6 tips for landing a game artist job
Art in video games bring worlds, characters and stories to life. Game art comes in many different forms and styles that require different techniques and workflows. Wether it’s the next generation 3D shooter or a pixel perfect 2D platformer, they all require expertise and creative finesse to make these games visually stunning. At Gazingy our game artists are at the core of our creative expression. From rich concept art to high-res 3D textures our studios has created thousands of art assets that we’re proud of. Here are our 6 top tips for landing that game artist job.
1. Go wide or go deep
Whether you’re a seasoned or an aspiring game artist, there will be a time during your studies or career where you’ll find your own specialisation. There is such a variety and depth in art roles at game studios that the first thing you should do is develop and showcase a direction that really suits you. Are you enjoy rigging and animating 3D characters? Or do you excel at drawing visual effects for 2D sprite based games? These are two legitimate examples of specialisations in the industry that studios could be looking for. However, it doesn’t have to be this focussed. Generally smaller studios favour more generalist or so called ’T-shaped’ game artists, whereas larger studios have the need for more narrow roles with deeper specialisation. Define your own strengths and be sure to show this in your portfolio when applying for a game artist job. Find a company and game artist job vacancy that fits your personal profile.
2. Ask for feedback on your artwork
Regardless of the type of art you love to create, the best way to grow as a professional game artist is to actively seek feedback on your work. To create art in a professional and commercial environment (such as a game studio) can be fun but challenging. It’s often driven by quick iterations, timed delivery and sometimes production decisions can favor ‘function over form’. A true game artist constantly looks for ways to improve their workflow, their efficiency and rely on asking for feedback early in the creation process.
3. Understand your superpower
Working in game art can be incredibly fun and rewarding! Games are pure entertainment and immersion. Realise that as a game artist, you have the superpower to visualise concepts and bring ideas to life. Any visual communication is a great way to trigger emotion and to inspire gamers and colleagues alike. Whatever you create, think about how you present and showcase your work. Pick the best material for your portfolio and let your creations do the talking.
4. Build your network and connect
Game development is the ultimate teamwork. Video games are a unique mix of many different crafts; Engineering, writing, marketing, art, music. design etc. it’s all there. Whether you want to be a specialised artist in a large art department or wear many different hats in a small studio; understanding how your artwork fits into the bigger picture is key. You don’t need a degree in marketing, or be coding your own graphics shaders. But it helps when you understand video game development end to end, on a high level. When you’re drawing or creating something, think about how your art assets will be used in the final product. Are your creations optimised for easy use by level designers? Could your work contribute to the marketing materials used to promote the game? Asking these kinds of questions even when you’re just working on your personal portfolio work can be valuable. It shows you’re a true team player who understands the overall scope and goal of the project. Networking and connecting with fellow artists and other industry peers can be a great way to learn and show future employers that you enjoy being part of the games industry.
4. Perfect your creative portfolio
When applying for game art jobs, make sure that you send along a (online)portfolio with your best and most recent work. Demonstrate different techniques but also keep your portfolio comprehensive and accessible. Visuals that show the workflow behind your art can also be a great way to help hiring managers understand how you work and what tools you use. For example: showing the full 3D asset creation process step by step including modelling, sculpting, unwrapping and texturing etc. shows that you master this pipeline. Make sure though that this doesn’t get in the way of showcasing your best pieces. You want to make the first impression count. Websites like Art Station, Deviant Art, CG Society and Behance can help you build and showcase your portfolio work and allow you to get direct feedback from other artists.
5. Practice makes perfect
Whether you’re in your dream job already or in between jobs, always keep practicing your art and develop your skills. Never stop learning new techniques, styles or simply getting better at what you do. When you’re in an interview for your next game artist job, let them know how you challenge yourself to improve. Keep your portfolio updated, try out new things, keep collecting reference, ask for feedback and reach out to fellow artists. It all helps you stay sharp. 🙂
6. Apply for the right jobs
While every game requires artwork, every game studios has different needs. When you’re applying for a job in game art, understand your expertise well and apply only to roles and companies that fit your profile. As a filter, it helps to research the games that the company you’re applying to, is known for. Ask what games you’ll work on when they hire you and be honest with yourself if that suits your skills or ambitions. If it’s a good fit, be sure to show that in your portfolio when applying. During the recruitment process, don’t hesitate to challenge the company on what they will do to help you grow as a professional. Are there artist working there already who could inspire or even mentor you? Do they work with the tools, hardware and software that you’re familiair with or want to learn? Many game studios also have resources specifically for personal development to invest in your growth. It doesn’t have to be a match made in heaven, but you want the role to be a good fit.
If you’re interested in learning about open positions in game art at Gazingy Interactive, check out our careers page. We have open positions from time to time, from student internships to senior roles. And even if Gazingy isn’t a good fit for you, we hope these tips help you land your next game artist job! Also, if you’re looking to learn more about a game design career, check out our tips for game designersHow to Become a Game Designer.