I never meant to be a graphic designer, or an illustrator. My love was (and still is) ceramic sculpture and mosaic art. So how did I get here?
It’s A Hard Knock (Indie) Life
When my husband left his job for the indie app developer life, he learned Objective C, the iPhone SDK, and the business shtuff involved in making apps. There’s just one thing he forgot… the artwork. And since we humans are a shallow bunch, poor graphics pretty much kill an app’s ability to succeed right from the start.
He looked around for a graphic designer to create the artwork. Since his budget was $0, his choices were, shall we say, limited.
So what’s an indie dev to do? He turned to me, a ceramic sculptor, and begged me to take up graphic design, learn Photoshop and Illustrator, and make him some free art. I’d already dabbled in graphic design, and I liked it, and really who can resist a cute husband? So I made him some art.
It wasn’t great, but it suited his needs. And I got to have my art used as I got better. It was encouraging for both of us. It helped us improve a lot faster.
When we started earning enough money to afford an artist for certain projects, we bought professionally made art for the parts I couldn’t do. But often, the artist had never done iPhone work before. I had to explain exactly how the art would be used and what sizes everything needed to be.
From our experiences, I realized two things:
Good free iPhone art for developers is hard to find.
Developers can either learn how to make better programmer art, somehow find free art, or cry. This website is here to protect developers from that third option, because it ain’t pretty.
Many Graphic Designers are clueless about iPhone projects.
Especially those of use who are not uber-awesome! The first time you make a set of art for the iPhone, it seems very complicated.
Since iPhone app art is a relatively new field, it’s hard to find good explanations for beginners about how the art needs to be made for developers to use it properly. My husband explained it the best he could, but it was still confusing and I couldn’t imagine having those discussions with a paying client. If my client weren’t my husband, I would have fired him by now :]
There are lots of good artists out there working on iPhone apps, of course. But there are never enough of them to go around. My hope is that by sharing what knowledge I’ve gleaned about creating art for iPhone apps, more beginner and intermediate graphic designers can get into the game.
You can use any of this art in any way you want (except to sell the art by itself). You can even publish paid apps with the art. It is under a creative commons attribution license.
One caveat: IT’S NOT CUSTOM.
The art on this site is meant to help you get to the point where you can pay an artist a decent wage for their custom art and kickass graphics. I have a million projects of my own, so unfortunately I don’t have time to make art for your particular game, or in your favorite colors.
With that said, be creative! Mix and match backgrounds and characters. Select the art that best suits your project and don’t stress too much that someone else out there might have the same art. Use this as placeholder art, and if or when you actually finish the code, hire someone to make you the art your app deserves.
If you use some of my art, I’d LOVE to see what you make with it! I will also feature it on my site. Drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org and send me some screenshots!