Serious questions first:
1. What is your background?
Hailing from Iceland, I’m currently settled in Berlin after living in China, Sweden, and Australia. I have a degree in Sinology, and another in Game Design (which was 50/50 game art and design). Before I left Iceland, I studied classical art and worked as an assistant to an art restorer. I currently work in the games industry and freelance on the side as a pen & paper roleplaying game illustrator.
2. How long have you been gaming? What attracted you to it in the first place, and how were you introduced to it?
For as long as I can remember—we had a single comic book shop (Nexus) in Reykjavik that has always had a solid community around it. I remember buying Magic cards for the artwork around the time I turned eight, and I had those little D&D tin statues of different creatures without fully understanding where they came from. It didn’t really occur to me that games could be something I could do for a living until 15 years later.
3. How did you get into the gaming industry?
Via localization* actually—my first internship was in Chinese-German-English localization, and it made me realize that game art wasn’t something that just happened for other people, but something you could actually get into and make a living doing. I’d worked as an illustrator in some capacity and eventually landed a job as a game artist.
*Localization is the official term for adapting a translated product to “fit” a specific region or country.
My cousin and I recreated Cluedo with animal characters when we were six. We didn’t realize the gameboard tiles needed to be spread evenly across the board, so I usually played the cheetah but ended up losing because my side of the board had 75% more spaces than hers. Thankfully, no one’s sued us for copyright infringement!
5. What was the last gaming product you worked on, and in what capacity?
I’m a game artist with a mobile games company in Berlin, so that’s what I work on from day to day. I also do work for the German company, Ulisses Games, where I do illustrations for their pen & paper roleplaying game, Das Schwarze Auge (The Dark Eye).
6. What has been the most challenging gaming product you’ve worked on, and why? (Alternatively, this could be the gaming product you’ve learned the most from working on)
Honestly, anything that I work on that leaves no time for iteration is challenging to me on a personal level. I’m a concept artist by trade, so I like to research costumes, cultures, etc., etc., and come up with new takes on a theme before starting a project to really make it stand out. So, when that phase is left out, I usually end up feeling that I could have done more.
7. What has been the most enjoyable/rewarding gaming product you’ve worked on, and why?
I really love working on Das Schwarze Auge. I play in a six-person group with one to two marathon sessions twice a month, so getting to contribute to that universe and be a part of that community makes me so happy. Moreover, I’m always encouraged to add my own flair within the setting constraints, so I couldn’t be happier.
And now for some more frivolous ones:
8. Just how large is your dice and/or stationary collection?
My dice collection isn’t very big—just a handful of purple ones.
9. What is your favorite gaming snack?
I eat anything and everything I find, so I don’t really have a particular favorite!
Fifa Finnsdottir worked on Cold Harvest for Call of Cthulhu, as well as providing illustrations for Pulp Cthulhu. If you’d like to see more of Fifa’s work, then please visit her portfolio at: www.florafaunafifa.com