Untrained artists needed!

edited December 2011 in Story Games
I posted this to my Google+ circles a little while back, thought I'd run it by you guys (although a number of you are in those circles and probably saw this already...sorry for the endless self-pimpage.)

I'm working on the layout of my zombie apocalypse RPG Horde of Corpses and will be seeking art, but here's the thing: I'm totally not interested in people with a shred of artistic ability. I know that sounds bonkers, but hear me out.

Horde of Corpses started out as a Day of the Dead RPG I hacked together for myself and a few friends back in the early 80's. I'd nearly forgotten it's existence until one of those friends said he'd found the manuscript - 30+ pages of scribbled notebook paper stuffed in a beat-up yellow Trapper Keeper folder - in his mom's basement (yeah, I know ...)

Anyway, I decided to take those pages and lay them out in a professional manner, while preserving every typo and run-on sentence of the original text. It's as bad as you'd expect - the rules are shit , and very often straight-up batshit crazy. You should see the weapon list...it's insane. I'm re-doing the maps (there was a shopping mall scenario included in the original document). Scans of the original document will be included in an appendix, as well as a new version of the game rules.

So - here's the rub. I was originally going to do the interior illustrations myself, but I thought it might be more entertaining to go really meta with this whole thing and solicit drawings from people who don't have any artistic talent. Is this something any of you would find appealing? I've got zero monies tied up in this thing (doing all the layout myself, and probably will do POD for the publication - .pdf's of the finished product will be made freely available), so you'd be doing it out of the sheer satisfaction of seeing your half-assed artwork in print (and for full artistic credit, of course). For the cover itself I'll be scanning in the original Trapper Keeper folder and adding a few embellishments.

What I'm looking for: character sketches, people fighting off zombies, zombies eating people, that kind of stuff. The more your stuff looks like 'someone earnestly trying to draw something completely awesome and failing miserably' the better.

Any takers?


  • Um, fuck yes, my friend. I will see if I can't recruit any of my mates as well. Are we limited to one bad bit of art apiece, or...?
  • I'm so perfectly bereft of artistic talent that the artists I work with don't trust me with the Crop tool. I took a drawing class once, but my alleged perspective made my instructor a bit vertiginous. If that sounds appropriate, I'm in.
  • :-) you should go on reddit.com/r/rpg and ask them. You will get many eager attempts :-)
  • UserClone: No, you can send as many as you like. There's only so much space in the book, of course, but if I get overflow I may add a separate appendix for the .pdf version just for all the terribad artwork.

    ccretiz: 'Vertiginous perspectives'? Sounds perfectly great!

    ivan: Duly noted...I'll hit that up a bit later...
  • I'm currently working on an awesomely bad zombie with his eyeball hanging out of his head by some stringy pink muscle stuff.
  • UserClone: Awesome...

    Oh, one more thing - the print version will be black and white, although the .pdf will be in color - also, 300dpi .tif files are best, although I can work with .jpg's if that's what you've got. Just in case you need to know. Whisper me and I'll send you contact info.
  • Alex, whisper me your email and I'll happily send you a .tif of this tour de force.

    I call it:

  • edited December 2011
    You guys are awesome ;) Oh, and if you send me files, let me know how you want to be credited.
  • I just wanted to commend you for doing this. I love non-art, art. Whatever that is?
  • Thanks, Nathan! A friend of mine descibed it as a piece of 'outsider art' - guess I can roll with that :)
  • You can credit me as Joseph "UserClone" LeMay, thank you. :)
  • edited December 2011
    Dude, so totally in.

    Edit: What range of zombies are we talking? Restricted to the shambling dead, or can I draw horribly mutated things with four foot long arms?
  • I think anything is kosher, Esoteric. This whole thing is wonky enough that I'm pretty sure whatever you throw my way would suffice...
  • Will do something and submit it.

    I have a single shred of artistic talent, but I hope I can still qualify.
  • Mcdaldno - works for me :)
  • Thanks to everyone who has sent me artwork so far...great, awful stuff! If you need my email address and I didn't give it to you already, whisper me...
  • Just finding this... totally comendable. very excited for this project, Alex. I don't have a scanner here, but i do have ms paint. Sound good?

    Morgan: "Hugging" is remarkable. That's the remark; "remarkable".
  • I did mine in MS Paint, so I doubt that'd be an issue...
  • MS Paint is not optimal...but hey, nothing about this thing (I hesitate to call it a 'game') is.
  • Here's a look at the cover (so far - I intend to add lots of goofy doodles and stuff).

    - Alex

  • Awesome, except I'd like to see the lettering look more hand-drawn and less neat and tidy, like my excitable 11-year old brother would draw it, if I had one.
  • Also, Alex Mayo should be written on the Name line, and Roleplaying Game on the Subject line, just sayin'.
  • O.o DO WANT
    I'm a terrible artist, let me see if I can get you something cool.
  • Cover is looking great. Other ideas:

    Name: Alex Mayo
    Subject: Social Studies

    (then, in big text, HORDE OF CORPSES as you have it.)

    In short, if it looks like you've previously used that folder cover for something else & once that use was complete you started using it for your game... then it would look more like my old notebooks which collected the notes for my d&d dungeons. and dragons. heh.

    Ps will send you the thing soon, it's on another computer.
  • Those are all great suggestions! I'll re-post when I've worked on it a bit.
  • Here's a sample of the upgraded graphics for the interior art. This is a map of the mall for the 'Somerville Mall' scenario I wrote for the original game. I tried to preserve the essence of the original artwork, but make it a little more appealing. I was kind of torn whether or not to make it look more like a real mall, but in the end I decided that was counter to the spirit of the whole thing.


  • A) is that a back exit, or a dead end?

    B) Your new map is slicker and easier to read. Your old map is way, way more awesome and from-the-heart looking.

    Is that why you made the new map? Easier to read?
  • A.) Hell if I know. I went with 'If it's on the original, it's on the new one.'

    B.) I agree, but that's the meta conceit. It's the exact same thing, but with an extra level of visual polish. The original scans will all be in the book so you can compare.
  • Posted By: AlexMayoThe original scans will all be in the book so you can compare.
    Oh. Well, good! For some reason i thought it was an either/or thing.
    In that case...

  • In case anyone's still interested in contributing - I'm setting a deadline of April 15th (Tax Day, so it's easy to remember!)

    I recently posted a G+ thread with sample work showing the kind of stuff I'm looking for: G+ Linkage

    You can email your terribad stuff to: musashi(at)yellow-menace.com
  • This is an awesome idea.

    I have absolutely, positively no artistic talent, so maybe I'll submit something.

    If I draw it on a napkin or some other piece of scrap paper that I find in my wastebasket and scan it in, would that be acceptable? Or does it have to be on a clean background?
  • Dude, that's so much in the spirit of this game, it's likely preferable.
  • image

    I don't know if this is useable, seeing as it's so freakin' good.
    I mean, it has foreshortening and shading and everything.
  • edited February 2012
    Thanks guys - these are awesome!

    @Whduryea - Can I incorporate the shopping list as well? That's boss.

    @Mcdaldno - I think you hit the upper limit of acceptability for inclusion :)

    Oh, and just posted this: What happens if I get too much art?
  • edited February 2012
    Posted By: AlexMayo
    @Whduryea - Can I incorporate the shopping list as well? That's boss.
    Yes, please do. That's why it's there.
  • edited February 2012
    First run at the introduction section - still tweaking things a bit.

    Dropbox Link to .pdf
  • First of all, let me commend you on your choice of the first piece of art for the intro. ;)

    Honest critique here, though: if you want me to believe that a 15-year-old who was not a graphic artist of exceptional talent drew that second one, you may want to...er...ugly it up a bit. It seems too professional. You have to realize how weird it feels to say that an appropriate and awesome piece of art is too good for your game...but there you go. It just spoiled the feel a bit for me.
  • LoL - yeah, erm...I drew that one. I debated whether or not to throw in some of my own stuff. I might make that a placeholder until I get something more suitable if it stands out too much.
  • +1, Meserach :)
  • edited February 2012

    I drew this around Halloween for my girlfriend's daughter who is nuts about zombies.
  • Yikes, merb - that's great!

    Also - I plan on preparing a nicer version of the playtest document for the 'story game' version of the rules this weekend. Anyone interested in giving it a spin? Need some feedback...
  • Okay, so here's a link to the updated rules which will be included in the appendix. Again, if anyone is interested in testing this out please let me know how it goes.

    Horde of Corpses: The Story Game
  • Hey Alex,

    This is Tim Hutchings from the Everything is Dolphins project, you'd posted on the BoingBoing article here: http://boingboing.net/2012/02/21/everything-is-dolphins-old-ho.html

    I wanted to weigh in and say how great it would be if you were to include scans of your original manuscript in the finished game document. The Everything is Dolphins book is the first project of the publishing arm of the Play Generated Map and Document Archive, plagmada.org, it's a proof-of-concept to show how well the marrying of finished text with manuscript can work. PlaGMaDA is all about the preservation and exhibition of old game documents, the book format standard will be a finished game text up front with an appendix of all the manuscript and playtest material that can be found. Not only is this stuff aesthetically beautiful, it can also hold information that informs us about the way the authors played the game. And if there are changes between the manuscript and the finished text, or different iterations of the game over multiple texts, that all tells us things about how the game developed.

    This approach is especially important when dealing with some of the "old school" game writers I expect to be working with. These ur-texts change dramatically when the well intentioned authors try and make them into a sellable commodity, it would be helpful to pair the original with the 'fixed'.

    Anyways, I can't wait to see this thing of yours.
  • Hi Tim, thanks for responding!

    Yes, I'm totally planning on including the original document - in fact, my original plan was to just include a new layout of the original text and the scanned documents...an updated version of the game was actually an afterthought, and as such will be in the appendix of the book. The original pages seem to be missing a few crucial things, like a complete character generation section, so I will probably be including that in the appendix as well.

    I love that so many of these documents are now coming to light after having been tucked away and seemingly forgotten. As I mention in the forward to the book, one of the things I'd dearly love to see is for established designers to go back and dredge up old designs they might have lying around. I bet there are some real gems to be found.

    Here's a link to the original thread I posted, before I'd actually begun work on the project - you can see some of the scanned pages there.

    My untitled zombie RPG rises from the grave...
  • Oh man, those original scans are wonderful.

    One of my big pushes right now for the plagmada.org project is to put out print copies of juvenilia and incomplete/discarded game systems from 'back in the day', much like you propose. You'd've been someone I'd have loved to find. Another project in the works is a collection of game-scenarios-imitating-TSR-type-modules, with a good example being http://plagmada.org/gallery/main.php?g2_itemId=3222 The Habititition of the Stone Giant Lord.
  • Did Habitation of the Stone Giant Lord get Boing Boinged as well? I saw that a while back and fell in love with it. It was such a loving re-creation of the D&D experience. If you want, Tim, I'd be happy to donate scans of the original document - I'm giving away the .pdf for free, so it's not like it won't be publicly available anyway.
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