ESPECIAL Lars-Arne "Maura" Kalusky

O ART&abuleiro esteve à conversa com o ilustrador Maura

"good illustrations can make a good game a little bit better"

 ART&abuleiro - Tell us a little bit about yourself. When did you start to work with illustrations and how this path led you to board games?

My name is maura, i`m 44 years old, live in germany and work as a freelance graphic-designer and illustrator. For sure, maura isn`t my real name, it`s a nickname i got while i was a teenager. Well, that was long before internet and i didn`t know, that maura is a female name. never mind, but i want to mention this. I started to draw in my childness, because i wasn´t really good in sports. Like so many other illustrators. As a teenager, i made my own punk-rock comicfanzine and decided to study graphic-design. While my studytime, i worked as a multi media designer (computer stuff and animations).


That was fun, but i hated it, that my work won`t be "real". You haven`t any chance to see that stuff nowadays. They are gone. That`s complettly different in the boardgameindustrie. There will be a chance, that somebody will find a game with my graphics in hundred years in a cellar or somewhere else. That`s pretty cool. So it was no drama, that i lost my job at a multimedia office in 2001.


Roundabout 30 minutes after they said to me, that i`m fired, i met friedemann friese, who was a friend of mine. his reaction, as i told him that i`m unemployed, was: "wow, great! do you like to make my new game? … ehm, is that a problem for you, that you are fired?"

No, it wasn`t as i wrote. The game i should make the graphics for was "fische, fluppen, frikadellen". It was friedemann first "professinonal" produced game and the first one, after he decided to make game designing his main business. Before that year, it was just some kind of hobby.

Ok, i haven`t anything else to do and i worked with friedemann  before (frischfleisch and some multimedia stuff) and it was always fun, so i said yes and made the graphics for it. The game was also the first "professional" boardgame for me.


ART&abuleiro - How many games have you done the artwork for, and in which projects are you working right now?

I didn`t made so much boardgames and mostly for 2f-spiele. Roundabout 16 games and 6 expansions for "funkenschlag". I just finished the work for a kidscardgame for haba and decided to have a break now. As i told, i`m working as a freelnacer and i didn`t have so much holiday the last years.
The next month, i will just do what i want to and make some small projects of my own like an upgrade for my iphonegame "scream`n`run". Working just for fun is great!


ART&abuleiro - Your style varies from the more “serious” or to the more cartoonish, how do you coordinate the line of work for the different styles of board games?

That started with "funkenschlag". The games before were more funny and comicesque. funkenschlaf was an economy-simulation. not so funny. So i decided to make it more "serious" with just a little bit comicstyle. I put the comicstye into it, because that was my style, and i wanted, that the game looks different to the other games. And i`m not so good at "realistic" drawing.

ART&abuleiro - Besides board games, do you do illustrations for any other media?

yepp. most of my work is a compination between graphic-design and illustrations like sales-displays, logos and things like that.
and i made illustrations and animations for different web- and iphonegames.

ART&abuleiro - where do you get your inspiration and how do you do the research for your drawings?

i just keep my eyes open. there are so much great design everywhere, you just have to notice.
and i have a great collection of comicbooks. it`s a shame that so less comic-illustrators worked for the boardgameindustrie.
most of the boardgames looks the same. don`t get me wrong, the quality of boardgameillustrations never were so good as nowadays and they do their job really good.
but i would like it, if there would be more different styles.

i tried to insert things from other media into my games like the ec-comicbook style of "finstere flure" (fearsome floors).
there were much comicbooks and musicrecords in this style, but no boardgames. that´s what i mean.
most boardgames looks like boardgames and have a boardgamestyle. i think, there should be a little bit more rock`n`roll here.

ART&abuleiro - How do you credit the success of a game to its illustrations? How important they are to the success of a game?

hm, that`s not so easy to answer.
a good game will sell sell, never mind, if the illustrations are good or not.
And a bad game will not sell, no matter whether the drawings are good.

but good illustrations can make a good game a little bit better. so maybe you will sell 10–20% more copies, if the people like the graphic design. I saw that happened with  "finstere flure" (fearsome floors). people just bought that game, because they like the "tales from the crypt" look. But if the game itsself wasn`t good enough, there weren´t any more printruns.

ART&abuleiro - Which are your favorite games and your favorite games designers?

arg, wrong question. in the past, i really liked to play boardgames, but nowadays, i don`t have any time for that anymore.
we liked to play games like "wallenstein", "carcassonne", settlers",  "serenissima", risk (yes!!!) and some crazy stuff, friedemann bought.
oh, and i would really like to play risk evolution. if i have the time. but there are so much things, i prefer to do…

regarding my favorite game designer; do i have to write friedemann?
i always played the games of friedemann before i started with the illustrations, and i see the clever mechanics etc. but i don`t play the games anymore after i finished the job.
i guess, i`m not his the target group.
so, no favourite game designer. neither friedemann nor anybody else.

ART&abuleiro - Do you think that board games can be use for an education purpose?

sure. you really learn to lie, if you are playing "werewolf". and you learn to trust nobody. that`s pretty important for your life.
sorry, just kiding. i think, there are a lot of importand things, which you can learn by playing boardgames. communication is one of this.
losing without any bad feelings against anybody another one.

ART&abuleiro - What you know about Portugal? Have you ever visited Portugal?

oh, sure, great country. my first visit in portugal was 1989 with interrail. we used the train there and really like the country and people.
my last visit was last year. i rented a motorcycle and I enjoyed the landscape and was surprized about the kind cardrivers.
you can be sure, that this won`t be my last visit.
oh, and i really love your food, especially your fish meals. peixe? is that right?


ART&abuleiro -Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions, and we hope to see many more of your artwork in the future.

aloha, maura- thank you for your interest and the interview.


Great interview ... excellent mood... I love it... Thanks


Dominion Seaside (Card Game)

Cards By Maura



One Animation ART with Humor by "Maura"


Scream`N`Run - the first voice controlled Jump`N`Run!

The world after Armaggedon: Complete silence. Suddenly, an unearthly scream. And again. You listen closely and then you realize: It's you who screams!
In Scream`N`Run you are a little zombie with a terrible fear of pink bunnies (which somehow managed to survive the end of the world as well). If you run into them they'll tear you apart, so you have to jump for your …ehm live!
Actually, whenever you see one of these critters you can't help but scream.
Well, the louder you scream the higher you jump...


Maura Kalusky

Official Fan Club in JAPAN.