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Getting Into Board Game Illustration

Published on 10/08/2023

Getting Into Board Game Illustration
Teacher: Atlanta Japp, West Coast Manager, Advocate Art Incorporated

Over the course of the last two years, the world realized just how much we all still love board games. Although sometimes seen as “old-fashioned,” people are increasingly ditching their digital gaming for these nostalgic pastimes. Not only do these games often provide fun brain teasers, but they are also a wholesome way to socialize with friends and family.

Most of these games were invented a while ago, so it is up to illustrators to produce trendy, new art to keep these products up to date and relevant. Game clients are choosing to embrace new digital styles over the common traditional look. They are pulling ideas from successful book series, video games, tv shows, and box-office movies.

Board games do not offer a lot of surface area for illustration, so it is important to really use up all the space allowed. Remember to use bright, bold, rich colors, and to create dynamic scenes with your characters. Experiment with a sense of dimension to allow the players to feel like they are really part of the game.

If you are looking to work on licensed character projects, remember that these characters will need to be approved, so it is imperative to nail down the original look. With that said, my last piece of advice would be to do your research. Look online to see what is trending, and find photo references and ideas that will enhance your work and allow it to stand out from the rest! Make sure to note down top board game companies, and see if you can research if they did the art in-house or hired a freelancer. Often these jobs go to illustrators represented by agencies, but sometimes they take self-represented artists as well. Board game art may be a rare commission, but once you are hired it can be a lucrative market.

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