Juggling art and sculpts in making a Brutal PVP arena game.

When you see a game like Brutality you immediately know that there must have gone a lot of time into making the world come to life. I was surprised to see som many artists on the credits list, so I really wanted to interview the designer Stephan Frost on his process. Let’s begin.

 

 

Tell us about yourself and how you got into board game design?


My day job is in video games, and at the time I was working on an MMO. These are massive games with complex systems and dependencies for development. I wanted to work on something where I could do everything by myself (mechanically), then when it was ready, get some artists involved. One night about two years ago I was about to fall asleep when I thought of an idea to make a straight forward PVP arena board game. I wrote down some ideas, thought of some characters and attacks, drew some rough sketches, and went to bed at 2am. About 2 years later, here we are with Brutality on Kickstarter.

 

Pick a team of two medieval badasses and go to war against two other badasses

 

Tell us what the game Brutality is about?


Brutality is a medieval combat brawler board game with grim-yet-high-personality characters that players control. Pick a team of two medieval badasses and go to war against two other badasses.

Continue reading “Juggling art and sculpts in making a Brutal PVP arena game.”

The absurdly magnificent works of Kwanchai Moriya

Take a look at Kwanchai Moriya’s portfolio and you will discover unparalleled works of an extremely talented and versatile artist. From the ‘Days of Ire’ cover to Flips Ships and Dinosaur Island we get significant images dripping with personality. I am so thrilled to bring an interview with  Kwanchai Moriya – the half-Thai and half-Japanese, born in Manhattan, grew up in Chicago, and currently living in Los Angeles, California.

 

Tell us a little about your artistic background and how you got into making art in general and for board games?

 

My mom enrolled me in a pastels class at my local park district when I was, maybe, 8 or 9. I did a pretty good job on a banana and an apple, and so began the journey!

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How Jacqui Davis use lots of reference for her stunning paintings!

When interviewing Daniel Solis earlier I noticed colorfull characters in the art of Belle of the Ball. The same artist also worked on, Ex Libris by Renegade Studios, a game that has been rewarded for its art. Her name is Jaquis Davis, located in north west England. I am a fan of her colorful and intriguing art and apparently she is not afraid to use lots of reference in her process.

 

 

Tell us a little about your artistic background and how you got into making art for board games?

 

My mom likes to tell the story that as a kid I told her off for drawing horses wrong so she made me do it. I’ve always been drawing – and of course my horses are always right 😉

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Emil Larsen – Working with illustrators from a designers perspective

Hi guys, I’m Emil Larsen a board game designer from Denmark. I’ve been Kickstarting, designing and publishing games for the last 4-5 years while working as an Officer in the Danish Army.

Niklas reached out to me because he wanted to hear how it is to work with illustrators from a designer’s perspective. Now I want this article to be something both a designer and illustrator can use when approaching or dealing with a project like a board game, hopefully bridging the gap between the two perspectives. So here’s my take on it 🙂

I’ve been working with illustrators, layouters, artists etc. during most of my entrepreneur career, now stretching almost 11 years. My recent card game Burning Rome is probably the most fluent experience I’ve had in terms of creative projects, interaction and involvement of freelancers. This is especially true when taking into account that 8 illustrators have been involved in Burning Rome and its first Stand-alone expansion.

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Fine lines by AAAB Illustration

A week ago I posted the designer diary from Grizzly Games on their new card game “Home on Lagrange“. If you haven’t checked it out yet – go here. They talk about how they collaborated with the artist Adam on developing the fabulous universe of Lagrange. I am excited to share this interview with the artist from Leeds himself to shed light on the artistic process behind the images. Welcome, Adam tell us a little about yourself.

I graduated from the Leeds College of Art (now Leeds Arts University) illustration degree a couple of years ago. Midway through the degree I began to get jobs; little bits for museums and educational projects. This was exactly the kind of work I really wanted to do; I’ve always enjoyed diagrams and informative pictures.

 

After the degree I worked as the Student President, and a colleague happened to be married to Callum, one of the Grizzly chaps. It was in this context that Callum approached me to pitch his Lagrange idea; which was right up my street as I read figurative tonnes of science fiction material, as well as watching a whole bunch of TV and film.

 

Have you worked on other games?

 

Not on a professional basis; however when I was first discovering photoshop as a young sprog I made fake Yugioh cards to dupe friends (unsuccessfully); since then I’ve been looking for an excuse to work on a real game.

 

What do you like in a brief on a new assignment?

 

Specificity can be easiest; however there is plenty of fun to have with a client or collaborator open to some meandering experimentation (and indeed if there is the time for it).

 

Can you tell us about your creative process when making a piece of art for the game from start to finish?

 

Off the bat I had a few ideas which I bashed together in Photoshop, this was followed by the more traditional pen-to-paper scrawlings in my sketchbooks.

 

 

For reference I collected a lot of reference material pertaining to 1970s futuristic artworks, since that’s the sort of thing the Lagrange game was going for. This was followed by more sketching to figure out the format and content of cards. There was a lot of constructive back-and-forth with the Grizzly lads to get what they had in their heads manifested as drawings. Once I had solidified a few cards it became fun to push the limitations of the format.

In brief, the process was sketching, followed by line-art and colouration; with amendment phases sprinkled throughout.

 

 

What are your preferred tools (software/hardware/traditional) – tell us about your workplace?

 

When I sketch, it’s mostly with pencils and fineliners, but I predominantly use a Cintiq for finished artwork; which is a screen one draws directly on. I currently inhabit Duke Studios in Leeds; it has a lovely cafe-library atmosphere of productivity and the folk there are lovely.

 

 

The pictographic stylised look for Home on Laragne looks awesome. It reminds me of one of my favourite artist Chris Ware. The isometric look add some flavours of game and science. How did you find this style and what drives your work?

 

In a kind of blasphemous way, I had no idea about Chris Ware until a few years ago when I saw him at ELCAF in London, I think he is rather good. My primary reference has always been Hergé, the illustrator of Tintin; they were probably the first books I read independently as a child. The isometric angles I like to use comes from prolonged staring at Dorling Kindersley books.

 

What do you think make strong or good game art?

 

I reckon ‘glance-factor’ is the most important element to games. I find it similar to character design in animation or video games. If you can glance at a card or board and quickly understand what it represents, then its design has succeeded. Besides that any tone can work in the right context.

 

I reckon ‘glance-factor’ is the most important element to games

 

Have you learned anything from the process on Home of Larange?

 

I learned that I can get a lot of drawing done on a 10-hour flight. One just pops the wacom and laptop on the folding tray, and you’re all set. The Grizzlys have been a pleasure to work with throughout, and working with them to establish a sort of formula or visual language to the game improved the structure of my process.

 

What’s the best piece of advice on making art you yourself have been given?

 

One of my wonderful art teachers at school had a very simple mantra; ‘The more you do boy, the better you get’. It’s true.

 

Name up to 3 artists/designers you admire?

 

Hergé

Andrew Rae

Sophia Foster-Dimino

 

Is there one game you think is particularly beautiful (you did not make)?

 

Machi Koro is the best looking game I’ve played. It’s nice to look a hand of cards that is stripped back and doesn’t have extraneous detail (although in some cases extraneous detail is a benefit).

 

What are your future projects?

 

I’m currently working on an unannounced book; so stay tuned!

 

Finally – is there any place for inspiration you want to advocate?

 

Anything has the potential to be inspiration; a nice rock in the woods or a background prop in Star Trek: The Next Generation. I would say the my primary source of imagery is from watching film and television. I am a particular fan of going to Hyde Park Picture House in Leeds, it has a very pleasant atmosphere, and they frequently show cult, indie and classic film alongside regular programming.

 

Thank you Adam for sharing your story. I hope the project will rally the backers needed.  Should anyone want to see your portfolio it is to find here aaab-illustration

 

If any readers did not see the Grizzly diary it is here.

Grizzly Games – Home on Lagrange

It’s been just over a year now since myself (Jordan) and Callum, started working on our new card game, ‘Home on Lagrange’ and in that time we’ve learnt a lot.

Lets start at the beginning.

It’s October 2016, we’d both been recently working through the entire back catalogue of the 99% Invisible podcast. We had almost caught up when we listened to this; https://99percentinvisible.org/episode/home-on-lagrange/ and it clicked, there’s a game in there somewhere. Who doesn’t want to live in space? Who doesn’t want to be aboard a grand space colony like those seen in Elysium and Interstellar? Probably lots of people, but surely some might fancy venturing into the deep chasm of space with us?

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Macedonian artist Mihajlo also known as The Mico

In a recent thread on Board Game Exposure on facebook Martyn Poole asked who everyones favourite artist was.  Someone wrote “and I have fallen in love with art by the Mico. His style was particularly one I used not to care for much but really enjoy it and will defer to a Mico art game over another if it’s a toss up between the two”. With almost 200.000 pageviews on his DeviantArt gallery – there is no doubt many people and players like the style of the artist known as The Mico (which is pronaunced The MiCHo not The Miko ). What I find fantastic – is the span between the style for Raiders of the North Sea and A Kings Life.  Let’s talk with Macedonian artist Mihajlo Dimitrievskiallsaw.

 

 

Tell us a little about your artistic background and how you got into making art for board games?

 

I have been drawing as long i can remember. When  I was little i used to draw on the margins of the books (like Sergio Aragones from MAD) and I guess that was my start. I actually started my “carrier” as an comic book artist drawing comics for magazines and school papers. From there I started to illustrate books and i started to work in major advertising company here in Macedonia as an illustrator and storyboard artist. Few years ago Shem wrote me about the game (Shipwrights of the North Sea) and I took the job.

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James Bennett – traditional skills ftw.

I never hear about Donners Reed Party before. Apparently the Donner party was some pioneers that set out for California but ended up captured by the weather in Sierra Nevada apparently ending up each other. I like party games -and I loved the look of Donners Dinner party  by Forrest-Pruzan Creative when I saw it on my tablet reading Tabletop magazine. Naturally – as I do – I had to learn more about the artist that made the wonderful character and item illustrations. I was surprised to find a very traditional artist with a talent for Caricatures. His name is James Bennett from Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Welcome James!

I can see from your portfolio that you have some very traditional art skills in your luggage, tell us a little about your artistic background and what the deal is with all the Baseball caricatures.

I’ve been a freelance illustrator for over 30 years, doing oil paintings of all kinds of characters for most major magazines and ad agencies. My most recent work is doing ballplayers for a rising baseball institution called The National Pastime Museum.

 

Tim Lincecum

 

How did you get into making art for a board game and have you worked on other games before?

 

The creatives at Chronicle Books found my work online. Previously I’ve done a number of games, mostly covers, for a number of game manufacturers. Always a blast.

 

What do you think is most important in a creative brief on a new assignment? 

Continue reading “James Bennett – traditional skills ftw.”

Side Effects of Ben Bronstein

Wether you are a board game designer or artist – twitter is the place to be it seems. This summer I startet to follow Pillbox Games Instagram profile – and BAM. The way they use that social channel is incredible using small video loops in half of the posts and generally having a nice light in the images and lots of friendly, happy looking people make their posts stand out from the stream of content I browse through. So it is needless to say that in these post you find pretty pictures of the art being created for their upcoming game Side Effects and the style of those card illustrations just continue to grow on you. Looking up the artist behind the very elaborate graphical illustrations you find Ben Bronstein from Brooklyn. His personal instagram is  also a gem in creative content – spicing up his beautiful sketches with homebaked bread. I am thrilled to take us behind the creation of Side Effects. Welcome Ben.

 

Tell us a little about your artistic background and how you got into making art for Side Effects?

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