I’ve spoken before about how I think I might like to publish Echelon, but I haven’t discussed much about art.
I did a bit of math. Depending on how large things get, I see the following paths for my art requirements.
Just as it says on the
box cover, a “printer-friendly” version of the game. Likely published as a PDF (possibly free) or Print on Demand hard copy. Apart from the time and effort I put into it, and any editing I pay for, I don’t aim to spend a lot of money on this.
- Probably a single, probably reasonably simple cover. I could look for something public domain or stock, but I’d prefer something bespoke.
- Internal art is likely to be stock art.
B/X Box Set
This is where things get more complicated. If I’m going to do this, I want it to be the best it can be.
For economic reasons this could be reduced to a single book, but I’d rather not do that. I started with Mentzer D&D, and doing Echelon as box sets — especially since there are natural divisions to the game already — really appeals to me. I’m going to work on the assumption I can do it this way, if only to simplify my math.
- 1 full-page color cover;
- 12 half-page or so full-color characters (the pre-gens are likely to be printed on 11″x17″ cardstock and folded; front is character name, action picture, and why you want to be this badass, middle two are game information needed to play, back is likely supplementary information, possibly about how the character might level up);
- 30 quarter-page monster images (as with the characters, likely ‘action poses’ but otherwise simple, likely no backgrounds. Willing to settle for black and white (and honestly, in many cases I prefer it — or line art).
When it comes time to go to publication, I expect I’m likely to try Kickstarting this. I see stretch goals including (for art purposes; “more talents” is likely to be here in any case):
- Increasing the number of pregen characters, probably doubling them;
- Increasing the number of monsters, probably doubling them to start;
- Improving the art (line art to black and white to color).
I’ve spoken with a couple of artists to get a feel for what this might cost. I can absorb the expected cost of the No-Frills version, but the full version? Going to have to get funding elsewhere, or save up my nickels for a long time.
Alternate Plan: Full Deal
This might still be a box set, just a much fuller one, or it might be a single, bigger book, or it might go the classic three-book route. This would likely have the entire core in one place. At this point I have no real idea of the scope of the art requirement, but my first guess would be probably three to five times as much as the box set described above, to have a similar sort of quality.
Definitely not something I can afford to do myself.
This really puts some perspective on the Inkwell Ideas stock art project at Kickstarter right now. I could probably satisfy almost all of my art requirements for the monster section, reasonably well, just by buying into it at the high end. Being able to cover pretty much all the monsters for $325 is a hell of a deal… I don’t have to have bespoke art, as much as I’d like it.
Hmm. And the Kickstarter doesn’t close for another six weeks. I have time to think about this, and can save my Kickstarter pennies for stock art instead.
In fact, that itself could be an upgrade in the project. Baseline is no longer bespoke, but quality stock art, then I upgrade to bespoke when and as it becomes feasible.
I didn’t share any specific math beyond raw counts, it would not be a reasonable thing to do to the artists I have spoken with.
When it comes time to move ahead with this, I am like to solicit proposals from artists, particularly after I have a firmer idea of the scope I am trying to meet.
I’m at a weird place in evaluating the ballpark estimates right now. Part of me goes “$thatmuch?! Dear gods!” and another part goes “only $thatmuch, hmm?” One of the hazards of being a gaming geek who works for the Ministry of Finance, I suppose.