I finished up the last of the work for The Agents today (for a while at least), you can take a look at a more complete gallery over on my Facebook page - www.facebook.com/media/set/?se… - there are some illustrations that I haven't posted here, either because they are smaller, or I'm not pleased enough with them to put them on here (I try to keep this site for the more finished illustrations).
The project itself, started a over a year ago (maybe coming up to 2 actually) was the reason I managed to become a full-time artist, and as well being mega relieved about that, it's also given me a wealth of experience and something to wave in front of people that I'm proud of. So many projects fall at the first hurdle, never materialise or just plain peter-out when you're starting out as an artist, so it's great to have this as one of the few that made it through to the end.
Although saying that, I look back at that body of work, and the project itself, and see it's rife with mistakes and blunders. There was always this rush to finish things, this unattainable deadline that the creators would make for themselves that would always be pushed back last minute. So there was this cycle of doubling the workload, rushing the illustrations then putting the deadline back, and this continued on to the very last bit of work I did for the project. The game mechanics itself wasn't finished when I started the design, so that literally everything that could be changed, did change. Card sizes changed halfway through, which meant I nearly had to scrap half the work, and there was this colour coding system for the card backgrounds popped in at the end, which annoyingly matched the base colours for all the Agents, so the illustrations were really hard to see. And then after that, the plastic they were printed on darkened all the illustrations!
It's a shame, as I don't think this game is very representative of my abilities overall. And there was also elements of the design that got done without consulting me, the artist and designer, so illustrations I scrapped because of quality concerns would turn up within the game, there was some terrible cropping decisions and poor graphic design as well, which was a bit annoying, as I felt that because it was just me doing all the design elements for the game, anything dodgy would reflect badly on me, so I spent a lot of time making sure that wouldn't happen. So for someone else to just come in at the end, do something shit, then ship it off to print was a little disheartening for me.
I'm sure I wasn't perfect either, and my inexperience hampered a lot of things, but if there are any game designers out there, remember don't rush things! Let things run their course naturally and work themselves out, otherwise you spend more time backtracking and redoing things than you do actually going forward. No one will buy, or fund something that looks bollocks, so you're not doing anyone any favours by rushing things for an imaginary deadline.
So there you go, the highs and lows of working with people right there. Great when things are done for you, bad when they do your things for you.
So it's one of the reasons that I'm going to be working for myself for a while, and hopefully do away with these mad deadlines and produce some awesome fucking spaceships or something. I have a comic idea that's pretty fucking rad I think, so I need to practice the thing I dislike doing the most, comics! And it's probably about time to redo the Primarch series as well now they're (the Horus Heresy story, not my work) getting some attention from Forgeworld. (I just like to point out I did the series before it was cool and when I was still a bit of a shitty illustrator). Will I get round to doing any of those things? Place bets now.