This is just a quick post to share some of the sources I use for game artwork when I can't (or can't be bothered to) do the job myself (this is most of the time). There are plenty of other good sites out there, but these are the ones I have been using most of the time...
- Game-Icons.net - A fairly extensive selection of useful icons under Creative Commons license, with a consistent style.
- The Noun Project - A hugely extensive selection of useful icons, generally Creative Commons license but if you want a "clean" version you may need to pay a small fee, and it may be harder to find a consistent set for a project.
- Project Gutenburg - Seriously. This is a repository of public domain books, but many have illustrations (also in the PD) that can be very useful; I used a load of them for Scurvy Crew. Can be tricky to find what you want though.
- Pixabay - A great repository of public domain stock images; I generally find it easiest to search the site using Google though. Most of my art for Old Woman came from Pixabay.
- Wikimedia Commons - Another great repository, including a lot of useful images, mostly licensed under Creative Commons licenses.
|A nice, slightly relevant public domain (CC0) picture yoinked from Pixabay.com|
It is important to me to use images legitimately, even though the games I am making are non-commercial test versions (it actually makes no difference that I am non-commercial: redistribution is redistribution), so I do my best to make sure that the images I use are either public domain (so anyone can use them for any purpose) or with a permissive license like those from the Creative Commons. CC licenses are generally based around the idea that you can use a piece of work as long as you give attribution to the creator, though there are variations that restrict whether you can use the works in commercial products, or change them in some way. This is all awesome stuff.
In order to keep on the right side of all this, when I am gathering art and graphical assets for a game, I make sure I record from where I get each image and what its license terms are. I figure that I would be best doing this right at the beginning, so I don't trip up later.
The reason that I am sticking to free assets is that I am just working with prototypes here, so it isn't worth spending much time or money at this stage. If a game turns out to be great and look like it will be worth publishing (I think I'm a way off that so far), then the free art should be enough to make the game look at least neat and presentable to a publisher. That's the theory, anyway...