Welcome to an interview for the series Game Credits Who’s Who (#GameCreditsWW). Ever read the credits page of a game you enjoy and wonder about the various positions listed? Would you like to work in the game industry someday but are not sure how some of the positions work? This Monday series will take a personal look into those positions and introduce you to real people doing those very jobs in the game industry. This week, let me introduce you to Bill Bricker, a tabletop game artist.
Tell us a little about yourself and what you do as a tabletop game artist.
I’m an old guy doing a young person’s job. ;) Seriously, I’m old. My formative years were in the 80’s, so I can whip out the airbrush, a canvas, watercolors or even a piece of charcoal if need be. But, I retrained with digital medium in the last decade and now I do everything on a PC. I’m not the most talented artist in the game, but I’m incredibly reliable and I absolutely attack every project with great passion and the credibility you can only earn from experience. I’m a one man war against the idea that “artistic types” are unreliable. Oh, and I’m always open to the idea of having a beer while we talk about your idea. ;)
How did you become a tabletop game artist?
I started doing RPG’s in the late 80’s and closed down shop in the mid 90’s when my priorities switched to raising a family and providing health insurance – which is not standard compensation for a freelancer btw. After being away from the gaming industry for 15 years I found myself with a grown family that didn’t need my support in the same fashion, so I left my real job and went back to freelancing. I didn’t initially intend to rejoin the gaming industry, but a chance visit to Origins rekindled the old fires and here we are.
If you’re interested in joining the gaming community as an artist, designer or collaborator, I strongly recommend attending some conventions and making friends. A recent article on your blog is spot on, T.R. This community is close knit and it’s all about face-to-face. 99% of my work is via email, but I know almost everyone I’m dealing with as a friend.
Share with us some of your recent projects.
You don’t want to know about the stuff I did in the 80’s? I don’t remember most of it, but I’m sure it was very good. ;)
Well, I do alot of work for Stronghold Games – Stephen is one of the best publishers in the business and a good friend. We’ve recently done Dark Moon, Space Cadets: Away Missions, Space Cadets: Resistance is Mostly Futile, Code 777 reissue, some Core Worlds stuff, and I’m sure there’s a lot I’m forgetting. Coming out this year is Bear Valley, and a couple of other really GREAT projects that I’m not sure I can mention just yet. Trust me though, we have several other projects this year that are going to really be great! Every year Stephen raises the bar and we just keep doing bigger and better!
- I’ve also done stuff for Freeblades from Dead Generals Society – some of the best miniatures available atm. Check these guys out!
- Some Tiny Epic stuff for Gamelyn Games. If you haven’t seen Michael’s games you should do yourself a favor and buy in.
- Deadlands – ’nuff said. They were a bucket list company from years ago and I love doing work for them.
- Mage Wars – great-looking stuff and I’m always proud to have my work in their games.
- Uber Goober Games – top-of-the-line steampunk stuff. This is a hidden gem. Really good stuff.
- Peryton – another hidden gem. If you like weird, you cannot POSSIBLY get weirder than his RPG concepts. Seriously, this guy is nuts!
- Baseball Highlights 2045 – it’s always a great pleasure to work with Mike Fitzgerald and the guys at Eagle Gryphon made a really great game. I don’t care what Mike is doing, I’m in!
I know I’m forgetting a lot of work. The days are long, the years are longer and I’m old. I hope that everyone I forgot will forgive me and still buy me a beer at the cons;)
What is your greatest frustration or pet peeve as a tabletop game artist?
It’s impossible for me to complain about the best job in the world. But, when I get aggravated, it’s because my deadline has been compromised. I take deadlines VERY seriously and I schedule work from multiple publishers around them. I’m incredibly flexible, and the passion I have for my work drives me to go beyond a regular work schedule, but I cannot compromise a deadline.
Having said all that, my job-related frustrations are typically short lived. Minutes or hours. I’m lucky to have a few industry friends I can unload on and in the time it takes me to write an email I’m normally relieved of the stress. I’ve been blessed with a job that inspires me and I’m passionate about. I’m not sure if I could be happier about how I spend my days. With a winning lottery ticket in hand, I would still be looking forward to my next game. ;)
How can readers learn more about you or contact you?
I am absolutely the worst at social media. The best way to contact me is at a bar at a convention. ;) But you can also find me at my studio in Ohio working, at a nearby lake fishing, or taking a walk every morning. I’m on a flip-top phone and proud to be the last person in the world using it. ;) Honestly, I’m a very private person and I don’t make myself readily available via modern conventions. Anyone visiting my website can email me and I’m quite happy to interact in that fashion. At the same time, I very much enjoy meeting people face-to-face and I cannot wait to interact with you when I get the opportunity! You are the reason I make games. You make my heart swell with pride when you play with one of my projects. You are the only reason I get to do what I love to do, and I cannot thank you enough for supporting us!
You can find me on FB under WEBs-Designs. A beautiful woman actually runs my page and I send her content that interests me. But, if ya visit it you’ll find the content that interests me and be in indirect contact with a beautiful woman. :) That’s so much better than just hearing me rant, trust me!