As a avid board gamer, one thing I’ve noticed is the rise in quality of art in the hobby over the last 10 -15 years. Recently a unique game by the name of Consentacle was brought to my attention featuring art by someone those into indie comics may be familiar with. Currently smashing it’s goal on Kickstarter, I reached out to artist James Harvey, the man responsible for the art of Consentacle.

1. Tell me about yourself, for those who are unfamiliar with your work.

I’m a writer/artist for the comics. I’m one of the few guys working for DC comics who writes his own material. Right now, I’m probably most well-known for being the editor of the Bartkira project, an insane anthology comprising over a thousand artists worldwide, which we just finished this month.

2. How did you get involved with Consentacle? Did Naomi Clark approach you based on seeing your comic work?

I’ve always had one foot in the indie gaming scene since I found out what it was a decade ago, so I’d met Naomi five years ago when I attended a talk did Tim Schafer did at NYU. She knew me from the art I’d done for Mighty Jill Off, an indie game I worked on with her friend Anna Anthropy in 2008. NYU have hired me to do posters for them in the past, and I believe it was someone at NYU who suggested to Naomi that she hire me.
3. How did working on this project differ from other work for hire work? How did it differ from your personal work?

It was fun! A lot of fun. Kit, the human character in Consentacle, is based on my wife Zoe, but when I drew this art we weren’t even dating yet. I asked her if I could base the character on her and she said yes. So when I look at this I see the first blushes of our romance as it developed and blossomed. Freelance work can often be a drag but somehow Consentacle never has been, probably because I enjoy the premise, the characters, I like drawing my wife, and Naomi is a person I enjoy working for and whose sensibilities chime with my own somewhat.

4. Consentacle features a unique and unconventional game theme that some may find odd or uncomfortable. Was that a problem for you?

No, because I’m pretty much unshockable, but I also had experience with doing this type of cute erotica already. Mighty Jill Off, one of the first things I ever worked on after going freelance, presented me with a unique problem- it’s a game about a sub/dom BDSM relationship, but I personally always found the aesthetics of BDSM erotica to be somewhat off putting. So I challenged myself to render that world in a way I found fun, charming and appealing. I think a lot of the lessons I learned on that project have carried through onto this one. Because of Jill Off I have experience taking subject matter that’s tough to swallow and presenting it in a way that I feel could have a more universal appeal than it might traditionally enjoy.

I don’t know why porno anime is always impossibly shiny, with hi-res clean lines and impeccable spectacular highlights. What’s erotic about that shit? I feel like a creep just for looking at it. In that respect, Consentacle has more in common with Melinda Gebbie’s art on Lost Girls– I used soft rendering to make the art feel tactile and warm, not slick and plastic-coated.

5. Do you play board/card games? If so, what are your current favs.

I do not play board or card games but here is a stray observation about boardgames for free: how come everyone who’s into polyamory has shitloads of boardgames in their house?  Anyway, I’m going to try to get my family to play Settlers Of Catan this Christmas because I have heard it is like Monopoly if Monopoly didn’t end in your whole family killing each other.
6. Do you see yourself doing more game illustration in the future? Is this a growing market you see other illustrators moving into? An alternative to animation or film? The tabletop gaming hobby is on the rise.

Right now I can’t afford to turn any work down so sure, why not. Ideally I’d like to get to a place where I can concentrate on my own comics while only doing the freelance projects that take my fancy and look like interesting creative opportunities. I would have taken on Consentacle even if I had been in that position, mind you.