Hi supporters, gamers and backers :)
While our Kickstarter campaign is live (http://kck.st/1d2sRN6), I wanted to share the last of my posts about the illustrators that have been working with me.
This time we're going to Germany, where Caner Inciucu is living with his wife and son.
Caner has been on the project ever since the first pencil drawing was made for Burning Suns. So it's truly an great story to share with such a talented person.
If you want to see the things Caner has done, make sure to check out his DeviantArt account > Redan23
Talent, precision and hard work
I've seen a lot of talented people through my years in the world of design, games and education. So the nature of talent isn't surprising me anymore (there's a lot out there), but the way the talent is used... And here Caner stands out among the crowd!
Caner doesn't just "rely" on his talent - he's a dedicated and hard working artist - that doesn't leave work half done! Caner want everything to be just perfect, and he'll be working on it until it's been achieved. A valuable trait in a freelancer.
Many freelancers and up-and-coming artist could learn from him and the effort he puts into his work.
Fit for details and epic stories
I must admit that I've been lucky with the illustrators I've chosen for my board game project. All of them have fitted into their role and task, and I've had the pleasure of being able to use their talent in so many ways.
With Caner, the case was as clear as crystal!
His sense for detail, depth and atmosphere in every drawing is a complete and perfect fit for a scope like Burning Suns.
Atmosphere is everything - and Caner's illustrations brings those heroic and pivotal moments to life.
Get inspired by Caner's drawing - by watching his videos on Youtube.
An easy going and transparent process
Though I guess I'm also responsible for the nice tone and easy going vibe in our production of Burning Suns. It's undeniable that Caner is a very nice person to talk to - and very easy to be constructive with.
Caner has a good understanding of what you want portrayed - and he's always making sure that you'll be able to follow the process as the illustration evolves from the first few strokes to a full size art piece.
When handling these kind of long-distance projects where you can't just meet up. It's essential to be able to follow the process and catch up on errors right away. Caner makes this discipline a walk in the park from the very beginning.
Commitment and friendship
I believe that I've established a great relationship with all of my freelancers, and that we would be able to work together for a long time to come.
I've been so lucky to meet Caner during last years "SPIEL" in Essen. It was a really great and fun experience - and I hope I'll be able to do that again. Commitment and friendship can be strong tools when working with a freelancer.
I'll finish this post by giving Caner my highest recommendations!
If you need epic illustrations for your board or computer game - Caner is the man to go to! Raden23 on DeviantArt
Be sure to check out our Kickstarter campaign - and find more of Caner's and my other illustrator's great work: Burning Suns on Kickstarter
Best regards Emil Larsen, SunTzuGames
Hi again all of you board game creators,
Today I wanted to share yet another one of my great illustrators with you :)
An illustrator I've been working with from the very beginning - and who keeps presenting wonderful artwork for all of us to enjoy in Burning Suns.
Angelita Ramos is a freelance illustrator and author from the United States, who was hired on to the Burning Suns project over a year ago.
Angelita has many years of experience with illustration, and has done a wide variety of work on both book covers, logos and fan art.
- And now, she is also well rounded in the world of science fiction ;)
Communication is key
As a project manager and officer you don't have to remind me that communication is key to success, no matter the industry or profession you're working with, but to see results unfold in correspondence to communication has never been clearer to me - than when I started to work with Angelita.
Angelita is kind and friendly to talk to and she always makes you feel good about your product wishes and ideas. She knows the importance of keeping a productive dialog with room for ideas, and she's not afraid of telling you if she has run into trouble, which makes it so much easier to sort out, before anyone has wasted precious time.
Make sure to check out her splendid work on DeviantArt!
Ping Pong Feedback
While some illustrators like to run with the ball as soon as they gets it, Angelita likes to keep things in a very transparent progress continuously updating the status of her work - and asking for feedback.
As the employer or project manager it's very reassuring to work with someone like Angelita, who never runs away from an idea or trashes your input.
Angelita is also the architect behind SunTzuGames' logo - depicting the head and torso of a science fiction inspired samurai.
Commitment and exploration
When you're working with illustrators over such a long time as I've done, you know that commitment is one of the most important factors for a successful outcome.
I've had a great time exploring ideas with Angelita, and she is always ready to try out something different in order for us to achieve our goal. Angelita is always keeping it professional - with a friendly and positive attitude.
I've never had the chance to read Angelita Ramos' book - Polar Bear Kisses, but if it's anything like her other work, people won't be disappointed!
(don't worry, it doesn't have anything to do with our friendly fellow on the left ;)
Strength in character and emotions
I was lucky to find Angelita when I needed my characters and aliens illustrated, and by now (or after reviewing more of Angelita Ramos' great work) I'm sure you know that Angelita's strength lies in characters.
It doesn't matter whether we talk aliens, human or animals, Angelita knows how to make them "likable", "full of hatred", "fearsome" or "curious" - she has the spectrum of emotions in her power.
It goes without saying that I can recommend Angelita Ramos all the way!
She is a trustworthy, professional and kind colleague to have on your projects, no matter the scope and time frame.
Best regards Emil Larsen, SunTzuGames
Dear gamers and developers,
I've put together yet another post where I talk about one of the illustrators I've been so fortunate to work with for the last many months.
Tony Andreas Rudolph, also known as Zulusplitter when being creative with Photoshop, is a German artist currently working as a concept artist for Trixter in Munich.
I was lucky to get him involved in Burning Suns when I had settled upon some of the more significant changes in the game. He turned out to be the perfect match for the many planets, alien worlds and asteroids I was in desperate need of at the time.
Enjoy even more of Zulusplitter's work here: www.zulusplitter.de
Tony was actually recommended by one of my other illustrators, which is always a good sign! I waited to contact him until I had enough work for him, so that he actually got something out of choosing me as a client. Remember, the deal and proposal goes both ways ;)
Going to DeviantArt and searching for illustrators can be quite challenging, surely there are enough talented people there, but you need to consider the following things.
Make sure to have the answers for these questions before hand (Read my other post about freelancers here)
It truly was a no-brainer when I got a recommendation from my illustrator which had been on the project from the very beginning. After a quick look at Tony's work - I knew I had to get him on the team :)
You can see Tony's cool illustrations here: http://zulusplitter.deviantart.com/
Locating the forces of an illustrator
It's easy to see where Tony's forces lies, when you look in his gallery - It's filled with nice landscapes, beautiful backgrounds and lots of scenery.
But even so, I wasn't going to assign him anything before he had been let loose with a completely blank canvas.
As with every illustrator that has ever working on my projects, I need to experience what drives them to the decisions in their work, in order for me to be able to give them the exact tasks for them.
This is both to determine flow of work, amount of details in work descriptions, the drive in the person, imagination, and communication skills.
Tony is certainly not in lack of any imagination or drive and as it turned out - he also knows how to create great sci-fi stuff like digital gadgets and ships! :)
Working with Tony
Tony is an easy going guy who has been a great asset to the team. When Tony was added to the team as the last illustrator, the circle felt complete and Burning Suns has never looked this great.
Tony has earned a permanent place in the team - and I hope to be able to work with Tony in many months to come.
Like my other illustrators I can only give Tony my best recommendations - you won't be disappointed with his sense for scenery, environment and atmosphere!
Emil Larsen, SunTzuGames
Good day all of you,
Today I wanted to do a little promotion on behalf of one of my illustrators.
I've worked with some of my illustrators for over a year now, and they have been key to the "x-factor" of Burning Suns.
Every illustrator I've worked with will be mentioned in an article of their own. I really appreciate the work and effort they have put into the creation of Burning Suns, without them it would have been nothing more than game mechanics and pieces.
To start it all... I'll be talking about Svenja Liv an illustrator and portrait artist from Ireland.
A favorite for portraits
It didn't take long to realize that Svenja Liv was all about personality and portraits. Though Svenja had to get used to the "alien"-aspects of her characters, she surely knew how to make something feel alive and "likable".
Svenja is also good at adapting other people's illustrations into her own style in order to make posters and similar. This has been required several times on the Burning Suns project.
No question her collection of portraits also speaks its own language.
Check out her many illustrations on DeviantArt here:
Svenja has a weakness for painting her favorite characters - which we can all enjoy on her profile :)
Mysteries are there to be solved
If you go to Svenja own homepage > http://svenjaliv.com/ - You'll discover that she uses a lot of time on creating "how to" and similar articles, uncovering some of the mystery behind being a good artist.
And if you find reading and writing novel material to be something for you - you might want to check out her other activities as well... as there's more than meets the eye to this illustrator ;)
And of course this equation wouldn't be complete if I didn't finish it off by saying that Svenja is great at doing covers for books, posters and similar work. It's just right up her alley!
Working with Svenja
I've found working with Svenja very easy and constructive. It usually doesn't take more than a few comments back and forth before Svenja has located ways to improve her drawings and giving them the x-factor.
If you want to experience Svenja Liv before hiring her for a job, you should definitely go to her page on Facebook and drop her a line or two.
In that regard Svenja got my warmest recommendations :) Especially if you need a portrait, magazine cover or poster done - she is the one to go to.
Emil Larsen, SunTzuGames
Hello again brave board game developers :)
I hope you have all enjoyed some great holidays. Today I'm going to share some experiences on how to involve freelancers in your board game production.
One of my key points in creating a board game is to include creative and competent people in the project - this makes it much easier for me to stay focused on creating fun game mechanics and developing the game further.
In the post I'm not going to talk about where to find freelancers, but only how to include them in a project. So if you're thinking about bringing on new people to your board game project, I hope you'll find these pointer informative and helpful :)
Your master plan
One of the first thing you should do when introducing a freelancer to your board game project, is to introduce your master plan in a way for the person to see what your goal is - and how it might affect his/her work.
Lay out the plan so that he/she can see that you got it covered and knows what to do in the future. It also helps yourself a lot because now the game is on and there's only one way and that is forward.
Together with your master plan, you should have a project website online. For your freelancers to continuously be able to find inspiration, reference material and specific project goals from you (one of my earlier blogs about project handling).
Keep your schedule and calendar of the project transparent for your team - nobody likes to work with hidden agendas.
Written and in contract form
Make sure to write down all details in a contract and make sure to cooperate with the contract in mind.
Keep all agreements within the limits of the contract - and keep them in written format (e.g. mail), and don't do it through Skype, Facebook or other IM programs that doesn't keep a logical record of the conversations.
This is specially meant for feedback on tasks, adjustment to final products, or conversation about hours/money spend on the different tasks. If it isn't in written form, it hasn't happened.
Include some bullets about how copyrighted material should be handled. I believe that the freelancer should be able to promote themselves with the things that they do - so give them an opportunity to show their newly done work :)
Your cooperation should always start with a somewhat simple task - like an initial audition. This tasks should be equal for each freelancer with the same profession. The result will help you determine who should be attending to what things on the project (e.g. you might have an illustrator good at drawing human faces, one good at making weapons, one skillful in terrain textures etc.).
It's a good way to start on even footing and get a good steady start plus you get to see your freelancers in action (e.g. file handling, "work in progress", deadlines and so on). You get to fine tune the process and see some choices made by the freelancers.
Starting out with your most important/difficult pieces of the game might be jamming the project early on, so starting with the board may not be the best choice.
Plus, you might think of audition work as free of change (in my world it isn't).
Though you should always stay professional about matters of challenges and problems - you should make the project and partnership "personal". This is an investment for you and maybe also for the freelancer, which means that your personal involvement in the project will be part of the success.
If you have the chance - meet with your freelancers, especially when deadlines are met and your ready to go to another phase or launch the project on Kickstarter, in stores or similar. Maybe Essen is the place to meet up, eh? :)
Be there and give feedback!
This counts for all kinds of leadership and management - you got to be there!
Well, here's a hot potato :) Probably one of the most difficult topics when talking freelancers.
What and why should you pay your freelancers?
For several reasons! Leaving payment out as a provision orientated partnership where "you get X percent of the profit when the game is sold" is one of the worst ideas.
Not only does this mean that your tasks will end in the bottom of the food chain whenever the freelancer gets a real job. But it also means that you can't really "demand" anything when we talk quality, because quality will always be worth something :)
A solution on the salary
I'm not rich enough to pay FFG, LucasArts or similar salaries ;) So a thing I came up with in order to find a compromise between the freelancers and I - was this...
Share good experiences
I had and still have good experience with some of my recent freelancers.
A few last pointers from me.
Good luck with your board game project and happy gaming :)
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