More Games Please: Art in Board Games Interviews

Please find excerpts from my blog 'Art in Board Games' where I talk to different board game designers and illustrators about their work. www.moregamesplease.com It's a companion piece to my IG: www.instagram.com/moregamesplease

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JADE SHAMES AND BEN BRONSTEIN: ART IN BOARD GAMES #20

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JADE SHAMES AND BEN BRONSTEIN: ART IN BOARD GAMES #20
November 13, 2017
This week we have Jade Shames and Ben Bronstein, game creators from Pillbox Games who are launching their first game, Side Effects.

Hello, Jade and Ben, thanks for taking the time to speak to us. Firstly, could you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Jade: Sure. I’m 31, and I live in Brooklyn. Oh, also, I came up with the concept and most of the game mechanics for Side Effects, a mental-illness-themed card game. In my day job, I work as a copywriter. And I also write and play music.
Ben: I’m the illustrator and designer for our company pillbox games. Outside of that, I work as an illustrator, retoucher and production artist in advertising. I also like to cook and bake.

Now we know a little more about you, I have to ask, as a child what did you want to be when you grew up?
Jade: Superman.
Ben: Spiderman

So how did you first get involved in making board games?
Jade: As far back as I can remember, I’ve been making games. I used to find old boardgames in the trash and glue paper over them just so I could use the boards to make my own games. I remember working really hard on a game called Diamonds which had something to do with poker cards and a board, and I remember that I was obsessed with the idea that the whole board flips upside down during a portion of the game. I think I saw a commercial for a game that did this, and I thought it was the coolest thing in the universe. Sadly, I can't find any game that exists today with this feature. If you find one let me know.
Ben: I’ve always been a fan of a lot of game genres. Especially more artistic/experimental games like anything by Fumito Ueda, TiNYTOUCHTALES, Monument Valley plus the board game Secret Hitler and wanted to work on one, but this is my first proper project. Jade showed me and a few friends a test play deck he had made and I told him I’d love to do the art for it.

When you are working on the art of a board game can you give us a quick overview of your creative or thought process and has this changed at all since you first started?
Jade: I was never a designer. Working with Ben Bronstein has been a real treat because he IS a real designer and his illustrations make the game. He approached me, asking if he could help design the cards, and when I looked through his portfolio I thought I had won the lottery. It was a perfect match.

Ben: The creative process started with some research on historical game design and also pharmaceutical packaging from the late 19th, early 20th century. During this research, I made some exploratory sketches, mostly comped together digitally. After I was happy with some of my designs we reviewed all the images as a group, made proofs and then playtested them, gradually refining the designs.

As the game started to mature, I weaned myself off looking at reference points, more focusing on refining the existing designs we had in a direction that revealed itself through play and testing. It was a really interesting process because I had to focus on keeping a consistent style through all the cards, all the while making sure the game was as clear and playable as possible.

You were involved in the creation of Side Effects, so could you tell us a little bit about what that involved and what were the biggest challenges you faced?
Jade: The biggest challenges were balancing the feedback we were getting with what we wanted the game to look and feel like. You can’t just ignore feedback, but it’s how you choose to solve the problems it presents that makes a successful project. For instance, I would often get suggestions for new cards. But to add new cards meant sacrificing the simplicity of the game mechanics, and they would...

To read the full interview including artwork and behind the scenes illustration follow the link.. https://www.moregamesplease.com/art-in-boardgames/2017/11/12...
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Mon Nov 20, 2017 2:12 pm
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CHRIS QUILLIAMS: ART IN BOARD GAMES #19

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CHRIS QUILLIAMS: ART IN BOARD GAMES #19
November 6, 2017
This week we have Chris Quilliams an artist who has worked on games such as Pandemic, Pandemic Legacy, Carcassonne, Merchants and Marauders, Flick ‘Em Up! and Azul with companies such as Z-Man games and Plan B games.

Hello Chris, thanks for taking the time to speak to us. Firstly, could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Sure no problem, starting at the beginning, I was born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. My family moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba when I was about 3 years old and that’s the city that I really grew up in. Ever since I can remember I’ve always loved drawing, from what I’ve been told starting at about a year and a half. My grandmother and father were both very big influences and both of them were artists, so I had constant inspiration around me. Through school I was always the class artist and after high school I went through the fine arts program at the University of Manitoba wanting to become a comic book artist. In the last couple of years of University I focused heavily on sequential art, especially in my thesis year.

One of my biggest influences was a friend I met at a local comic book convention, Doug Wheatley. In the early days before we were employed as artists we would hang out and just try to develop and hone our skills. It’s funny how in those days we would look to the future at our possible careers and of course now I look back at those days with such fond memories... now that we both have our careers. Haha!

My first big break I guess came from Beckett, a trading card company, I did some stints illustrating sports comics with Mickey Mantle and Cal Ripken Jr. but it wasn’t full time work. That would come later when I started illustrating for Games Workshop working on their Black Library line. Doug has since gone on to become a well know artist working many years on the Star Wars comics among many other things.

Recently I’ve held an office job for Z-Man games as a staff illustrator, so I’ve been living in Quebec (where the company is located) for the last five years. I’m married to my lovely wife Annie, we have two dogs and now I work in Rigaud Quebec at Plan B games, a fairly new company to the game industry. We have some amazing games coming in the production line developed by our incredibly experienced, talented staff.

Now we know a little more about you, I have to ask, as a child what did you want to be when you grew up?
I’ve always wanted to be some kind of artist, I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t driven in that direction, it was just a given. I think anyone in my family would say there was never any doubt. Ever since I can remember I obsessively wanted to draw. There was even talk of holding me back a grade in my kindergarten class because I didn’t care about anything besides drawing and painting. I didn’t want to learn anything else. Of course there are times when I don’t feel like drawing but it’s rare.

So how did you first get involved in making board games?
I first got involved in the game industry through Zev Schlasinger. At the time he was the owner of Z-Man Games in the U.S. I had illustrated many Conan RPG covers for Mongoose Publishing over a few years and I guess they had made a deal with Zev to use that art for the Conan card game he was creating. After he produced this game he contacted me to work on some of his other productions. I started with another card game called Shadowfist and this game was the reason that Zev started his company. After that it didn’t take long to develop a client base in the tabletop industry, especially after I worked on Merchants & Marauders which won the Board Game Geek art award in 2011. I found this gave a real lift to my career and it became much easier to have a steady workflow.

When you are working on the art of a board game can you give us a quick overview of your creative or thought process and has this changed at all since you first started?
Well, at the beginning of my career I was illustrating comics for a short while as I mentioned before. I’d get a script, create thumbnails planning the frames per page for composition and storytelling, and then render tight pencil drawings from the thumbnails. Other people would ink and color the work though, and I found the art would evolve into something that I didn’t recognize anymore. When I started on the Daemonifuge storylines for Games Workshop I was able illustrate the work to full completion, having the confidence to ink the pages as well as use ink washes for tone. I’ve never been a great inker but I found this completely satisfying. This process is quite different than what I go through now though.

When I began game illustration I started with rpg covers and interior art, and this creative process is much more similar to what I do now. I was paid a lot more for the covers and as such I could spend more time developing a refined image. I would not only do several thumbnails, but also color guides and sometimes even character designs, as well as research and gather references. I really believe in the process. For the interiors I would just go straight to the drawing, get approval and then start inking. The goal was to keep the time limit down because I was paid a lot less for these. Then, when I switched to game illustration I would create multiple thumbnails and color guides, again a very similar process to my rpg work. All this pre-visualization work could easily be edited without affecting the final draft.

I developed a nice working relationship with Sophie Gravel the then owner of Filosofia. They had just purchased Z-man games from Zev and she had really liked my Merchants & Marauders illustrations, eventually offering me a full time position to work for her company. I accepted and within two months moved to Quebec, Canada to work in the Z-Man games office and I had to adapt once again. Here I was working closely with a team of people (keep in mind I worked in isolation for 13 years) and had much more interaction, which I really wasn’t used to. This included playing the games, but also a lot more constant changes to the artwork. This meant the art evolved quite differently. Another thing I had to get used to was a 7 or 8 hour work day as opposed to 12-14 hrs a day.I now prefer working with a team rather than being in seclusion as I find the process much more exciting compared to when I was on my own. It also means that my work has become much more of a team effort throughout the process. At first it was difficult, but now I find I really rely on the feedback and creative influence from others and produce a lot more work in a shorter period of time.

You were involved in the creation of Pandemic Legacy season 1 and 2, so could you tell us a little bit about what that involved and what were the biggest challenges you faced?
After working on the relaunch of the very successful Pandemic franchise I had the opportunity to work on Pandemic Legacy with my Z-Man team. I knew about the Legacy system at the time but had never played Risk Legacy, so I really knew nothing about the game mechanics. Everybody knew the game was going to be special, which really added to the excitement. So because of that there was a bit of extra pressure, although I think it was the healthy kind of pressure. Luckily, I had a good team and 100% trust in my art director Philippe Guerin. His understanding of the visualization needed for games is incredible.

The hardest task was coming up with a concept for the box cover...

To read the full interview with behind the scenes artwork, sketches and illustrations please follow this link: https://www.moregamesplease.com/art-in-boardgames/2017/11/5/...
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Thu Nov 9, 2017 12:57 pm
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TRISTAN HALL: ART IN BOARD GAMES #18

Ross
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TRISTAN HALL: ART IN BOARD GAMES #18
September 25, 2017
This week we have Tristan Hall a designer who has developed games such as Gloom of Kilforth and is producing the forthcoming 1066, Tears to Many Mothers under his company Hall or Nothing Productions Ltd.

Hello Tristan thanks for taking the time to speak to us. Firstly, could you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I am a freelance creative producer - I shoot, edit, and produce videos by day, and I design board games by night. I also run a board gaming podcast called Board Chitless where we interview lots of other game designers too.

Now we know a little more about you, I have to ask, as a child what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be an author, and specifically to write stories. I wrote a book when I was 24 - it did not do well. So now I tell stories through board games instead. I’m obsessed with stories, and I always have been especially fantastical stories. I think a key moment in my life was watching Ralph Bakshi’s Lord of the Rings when I was 5 - I think it maybe had an even bigger impact on me than Star Wars. So as a kid I wanted to write stories, but when I was old enough to realise you could make those stories into movies I wanted to do that too. Which is how I ended up in the murky world of corporate video production!

So how did you first get involved in making board games?
I played board games and RPGs all the time growing up - my best Christmas ever was when I received HeroQuest and my tiny mind was blown by all the components and promise of adventure. I must have designed a hundred quests for that game. I took a hiatus from gaming in my late teens when I went out doing what young lads do but then rediscovered the hobby in my twenties once I was settled down with my now wife. Which I think is a similar trajectory to a lot of other gamers I’ve spoken to. I got into boardgamegeek in a big way (ninjadorg on BGG), looking for a game that recaptured my roleplaying days of yore, but I couldn’t find one so I started developing one instead. I was also contributing adventures and quests to the D&D games and the Lord of the Rings card games which earned tens of thousands of downloads - I had such positive feedback about them that when I talked about developing my own game people began asking where they could get it. After coercing play-testers worldwide to give it a go and getting great feedback I sent it to a game publishing company and they said they’d publish it. Two years later they’d done nothing with it and we parted ways. My play-testers then told me about Kickstarter, so I posted it up on there to see what would happen, after an incredible struggle we funded, and then I had to go ahead and make the game properly!

When you are working on the art of a board game can you give us a quick overview of your creative or thought process and has this changed at all since you first started?
At first I would give lengthy and detailed descriptions of every individual image to the artists, including the pose, expression, clothing and description of every character, creature or landscape in the game, whilst also providing reference images and example art. As you work through hundreds of images together, this process becomes more and more streamlined until you develop a sort of shorthand of communication. I learned to hand over a huge amount of trust and responsibility for the outcome of the images to the artist. Nowadays, 90% of the time I make little or no changes to submitted art work.

You were involved in the creation of Gloom of Kilforth so could you tell us a little bit about what that involved and what were the biggest challenges you faced?
Well, no one had really heard of it. We had no marketing, so it came from nowhere. People didn’t know who I was, and we had this high target of £48,000 so people weren’t really sure if we could deliver. But the word of mouth was incredible and the momentum just kept going. I think it helped......

To read the rest of the interview with behind the scenes sketches and illustrations please go to: https://www.moregamesplease.com/art-in-boardgames/2017/9/24/...
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Wed Nov 8, 2017 11:08 am
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MR CUDDINGTON: ART IN BOARD GAMES #17

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MR CUDDINGTON: ART IN BOARD GAMES #17
September 18, 2017
This week we have David and Lina, artists who worked with on games such as Santorini, Charterstone, The Grimm Forest and Brass and with publishers such as Roxley, Stonemaier and Druid City Games.

Hello David and Lina thanks for taking the time to speak to us. Firstly, could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Hi! David and I are a husband-and-wife creative duo living in Quebec, Canada. We work as one under the name Mr.Cuddington and we specialize in making immersive visuals for board games.

Now we know a little more about you, I have to ask, as a child what did you want to be when you grew up?

David: I grew up making short stop-motion films with my dad's camera and spent a lot of time writing fantasy novels as a teenager. I was very meticulous and would draw detailed maps for all my fantasy stories. I ended up graduating in 3d animation and worked in the video game and film industry before later branching out to freelancing as an illustrator with Lina.
Lina: I always loved art but I wasn't sure how I would make a living out of it. Another thing that was fascinating to me was science and biology so for a while I was aiming at being a coroner. I ended up changing my mind during my last semester before going to college and giving art a try.

So how did you first get involved in making board games?
We wanted to work on a creative project together for quite some time, and at first we thought it would be a good idea to design and illustrate a board game. We quickly realised that game design was an enormous task for us to undertake and that we were not ready for that just yet. On the other hand, sketching the cards had been so much fun! We wanted to do more of it. So we started building a small portfolio in order to get freelance work with established publishers.

When you are working on the art of a board game can you give us a quick overview of your creative or thought process and has this changed at all since you first started?
We generally both work on every piece of art for a game, taking turns until we've pushed it to the best we can. One of us does a sketch, the other does corrections on that sketch. Then we send it to the publisher and get feedback. One of us takes the work from there to an almost finished piece and the other does a final pass of tweaks. We send it for approval, do some corrections if needed, and we are done! Not much has changed about this process since we started, although we've definitely gotten more efficient with time.

You were involved in the creation of Brass, so could you tell us a little bit about what that involved and what were the biggest challenges you faced?
When we started working on Brass, we did not have much realistic art in our portfolio. We were lucky enough to have Gavan Brown trusting us for this big project. However, we could feel people were somewhat unsure that we could pull it off. Brass was already loved...

To read the full interview with artwork please click here: https://www.moregamesplease.com/art-in-boardgames/2017/9/17/...
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Mon Oct 30, 2017 3:02 pm
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GARY PAITRE AND NATALIE DOMBOIS: ART IN BOARD GAMES #15

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GARY PAITRE AND NATALIE DOMBOIS: ART IN BOARD GAMES #15

September 4, 2017

This week we're lucky enough to have a joint interview with Gary Paitre (Art Director and Designer) and Natalie Dombois (illustrator) who worked together on KIWETIN by Flyos Games.

Hello Gary and Natalie thanks for taking the time to speak to us. Firstly, could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Gary: I’m from Montreal, Canada. I’ve been working for advertising agencies for about a decade and I also had my own agency for a while but now I freelance. My best friend and I decided to create Flyos Games and create the games we wanted to play a year ago.
Natalie: I’m from Hamburg, Germany. I’ve worked in various different fields, e.g. Advertising, Books and Animation. KIWETIN was my first try at Board Game art and I immediately fell in love with this field.

Now we know a little more about you, I have to ask, as a child what did you want to be when you grew up?
G: Like many children, I wanted to become an astronaut. But my father told me that I had to be fluent in Russian, so finally I changed my mind and decided to become a bus driver. Yep, kids.
N: I wanted to join Peter Pan and the Lost Boys. When I realized that this wasn’t possible I started to change my mind on a weekly basis. Police officer and Artist were on the same level for a long time. But the Artist direction definitely works better for me.

So how did you first get involved in making board games?
G: I played many RPGs, video games and board games when I was a teenager. The idea of making our own games started a couple of years ago with my best friend. I had a lot of stories to tell and we were finally mature enough. So we founded our own game company and benefit the Kickstarter tools.
N: My friends have held a Board Game night every Friday for several years now. The first time I thought that it would be cool to do the Artwork for board games was when I joined them once and saw all the amazing games. But in the end I didn’t until I was contacted by Gary who told me about KIWETIN and I promptly was head over heels.

When you are working on the art of a board game can you give us a quick overview of your creative or thought process and has this changed at all since you first started?
G: When I work on a game aesthetic, my priority is to build a credible universe. I also focus a lot on finding the right illustrator for the right story to tell. It’s also very important for me to bring an original design to an industry that is used to Trolls, Dwarves, Orcs and Elves with a classical drawing style.
N: Like Gary I enjoy trying new things and while I appreciate the classic art a lot I’m all in for refreshing directions that haven’t been played with a lot. Usually I try to find the right feeling for a world and try to capture this feeling into the illustrations with little details. Nature and Culture inspires me a lot.

You were involved in the creation of KIWETIN, so could you tell us a little bit about what that involved and what were the biggest challenges you faced?
G: The biggest challenge I had to face building Kiwetin was to keep the creative and visual focus all along the process. When you’re your own boss you are responsible for the choices you make, and it’s quite easy to scatter and lose the creative vision..

If you'd like to read the full interview with behind the scenes artwork and illustration please click here > More Games Please
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Tue Oct 24, 2017 11:11 am
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ÉLISE PLESSIS: ART IN BOARD GAMES #16

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ÉLISE PLESSIS: ART IN BOARD GAMES #16
September 11, 2017
This week we have Élise Plessis an artist who has worked with on games such as Onirim, Urbion, Sylvion, Castellion, Nautilion and with publishers such as Z-Man Games, Filosofia and Asmodée.

Hello Élise. thanks for taking the time to speak to us. Firstly, could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Hello. Certainly. I am 34 years old and currently live in Iceland in a very remote area. I am French and I studied graphic design in Paris and Brussels in Belgium. I spend my time between freelance illustration, travelling and part-time jobs here or there such as a waitress, house-keeper, shop employee, receptionist or tourist guide. I’ve always enjoyed working in different places so I like to keep a foot in reality, meet people and get ideas for my drawings. Plus I’m lucky to not have any money problems so can choose to work on any illustration project I like. I enjoy reading a lot, wandering around the fjords and playing ping-pong.

Now we know a little more about you, I have to ask, as a child what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a cat but somebody told me it wasn’t an option. So, my next decision was to become an illustrator. Or an explorer. Or a writer who also draws cats and discovers new lands in their free time. I wasn’t totally sure.

So how did you first get involved in making board games?
It really came as a surprise! Shadi Torbey involved me. We met in Brussels at the end of my studies and he took my card, then 3 years later he found it again when he was looking for an artist to draw Onirim. He asked me if I would be interested in realizing the prototype. I loved the idea of putting nightmares and dreams in images as I’m fond of poetry and really love to escape from reality. That’s how it all began.

When you are working on the art of a board game can you give us a quick overview of your creative or thought process and has this changed at all since you first started?
Every game in the Oniverse has a different theme; The Labyrinth for Onirim, The City for Urbion, The Forest for Sylvion, The Sand Castle for Castellion and The Aquatic World in Nautilion. I first stop and try to think about what this implies specifically. Then I try to imagine how that would look in the Oniverse. In fact, I just begin to dream, take some paper and let the pen run. Some of my ideas are really stupid but some are better. Shadi helps me to sort these out and keep it all coherent.
I’m much more organized now than I was before. Drawing the first game in the series (Onirim) took me a long time because I was very impulsive. I didn’t take the constraints into consideration, like what the dimensions of a card were, or the placement of the pictograms. I really just threw some ideas down on whatever I had to hand at that moment. Bus tickets, tax papers, anything really and I ended up having to redo the same drawings multiple times. I now manage to channel my energy in a more proactive and efficient way.

You were involved in the creation of the Oniverse games so could you tell us a little bit about what that involved and what were the biggest challenges you faced?
It’s involved many hours of work, a lot of paint, wax pencil, felt-tip pens, thousands of email exchanges with Shadi and a good coffee machine. During the process I’lI send Shadi my sketches, drafts and later the colored versions and he lets me know his opinions about them. He’s kind of a diplomat so he would never say to me...

If you enjoyed this interview so far you can read the rest, with behind the scenes sketches and illustration by following this link: https://www.moregamesplease.com/art-in-boardgames/2017/9/8/e...
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Fri Oct 20, 2017 9:19 am
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JUSTIN HILLGROVE: ART IN BOARD GAMES #14

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Justin Hillgrove

JUSTIN HILLGROVE: ART IN BOARD GAMES #14
August 28, 2017
This week we have Justin Hillgrove an artist who has worked with on games such as “JunKing” and “By Order Of The Queen” with Junk Spirit Games.

Hello Justin thanks for taking the time to speak to us. Firstly, could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with my wife, 4 kids and some chickens, ducks, rabbits and a cat. I work out of my home studio on all kinds of art, mostly doing traditional acrylic paintings of non-traditional subjects like monsters, robots and the like. I also self-publish a comic and illustrate board games for our indie game team “Junk Spirit Games.” I sell my art, books, games and toys through galleries, art shows and online (ImpsAndMonsters.com). I’ve been showing my work for the last 11 years – full-time for the last 6 years, and worked as a graphic designer for 10 years before setting out on my own. When I am not creating art, I am usually gardening or playing games and hanging out with my family.

Now we know a little more about you, I have to ask, as a child what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be an animator or a toy-maker when I was a kid. Later that idea expanded to include just about anything art-related.

So how did you first get involved in making board games?

A few years ago an old high school acquaintance, David Gerrard, approached me and basically said “Hey dude, I design games and you draw stuff. We should make games.” I’m paraphrasing but that’s the general idea. Sounded like fun so I jumped in, then we recruited my friend Travis Torgerson to do layout and design so I could focus on the art.

When you are working on the art of a board game can you give us a quick overview of your creative or thought process and has this changed at all since you first started?
I always start with a lot of sketching, getting feedback from the team as to the direction of the art. Then I usually pencil and ink my characters, scan them into PhotoShop and color them digitally. Once I have some of the core art figured out, I’ll plan out a cover image and paint it in acrylic paints on a canvas and scan that. From there, all the elements go to Travis, our designer, who puts it all together and makes it look good.

You were involved in the creation of By Order of the Queen, so could you tell us a little bit about what that involved and what were the biggest challenges you faced?
Our second game was a pretty massive undertaking that required a lot of time and effort by everyone on the team. There was so much art to be done that we recruited another artist friend, Zach Vail...

The full interview with behind the scenes art and sketches can be found on ... https://www.moregamesplease.com/art-in-boardgames/2017/8/25/...
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Mon Sep 25, 2017 1:48 pm
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JUSTIN WALLACE: ART IN BOARD GAMES #13

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Justin Wallace

JUSTIN WALLACE: ART IN BOARD GAMES #13
August 23, 2017
This week we have Justin Wallace, an artist who has worked with on games such as Private Die & The End is Nigh and works for independent publisher Mystic Ape Games.

Hello Justin thanks for taking the time to speak to us. Firstly, could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m an artist working out of St. Louis making board games with an independent company with 3 of my friends called Mystic Ape Games. I grew up in Minneapolis, but moved to St. Louis for college, and I’m constantly being surprised at how large the board game community is here.

Now we know a little more about you, I have to ask, as a child what did you want to be when you grew up?

As a kid I always loved video games and really wanted to be a game designer, before I even knew what that would entail. I remember being enamored with games like Spyro and Crash Bandicoot that created little capsulized world to explore, each rich with their own theme. As I grew up, I split that captivation into two parts. My day job involves a lot of coding & dealing with technology, but for Mystic Ape I get to explore the personal and organic interactions that make tabletop gaming special.

So how did you first get involved in making board games?
I got reeled in much like other people by getting invited to a board game night and playing increasingly complex games. Then at my day job I met Austin and got brought on to do some playtesting and artwork after he knew I had a good amount of experience with playing games.
After Private Die, and just before shipping The End is Nigh to backers, I got brought on as the fourth member of Mystic Ape Games.

When you are working on the art of a board game can you give us a quick overview of your creative or thought process and has this changed at all since you first started?

The first thing I keep in mind is the tone of the game, and what I would want the game to look like if I were playing it. It’s actually pretty difficult for me visualize exactly how a game will look before mechanics are about 70% concrete. The feel of the game while playing should match the visual aesthetic. I start with creating a folder full of inspiration images (interiors, people, colors, etc.) then refine the style over time based on how mechanics change.

I came into Private Die pretty late in the development stages, so everything was pretty final, and it has a very defined style. I actually picked up the artwork after it had already been started, so adapting to the decided-upon style was the biggest challenge there.

For The End is Nigh, I really got to decide early what the art would look like and somewhat selfishly choose a process that was most appealing to me. Most of the character art in The End is Nigh was done by sketching first and doing digital painting based on that sketch.

You were involved in the creation of The End is Nigh, so could you tell us a little bit about what that involved and what were the biggest challenges you faced?
Portraits and character illustration are some of my favorite types of art, so I felt right at home, yet still challenged by the diversity of characters...

For the full interview with images please click here.. https://www.moregamesplease.com/art-in-boardgames/2017/8/23/...
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Wed Sep 20, 2017 12:21 pm
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JORDI ROCA: ART IN BOARD GAMES #12

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Jordi Roca Parse

JORDI ROCA: ART IN BOARD GAMES #12
August 15, 2017
This week we have Jordi Roca a graphic designer and art director who has worked on games such as Victus - Barcelona 1714, Verbalia, Enigmàrius, and Barcelona - The Rose of Fire, and with companies such as Devir, Vexillum and Saladin games.

Hello Jordi thanks for taking the time to speak to us. Firstly, could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Hi everyone, I'm 53 years old and I graduated in graphic design at art school and started working in 1986. Since then I have worked in different studios, graphic arts workshops and agencies, as a designer and art director. At the moment I am director of graphic services in an advertising agency, but have frequently collaborated in editorial projects related to the world of boardgaming for 12 years now.
At the same time, I've been a board games enthusiast from the beginning, although I discovered a new generation of games, taking my hobby in a new direction when (in 1979) I bought Kingmaker, my first game from Avalon Hill Games. Since then my passion and collection has never stopped growing and already exceeds 1,000 titles.

Now we know a little more about you, I have to ask, as a child what did you want to be when you grew up?
My father's fondness for art and illustration surely predisposed me to my willingness to work in the graphic world. When I had the opportunity I trained for it and entered the professional field. After working intensively in the advertising world, it was not until years later, that my first works in the world of games arrived.

So how did you first get involved in making board games?
My link from graphic creations to board games came much later than my work in design, when I became acquainted with Oriol Comas, a creator and promoter of tabletop games in my country. I started work with him in 2006 to carry out the graphic parts of several projects after we had met thanks to our common liking for board games, and we kept traveling together for years to the Essen Fair. In 2007 we worked together on a game funded by the University of Barcelona, alled Pompeu Fabra i el seu temps, a card game that was the first box format game I worked on the graphics of. Through Oriol I contacted Vexillum, who wanted to publish their first board game Patim Patam Patum and two years after that became the first collaboration with Devir, a brand with which I have already carried out many more projects on an ongoing basis. The first was Verbalia in 2010 and the most recent is Barcelona - The Rose of Fire published this past year.

When you are working on the art of a board game can you give us a quick overview of your creative or thought process and has this changed at all since you first started?
Depending on the type of game, the work plan may be slightly different between some projects and others. For example, it would not be the same when making a game based on a historical moment, than it would be when working on an abstract games theme or environment. Having said that, I can identify these steps in the creative process of the graphic part of a game:
The first step is to test the prototype of the game that the authors have, as many times as necessary. In this first step I begin to take notes and imagine where visual and graphical improvements could be implemented with which to enhance the player's experience.
The second step is a documentation and research phase. Keeping in mind what components and mechanisms the game includes, I start a data collection phase. In this part of the process I research for data through the network, but also in museums and libraries, or in places where I can trace information. A good example would be when I worked on Barcelona - The Rose of Fire, where I spent a lot of time collecting old objects and publications, mainly in flea markets and from antique stores.
The next step is to elaborate on the overall graphic proposal of the project, describing the approach of the different components to present to the authors and editors. This proposal will be studied in terms of gameplay, simplifying and improving the visual language of the different elements, rethinking formats, ergonomics and accessibility of these game components.
Once the proposals have been approved, we establish the graphic work plan with the rest of the team and the illustrator makes the first sketches and illustrations that will be gradually incorporated into the final art of the project, before eventually sending them to the press.
All this creative process, depending on the project, can take 8 to 18 months.

You were involved in the creation of Barcelona - The Rose of Fire so could you tell us a little bit about what that involved and what were the biggest challenges you faced?
In April 2015 Marco Maggi and Francesco Nepitello were working on the development of Barcelona - The Rose of Fire for Devir. At that time, Victus - Barcelona 1714 had just been published, for which David Parcerisa and I worked together on all the graphics. Marco and Francesco liked the work we did for Victus and spoke with Devir...

To read the full interview with Jordi Roca including images follow this link >> https://www.moregamesplease.com/art-in-boardgames/2017/8/14/...
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Sun Sep 17, 2017 2:02 pm
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OSSI HIEKKALA: ART IN BOARD GAMES #11

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Ossi Hiekkala

OSSI HIEKKALA: ART IN BOARD GAMES #11
This week we have Ossi Hiekkala, an illustrator, who has worked with on games such as Eclipse, Nations, Flamme Rouge and Honshu with the game company Lautapelit.fi.

Hello Ossi, thanks for taking the time to speak to us. Firstly, could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Hi, thanks for talking to me. I am an illustrator from Finland and I have been in the business officially since 2005. Before that I had been living and studying in Japan for three years. My portfolio is full of every kind of assignment, from food and beverage illustrations to book covers and stamps. Board games are just one part of what I do, albeit a very pleasant one.

Now we know a little more about you, I have to ask, as a child what did you want to be when you grew up?

I am not lying if I said I wanted to be a comic artist and illustrator. Drawing has been my passion since I was a kid. Now that my first comics album has been published, I can also say I am a comic artist too.

So how did you first get involved in making board games?

It was somewhere around 2009 when lautapelit.fi first approached me and asked if I wanted to illustrate their upcoming game Hornet, by the Moliis Brothers. I have no recollection how they ended up choosing me, but it was a very interesting assignment as I had never done anything related to board games before. I’m always eager to try different things. It apparently went well as they wanted me to illustrate another game after that.

It also showed me that illustrating board games is a group project and I had to expect lots of changes during the process. Illustrations, like graphics, have to be tested. Sometimes you hit it with the first shot, sometimes it takes more tries. I like board games as a format for illustration and their big boxes allow large size art. It’s like comparing CD’s and vinyl albums. It becomes an appealing object in itself.

When you are working on the art of a board game can you give us a quick overview of your creative or thought process and has this changed at all since you first started?
I am grateful that my clients trust me to propose visual ideas. It is often the best part of the project, sketching and brainstorming. In comparison when working in advertising more often than little thought is expected from the illustrator, which is kind of waste.

Making the art is group work. The designer, graphic designer and publisher all want their needs to fulfilled, so illustrator has to learn to listen too. I want to make the games visually appealing but also true to the rules and spirit. That’s why I don’t want to force the visuals to fit my style but rather try to think what kind of visuals would fit this game the best. Sometimes it’s more polished, sometimes more painterly. I want there to be a story in the pictures, if possible - especially on the cover.

I start with the quick idea sketches, after which we proceed to more detailed sketches. When those are accepted, I start the final piece. It still might have to be tweaked here and there before it goes to the printer. It is also good if the typography and other graphics are done hand in hand with the illustrations, so they can support each other.

You were involved in the creation of Flamme Rouge, so could you tell us a little bit about what that involved and what were the biggest challenges you faced?
When I was asked if I would like to make illustrations for a bicycle racing game, it didn’t take me more that half a second to say ”YES!”. As a road bicycling enthusiast the subject was more than pleasing, but when I playtested it, I was thrilled. It really was a game that suited my tastes. Fast to learn and fun to play. Asger Granerud, the designer of the game, did manage to create a game that simulates the racing in a simple but pleasing way. I have enjoyed playing all the games I have been involved with, but this game I just love.

To see the full interview plus images please go to: https://www.moregamesplease.com/art-in-boardgames/2017/8/9/o...
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Wed Sep 13, 2017 3:15 pm
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