Punchboard Media: In Focus - Interview with Jacqui Davis
'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 prolific board game artist Jacqui Davis. The interview was conducted over email by Eric Buscemi.
Before we get into your work as a board game artist, what are some of your favorite games to play? Anything recently strike your fancy?
In university, my housemate and I co-owned a copy of Game of Thrones. We tried (somewhat successfully) to play a two-player version of the game and we learnt it's best not to pick Starks and Dornishmen. More recently I've played Scrawl and had a ball. I also enjoy Zombies!, Battlestar Galactica, and Agricola. (Even if I'm terrible at all three.)
The BoardGameGeek artist series has your print of Agricola featured. Congrats on being recognized as one of the industry's most prominent artists. How did that come about? How much leeway did you have in what game you selected, and for the image you chose to represent that game?
Thanks! I was very honoured to have been asked by Chad and completely blown away when I saw who else was in the line-up. I was allowed to pick any game I liked and if the publisher agreed then the poster could go ahead. I chose Agricola because it's a game I've played and enjoyed and I wanted to give it some love.
You've worked on many games -- including Belle of the Ball, Epic Resort, Fidelitas, Purrrlock Holmes, Stockpile, and Viticulture, among many others. Do you often play the published games that feature your artwork? Does it make you feel more proud or self conscious? Of the games you've worked on, do you have a favorite to play?
I must admit that while I have some copies of games I've worked on I haven't had the opportunity to play any of them. I'd feel a bit self-conscious bringing one along to a party and asking to play it! Of the ones I have, I think I'd like to give Leaders of Euphoria a go - because those ray guns are a lot of fun.
Do you often get to play rough prototypes of the games you are working on? If so, do you find it helps you create the artwork for them?
Sometimes a client will go through their game on Skype with me, or send e the rules to read through but no - I don't play the prototypes myself.
What is your artistic process like? Do you work with pencil and paper, digitally, or a combination of both?
I work digitally almost exclusively with Photoshop and a Cintiq 24hd.
What do deadlines normally look like for a board game artist? How long would you say a typical box cover, board or card takes you to complete? Do you find one component harder to work on than another?
That really depends! A lot of it varies on the art style chosen for any given project. Boxes that are more painterly can take a week or more, whereas cel-shaded type characters can be done a few in a day. I find boards the most tricky since they usually require a lot of playing to work with the graphics that are going to go over it.
Was your artistic process any different for Colosseum, being that you were creating new artwork for a game that was already previously published with different art?
I did study the old artwork for Colosseum before I started work on the game so I knew what it was about and I treated it a little like a prototype so I knew what component was what. The guys over at TMG were great and let me have fun with it. I'm a fan of classical history so I was excited to work the game,
In doing the artwork for Ex Libris, was there extra pressure because Adam McIver -- the game's designer -- is also an established artist?
I don't think it was. Adam was very helpful and sent over a very useful art direction brief and throughout the project was there to chat about its progress.
Speaking of other artists, who are some of your favorite artists in the board game industry?
Oooh, that's tough. Pretty much every artist I follow on Twitter. Some of the ones that stand out are Nolan Nasser, Vincent Dutrait. and Kelly McClellan.
You are currently working on Neverland Rescue for Letiman Games, and you've done some work for FoxMind Games. What can you tell us about these projects? Was it fun creating artwork in the Peter Pan universe?
Ah yes! I've had a lot of fun on Neverland Rescue. I've always loved the idea of doing my own versions of classic kid's stories so when Dan asked me about Neverland I jumped at the chance. With FoxMind Games I've recently done the art for their game Bermuda Pirates, which was shown at Nuremberg Toy Fair.
Is there anything else about you that you'd like to share with us? Interests, hobbies, passions?
Well in my free time I've been creating and writing about a fantasy world with my art bestie, Katy Grierson, so if I share personal work it's usually got to do with that. I also enjoy a good history documentary to listen to while working (prehistory, classical, and medieval being my favourites) -- so if anyone has any recommendations please let me know!