I’m thrilled to post an interview with Andrew Bosley, illustrator of Everdell (and Pearlbrook expansion), Mission: Red Planet, Citadels, Love Letter, and a recently announced collaboration with Stonemaier games, Tapestry.
*Note: I had read a lot of about Andrew, and talked to him a bit prior to this interview. We skipped a lot of the preamble, but if you don’t know much about Andrew, you should check out the quality interviews at More Games Please, Board Game Atlas, or his Bosley Art.
Also note that this is a transcription from a call, so it reads convserationally.
Hi Andrew, thanks so much for joining me today.
Thanks for having me!
So I’ve read that you left Ubisoft after 7 years to freelance full time. You had this stable job in the big leagues, then you decided to set out on your own. What was that transition like?
Yeah, I was a concept artist and worked on some major projects including Ghost Recon, Assassin’s Creed, and Rainbow Six. When I decided to go freelance, I wasn’t a big name or anything, It’s not like Riot was knocking on my door. Going freelance meant developing connections and taking on lots of different kinds of work, at first taking on any project that came along. The transition into board games was slow.
Were there other skills you had to cultivate that you didn’t necessarily have from your prior career? What are some pros and cons between that “regular” style of work, versus a freelance lifestyle?
The goal was always to freelance. It gives me a lot more freedom in the projects that I choose to work on, ideally it also gives time for more personal projects. As far as things I had to pick up, yeah, a lot more marketing, social media, personal things to get my name out. I’m not a great social media person, so that was a challenge.
I also had to figure out the business side; what do I charge, what are best practices for communication, things like that. I had good connections to transition prior to freelancing due to Red storm. But yes, the goal was always to freelance.
I saw that you have a wife and 5 kids. That must keep you busy as well.
Yeah, ages 6 to 17! It definitely keeps us busy. One of them will probably pop in here during this interview!
I can only imagine – I have three daughters ages 1, 3, and 6, and that keeps us out straight. So how do you find the work-life balance? Is it easier or harder to weave that all together, now that you set your own hours?
It’s a big challenge, and I couldn’t do it without a wonderful, supportive wife. She’s been so, I guess you’d say accommodating? She’s good at making boundaries. We moved cross country, and one of the reasons was because our house has a separate building and studio space, so I’m “away” even though I’m just across the lawn. My kids will still pop in here all the time though, which is a great thing to have, and that is one of the biggest benefits of freelancing. I can have that flexibility, but it’s also a challenge.
Is it sometimes hard to sort of see your family during the day, but then have to get back into work mode?
The hardest thing for me is actually getting out of work mode! I’m a workaholic; the challenge is to leave it at the office. It can be tough to transition, but it gives me a ton of flexibility.
Stay tuned for part 2 in the next couple of days!