To celebrate International Women’s Day, we want to shine the light on our female artists to discover what inspires, drives and motivates them in their work. In the lead up to International Women’s Day on the 8th March, we are sharing mini-interviews with our artists and designers which we hope will empower our followers to champion women and take action for equality.
Today's interview is with games designer Emma May who we are working with for the first time this year to introduce the new card game, Quirk!
Q: Tell us a little about yourself.
A: My name is Emma May and I am an illustrator/product developer having created the Laugh-Out-Loud Family Card Game Quirk! selling over 10,000 copies in 2 years. Now working on a fantastic collaboration with Gibsons to relaunch my original game and completely refresh the brand.
Q: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A: I always wanted to be an inventor. I love creating, fixing or improving things.
Q: Why did you choose to become an illustrator?
A: I remember when I was really young watching my Dad draw silly cartoons on a notepad and it inspired me to want to draw. When I was growing up, I absolutely loved Beano and Dennis the Menace, collected all the annuals and naturally my character drawing style now has thick black outlines and block colours too.
Q: What motivates you to work for yourself and be an entrepreneur?
A: What really inspired me was the ability to create my own creative culture and a company developing its own IP in an entertainment industry. I’ve always wanted to run my own business; I’ve spent many years coming up with ideas, characters, projects, building teams and joining collaborations, all in an effort to be part of something bigger than myself and contribute back to the world. Starting Emmerse Studios was the scariest risk of my life but the thrill of creating something out of the unknown and overcoming “impossible” obstacles speaks to me and I’m inspired by those who have broken all conventional wisdom in the past by overcoming adversity. It’s just something I want to be part of.
Q: What’s your biggest achievement?
A: The most obvious thing to say is Quirk! and while I’m proud of what I’ve been able to achieve as a solo-developer and my amazing collaboration with Gibsons is at the very top of my list, my biggest achievement has been my ability to change my mindset in the most dire of circumstances. You enter into entrepreneurship somewhat naïve because you haven’t faced any challenges yet and you’re inspired by your dream of what you can create, but when you get knocked down and lose direction, it’s challenging to find that spark that ignites all of your passion to make big leaps in the world and show up powerfully. Finding it again after a low is a huge achievement and one I admire a lot in other people.
Q: Who is a woman you admire and why?
A: Touching on my last point; J.K. Rowling because of the hardship she went through before Harry Potter was picked up and became the massive success that it is today. She was told that Harry Potter wasn’t a story for children; but she followed her own intuition. Her pitch was rejected 12 times and when she did get picked up, they only printed 500 copies to start with but those original copies are now worth a lot of money today. There are a lot of lessons Rowling can teach us about creativity, resilience and staying true to ourselves, but the one that relates the most will always be, having absolutely nothing and still creating something incredible out of it.
The new version of Quirk! will be available to buy in June. Head to UK Games Expo in May to test-play the brand new version!