Jigsaw Puzzle Art!

[Image courtesy of the Official UK Puzzle Club.]

I tend not to talk about jigsaw puzzles all that much in this blog. It’s not that I have anything against jigsaw puzzles; it’s simply that, when it comes to the world of puzzles, for the most part, jigsaw puzzles occupy the easy end of the spectrum, and I prefer to focus on puzzles with a bit more bite or challenge.

(And yes, I do realize there are edgeless puzzles or repetitive patterns and 3-D puzzles that are far more challenging than the average jigsaw. But my point stands.)

That being said, when there’s something particularly interesting about jigsaws in the news, I’m happy to spread the word.

And I’ve got two jigsaw-centric stories for you today, both of which center around the worlds of art and pop culture.

The first story offers up some solvable art for you.

Artist Max Dalton finds inspiration in music and cinema, and one of his projects has been exploring the cultural impact and meaning of films by turning his art into 500-piece jigsaw puzzles.

There’s something immensely clever about that, since assembling a jigsaw requires you to study and stare at each element and figure out how it fits into the greater whole.

That’s a wonderful mentality to bring to films like King Kong or Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, movies that offer a lot of subtext and invite plenty of conversation.

The second story follows in Dalton’s footsteps, but has a distinctly modern pop culture twist.

HBO is releasing a series of six 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzles based on the works by artist Robert M. Ball. These puzzles depict key sequences from the show Game of Thrones, bringing bold colors and striking visuals to moments that fans and viewers still talk about today.

From Cersei’s assault on King’s Landing to Sansa turning Ramsey Bolton’s hounds loose on him, these are visceral moments presented with style.

The chance to savor them while putting them together seems like an undeniable treat for fans of the show.

It’s interesting to see topnotch artists elevating this classic puzzly form. I’m not much of a jigsaw guy, but these puzzles definitely had me thinking twice about giving them a shot.


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5 Questions for Artist and Game Designer Jennifer Hrabota Lesser

Welcome to 5 Questions, our recurring interview series where we reach out to puzzle constructors, game designers, writers, filmmakers, musicians, artists, and puzzle enthusiasts from all walks of life!

It’s all about exploring the vast and intriguing puzzle community by talking to those who make puzzles and those who enjoy them! (Click here to check out previous editions of 5 Questions!)

And I’m excited to welcome Jennifer Hrabota Lesser as our latest 5 Questions interviewee!

Jennifer Hrabota Lesser is an artist. Whether it’s commissioned artwork, passion projects of her own, or design work for board games and video games, she adds a personal touch to every piece she works on.

Initially getting into the game industry as a way to pay off student loans, she has since gone on to build a small board game company, Wild Power Games, with her husband. She also teaches a summer class on game design at the Rhode Island School of Design.

Jennifer was gracious enough to take some time out to talk to us, so without further ado, let’s get to the interview!


5 Questions for Jennifer Hrabota Lesser

1.) How did you first get into puzzles and games?

I’ve always loved puzzles and games. I think that I’ve always found them to be very calming. As a kid, puzzle books were a great way to get through long car rides. (Back in the days before iPhones!) These days, they are a way to unwind and calm down.

I am definitely a gamer, I adore board games and table top games. I also find Sudoku very soothing and meditative.

2.) I had the pleasure of scrolling through the art on your website, and there’s a really wonderful trend of reaching out that seems to suffuse many of your works. People holding each other, or finding themselves enveloped by things like flowers. Is that an intentional theme, either for your site or for your art in general, or just something I pulled from this sampling of your work?

Connection is an ongoing theme in my work, both connection with other people and connection with nature. I try to portray my subjects in transitional moments, where they may be at a point of finding a deeper connection with someone, or they may feel as if something has just been lost — the moments of feeling untethered. I believe understanding our connection with those around us is important to our health and happiness as individuals and as a society.

3.) How does your art inform your work in games, and vice versa?

My work is strongly influenced by mythology and fables, and the games I work on are often character-centered. I really enjoy working on games that have a story, and I think the same applies to my artwork. There is often an implied narrative in the work I’m doing.

I often like to portray strong female characters, finding their power. Years ago I got to design some great female characters for Guitar Hero 2, which was a blast because I love playing guitar and women tend to be underrepresented in rock. More recently I was able to design some of my favorite goddesses for our tabletop game High Heavens. I particularly loved painting Nut and Isis from the Egyptian pantheon. Illustrating The Mother of Dragons for a recent Game of Thrones expansion was also pretty great.

4.) What’s next for Jennifer Hrabota Lesser?

I am working on a poker deck that will be featuring my artwork, which is going to be an intense undertaking, but one that I am excited about!

5.) If you could give the readers, writers, artists, aspiring game designers, and puzzle fans in the audience one piece of advice, what would it be?

Whatever your creative path is, find time to do it every day. Create when you are inspired, but create when you are uninspired, push through the times when you aren’t feeling it, to get into the habit of working. I love the quote by Pablo Picasso: “Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.”

We work and work, and sometimes when we least expect it, something amazing happens. It won’t happen if you aren’t doing the work in the first place.


A huge thank you to Jennifer for her time. Be sure to check out her website for the latest updates on all her marvelous endeavors!

Thanks for visiting PuzzleNation Blog today! Be sure to sign up for our newsletter to stay up-to-date on everything PuzzleNation!

You can also share your pictures with us on Instagram, friend us on Facebook, check us out on TwitterPinterest, and Tumblr, and explore the always-expanding library of PuzzleNation apps and games on our website!

It’s Follow-Up Friday: Puzzle Book edition!

Welcome to Follow-Up Friday!

By this time, you know the drill. Follow-Up Friday is a chance for us to revisit the subjects of previous posts and bring the PuzzleNation audience up to speed on all things puzzly.

And today, I’m posting the results of our #PennyDellPuzzleBooks hashtag game!

You may be familiar with the board game Schmovie, hashtag games on Twitter, or @midnight’s Hashtag Wars segment on Comedy Central.

For the last few months, we’re been collaborating on puzzle-themed hashtag games with our pals at Penny/Dell Puzzles, and this month’s hook was Penny/Dell Broadway Puzzles!

Examples might be The Lord of the Diamond Rings or The Da Vinci Codeword or Alphabet Soup for the Soul.

So, without further ado, check out what the puzzlers at PuzzleNation and Penny/Dell Puzzles came up with!


Charlotte’s Spider’s Web

Right Angles and Demons

The Grapes of Word Math

The Scarlet Letterboxes / The Scarlet Letter Logic

The Fault in Our Starspell / The Fault in Our Star Words

Harry Potter and the Halftime Prince

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stepping Stones

Brave New Word Seeks / Brave New Word Games

The Lion, the Witch, and the Word Seek

The Wizard Words of Oz

The “Mystery Person” of Edward Drood

To Kill a Missing Word (List)

The Fountainheads & Tails Word Seek

Around the Block in Eighty Days / Around the Bend in 80 Days

A Tale of Two-Step Cities

The Three of a Kind Musketeers

Oh, the Places, Please You’ll Go!

Peyton’s Places, Please

Anagrams Karenina

Anagram of Green Gables

North & South of Eden

The Swiss Family Robinson Ties

Bowl Game of Thrones

Ender’s Bowl Game

Fahrenheit Two for One / Fahrenheit 451 and Only

Sudoku Road

Cryptograms Wake / Fill-Ins Wake / Figgerits Wake

Kakuro Pioneers!

Little Puzzler on the Prairie

First and Last of the Mohicans

The Picture Sleuth of Dorian Gray / The Picture This of Dorian Gray

Watership Spelldown

Buried Treasure Island

The Countdown of Monte Cristo

Take It from There to Eternity

The Sign of Four Corners / The Big Four Corners

The Doomsday Bookworms

Great Crostictations

A Wrinkle in Time Machine

The Perks of Being a WallFlower Power

Catch-22 for One

The Hotel on the Poet’s Corner of Bitter and Sweet

50 Shades of Grey Shadows

The Joy Luck Crosswords Club

Jurassic Park What’s Left

My What’s Left Foot

Only The Shadow Knows

From Alphabet Soup to Nuts

Match Up Made in Heaven

Beat the Clock-work Orange

A Hive for a Honeycomb

Star Words

The Lost Symbol-lic Logic

Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ringmaster

The Sylla-rillion

The Hunger Word Games

198-Four Square

The Sum Totals Also Rises

And one overachiever…

The “Lion” (‘Em Up), the “Which” (Way Words), and the “Word”robe by C(ircle) S(ums) Lewis


We also received a terrific one from @_Screenhog, Cross Sums of All Fears!

Have you come up with any Penny/Dell Puzzle Books of your own? Let us know! We’d love to see them!

Thanks for visiting PuzzleNation Blog today! You can share your pictures with us on Instagram, friend us on Facebook, check us out on TwitterPinterest, and Tumblr, and be sure to check out the growing library of PuzzleNation apps and games!