In the early stages of this project, I planned to follow the approach of Whitehack 2nd Edition and not include any artwork in Hack100. However, as soon as I adopted the Old School Essentials inspired layout, which aims to confine all the information on a given topic to a single page or two-facing pages for easy in-game reference, it became clear that there would be gaps in the layout that needed to be filled.
Of course, artwork serves other purposes aside from gap-filling. Beyond the purely aesthetic benefits, it can help to set the tone of a game. It also aids the navigation of a rulebook by providing informal, easily recognisable “bookmarks”.
In the last release of Hack100, I used affordable stock art. In keeping with the “old school” flavour of the rules, I went with black and white line drawings. I also restricted my selection to just a couple of artists to keep a degree of consistency. Overall, I’m very happy with it.
For the cover, which will ultimately be the “face” of Hack100, I decided to commission something bespoke. Now, I’d never commissioned art before, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I had a general idea of what I was looking for: black and white line art in a comic book style – something that wouldn’t have looked out of place in early editions of 2000AD. I also had a concept for the piece that would acknowledge Hack100’s heritage and multi-genre applicability.
After a bit of Googling around, I stumbled across the work of isnta, an art student from Uruguay. His style was very much what I was looking for and he said he was taking commissions. Six days later, I had my hands on this:
I have to say, I’m delighted with it. Joaquin was great to work with – extremely responsive and flexible in realising my vision, whilst also contributing his own suggestions that greatly enhanced the finished drawing.
If anyone else is looking for similar commissions, I’d certainly recommend Joaquin; you’ll find him on Artstation and Instagram.