Punchboard Media: In Focus - Interview with Fernanda Suarez

Punchboard Media: In Focus - Interview with Fernanda Suarez

'In Focus: Women of Board Gaming' is an exclusive series from Punchboard Media that spotlights women in all facets of the board gaming industry. Our guest this week is Fernanda Suarez, the artist for many board games, including Dead of Winter, Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn, Century: Spice Road, and Raxxon. The interview was conducted over email by Eric Buscemi. 

You have done the artwork for some very well regarded board games, but before we talk about that, do you enjoy playing board games?

I do! But I don´t have much time to get more into playing, I wish I could play and try more board games.

Have you played the board games that feature your artwork? If so, do you have a favorite to play?

Yes, those are the ones I have played mostly, and I think Dead of Winter is my favorite to play, because friends and family seems so enjoy that one the most.

When we interviewed Beth Sobel in July, she mentioned you as one of her favorite board game artists. Who are some of your favorite artists in the board game industry?

I really admire the work of Jesper Ejsing, also quite enjoy the work of Miguel Coimbra.

When you work, do you use pencils and pens on paper, paint on a canvas, or do you work digitally?

I work directly with my tablet on Photoshop, digitally from the beginning.

What kind of deadlines do you have when you work in the board game industry? Do you prefer doing larger pieces like working on boxes or boards, or working on smaller individual card art?

The deadlines are quite brutal, I am not a fan to be honest, I got to the point of being asked to make one card a day, which I think is crazy.

And I always prefer working on larger pieces, like the cover, I enjoy that so much, I feel I am able to put love to every single little detail. I would say covers and character cards too, those are my favorite also.

Were you able to play prototypes of the games you've helped create before you worked on the artwork for them? Do you think playing a game would help you create the art for it at all, or just be a distraction?

No, I wasn't able, but I didn't feel it was needed either, I prefer to get to know the story of the game and the characters personalities and backstories, things like that.

The artistic styles of Dead of Winter, Ashes, Century: Spice Road, and Raxxon are all very different. Do you find it challenging to switch to and from these varying aesthetics?

I am always very happy when people tell me they think it all looks very different, for moments I was worried it all looked similar, but I think it was easy to achieve because they all were such different universes to explore, with such different moods, and the art direction I got was excellent, so I think it happened organically. 

Ashes was nominated for the 2015 Golden Geek Best Board Game Artwork/Presentation Nominee. Was it rewarding seeing your artwork get this recognition?

Yes!, it was super exciting and I feel quite honored a lot of people love the Art and enjoy the game because of it.

You've worked a lot with Plaid Hat Games. What's it like working with them?

It was always lovely, The Plaid Hat Team really are passionate and love to create good games. Isaac, who was my art director for all those games, has an amazing creative mind, also Dave, who was the graphic designer, is amazing too. I always had a great time working and creating games with them.

Are you working on any upcoming board game projects? 

At the moment no, but I am quite excited for people to see new Ashes content.

Are you currently looking for more board game designer/publisher clients?

Not necessarily, I am very dedicated to create my own personal projects at the moment, but you never know, if a great project comes along my way , then I would love to.

I know you have a Patreon page for your artwork. Tell us a bit about it. What are your goals with it, and what rewards are you offering your Patreon backers?

Yes!, I really want to develop my own projects and share my art with people, for that, if anyone enjoys my work and would like to help me be able to create more, it would be amazing if they could support my Patreon. And as rewards I am sharing all sorts of exclusive content, such as High Res, Process Videos, Tutorials, PSD files, Prints, Previews , Art chats and more.  Here is my link.

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