a beautiful portfolio with several highly detailed custom hand drawn digital pieces. We spoke through the fiverr messenger about how the art style would be perfect for the game I was creating. With all my excitement I immediately hired the illustrator to do all six major city illustrations for the game. Seven days later the images arrived… and boy were they not what I had expected. These were poorly cut in paste of google images with minor tweaks not remotely in the art style advertised by the illustrator. I thought I was barely off the ground with art design and my budget was taking a blow for images that were not remotely usable.
Luckily Fiverr customer service saved the day:
After no luck refunding the order with the illustrator I reached out to customer service, within 30 minutes of my inquiry, fiverr customer service had determined the images used were not appropriate and was able to instantly refund me my money. Although burnt once Fiverr’s amazing and prompt customer service had me ready to take a second shot.
Second attempt, amazing success!:
My first attempt taught me a valuable lesson, curb my enthusiasm. After a more exhaustive search and further discussion with a second illustrator, I hired him for a gig to complete a sketch for me of a basic version of what he would provide. The sketch was outstanding and my confidence was building. I hired him to complete the single work in full color (at this point I was still a bit apprehensive). After an outstanding images was returned I worked again with the illustrator to complete the other five cities needed for the game, and I could not be happier!
You can see some of Wallok’s completed art assets that will appear in the final game at the top of this and on the games page.