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Making games is a hobby for me and I don't always have consistent time to do it. Also, I'm terrible at art, so I plan to hire an artist. However I am concerned that after a job is done, if I want to return to the project and add more content, the same artist will not be available for any number of reasons. What can be done to help a new artist maintain the style of the previous?

Should I hire the original artist to create a graphic bible? Or is referencing the original art enough? Or is there an entirely different approach that would be better?

Note that this is not a duplicate of this question, where multiple artists are coordinating simultaneously. In this case, one artist has done their work and is gone, unavailable for contact or future work, and a new artist is expanding the assets.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Please leave an explanation for downvotes so I can improve the question. \$\endgroup\$ – TechnoSam Mar 29 '18 at 15:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ How much is the work-pipeline involved? Are we talking about drawing menu pictures, or about creating characters (with styling, modelling, skinning, rigging, animating and etc.) \$\endgroup\$ – Kromster says support Monica Mar 30 '18 at 4:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Kromster For my particular use case, I'm only looking at 2D art right now, so for characters you might have a sprite sheet, or potentially a rigged sprite with animations. Backgrounds and menu images would be static. I didn't intend to commit this question to just that though because I figured this is a general problem that a lot of developers may need to solve. \$\endgroup\$ – TechnoSam Mar 30 '18 at 19:58
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While I am not personally super experienced with the art side of game design I can think of a couple of solutions too your problem.

A). Make a style guide. (Example here) Having the first/primary artist make a style guide on the character's proportions, colors, and references can allow future artists to duplicate the work more easily.

B). Incorporate it into the game. (Evoland followed this path) Splitting the game into several sections with each having their own art style and unique feel is not only fun but it also splits up the work nicely for yourself. Finnish a section of gameplay/narrative, then commission and artist to make that portion while working on the next.

C). Stick with the same artist. While I understand that this is directly contradictory to your question, this is a 1 man show hobby. As a result it should be very doable to find an artist to stick with. Make sure they know that this is a long term arrangement, and even better if you can develop a relationship where your both excited too work on the game.

I would also check out some of the other answers on this topic too shore up a full plan.

Maintaining Artistic Consistency

Finding Artists To Hire

Working With Artists

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