Behold the past master
A classical painting style and setting is infused with sci-fi elements in the hands of Polish artist Jakub Róz˙alski
Jakub Rózalski˙ tells us about the success stories that have come from his alternative history art: first a board game, then an art book, and now a video game.
Who’d have thought an alternative history of the 1919-1921 Polish-Soviet War would become Kickstarter gold? But when artist Jakub
Rózalski˙ used this concept to illustrate a board game called Scythe, it became one of the most successful ever to be funded on the platform.
This success has since been followed by an art-of book, and now a related video game, Iron Harvest, is on its way after itself raising more than $1.5 million on Kickstarter.
To create the world of 1920+, I simply mixed together everything I love the most
Combining elements of classical painting and sci-fi, Jakub’s art stems from his twin loves of nature and history. “I was born on the west coast of Poland and grew up in a small village surrounded by forests and lakes,” he says. “Plus, history is my great passion and has always inspired me, along with other cultures, mythologies and mythical creatures.
“So to create this world, which is called ‘1920+’, I simply mixed together everything I love the most: alternative history, countryside, 19th century paintings, extraordinary giant machines, rural atmosphere, wild nature and animals.”
While Jakub does spend some of his spare time painting traditionally in oils and acrylics, most of his work is created digitally, using a Wacom Intuos Pro and Photoshop. And despite its historic specificity, it’s proved to have universal appeal. “I think you can find within it a longing for a life closer to nature, which has been aggressively taken over by technology and civilisation,” he says.
You can follow the development of Iron Harvest by King Art Games at
I don’t like lines,” says Jakub. “Even when I sketch, I do it with a stain, shape or colour, which in a way is more organic than technical.”
Rather than focusing on the epic and heroic, Jakub wanted to show war from the perspective of citizens observing from the sidelines.
“The idea was to tell something of the history and culture of my motherland in an original, alternative and interesting way,” says Jakub.