Writing is expensive: Stock art from independents

Writing is Expensive is a series of posts about my journey getting into writing RPG supplements and the tools I’m using to do so. The focus is on looking at different options and hopefully saving time for other new writers who are trying to find the right tools for the job. No doubt, over time the resources I use myself will change, and that should be reflected in these posts. I also hope I’ll be learning more about some resources from readers.

Last time, I wrote about acquiring stock art. I focused on large stock art sites that contain large amounts of art for a large range of purposes coming from a huge range of sources. Now, that is all well and good, but the percentage of your money making its way through to the artist is lower than it might be, and your money isn’t necessarily moving within the RPG industry, it may be leaving it. This is by no means evil, but it does highlight to me that supporting other independent RPG and fantasy creators matters.

When you use a big stock site, your money is filtered through a large company who take a healthy fee. You often don’t know the original artist, and can’t necessarily make contact them or follow up more of their work and build a relationship with them that leads to commissions. When you support independents, you are literally making a freelance artist’s day better in a very real way. A message of thanks with a purchase can be a powerful thing. A greater percentage of your money is going to those creators, and it is staying within a community/industry. To me, this is important.

So, in this post, I’ll be singing the praises of a couple of creators who produce RPG stock art all on their own and make it available to us. I’m just adding a couple here, and I want more! Tweet at me with your recommendations. I’d love to be able to add more people who have their own sales channel without involving the big sites.

Deven Rue @ rueink.com
Free stuff! Deven makes black and white versions of their art available for free. For small business use as well. That is excellent, and is part of the reason supporting independent creators is important. It supports the hobby as a whole through creating community.

Add to this that Deven’s art is fantastic. Absolutely lovely, great maps and illustrations. At the very least you should have a tavern in your game that uses one of Deven’s images.

Axebane Games @ DriveThruRPG
More free things, in this case, pay-what-you-want. The art here is simple, and that makes it easy to use. It covers basic, simple things that most of us have and need in our RPG settings. This is the strength here, providing simple, useful, good quality art.

Elven Tower @ DriveThruRPG & RPGnow
Elven Tower makes great maps that are simple to use, well designed and look nice. What’s more, they’re sold for stock usage by other authors and at a price (around $5) that makes them very affordable.

Bradley K McDevitt @ RPGnow
This guy has worked for everybody who is anybody, and enough anybodies that it’s nearly everybody. A really distinctive style and a great library of monster art make this a useful resource for a lot of creators.

Got more independent creators you’d love to see supported? Please let us know over on Twitter, or in the comments, we’ll gladly update the post.






Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

Mark Adelhochreply
April 26, 2017 at 6:06 pm

Thank you for the article and the recognition of the independent artists in the RPG field. I’ve been drawing since I could make a mark. Luckily my skills have improved in the ensuing years and I fell in love with the worlds of fantasy and sci-if. After many years of trying to make a living in the mundane world I’ve finally steered my course towards turning my passion and talents into my profession.

Anyone is welcome to check out my art and some behind the scenes stuff on Twitter @markadelhoch or on Instagram @adelhoch. I’m thrilled when I get feedback. Please take a look. Say hello. I’m available for private commissions and would love to send a print your way too.

The Trenchcoat Dwarfreply
April 27, 2017 at 11:34 am
– In reply to: Mark Adelhoch

I definitely think independent creators need to work together. I’d feel dishonest in expecting people to support me as one if I wasn’t doing it myself. I did a mini blog post about business models actually. The Transparent Dwarf

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