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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

How Important is Art in an RPG Product?

Yeah, I know this is a very individual taste type of question, but then most opinion questions are.

When I look at released from Godman Games or LotFP, one of the things that really stands out is the art. It's not just good or damn good, frequently it's of the "holy shit I want a print of this to fram and hang on my wall" type of quality.

Good art isn't cheap. Well, it can be, but not if you are paying something close to what it is worth. Art will certainly effect the bottom line of a product.

So, when it comes to art in the RPG products you by, how importnat is it to you compared to the rest of the product?


  1. I think that the importance of artwork in RPG's goes all the way back to the "early days" of the hobby. Great images help set the tone and feel of the game and its genre, and also helps to set expectations. I think that good art also adds value to an RPG in the respect that most people are aware of the additional cost involved.

    If I'm picking up a free RPG, I don't expect any artwork. But if I'm paying for an RPG, I like seeing some effort put into making it look and feel like a "professional" product, whatever that means. LOL

  2. In an adventure it is worth a mint. It gives me visuals to show my players and often gives me a better clue to the intent of the author than their text description.

    I still regret getting rid of my Hackmaster books till I'd scanned the artwork. I don't play the DCC game but it is worth the price for the amazing artwork.

  3. EXTREMELY important—one of the reasons I lament the incompleteness (art-wise) of the Atlas of Arunia Ecumenia daily.

    Art frames the work; it doesn't even necessarily have to be high quality artwork in my opinion. It simply has to be evocative in order to get the imagination fired up and going. Simple OSR style artwork can sometimes outpace the lavish detail in the later editions.

  4. I think it is. They go together. I know when I write an adventure for publication I don't think its done until I get the art. But as where it can take an adventure to a different level, bad art can drop it a level. So yeah, art is important.

  5. Top dollar for top art as part of the product, low dollar for low or no art. That being said, art does more for the imagination than text descriptions. No matter how vivid your words, a kick-ass picture blows them away. I think of Peter Jackson and LOTR. I love the books, my imagination is pretty good, but HOLY CRAP, his imagination was awesome. Sure I can carp about some things that I imagined different, but his movies blow away my stick figures every time.

  6. Who doesn't want fantastic, imagination-inspiring art in a product, but at a "Pay What You Want" price? ;)

  7. You guys should see the artwork in the BFRPG Field Guide.. We've had some great artists cranking out some fantastic artwork for the monsters.. The main download site isn't updated with Release 3 yet but you can find the link in the thread.


    They are still working on tweaking some of the formatting a bit but its amazing.

  8. One of the things I discovered in my time in the blog-o-sphere is that I need art if I want my offerings to be taken seriously.

    As a result, I have to take the time and effort to illustrate my books. Lucky me, I can do that.

  9. Pathfinder looks pretty but dont actually like the fantasy look (4th ed find a bit ugly and dont connect with art). Tom holloway always is whimsical and has gritty equipment - more like post 70s wargamer psuedo historical grit settings. Some cthulhu stuff has too mush art - one good boo fine per book and some retro 20s stock images fine. I like lots of retro games using retro illustration like blueholmes rules and lots of the pulpy sf games of late. Leasing art from deviant art for a book only 70-90 bucks often. I love art but but technically good art sometimes overkill. Even saying a monster looks one way a bit of a limit. Mutant future has great spot art throughout books. Ive bee waiting for an artist i hired last august and pre paid - has delayed my work fir ages.

  10. I find layout more important that art. If the book is just a wall of text it becomes harder to follow. On the other hand I don't need some fancy parchment image background that make the text hard to read.

    A little art whether I like it or not is nice to break up the chapters or sections.

    Recently I purchased Magic World the Fantasy BRP. I found the layout unreadable. It was very gray and the layout must have been done on a tablet, because the printed copy had a lot of text and art that were pixelated.

    I returned it.

  11. I think art is hugely important (disclaimer: I'm an artist), but I also think it really needs to fit the product and feel alive. That's what's so successful with the DCC and LotFP art. You can tell those artists really loved what they were working on.

    An artist can also deliver a vision in ways text can't. In many ways Erol Otus defined the wild and trippy underworld of Dungeons & Dragons for many gamers, Brom and Baxa made Dark Sun come to life, and DiTerlizzi's Planescape is a real masterpiece. Love or hate the style, but Wayne Reynolds makes Pathfinder look like Pathfinder.

    In the hands of an artist who loves the game and the world it's set in, art can really bring a lot to a published piece.

  12. I'm also in favour of good layout; art is not a factor when I consider buying a product whatsoever.

  13. Art is important for me as an artist but I actually find the writing to be the key ingredient. A well written adventure is more evocative to me than all the art... in China? Lol.