1 February 2016 | 42 Comments
To this day, one of the most common mistakes crowdfunders make is to commission and display subpar art on their project page. Even if you just have a few illustrations to show, they will play a huge role in swaying–or dissuading–potential backers.
How does poor art end up on Kickstarter projects? I think it’s because creators see the art they selected through rose-tinted glasses. You’re too biased about your own work to see that you picked the wrong artist. Or maybe you are the artist–it’s even harder then to realize you’re not good enough.
I’m using terms like “subpar” and “not good enough,” but art is highly subjective. Who am I to say your art sucks?
You’re right–I’m not the one to judge your art. The key, though, is that you are also not the right person to judge whether or not your art is good enough to compel potential backers to support your project. Neither is anyone close to the project–not the artist, not your friends, and definitely not your family.
If you really want to know if your project’s art is good enough before you launch, you need to ask complete strangers. Because that’s who the vast majority of your backers will be. Here’s how to do it in 3 easy steps:
- Get some art: If you already have a few illustrations, that’s great. If not, you could commission a few from your artist of choice. Or, even easier, you could select a few pieces of existing art from the artist’s portfolio to sample–just make sure to credit them properly and that you’ve contacted the artist to see if they’re available to work on your project. You could also compare two or three artists’ work side-by-side. Here are some ways to find artists.
- Decide if you’re willing to change: If you’ve already commissioned some art, take a good, hard look in the mirror and ask yourself, “If people tell me the art isn’t good enough, am I truly willing to listen to them and find a new artist?” If the answer is yes, proceed to step 2. If the answer is no, don’t waste anyone’s time by asking for advice you’re not going to consider. Here’s more on that subject.
- Post the samples on this Facebook group: Post the sample art with an open-ended question about if people think it’s good enough on the Art & Graphic Design for Tabletop Games group on Facebook (credit to Kim Brebach and Aaron Lim for telling me about it). If people don’t answer the way you hoped they wouldn’t, don’t get defensive. In fact, pretty much your only response should be to thank people for the feedback–show them that it’s a safe space to be honest. Here’s another group to use if your project isn’t in the games category.
That’s it. Those 3 steps can save you substantial amounts of time and money, and the end result can significantly increase your chances of reaching your funding goal.
I would recommend doing this for graphic design as well, though separately from the art (they’re interconnected, but they’re often–and most wisely–done by two different people).
If you have any thoughts to share about this topic from your experience, I’d love to hear them!
Also read this excellent post about why aesthetics matter (different website than this).