I went through 2 months of hell at Russian gamedev forums trying to find artists for "The friends of Ringo Ishikawa". While I was offering a paid job almost every person at forum made negative critique on everything. "The game is shit, you're a moron, you pay too low, nobody can do 50 backgrounds by themselves so you need to hire more artists, aesthetics are bad, you're making a clone, you better make this and like that etc."
And then Artem came along. Calm, intelligent, with a background proposal for Ringo home street.
And that's how it started.
Then I had to recruit a characters artist. And it was another 2 months of hell. And I almost lost hope already. I asked every real live person I knew who could draw a straight line besides web searching and all my friends refused. I even asked my 58 years old father and he opened some image redactor, looked at pixels, closed and said no.
I was walking with my mother one day and she asked about the game, how the things going, and I said “mom, I can’t find an artist, please, talk to dad, he doesn’t work, he has nothing to do, maybe he can try again, it’s not that hard” and she said, “I’ll see what I can do”. I must say that my father is no artist. But he’s very talented in different areas so I believed that he could handle it if he wanted to. And couple of days later I installed him the graphics gale and taught him how to choose colors and place dots. And little by little, step by step, he drew around 1000 frames for Ringo in next 2 years.
I started to suspect something when I saw beautiful choice of colors in emails Ueda M. sent me when we were working on Ringo Japanese translation proof reading. And it turned out that she's a wonderful artist capable of doing any job I need (funny thing that I thought that she's a male for more than half a year).
Then we started to work on a JRPG "The Concrete Sutra" which I had to get on hold while I was finishing Arrest. Then we made one shot manga for Ringo, and some other art projects for Ringo, and it was such a joy to work with her, that I decided to give it a shot with a manga based on the script I came up for the JRPG.
I don't know where it'll lead us, but since she can do almost anything I hope we will make something great together.
Projects: The friends of Ringo Ishikawa (cover and promotional art, manga art, map of the town poster | coloring, Japanese translation proof reading), The Concrete Sutra (backgrounds, characters and animations, manga art)
We've got acquainted in 2012 at one indie games website, then moved to indie dev jabber chat, then made websites together and ended in 3 person discord chat where we talked about games, shared and challenged ideas of each other.
It's easy to underestimate their role in my projects cause I can't really pinpoint what they exactly did, but they helped me to hone everything: story, gameplay, ideas, they tested games for bugs and inner logic, and more importantly they simply were there with me all these years.
So this is my Inner Circle.