Guns, Art, and Money: An Interview with James Mosingo, the Illustrator for Never Bring a Knife

Published by: Atlas Staff
Guns, Art, and Money: An Interview with James Mosingo, the Illustrator for Never Bring a Knife

Never Bring a Knife, our newest card game, is a social deduction game with less talking and more shooting. It released on Friday, January 17th. Today, we're sharing our interview with James Mosingo, the artist for the game.


Where did you take visual inspiration?

The art for Never Bring a Knife is meant to feel dangerous,  aggressive, and graphic -- like the posters of crime movies. Those were big influences for us. The visual style of the game is really unique for social deduction games. It's loud and bright - especially for a game that's about robbing a bank and having a standoff.
Never Bring a Knife 500x500 Product Image

Which piece was most challenging, and why?

The box art was the most challenging part of this project. It needed to tell you a story of what's inside the box, while also grabbing your attention.

Never Bring a Knife Front & Back Cover

What's one visual element that you felt deserved special attention?

The art on the cards have to feel immediately noticeable so  their silhouettes were very important. Specifically the Cops and Criminal cards required a lot of thought since each card is unique. In the end, the Criminal card with a mask ended up as a personal favorite.

Criminal Card   Never Bring a Knife   Mask

What's something that sets this project apart, in your mind?

We made very conscious decisions for the art in Never Bring  a Knife, like making the three figures on the cover green. Green was chosen not only because that's the color usually associated with money but also to show that anyone can be a bank robber. Additionally, the first iteration of the game's logo included a handgun, but that was eventually dropped in order to make the game less explicitly violent, especially in countries where firearms are viewed differently than in the US.

NBaK box art 02b

The Mole card was interesting since the art needed to resemble someone switching sides. We decided having some kind of listening device would represent that well - as it's often a trope in crime movies.

Mole Sketches Never Bring a Knife

The classic 'wire' fit the best thematically but we wondered how that would take up enough space on the card. That's exactly why for the final version, I drew the cord looped around and mic pointing up so the body of the art takes up a lot of real estate.


Never Bring a Knife plays 4-8 people, ages 17+, in 20-25 minutes. Learn more about the game or read an interview with the game's co-designer Maggie Clyne.



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