Greetings fellow gamers!
Over the next few months leading up to Reign's release I am going to be talking about its development. The topic for today: Reign's artwork and what went into it.
When I was first designing Reign, one of my design goals was to keep the number of art assets low. This would allow me to get high quality art without breaking the bank.
I decided on 14 separate pieces including 2 that would be used for the front and back of the box. With Reign being my first project, I was in the dark on where exactly to find an artist to work with. Arduously I began my task to find an artist. I asked around on various websites (mainly deviant art) and forums until eventually I settled on using a small USA based company called Starcat Games.
This ended up being the right move as can you can see from the Hammerhand art, the quality speaks for itself.
Completing the art was a very time consuming process. From start to finish it took about 4 months to get everything finished. That's not including all the extra work that went into graphics design and card layout (but more on that in a later week).
Originally my prototype was very basic. As is the custom with most card game designers I started by just printing basic images out and attaching them to magic the gathering cards. Functional but not much to look at. I needed to bring Reign to life.
The vision I had for the art was of a fantasy world that was still somewhat rooted in reality. Kind of "A Song of Ice and Fire" but with a lot more bear cavalry and a bit less dragons.
So I gave the artist the lowdown on what I wanted and he started getting some silhouette sketches together. We went back and forth trying to get the broader strokes of how everything would look and feel. Fortunately, I only worked with one artist, allowing us to bring my artistic vision and their artistic talent together without any stylistic difference between pieces.
While working on details and colouring. I wanted each card to look unique and instantly recognisable when in your hand. The way we achieved this was mainly with background and colouring. You will notice in Reign that the background of each card is very different to allow for quick recognition.
As a designer, the art can be a bit of a waiting game. While the artist worked his magic I tried to keep myself busy. I got to work on polishing the card layout and making the rulebook look and read well. It is important for me to keep working on a project while waiting for art to keep it from getting stagnant.
While in the end not all the art is exactly how I first imagined, it was for the best. The art turned out better than I had hoped and it was great to work with someone so talented (unfortunately, I can not give you name).
Anyway that's all for now! Next time we will be talking about playtesting and how I made Reign awesome by breaking it... lots!