Serious ones first:
1. What is your background?
My background is predominantly in art. I studied Digital Animation at degree level and then decided to return to my original passion for my Masters degree in 2D Illustration. This led to me working as a 3D artist in a computer games studio, where I was lucky enough to attract my first freelance board game job.
2. How long have you been gaming? What attracted you to it in the first place, and how were you introduced to it?
I used to game a lot when I was younger, more so computer games in my teenage years than board games. But as I got older, the friends around me started to introduce me to more casual board games and it became a bit of a social event on the weekends. Once I started working in the industry, it was mostly the welcoming community that really drew me into playing more and more games. I’ve been very lucky to have so many people willing to introduce to me to a variety of games over the years—I even get to play test a few prototypes which is always my favourite thing to do.
3. How did you get into the gaming industry?
I got into the industry a little by chance. As I mentioned before, I was working for a computer games studio as a 3D artist but I really wanted to return to more 2D illustrative work. Even though I wasn’t able to create much 2D work in my day job, I was trying to make more personal work on the side, and it was one of these personal pieces that Michael Coe of Gamelyn Games contacted me regarding. He asked if I would be interested in working on his Fantasy Frontier project, which I of course was, and I’ve been very lucky to work in the industry since then.4. What was the first gaming product you worked on, and in what capacity?
Absolute first project I worked on was Fantasy Frontier for Gamelyn Games (as mentioned above).
Out of the projects that are out of NDA and I can mention, one of the last games I worked on was Jurassic Park: Danger (Forrest-Pruzan Creative), which was wonderfully exciting to work on!
I had the great privilege of working with Chaosium last year illustrating pieces for both 13th Age Glorantha and RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha, centering around the narrative moments of Glorantha's gods and mythology. I particularly enjoyed exploring such developed myths and world history, as it really required me to delve into cultures and aesthetics I wouldn't usually research or experiment with.
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)
I think the most challenging and rewarding aspect of a project I’ve worked on is the main game board from Kanban (Stronghold Games). I absolutely love how the board turned out, but when I first started it I underestimated how ambitious a lot of my initial choices were for the board. One choice that caused a lot of issues is the fact it’s a top down view but with a slightly tilted angle to the camera, so you can see the underside of walls. Due to this view, the walls took up more board space than a true top down view, which meant that fitting all the required visual elements in with all the functional graphic icons was a real challenge. I feel like it was worth the effort in the end though!
7. What has been the most enjoyable/rewarding gaming product you’ve worked on, and why?
I think it would have to be one of my most recent projects from last year, Jurassic Park: Danger. The combination of subject matter and getting to sink my teeth into creating the tiled island board was just so exciting.
I am really struggling to answer this question, though, as I have a soft spot for all the projects I’ve worked on, even some of the early ones. For example, with Pay Dirt (Crash Games), getting the opportunity to learn about digging equipment and illustrating so many diggers, excavators, and shakers was really quite a wonderful learning experience. I tend to find that each project I work on always has a truly interesting learning experience like that for me.
And now for some more frivolous ones:
8. Just how large is your dice and/or stationary collection?
I have a lovely collection of dice, most notably the commemorative dice from projects I’ve worked on. I always enjoy having dice as a little keepsake from my projects.
Also, my stationary collection is extensive—I’m very picky about the pens I use. I’m not sure if my art equipment counts as stationary, but that takes up a lot of shelf space!
9. What is your favourite gaming snack?
I’m quite boring when it comes to snacks in general. I genuinely enjoy ready salted crisps at all times, and they offer a nice snacky option mid-game.
10. What’s the most unusual/exotic location you’ve gamed in? Or that one of your games has been played in?
Also a bit of a boring answer, I’m afraid! Probably the most interesting place I’ve gamed at is Essen Spiel in Germany—I always find the opportunity to play so many varied and interesting games with so many different people there. I would love to have a more exciting answer like on top of a mountain or something, though!
I’m a freelance artist and illustrator based in the North West of the UK. I’ve worked on variety of different board game projects over the years with a whole range of game styles and themes.
If you’d like to see more of Naomi’s work, then please visit her portfolio at: http://naomirobinsonart.com/