April 09, 2011

Image support for RPGs in the 21st century

One of the things that I am particularly thrilled about is the vast variety of great image sources out there. It has become so easy (and cheap - an important factor for a home grown game) to get great images that you can legally use in your gaming products.

In the past months I have spent quite some money on images and currently have a collection of more than 1000 pieces of art which individually probably would have cost a small fortune 20 years ago. Nowadays I spent a couple of dollars on a single collection and while the quality is not always great there are some truly great pieces of art out there. Cheap and affordable. Thus IMHO there is no excuse for truly bad or below average artwork in new game releases - except if that is part of your design philosophy.

For Gaia Gamma I have started to comb through my collection and already have identified more than 80 candidates for illustrating the rules. Just to give you a taste of things to come here are some samples (the copyrights belong to the respective artists and all images are used by permission as I am a legit purchaser of the respective products). Here we go:

The Council of Waashtoon

(created by Shaman's Stockart)

Harrr! A sentient animal pirate ready for adventure!

(created by Shaman's Stockart)

Army of Purity Gun Gal

(created by Badass Stockart)


(created by Mario Zuccarello)

And these are just a few examples... I'm looking forward to embellishing the rules with more and more cool artwork :-)!

Tell me: Do you know of great stock art sources that provide interesting imagery for post apocalyptic games? Currently I am using www.dreamstime.com, www.rpgnow.com and rpg.drivethrustuff.com as art sources and I am very happy with both the pricing and the quality. It just seems that weird post apocalyptic stuff is a bit hard to get by (e.g. sentient plants, more sentient animals, interesting ruins, science fantasy imagery in general, mutation pictures and so on). Hints are welcome.


  1. Hi Thomas.
    Just wanted to add that as far as picking up random images on stocks may be cheaper you really need to focus on the variety of styles that it comes with. Ive seen loads of rpgs with ilustrations done by so many authors - it made the book or game look so really bad. Like a poorly decorated christmas tree. It really is great when you get two-three authors to work on, art within a game. The ilustrations are consistent in colour profiles, style and general feel. It vastly improves the visual communication and atmosphere of the content.

    As for hints.
    Its not a easy way, since its not a stock of any kind, but you may try registering at www.conceptart.com forums. There is a MASSIVE community of beeginer, advance and master illustrators there. Browsing thru there may reveal sick amount of images that will fit your needs. Just Message the authors and I bet most of them will be willing to sell their doodles.
    Good Luck.

  2. oh im sorry i ment the www.conceptart.org not com.