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Steve25

Need some advice

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I'm a programmer but I have no artistic talent at all and I never have. Once upon a time I was considering trying to learn and practice game art but I felt that this would be pointless and unnecessary as I wouldn't ever be good enough and anything I produced wouldn't be to a good standard. Sure I can make shapes and a few backgrounds and even some HUDs but when it comes to characters or animations and sprite sheets etc I stand no chance.

Lately I've become really tired with searching for sprites on the Internet as 9 times out of 10 I can't really find what I'm looking for. I'd really like some advice on hiring an artist, where to look and what they will expect. I hear that they typically need some concept art of drawings of the idea but I can't really provide that as I can't draw in any way. Also how do artists price their work typically? Is it based on the complexity of the idea, the amount of work in hours or the amount of animations/characters etc?

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For people who can't draw, to provide concept art you should use google image search to find examples of how you want the art to look. Comment on the examples you are providing, e.g. "I want the colors of A, the character proportions of B, the style of C, and D is roughly what the character looks like, only with wings like E and a hat like F." Also written descriptions are vital.

Artists can be found in the helpwanted forum here, the one at garagegames, the one at deviantart, and the one at conceptart. If you wanted a specific type of content, for example anthro characters, you could go to a community with that specific type of art, such as furaffinity or sofurry. Be wary of working with artists who do not have game-specific experience since you don't yourself have enough game art experience to mentor them. Don't assume you need to have one artist do all the art, an artist who is good at characters may be bad at backgrounds and vice-versa. Especially true if you need a mix of 2D and 3D art. Animation in particular is f*ing hard, don't assume any artist can do it unless they have multiple examples of having already done it. And freelancers of any type are much more likely to finish a managable-size task (i.e. taking less than a month of their freetime) than a gargantuan task like providing all the art for a game. So make a master list of everything you need done an dole it out in chunks to people whose portfolios show they have already done similar things.

Because it's difficult to estimate the time a project will take and demonstrate over the internet how much time was spent, it's not common for commissionable freelance artists to price that way. On the other hand if you hired someone in person they might price that way. Complexity * Number usually = Time anyway. So the pricing is likely to be by type of task (each type of art task can be assumed to have a base complexity) with modifiers for anything that makes the task harder and the number of such tasks. In some cases time can be saved when two or more of the same thing, which may be passed on as a lower price for the additional ones; in other cases there is no savings of time, thus no savings of money for you.

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As programmer it is incredible hard to attract some artists to help you out as long as you don't want to hire them. I'm developing my hobby project since 1998 and I've looked for art since the beginning. When you would ask me today, what I would have changed when I could restart the project, I would say:
1. Learn some art skills yourself ! This needs lot of practise, but eventually it will work.
2. Don't expect, that some (skilled) artist will work for you for free or for some share (at least longer than 3 weeks).
3. And finally, the most important tip: As programmer, make a game, which matches your art skills and not your coding skills !!

Minecraft is a wonderful example where someone developed a game which meets his own art skills.

You have mentioned sprites, take a look at this amazing serie of tutorials over here at gamasutra.

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At the moment I am offering art (concept/character portraits and such) without any payment whatsoever.

I do have a number of conditions though, such as: No deadlines, paid work always comes first, I want the right to sell my artworks as prints on DA and similar sites etc.

If interested in spite of these conditions just PM me and I'll give you more info and a mail adress to which you can send your brief :)

Cheers :)

/Magnus
JMB Creative Art & Illustration

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