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SJGames Week: Interview with Munchkin Illustrator John Kovalic
Posted By Flames On July 27, 2011 @ 1:32 pm In Artists | 2 Comments
To celebrate the Munchkin 10 Year anniversary, FlamesRising.com asked John Kovalic, the main illustrator for this collectible card game, to open up the floor to questions from his fans for this interview. Every question you read here was asked by a fan on John Kovalic’s Facebook page . In his own words, find out how John works on Munchkin with Steve Jackson Games, what some of his memorable experiences are, and more.
Usually, just a line or two of text. After ten years of working together, Steve and I seem to have a weird psychic art direction bond: I know exactly what he wants with just a few words. At times, Steve will even just send along a “You know what to do, John” note.
Hard to say. I usually have a top 10, which seems to rotate. Recently, anything involving a toilet usually has a good chance of being on that list.
At a local show, a dad stopped to thank me for signing some stuff for his severely handicapped son, and taking the time to personalize some stuff for him. The father told me about his son’s greatly reduced life expectancy, and how nice it was that playing these games made his son feel so good. That absolutely tore me up, inside – it still does. We all have inside us the power to make others happy, or to feel better about the world, even if only for a little bit. And yet we take it for granted so often…
Probably the most recent version of the Super Munchkin (here have been three, so far), which is also the cover image on the latest edition of the basic game. It appears to have become quite iconic.
The hardest card I had to draw was possibly “The Churninator” from Munchkin Cthulhu 2, as I didn’t realize how Steve had envisaged that as being wielded. It should have been an easy card, but just wasn’t. Another challenging card from Munchkin Cthulhu 2 was the quite intricate “Green Reaper.” I’m surprised I have no hard feelings about Munchkin Cthulhu 2!
Easiest? Oh, I don’t know if there’s ever an “easiest” card to draw, but some of the simpler illustrations have definitely turned into some of my favorites, because the graphic design is allowed to stand out a bit more.
Four just seems to make a hand too crowded.
Spitting. Spitting always seems to be difficult, whenever it pops up. Stop spitting, Munchkins!
Soon, I hope, in Dork Tower . He’s never appeared in Munchkin. So unless there’s a “Munchkin: Foodie” expansion somewhere down the line (HINT: There is NO “Munchkin Foodie” expansion down the line…)
I can’t tell that without revealing a huge Munchkin surprise that’s still about a year away.
Working with Steve, in all honesty. It’s a thrill that my artwork seems to match his warped sense of humor so well. The mix was good from the start. We’re kind of like the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups of the game world. “You’ve got Cuteness in my Evil!” “Oh, yeah? We’ll YOU’VE got Evil in my Cuteness!” (I may have just aged myself, with that reference).
Several, but I think most cartoonists always think they could have done better. Recently, though, I started using a tablet to edit and correct the cards once I scan them in. That leaves me a lot more time to make changes and variations before I have to deliver them per my deadlines. I’ve been taking advantage of the extra time and have been trying to make them funnier/cooler before sending them off to Steve Jackson Games. Munchkin 8 will be the first to benefit from this.
Occasionally, I’ll come up with a drawing or a pun that I like so much, I’ll run it past Steve or Andrew. There’s a Cleric with a Mitre that has a cannon coming out of it. “Killer Mitre.” Get it?
Easy question: the Loaded Die. I despise that card. It’s an ugly drawing. And I made it! It. Has. Run. In. EVERY. Set. EVERY one! Steve knows I hate it. I believe he keeps it in to taunt me…
Usually, whatever the last one I worked on was, but I tend to prefer the later games, as a whole. I feel my drawings drastically improved: Munchkin Cthulhu, The Good, the Bad and the Munchkin, Munchkin Booty, Munchkin Zombies.
I’m a Munchkin purist: my favorite game is the original, with two or three of the fantasy expansions — at the most. Did you know what happens when you combine The Good, The Bad and the Munchkin and Star Munchkin? You could make a fine game called “Munchkin Serenity”…
Believe it or not, I have never played (and will never play) a “One With Everything” Munchkin game. There are more than 3,000 cards in print. that way lies madness…
It’s delightful to be able to go to Italy or Germany and have people know ad enjoy my work. I’m a very, very lucky cartoonist.
Maybe. Possibly. Never say ‘never.’ But not for the foreseeable future.
Interview compiled by Monica Valentinelli
Article printed from Flames Rising: http://www.flamesrising.com
URL to article: http://www.flamesrising.com/interview-john-kovalic-munchkin/
URLs in this post:
 John Kovalic’s Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/johnkovalic
 Dork Tower: http://www.dorktower.com/
 Image: http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2Fs%3Fie%3DUTF8%26node%3D165793011%26ref_%3Dbl_sr_toys-and-games%26field-brandtextbin%3DSteve%2520Jackson%2520Games%23&tag=flamesrising-20&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=390957
 Sneak Peek at Zombie Chibithulhu, Munchkin Axe Cop, Munchkin Conan and more! : http://www.flamesrising.com/zombie-chibithulhu-munchkin-axe-cop-conan/
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