Meet Mari; our extraordinary Illustrator who is responsible for crafting the compelling and creative imagery in Norsfell’s games.
She takes on everything from character design to loading screens to marketing materials. After working for almost two years with Norsfell, and over seven years in the games industry, Mari understands the unique challenges that separate game artistry from other types of illustration.
“There are constraints, especially in mobile games”, Mari explains, one of which being that characters need to be animated so that they can walk, run and fight. “It can be tough to design small, moving characters, but it means you get to be creative.” This often results in less detail, but more specific choices of character attitude, behaviour and movement. The limitation in detail can also occur as a result of the smaller screen sizes for mobile games. However, more stationary images, such as in character portraits and loading screens, “…let you show off the personality of the characters, of the game”.
The key to being a successful artist in games? Being able to let go of your work. “You have to care about what do you, but not be so in love with an idea that it hurts if it doesn’t make it to the end.” Having an understanding of the priorities that other people might have – functional, technical, commercial, etc – helps to ease the process of criticism. “That’s hard for people”, she explains, “but it’s important.” Making games is a team effort, and the more sharing and collaborating that can occur, the better it will be.
One of the perks of working with Norsfell, she explains, is that small companies can often make things happen quicker. “There are less people to go through when it comes to sharing ideas”, Mari notes, “and there are always opportunities to learn new things, which doesn’t always happen at a big company. But in a small team, you have your own voice.”
Mari also shares her advice for those who are interested in pursuing a career in game illustration and design, but aren’t sure where to begin: “Practice a lot, but also do what you feel like doing. Don’t restrict yourself to what is expected.” Having a portfolio of work is a great tool for newcomers, but following your own interests and ideas will set you apart. “Be sure to watch what other people are doing, but add a new layer on it and make it something of your own.”
Her favourite part of the job?