No artistic talent, no worries

I have absolutely no idea how to draw anything. This is where I can come unstuck. It seems that there are a wealth of indie developers out there that can not only code, but can draw. The really annoying ones are the ones that can compose music as well!

Fear not, however, for there are solutions to this artistic inadequacy.


Money solves all problems


If you have that killer idea for a game, but know that you need a specific character, background, or other graphic, then pay someone to create it. Its always better if you know the person, but alternatively there are websites from graphic artists that show all of their previous work. There are two major disadvantages here though. It costs, and mostly it costs a lot. Graphic artists are not cheap, but for animations you may need quite a few frames, and maybe from different directions. There may also be multiple characters, multiple weapons, multiple backgrounds, etc, etc. The other disadvantage is that you never know quite what you will get. If you know the artist, then you have a lot more faith in the quality of their work. Dodgy artists aside, each artist has a unique style, which may not fit your game. This is why I suggest if you do not know the artist, only part your money with one that you can see their previous work. Make sure the one your choose will sketch out your artwork first and require your approval before proceeding.


Stock is not all that bad


Stock graphics, which are graphics that are created and then sold to the mass market, have many advantages. They are normally cheap, and always cheaper than hiring an arttst. You can even get some for free through open-source graphic sites. You can also know exactly what the graphic looks like before you part with your cash. However there are disadvantages. Sometimes that licensees do not allow you to use them for commercial purposes, so check these before paying out. The largest disadvantage is that anyone can use that graphic. If you create the next Mario, you will never be able to stop people from ripping your character off. I would suggest not doing this if you think that your game will make it big!


Just don’t have any graphics


My best solution to tackle this is… not to draw! Games do not need to have beautifully hand-crafted drawings to look amazing. Tetris, for example, is one of the all time top games, and was made up of crudely drawn blocks. Adobe’s Photoshop and other photo editing tools allow you to create amazing textures with a few button presses, so your game doesn’t have to look bland. The advantages to this is that you remain in control of your game, and you can get started creating straight away. You always have the option of updating your graphics down the line if needed. One major limitation is only there if your game requires a graphic for logistical reasons. Platforms tend to need backgrounds, objects, characters, for instance.


So all is not lost if, like me, you have no artistic ability. Just remember that your game’s gameplay is your game, and your artwork is your marketing.

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