View Full Version : Beasts and Characters..

08-17-2010, 08:17 AM
Hi all,

Just a Question also if I know it#s not easy to answer this.
Actually we creating a new world for our pen and paper. And for this we need a bestiary as well.
I don't want to copy pictures from the web, because we dont know about the copyright and so on..

So I searched in the www and found a nice page:

How long would you need to create such pictures? And if I would pay for it, what do you guess how much it is? :)

I know it's hard say but I have no idea how much work it is to create pic's like this. Maybe I try to learn it, but... uhm am I able to..?!


08-17-2010, 10:55 AM
Hi yosherl,

I had never heard of Jason Engle, but he produces some really beautiful work - his isometric maps are gorgeous. If you look at his list of clients, it gives you some idea of the standard of the work (if the work itself didn't speak highly enough already).

In terms of the character line drawings, those are done to a professional standard and unless you are very talented and dedicated (and you would know it if you were) it would probably take years of effort to get to this level.
If you are after high quality illustrations, then you're probably going to have to pay for them. It might be worth cruising around the deviant art pages to look for independent artists who might give you a good price.

08-17-2010, 11:24 AM
I couldn't tell you how long it takes someone who does people all the time. I can only say that anatomy is not easy. If you go through his work, and he's extremely good, you can find errors. I am not good at doing people and I haven't practiced them much at all. All I can say is if I was doing an animal I would guess 4-6 hours. Since it is more of an illustration than realistic because it's mainly the lines you are linking us to it might be faster than that. Fully painted, probably longer. I have never really done that style but with practice you could speed that up I'm sure.

If you look at the Bluebird in my deviantArt link of my sig, that took me about 5 hours. I'm just an amateur though so bear that in mind.

As far as pricing goes, that's all over the board. I was looking at someone the other day on dA who does character portraits and I think the price range depended on how much detail there was. I think 20-50 bucks but don't quote me. Also, I think 20-50 bucks for what you linked would be rather underpaid. That's just my opinion but someone who can whip one out in an hour would find that acceptable I imagine. I just know I can't do it in an hour. I think that person on dA said they make 20-30 bucks an hour so you get what you pay for.

Those are my thoughts but maybe someone who does more character work can answer in better detail.

On a final note, it's worth remembering this is a Cartography guild and most folks here do more maps. You might get better feedback on a site catering to character and monster art.

08-17-2010, 12:19 PM
Yep - Jason Engle is a seasoned pro and is work reflects it. However there are many people working on character design like that who are starting out. The best bet is to find a price that works for you and post a note on ConceptArt on the small freelance board:

Another option is to tap Hugo Solis (http://butterfrog.deviantart.com/) who I know is good and reasonably priced, but is very busy. Good luck finding someone for your illustrations! Hope those two sites give you a good start.

08-17-2010, 12:38 PM
There are a number of very old and hence copyright free bestiaries but many of these have been scanned and uploaded and named as copyright even tho the work they are copying is public domain so I think personally (tho you would have to be sure) that these bestiaries could be used. Certainly you could add the obtained form notice that these places seem to want you to put on stuff. Also I recommend Liams old books which have some pictures in them which are copyright free. Also Ravs knows a shop in London that sells books of public domain images and I guess you could see if they have ISBN numbers and get a copy. One day I will have to visit that place with a wheel barrow in tow...


and also wiki commons

08-17-2010, 01:27 PM
Well, being that you're specifically looking for someone to do some illustration work I guess just a little bit of self-promotion wouldn't be too out of line, right?

I'm probably not as experienced as Engle, but I can draw what you need. I usually work in pencils and inks, but I'm also experienced in
Photoshop and Painter if you want color illustrations.

Here's a link to my blogspot where there are some samples of my work.


I won't discuss prices or anything here, so if you're interested at all, email me at heroscarf@gmail.com

08-17-2010, 02:05 PM
That's some really nice stuff, HeroScarf!

08-17-2010, 03:10 PM
Indeed, nice stuff. I've just sent you an e-mail, HeroScarf, but don't want to de-rail the OP's thread.

Steel General
08-17-2010, 04:08 PM
That's some really nice stuff, HeroScarf!

Ditto that...

08-17-2010, 05:38 PM
From experience, when I was an avid drawer and still had an imagination (I wanted to be a comic book illustrator), I could pump out a pencil drawing in the course of a high school or college class (around an hour). Adding very detailed clothing or armor adds another hour or so, detailed backgrounds could add 2 hours. Coloring I never got around to learning and still haven't. If I was going to go back and ink the drawing then that would add another half hour or so for the figure and an hour or so for detailed background. So that's roughly how long it took for me (20 years ago); how much it costs is completely up in the air - it costs as much as you're willing to pay and the final product that you're looking for (pencil, inked, or fully colored plus with or without backgrounds and the total size of the image - mostly they fit on a piece of paper but some people want large drawings).

08-17-2010, 05:43 PM
I like your characters too Heroscarf, esp the ninja and the indie wiz.

08-18-2010, 09:26 AM
I'm not quite sure of what you need - you need pics for a bestiary, but is it for publishing later on - or for personal use? Cause if its the first, then you gotta get every one painted professionally (in my opinion) and preferably by the same artist to preserve the style through the beastiary. If its for personal use only you don't have to care about copyright, just pluck what you need :) ... I bought an art-pack with all monsters and race/professions for D&D 4e from some site to use for making counters for battle maps - they were cheap and worth the money to have easy access to making x-counters of what ever monster the players face :) ... and if you need art done for you - check out Deviant art - lots of good ones in there - also beginners :)

08-18-2010, 04:54 PM
Thank you all for your comments and your sentiments!

Unfortunately I know now that I don't know what we can do :)
If I would guess we need about 300 to 500 pictures multiplied by 20-50 bucks uhm.... :shock:

And it seems as I don't have the essential talent to learn it :(


08-18-2010, 05:26 PM
If this thing is going to be printed and sold then think of this...my old D&D books from the 80s only have painted covers, the insides are all black and white (inked). Also, not every critter has an accompanying drawing. I don't know if current bestiaries have every critter drawn out. Also they have a few different artists doing the drawings inside. Again, these books are 25+ years old so, shrug. So that may lower costs for you...still a lot of money but certainly cheaper and if you sell a bunch then you make it back easily. Pick 3 or 4 artists, offer them a set amount for like 50 drawings, and whatever critter doesn't get a drawing just gets text...so be it. My old books have paintings on them so maybe you could just surf the web, find a great cover pic, and offer to pay the artist for it.

08-19-2010, 01:27 AM
If you are working on publishing something, you might start a bit smaller in order to build capital first, with the expectation that all proceeds go toward funding the bestiary. I was involved in a project a while back where several writers and artists collaborated to produce a book full of adventure locales, with the intent to use the proceeds to fund the development of future publications. Unfortunately, the guy organizing the thing dropped the ball at the layout stage. It's a real shame, too, because I had written up three locations I was quite proud of, one of which was selected as the subject of the cover art.

Anyway, if you start with a small book that has only a few high-quality illustrations and sell a large enough quantity of them, that could pay for the illustrations for the next project. Alternately, you could release it in a serial format, with sales of the first volume funding production of the following volumes. Obviously, though, your product needs to sell well in order for this arrangement to work.

08-19-2010, 02:22 AM
hmmmm... I'm thinking back to the olden days where I was but a wee little kid and had subscriptions to sports cards (I think) - every month I recieve a couple of cards to add to my collection. So make the Beastiary on A4 4 hole system pages - with the first purchase you get a "free" (nothing is ever free) folder to hold them, and have people pay up front for the stuff, then add pages over the months ;)
Or try to make a deal with an artist working his way up for a small fixed amount and a percentage of the what the beastiary makes. I read an article once where they asked this million dollar business man if he regretted selling 50% of his company when it was small, cause now it was very succesfull - his answer was "rather 50% of a succes than 100% of a failure" :)
Don't give up - find a way :) ... and if you need help with layout/dtp - send me a PM for a good quote :)

08-19-2010, 11:59 AM
Awesome idea. I used to get "zoo cards" when I was a kid. Every month a packet of five cards came in the mail with a picture of an animal on one side and information about it on the reverse.

08-19-2010, 12:23 PM
That *is* a cool idea. Subscription services are the way to go, BTW...recurring revenue is always better than having to go back and ask for more every time you have a new product. They don't work for everything, unfortunately, and they make you stick to deadlines. Not sure how Monte Cook's Dungeon-a-day thing worked out (he recently stepped out of it and turned it over to ?Rite Publishing?) but that was a pretty specific enterprise. A creature-a-day (or spell-a-day or NPC-a-day or whatever) might have longer legs...it's something everyone can use in their games. I think I remember the thing Midgardsomer was talking about (they did it with recipies and other things too) - got cards in the mail and they fit into this little plastic filing box. I would totally think about something like that for interesting beasties (or NPCs or plot hooks) that I could use in my game.

08-19-2010, 03:40 PM
It better have a stick of gum in there!

08-20-2010, 03:01 AM
*hmmmm* note to self - remeber to buy gum for all the beasties... ;)

one negative thing I do remember about those subscription things were that they were notoriously hard to cancel - so thats a place to improve on :)