Although we were using a lot of fantasy tropes, I always found it odd how so much of fantasy was so white. It made sense in Tolkien's days, but being persons of color ourselves we felt like why not create a world where our heroes could be from other backgrounds?
I look back on the work from those years and it seems like every brush stroke and ink spatter holds some little story of personal struggle, tragedy, or triumph. I chose to inject humor and lightness into when my day was painfully absent of it, or some little bit of cartoony pathos and sadness when that's what I needed to vent at the moment. They're just weird little cartoon cards, but there's a lot of my heart in them.
I took my passion for drawing to another level by practicing daily and trying to develop a workflow and an identity in my work. Now that my personal work is more defined, I realize how that has an impact on the possible opportunities that are more in line with what I love to draw.
There are surely those who would argue that a Sicilian setting is the most classic one, but we always had an American setting in mind. That allows for a wide variety of characters and illegal businesses, as so many different people and cultures were present in the US gangster scene during the first half of the 20th century…
I have been into tabletop games since I could remember. Fireball Island was a pin in my childhood timeline. Soon after that, Hero Quest began to open my eyes to all the possibilities that you could create with a game; the worlds that could be designed and all the adventures to be had exploring them. With such a love for illustrations, games just felt like the natural next step.
The first thing I showed the rest of the team were different color palettes that were very limited, for directions we could go in. Having a limited amount of colors was very important in establishing the style as unique and recognizable. The hope was it would be eye-catching and different enough to warrant a further look...
I think there's so much to learn from traditional methods arts and crafts, and other things such as making and growing food. They can take a lot longer, but the products are so beautiful and there's so much more intention and engagement with the process.