Creating an Art Board for Damn the Man, Save the Music!

Creating an Art Board for Damn the Man, Save the Music!

Hannah here, checking in with an update for our next game, Damn the Man, Save the Music!

After a post-Noirlandia recovery period, work on Damn the Man is moving forward. Evan was the forerunner on Noirlandia, and I’m the lead designer on DtM, so it’s my responsibility to keep the ball rolling for a late spring Kickstarter launch.

I had a clear vision in mind for the art, but I wasn’t sure how to communicate that vision to Evan, who will be doing the cover and main illustrations for the game. I decided to compile an art inspiration board to share with Evan, to help communicate my ideas. I broke my research into three categories—Color, Linework, and Emotion. Some pieces had the emotional oomph I was going for but not the vibrancy. Others had the perfect palette without the right linework. Here are my favorite images from each of the three categories:

Color

I haven’t been able to find a single piece that captures my dream palette for the game as much as this image of colorful street art in Amsterdam. I don’t know who the photographer is, so I can’t give due credit for this beautiful photo.

I love this. I love the mix of the colorful street with overcast sky. It captures this amazing feeling of color where you wouldn’t expect it—maybe even where it’s not allowed.

Linework

Linework was the trickiest image for me to narrow down. I want the illustrations to feel loose and sketchy, but without overly heavy black & white shading inside the outer lines, and that can be a hard combination to find. This image gets close, and even the color feels like a nice match.

This is another example where I can’t find an artist credit. My search took me on a broken url loop from deleted tumblrs to password-protected blog pages and back again. If anyone knows who the artist is I’d love to credit this image, and to see more of their work.

Emotion

I noticed that a lot of the person-focused art I found had people interacting in ways that felt stiff and weirdly impersonal. Sometimes the distance was intentional—a piece created to make you feel lonely—but mostly I think it’s hard to create art with multiple humans touching or laughing or whispering to each other in a believable way.

I think this image is very sweet, and it captures what I’d hope to communicate emotionally in the game.

And look, the artist even signed their work! But I can’t read the credit line! I did a reverse image search and only found two results—both leading to uncredited pages.

Sharing these images with Evan and explaining why each one feels important has been a rewarding part of the design process. It’s hard to communicate an artistic vision when you’re not the artist, and examples can be so helpful.

If you’re interested in seeing more, here’s the work-in-progress pinboard I’ve created to share with Evan as I find new pieces that inspire my vision for the game.