GENERAL NOTES (revised 20 Sept 06)

The job of "art director" is just one of many jobs held by Steve Cole. This is good as you are dealing with the top guy. This is bad because he's got other jobs and it could take a couple of days for art to get to the top of his list.

Art approval is done by a committee including Steve Cole, Leanna Cole, and Steve Petrick. In the case of GURPS (which is most of the art we use), Steve Jackson also has a veto.

You are doing art for the Star Fleet Universe, not for Star Trek. We branched off from the original series where the Klingons were swarthy Russians, not lobster-headed samurai.

We have to get Paramount approval to use their property which is a tedious and time-consuming process with often implausible results. Because of this, we generally tend to use our own creations which are inspired by Trek rather than trying to follow Trekdom to the ultimate detail (impossible in any case as they keep changing stuff). Refer to our published products for technical details; not the TV show, books, or movies.

Most work is done by assignment. We tell you what we want, what size, when we need it, and give you any previous art or textual references. When the art is to illustrate a fictional story, we give you the story, laid out with "holes" on various pages. You are welcome to submit random and speculative art which we will happily keep on file and will use whenever we can find a place for it.

Payment is made on publication. After each product goes to press, we work up a list of everybody (artists, designers, playtesters, writers) who gets something (money, free copy, merchandise credit, whatever). After the product ships to wholesalers, while working on the mail orders, we process the payment list. In theory, we have up to 30 days after product release to pay; in practice, it's usually a week or ten days. In rare cases where someone does a lot of art, we can arrange a partial advance.

We buy all rights as "work for hire". If we print it, it belongs to use thereafter. We do grant artists pro-forma permission to use such art without cost or royalty in their advertising, websites, and any future bound collection of their work (e.g., coffee table book) so long as you list our copyright and the product it was used in, something like: "Copyright 2006 ADB. Inc.; from GURPS Federation".

If we re-use a given piece of art in another product, we pay 50% of the base rate for the first such re-use and nothing thereafter. Re-use of art in advertising, catalogs, art guidelines, etc. is not paid unless the art was done specifically for that purpose. If you submit speculative art, we will keep it on file until we use it (at which point we pay for it and acquire all rights) or until you tell us that you want to withdraw it from submission. In the case of artists who are fans of our products, we often given merchandise credit for third and sometimes fourth use.

Art which includes the intellectual property of ADB Inc. or of Paramount Pictures cannot be used elsewhere without our permission (and often requires Paramount's, which is pretty much impossible to get).

As publication follows approval, your art has to be approved before we pay for it; we do not pay artists for art we reject. If you are concerned about wasting time doing art we won't like, do one piece and see what we think. In the case of art you have already sold elsewhere, talk to us about it before you submit it. Artists who have a portfolio of examples of their art are invited to send it to us (or tell us where you put it on a web site and we will go look at it).


We need a wide variety of B&W art for our products. Most of this will be used for the role-playing GURPS supplements.

SPECIFICATIONS: We want this in electronic form, by Email, as a 300dpi tif or jpg or photoshop files preferred, final size, line art with grayscale shadings. Flattened is fine so long as you keep the original file and can make changes. Expect us to send you a list of changes since it is usually easier for us to give you changes than give you every possible instruction. Over time, you will learn all of the tricks and tactics of dealing with us. Our printer uses a 133 line screen.

SUBJECTS: Most of this type of art which we buy is of people (aliens, monsters, weapons, etc.). If we need pictures of spaceships, we usually just get Ted Geibel to print them off for us from his impressive and gigantic library of 3d computer models. If you need to include a ship in your art, ask us for guidelines on which ship to use. Avoid using the Federation DN (use the similar DNG with the flat rear engine struts), Federation Destroyer, Federation Scout, or Federation Tug as these require approval by the Franz Joseph estate, which just slows things down and often costs us extra royalty money. Avoid using the Federation CA (Enterprise) as that one could get sticky on Paramount approvals and use the similar BC (also known as BCH). Ted Geibel's site has references for all of the ships you would ever need.

On people art, we want to use our own design for uniforms and insignia so as to avoid the tedious Paramount approval process. Refer to our published products for examples, or make up something that seems logical but is slightly different from the TV ones. Remember that we're based on TOS so use the appropriate colors for shipboard duty uniforms. We are scrambling to get some examples into an art gallery on our web site so artists can refer to them. We would prefer for you make up an insignia for your Federation crew instead of using that "arrowhead" thing that was originally the Enterprise insignia but became the Star Fleet Insignia.

SIZE: Our "standard" special-order piece of art is one-column (3.5 inches or 89mm wide) by about four inches (102mm) high. In many cases, however, we use other sizes. If you are going to do speculative art, then the 3.5 inch column width should be considered.

PAYMENT: We pay the industry standard $100 per page rate (a page being 75 square inches, which works out to $1.33 per square inch). Note that when we order art we usually specify a final size, but when we use speculative art that was not done for an assignment, we might print it in any size that fits the page. We rarely are forced to print assignment art in different sizes than we intended to, but pay by the larger of the assigned or actual size. In some cases where we need one specific piece of art in an all-fired hurry, we pay $25 for the picture (more than standard) just to get it done.

With the GURPS and other RPG books, we expect to use a lot of art and encourage artists to send us anything and everything they think we might use.


Frankly, Ted Geibel and Adam Turner have this sewn up. They have hundreds of 3d ship computer models on file and can do anything we want in a day or two. So never mind about these. Unless you just want to take a shot at impressing us. Some have done this with success. We want this 300dpi, with a 1/8 bleed around the page size, and in layers so we can use it for advertising and other uses.


By and large, we want people who look nearly photographic, not like cartoons or caricatures.

SPECIFICATIONS: 300dpi photoshop or tif (maybe a jpg would work in a pinch). Flattened is fine so long as you keep the original file and can make changes. Expect us to send you a list of changes since it is usually easier for us to give you changes than give you every possible instruction. Over time, you will learn all of the tricks and tactics of dealing with us. Our printer using a 150-line screen when printing color covers on coated stock. We want the art in layers so we can modify it to use in other locations (mainly advertising).

PAYMENT: It depends on many factors (quality, speed, and what product it is going on). This is generally negotiable between $200 and $400. In some cases, we have a "people artist" do people and then lay them on top of a background of stars, planets, and spaceships that Geibel does. In such cases, we pay you for what you do and him for what he does.


This project involves small, but head-to-toe, color pictures of people. Digital color works fine. We will have more information on this project at that time. If you have seen the ones Steve Jackson Games have done, those are the ones. We'll see how the first set sells before committing to do a bunch more of this art.


The big problem with Deck Plans is getting them to ADB in a format which can be read and edited by Macintosh-Freehand. If we cannot get the file open and edit it without having to virtually do it over (e.g., reset all of the shading and line weights) then we would probably be better off to do it ourselves. If you use a Macintosh, do it in Freehand or Illustrator. If you have the Windows version of those programs, then save it in Mac format. If you don't, then we recommend that you get a program called SmartDraw. We have several documents with the specifications and approved symbols available on request. Frankly, we have a guy who does these for us and he has, to date, handled all of our requirements. If you want to work on deck plans, you need to talk to us (a lot!) about how starships are put together.


Specs are generally the same as covers except for the size. Generally, we prefer to lay the text down ourselves. We expect to be printing more cards eventually and while Ted Geibel has the ship art sewn up, we will need some other art.

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