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Tutorial - Selecting Artwork

edited July 2016 in Tutorials
Welcome to the "Selecting Artwork" Tutorial.

So you have the idea of what you want to make, but you don't quite know where to find the right artwork. Or maybe you don't really know what card you want to make, but you'll know when you have the right inspiration. Whatever your method of making a card is, you're going to want some art for it, and here we will teach you what and where to look for that art.

Basic rules and guidelines to art selection.
1. Use your best judgment. Nudity, vulgarity and offensive images are not tolerated on MTG Cardsmith, so avoid that kind of art. Sometimes art will walk a thin line, but it's always a good idea to imagine that your mother is going to look at all your cards, and select your art with that thought in mind.
2. Do your best to include the artist's name on your card. We borrow images from artists all the time, it's good to give credit where that credit is due. Without them making their art available on the sites we use, we would see a lot of stick figure dragons on our cards.
3. Be polite. Very few of us are making our own art to put on the cards, so if someone else is using art that you didn't personally create, don't get mad at them for using it too. Part of the fun on MTG Cardsmith is seeing how different people interpret the same artwork.

Search Engines vs. Art Sources
The two basic methods of finding art is either through Search Engines like Yahoo, or through Art Sources like Deviant Art. Some people might prefer one over the other, but I have found that they each have their merits.

Search Engines
Search Engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo, are great for finding something specific. The difficulty in using these is that you can get wildly varying results. Finding the right search parameters is beneficial, and some keywords are better than others. Here are things I use and have found useful.
1. Artists Names - Always a good choice if you know who the artist is. Just one more reason to have the artist name on your cards. If someone likes an artist, they can use this information to find more art, and so can you.
2. Alternate names for things - Looking for a fox? Try looking up Kitsune. Looking for Angels? Try Seraph. Alternate names will give you additional results because artists like to be creative with the names of their art.
3. Focus Words - Things like "sci-fi artwork" or "fantasy artwork" will turn up more results geared toward what it is you might be looking for... such as "angel fantasy artwork" or "cyborg sci-fi artwork". Words that help focus your search will reward you with better returns

Art Sources
Art sources, like Deviant Art, Computer Graphics Society and Reddit give you a ton of art to look through. Sometimes it's easy to find what you're looking for, and other times it's a Herculean task! Here are some useful tips.
1. Artist Galleries - If you like an artist, be sure to go through their gallery and see more of their art. More often than not, you'll find something else you like in addition to the one thing you started off looking for.
2. Favorites - Deviant Art, specifically, has a section on the artists page devoted to their favorites. I have found many gems waiting here to be discovered.
3. Flexibility and Patience - Be flexible in what you're looking for and be patient in your search. Sometimes you'll find something you love, but don't know what to do with, and other times you just can't seem to find that one thing you're desperately searching for. Don't be afraid to search a little longer, but also don't be afraid to look somewhere else when the source just isn't producing what you want.

So Where Is The Art?
Thanks for taking the time to check out this tutorial. I hope it was of some use to you. Now it's on to the reason you came... the links!

Search Engines
Yahoo! - https://www.yahoo.com/
Bing - http://www.bing.com/
Google - https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl

Art Sources
ArtStation - https://www.artstation.com/
CG Society - http://www.cgsociety.org/
FP Digital Art Gallery - Website Down
Reddit - https://www.reddit.com/r/Imaginarynetwork
Deviant Art - http://www.deviantart.com/

Please feel free to post other art sources, tips and tricks below.
If you have suggestions or comments, leave them as well!

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