When you have a game that does not have a good art work, you do not buy it or you do not play with it. And if you have a game with a great illustration but the mechanism is not interesting, you play it once and / or you sell it! There are games that combine a good mechanism and superb illustrations. Among these games, comes to mind immediately: Jamaica a game by Bruno Cathala, Sébastien Pauchon and Malcolm Braff. This is a good family game that still has a place in our family and is a visual treat.
These beautiful illustrations are the work of Mathieu Leyssenne who answer today the 7 questions. Mathieu lives in Bordeaux, where he is a freelance illustrator since 2001. Mathieu has illustrated games like: Metropolys, Souk, Chinatown and more recently The Tortoise and the Hare. Of course the inevitable is the illustration of Jamaica, a delight for the eyes. The cares of details on the board takes you to Jamaica in the world of pirates when you start to play. Mathieu’s work could be on an exhibition with other of his contemporaries. I invite you to use the links at the end of the interview to explore his work.
Her are the 7 questions for Mathieu Leysenne.
1 . How old were you when you played your first board game and what was it ?
« I started with the classic, parcheesi, checkers … We played a lot in our family, I have the childhood memory of large game of Monopoly, La Conquete du Monde, Clue, The game of Life, … »
2 . Why and how did you decide to illustrate games ?
« It was not really a choice at the beginning. I wanted to do some illustrations, but I was aiming for publishing children’s books or role play games. And then one day, a friend, Julien Carette, went to show his book to Asmodee. Among his works, there was a comic strip that I had put in color. It was apparently liked by Asmodee, and they contacted me shortly after to work on my first game, ‘Les fils de Samarande’. But things really started with GameWorks, and games ‘Animalia’ and ‘Jamaica’. I do not remember exactly how they found my work. But after that, orders arrived fairly regularly, especially projects with animals, pirates, or pirate animals. »
3 . What are your 3 favorite games company and why ?
« Agricola first, because the interest is constantly renewed with the allocation of cards at the beginning. With an automatic system of implementation / automatic storage, I would find it perfect. Ticket to Ride then. Even though I hardly ever play it today, perhaps is the game that kept me busy the most. It’s really simple, it is explained in 2 minutes, even to someone who knows nothing, and it plays very well with 2 players. And finally Citadels. »
4 . For you what is the best combination to illustrate a game successfully ?
« It is not enough that the illustrations are beautiful and they define an interesting universe, they must also not be to the detriment of the gameplay, and adapt themselves well to the mechanisms of the game. It is important to have some good exchanges with the editor, so we can work together on it. »
5. How do you proceed to illustrate a game ?
« In general they give me a brief, element by element, a theme, constraints tie to the gameplay … Then I prepare sketches, we discuss about them and I make any modifications. I then moved on to a rough colored, that we also valid, and I finalize. »
6. What advice would you give to someone wishing to illustrate a board game ?
« Beware of the board! We always feel we will do it in no time, and one month after it is still on … »
7. Could you give us some information on your next project ?
« I do not know if I can talk about the game itself, so when in doubt, I’ll just say that it will be a new game edited by Benoît Forget from Purple Brain Créations. »
Thank you Mathieu for answering the 7 questions. For more information on the work of Mathieu Leyssenne :