In board game design everyone says to hold off on art for your designs. While this rule should be followed in most scenarios, sometimes rules should be broken.
Robot Riddle started as just an idea that was to fill a hole in gaming that my family needed. I knew I would try and bring it to market, but had no idea on a time frame. It is a very story driven game that I could picture in my mind. What I didn’t have was a complete picture of what things would eventually look like.
I went and hunted around DeviantArt for artists that style aligned with what I was looking for. I found a few and reached out to them. I had them do some quick sketches which I paid for. I did this to make sure we were compatible. Two of them lined up well. In the end most of the pieces were done by just one of them, John Ariosa. I was very lucky to stumble upon him.
What I noticed though after getting the first pieces is it kept me motivated. I would come up with some story and the artist would send me concepts. Sometimes it would work in reverse, the artist sketching on some basic idea, and story would flow from their piece. This collaborative work flow helped even more.
Not only was the art itself an inspiration for me, but the money was as well. I was spending money on my game. It made it that much more precious to me. It helped me stay resolved to bring this to market.
If you are going to get art or do your own art, I think the rule that must be followed is that it has to be amazing artwork. If the artwork isn't amazing it might be a waste like everyone says.
This may not be for everyone, but it helps me.