Tumo Mere is a concept artist and illustrator specializing in video games and comics. He is also the lead artist for the Swordsfall RPG. Hailing from Botswana, Tumo incorporates a modern African style through their intricate art and cultural knowledge.
“Hi. My name is Tumo Mere. I’ve been a board game artist for little over a year now. I got into board game art because it was a really cool and interesting progression of the kind of art that I was already creating. So for me, it was a real natural transition.
“The style that I’m best known for is my hot punchy and super vibrant and colourful semi-realistic style and at this point it’s basically become me. The first board game I was an artist for was Swordsfall and it’s probably the one that I’m most well known for at this point, but I have worked on a few other really cool projects.
“The work that I’m most proud of is either a piece that I did for Beneath the Canals, which is this really cool group shot of these people exploring a canal, or it’s a painting of the deity Ishvana in the Swordsfall universe and that one is currently my wallpaper. So I like creating artwork that makes the viewer feel like a kid again and like really makes them feel that sense of wonder and enchantment and just that the world can be so big.
“I get a lot of my inspiration from anime and honestly I’m giving away the secret sauce because I’m a huge anime fan. So if you’ve seen anything like Gurren Lagann or anything by Studio Trigger you basically know the kind of feel and atmosphere I’m constantly going for.
“The most important part of making artwork for board games and this basically applies for all art really is having an emotion in mind that you want your audience to feel and like really pushing for that emotion because when all is said and done, when they’re not looking at your art anymore, what’s going to stay in their mind is how it made them feel and that can really accentuate the type of adventures that they went on and the memories that they get.
“I think the most challenging part of making artwork for board games for me is trying to hit player expectations of what the world is through the art because a lot of players get really invested in the story and really want and deserve artwork that reflects how awesome it all is.
“The longest that I’ve worked on a piece of art for a board game was probably the Ishvana piece it took me about a month to do that and I went through all kinds of trials and tribulations doing it and multiple times I almost gave up on it but I’m glad I didn’t. I’m glad I stuck through it because it’s a really awesome piece and I really love it right now.
“In my opinion, more board game artwork needs to focus on having fun with itself like remembering the core of what the game is and having fun with that.
“The artist, or I should say artists, whose style I probably admire most right now are Karla Ortiz and Lois van Baarle, I hope I said their names correct, and it’s for like various things. Like colour style and everything is just so beautiful, so rich. It like pulls you into the world and she’s like stupidly skilled at what she does and like Lois‘s style is like beautiful and bubbly and makes you feel warm and it’s like a warm cookie fresh from the oven and you just want more of that. So at the moment, it’s both of them.
“My favourite colour is all of them. I love all the colours and if you look at my work you’ll understand what I mean.
“What very few people know about me is I’m the oldest of five kids and there’s an 18-year age gap between me and my youngest sibling.
“If you wanted to become a board game artist yourself I’d tell you to just draw and post it. Like that’s the most important thing. To like draw and post it and be constantly drawing and like have fun with what you’re drawing. Don’t try to put yourself on a deadline don’t try to post every two days or every three days on the internet. Take your time draw, have fun and post.
“If you want to get in touch with me you can reach me on my ArtStation: artstation.com/itstumo, or through my emails: [email protected]. I try to respond to all the emails that I get. So you will get a response from me.