Cabals: Magic & Battle Cards



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Player Interviews

#2 - Jarno

Our insightful interviews are back and this time with a legend among the Cabals Community: The Mysterious Mad Genius (The Cabals Artist) that is Jarno Kantelinen. Yes, that’s right, here is your opportunity to get into the mind of the man behind the amazing artwork we all enjoy and love in Cabals: Magic & Battle Cards!

First, tell us about yourself

I am a Finnish 2D artist. Male. Over thirty.

What is your role or involvement in Cabals?

I play the role of lead artist. It means I have made all of the card illustrations, most of the in-game and menu graphics. Also I have been involved in developing the lore of Cabals and making random card suggestions. From my point of view, this game project has been the most intimate and personal so far.

How long have you been working in this field?

I have been making freelance illustrations for over ten years now. In 2005 I got into the mobile game business when I did an internship at a Finnish independent game studio called Universomo. I continued there until 2010. After that I have been involved with several different game companies and projects.

What made you choose this profession?

I have always been writing and drawing. When I was young I made my own board games and in my teens I played a lot of role-playing games. But I never thought I could be a) a professional artist or b) work in the game industry. And since being a full time writer or a movie director or a painter seemed impossible or economically unwise I studied history, arts and anthropology at university for two years. My lecture notes were mostly drawings which lead me to study graphic design.

What are the key skills you need to succeed in this area?

Too difficult question! Next!

....I mean who knows. You can succeed with different skill sets. I guess in any design industry related job it is useful to be really good at one or two things that you do, since it means efficiency, which means you are able to estimate how long it will take you to finish a given task. You also need to be tenacious and learn from your mistakes. Since the game industry is driven by technological development, there are always new technical issues one has to cope with. Quickest way to learn is to work/play with more experienced people than you and try new stuff. If I recollect correctly, the famous Hergé wasn't talented in drawing at all when he was young, but he wanted to learn it so much that he became a professional in the end. Some time ago an illustration by Herge was sold at over 1.3 million euros. Even if art isn't about money, this is inspiring.

What would be your number one tip for people who aspire to work in your field?

You have to love to practice a lot. If that comes naturally, then it can work well. (And remember to exercise your body too if you want to keep on rocking!)

What is the most challenging aspect of working on Cabals?

Designing user interface graphics (not only Cabals, though).

What’s your favorite aspect of Cabals?

The game as a whole is brilliant. I love to play it.

What inspires you to create such breathtaking artwork?

Fear. Deadlines.

Do you ever get periods where the ideas stop and if so what do you do to get past them?

Luckily I haven't had too many problems with this. If I cannot figure out something right now, I usually just do something else. And feeding your brains with literacy, comics, movies etc. keeps them going. The brain is a muscle. It needs exercise and rest.

For those that are not familiar with your work, what other projects have you been involved in?

I am proud to say I have worked on a Star Wars, Indiana Jones and Pixar movie games. You can find my illustrations also in Death Rally (PC). Check out my portfolio at

How do you see yourself as an artist?

I see myself as a craftsman. Just learning different things, bit by bit, without any other artistic ambitions than being curious and excited about stuff.

Tell us one funny thing that has happened to you whilst working at Kyy Games?

At one point I was asked (not by Kyy) to remove all the nipples from the Valburg's Night illustration (and from a few other cards). It seems that some people out there think it's more natural that way... so let's just deny the anatomical fact that mammals have nipples...

How do you spend your free time - apart from improving Cabals of course?

I do sports. Listen to audio books. Play guitar. Write stuff.

Is there anything you would like to say to the players of Cabals?

(Arnold's voice) I am going to storm your stronghold!

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