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Let me start out by saying that I am definitely not an artist. My artistic skills peaked when I was 12 or 13 and have had plenty of time to regress since then. But I understand the importance of artwork in roleplaying materials. Text by itself, even when you play with layouts, fonts, and lines – simply isn’t sexy enough. You have to add a few splashes of art to break up the monotony of line after line of rolling text.
Now, when I published the Moebius Adventures Core Rules book a couple of years ago, I used a combination of pieces. I contracted out the cover, redo my logo, and a few black and white pieces from Jason Adams (Rogue-Artist.com). Jason did an awesome job and if I ever get the oomph to put out another book, I’ll have him do more art and another cover. His prices were extremely reasonable and he worked with me to get things just right. I couldn’t have asked for more.
The other place I used may surprise you. I have a subscription to Clipart.com. They literally have millions of pieces of art available, including some great black and white shots of castles, knights, priests, and so on. My subscription also comes in handy when I design the occasional t-shirt to sell at my CafePress store or whatnot.
But beyond that, many artists have come forward and started producing commercial-use collections available at places like RPGNow.com.
Sade is one of the independent artists providing collections for use and has nearly 200 in RPGNow.com as of today. And she provides a ton of options – everything from computer-generated art to black-and white and inked pieces – from dragons to steampunk, weapons to templates, even cards for treasure and paper minis. Prices are great too – everything from $0.50 to bundles going for as little as $9 or as much as $65.50. Her Templates collection provides a ton of amazing stuff that an enterprising publisher could use out of the box to make an outstanding book. And her many collections of weapons are simply amazing.
Other companies – from Action RPG Counters to Ye Olde School Stock Art provide an amazing array of bits and pieces that could be used. Everything from fillers to amazingly detailed pieces and even cover art is available.
So if you’re thinking of publishing a book and you (like me) are not an artist, don’t fret. There are lots of available options that are available now. There are some amazing artists out there who will work with you to get you exactly what you want, but there are also some collections of stock art that might be right up your alley. Make sure you look around, check out the licenses for these beasties, and look for something that will work for you.
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