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Madeleine Fjäll (Let me illustrate)
Posted On 6 January 2021
Madeleine Fjäll is a 2D-artist who loves to make artwork inspired by history and fantasy. She has a bachelor’s degree in Game Design and Graphics and has a Higher Vocational Education Degree in 2D-graphics, which helps her a lot as an artist in the board game industry. Right now she’s working at Ion Game Design and is an artist for the games Pax Viking, Bios:Mesofauna and Dawn on Titan.
“Hi, my name is Madeleine Fjäll. I’ve been a board game artist since January 2020.
“I became a board game artist because I’ve always loved to make illustrations and to make a very cool product at the same time seems like a good deal to me. It’s also a very diverse job since I get to do a lot of different things which I think is super fun. For example, I do bigger illustrations and then do some graphic design and some icons and smaller illustrations.
“The art style I’m best known for I think is semi-realism. I don’t know if I’m very known for an art style though, so…
“The first board game I was an artist for was Pax Viking, but I have done a few other projects before with friends that never got published.
“The work I’m most proud of was for the board game Pax Viking because it’s a topic that is very dear to my heart having grown up in a family which has been doing historic reenactment with a focus on the Viking age since I was seven. So it was really an honour to be able to use my knowledge about the Viking age, mostly about fashion history though, in this game.
“I like creating artwork that shows story from moods, characters and environments, but I also enjoy just making character designs and in these illustrations, I do also like to try and use textures sometimes.
“I get my inspiration from history and interesting things that exist in our world. Like I could get a lot of inspiration from a weirdly shaped tree, but also games books series I like that have cool designs and ideas.
“I think the most important part of making artwork for board games is readability and consistency because things need to read well and show what you need to know, and to make a nice experience, the art and mood needs to be consistent everywhere to make it more compelling and work together.
“I think the most challenging part of making artwork for board games is the connection between art and game design because there’s a lot of time something that looks good but it doesn’t play good and to understand and make compromises with art to not destroy the intended gameplay is challenging. Also to make the games colourblind friendly so it’s available for more people which I think is very important, but sometimes challenging to make the colours and shapes work.
“The longest I worked on art for a board game was for Pax Viking. It took me six to seven months from start to finish, with a few other things in between. There was a lot of iterations between playtests where I sometimes had to change a lot in the bigger art files.
“In my view, more board game artwork should just do what they want to do. I don’t think there’s a correct way to do art and you can use whatever style you see fit.
“The artists whose style I admire the most are a lot of different people and I can’t really pick between just a few, but I do love, for example, Sam Hogg, Little Ulvar, Tomas Duchek, Even Amundsen because of their style, colours, designs and textures.
“My favourite colours are green and purple, so I’m basically a Disney villain.
“What very few people know about me is that I have a very big burn scar inside of my left hand. It looks pretty cool I think and kind of like I’m a fire bender.
“If you wanted to become a border game artist yourself I would tell you to study fundamentals and don’t stress and do what you love.
“If you want to get in touch you can reach me on Twitter at madeleinefjall or write an email to me which you can find on my website at madeleinefjall.com. Thanks.”