Jenna Brown Interview — A Hat in Time, Illustration and Zines

An in-depth talk with A Hat in Time’s 2D Art Director, Jenna Brown. This is a must read for any fan of nostalgic platformers!

Lee David Tyrrell

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This interview was originally conducted in 2018, as a part of Secret Cave’s second printed zine.

A Hat in Time has been embraced by players and critics alike. Lauded as a love letter to the fading genre of 3D platformers, it’s a welcome slice of nostalgia. While that would be enough to ensure the game success, its developers have filled every corner with their own innovations too. Because of this, A Hat in Time was among the most memorable titles of 2017.

Thanks to strong visual design, characters like Hat Kid and her adversaries are already a part of popular culture. Much of A Hat in Time’s striking style comes from Jenna Brown, its 2D Art Director. With her incredible passion and talent, Jenna was instrumental in bringing Gears for Breakfast’s debut to life. But she has a long history with illustration, and boasts an impressive catalogue of personal work.

For this interview, I spoke to Jenna about the process of adapting to A Hat in Time. She also discusses how her craft has evolved, some of her inspirations and the struggles of publishing independent zines. This post features several examples of her handiwork, and you can see more here. Finally, I’m extremely grateful to Jenna for her fascinating insight, which you can find in full below!

Image Source

How, and when, did you discover your passion for illustration?

Illustration has been an influence in my life since reading my first children’s books. I always loved looking at and taking in art whilst trying to replicate it within my own artwork. A specific turning point was when I watched Pixar’s Up for the first time, and it clicked that pursuing illustration/concept (especially sequential) was what I really wanted to do and make a career from. If I could come anywhere close to the level of craft within that film, and affect people the same way, I would consider it an accomplishment.

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Lee David Tyrrell

Fiction writer, mostly attracted to sci-fi and strange, experimental tangents. I’ve also worked as a music journalist for Clash, eGigs, eFestivals & C64 Audio.