RPG Art

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Agamemnon
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RPG Art

Post by Agamemnon » 24 Apr 2017, 21:14

I've finally started hearing back from some artists about commission work — who would have guessed it would be so hard to find someone willing to take your money? We're getting some quotes in, which is neat. And expensive. But neat.

One of the problems I found in a lot of RPG books is that the art is too often impressive looking people standing impressively. It gets too easy for the artwork to devolve into a gallery of "THIS COULD BE YOUR CHARACTER" art, with the notion that if those people look cool/sexy/powerful, you'll find the game to be cool, sexy, and powerful. Or something. I find that I am personally way more drawn into scenes. Little glimpses of a story.

Then I started to actually try and think what kind of scenes I'd actually want to commission. I was not prepared for the enormity of the blank I would draw.

So. This is the official "Cool ideas for art" thread. Feel free to toss in suggestions for ideas. Of particular note, while most of the art will be in black and white for ease of production (a color rulebook will cost nearly twice what a black and white one will), we do need to commission a few big fancy color pieces as splash art or even a potential cover. So if you have particular ideas for that category, so much the better. One way or another, we're going to need at least one big piece of color art that is essentially "what our game is/is about" to be the default promotional piece. How do you even summarize a game like this in a single image?
Sword and Scoundrel: On Role-Playing and Fantasy Obscura

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thirtythr33
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Re: RPG Art

Post by thirtythr33 » 25 Apr 2017, 00:48

In no particular order and linked to examples:

maps!

Equipment porn:
Comparing standard gear across culture and age
Cut-aways
Armor (pointing out all the words you use in the book, and why you can't armor your armpits etc)
Weapons
Castles!
More castles!
horses

Clothing
fashion
hats!
funny bags!

Fighting manuals!

weird medieval stuff like
humorism
anatomy
Bestiary, with animals draw from silly medieval descriptions

Scenes
tragedy
murder!
Whatever this is
madness

Landscapes
more landscapes!

Other ideas:
* Use scenes from your own adventures
* Think of a scene using each of the Skills
* Likewise for edges

Trying to nail down one consistent style is pretty important. The erratic art in TROS is one of it's big weaknesses. I don't think my suggestions of the schematic-like cutaways would fit very well next to stylized weird beasts for example.
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thirtythr33
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Re: RPG Art

Post by thirtythr33 » 25 Apr 2017, 02:58

And some stuff probably more in line with what you were asking:

Two people:
* Arguing and shouting at eachother
* Shaking hands, one with a dagger held behind his back
* Haggling or bartering
* Discretely passing a package under a table
* Looking for something in the woods by lantern light
* In a bar fight
* Dancing merrily
* Hunting on horses, with dogs
* One pointing and laughing, the other crying
* Celebrating
* A scoundrel helping a wounded knight

Someone:
* Lying face down and fully clothed on the sea shore
* Hanging off a cliff by their finger tips
* Riding a horse through a royal chamber
* Running from a guard
* Lying wounded in the street
* Leaping from a roof
* On their knees, pleading for their life
* Being led to a noose
* Finding great treasure
* Holding many enemies at bay
* Aiming down his rifle/crossbow
* Pulling the boots off a corpse

One thing to keep in mind is representation. Equal representation of the sexes and various skin colors across all character types is becoming more usual in RPGs these days.
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This is thy sheath; there rust, and let me die."

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Benedict
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Re: RPG Art

Post by Benedict » 25 Apr 2017, 03:57

Agamemnon wrote:One of the problems I found in a lot of RPG books is that the art is too often impressive looking people standing impressively. It gets too easy for the artwork to devolve into a gallery of "THIS COULD BE YOUR CHARACTER" art, with the notion that if those people look cool/sexy/powerful, you'll find the game to be cool, sexy, and powerful. Or something. I find that I am personally way more drawn into scenes. Little glimpses of a story.
Totally agree on that one.

Exhibit A (Things that would be cool): Duels, Boarding a ship, Chase scene along rooftops, Assassination at court ball, Tavern brawl, At siege, Horse archery, Picking pockets, Sneak past guards, Heated debate, Mercenary bands roaming the countryside, High priest at Mass, Breaking and entering, Cannon fire, Alchemist lab, etc.
Exhibit B (Things that would be cooler): Exhibit A, but we get to see recurring characters between these scenes.
Exhibit C (Things that would be coolest): Exhibit B, plus there are some short fiction passages related to artwork.
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nemedeus
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Re: RPG Art

Post by nemedeus » 26 Apr 2017, 16:07

Agamemnon wrote: One of the problems I found in a lot of RPG books is that the art is too often impressive looking people standing impressively.
Good that you mention. While impressive looking people are okay, possibly THE one thing i've been struggling with in the last few years or so in my own art is drawing people in situations where they are doing stuff rather than just posing -- particularly fighting, of course.
Agamemnon wrote:It gets too easy for the artwork to devolve into a gallery of "THIS COULD BE YOUR CHARACTER" art, with the notion that if those people look cool/sexy/powerful, you'll find the game to be cool, sexy, and powerful. Or something. I find that I am personally way more drawn into scenes. Little glimpses of a story.
And that's taking it one step further.

Gah, i need to get back into drawing. You know that thing where you don't pick up a pencil for months at a time? That's me almost all the time.

Here's some more ideas:
bandit/border patrol/etc. standoff in a rainy night
snapshot in a 2-v-1 situation
huddling around a campfire
a wedding ceremony being interrupted violently
murderer after the deed (victim sprawled on the floor)
performing field surgery
"First Rule of War Club: Don't fight in the War Room" - Clint Eastwood, 1920
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thirtythr33
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Re: RPG Art

Post by thirtythr33 » 06 Jun 2017, 11:57

Another idea is to just rip scenes out of the games we are playing on the forums. It's got a few advantages to it:
  • You already have some portraits and descriptions for the characters
  • Already have nicely written prose describing the scene the way it would be done in a game (either for the artist to work from, or a caption of some kind).
  • Scenes actually reflect gameplay that S&S is supposed to emulate
  • Gives a nod to the community here
Plus I'd like hearing what everyone's most memorable scenes are :lol:
"O happy dagger!
This is thy sheath; there rust, and let me die."

- Juliet Capulet
ChaosFarseer
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Re: RPG Art

Post by ChaosFarseer » 16 Jul 2017, 17:32

For escalating to violence:
  • Two people in fashionable clothing, one holding a weapon to the other, the latter shocked and with hands in the air.
  • Two people in expensive clothing, one grappling the other. Bonus points for bystanders.
Before throwing white / red:
  • Side shot of two characters staring down each other, in combat poses.
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