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  1. #1
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    Is There a Glass Ceiling in the Games/VFX Industry art departments?

    (First off, let’s just have a discussion, please don’t flame!)

    Anyway, I was wondering if any of the pros here had an honest opinion about whether there is gender discrimination (conscious or unconscious) in the industry of concept art.

    While I’m well aware of the existence female concept artists (and some pretty good ones, too), it seems as though NONE of them are at the tippy-top of their industry when it comes to concept art. No lead concept artists I’ve ever seen. No web/magazine articles about key roles they played in high-budget big-name productions. No cutting-edge DVDs.
    If I were to ask anyone on this forum to name, in their opinion, 15 of the most “well-known” concept artists, I’ll bet most of them would list 15 males. I would, at least.

    I’ve heard that the gender gap existed because of a lower rate of female interest in the industry, and was not concerned with creativity, ability, and/or discrimination. OK, I’ll buy that. Though I’m open to opinions about creativity and ability.

    But does this explain the definite existence of women artists and designers in the field (who are obviously interested in it), seemingly without the existence of any at the “top of the game”?

    If it doesn’t, it would seem that there’s some kind of gender discrimination in the "top companies".
    Either that, or could it be that publicity venues like all the web communities are skewed? Perhaps there are stunningly talented female concept artists who choose not to post their work on forums or blogs and duck out of interviews? If there are, then why?

    Anyway if you have any examples of people who burst through this "ceiling" (if it exists), post ‘em! (But keep in mind that many talented female illustrators are not concept artists, so they wouldn’t apply to this particular thread.)

    ---------------------------------------------------------------

    I did find this article featuring some influential women. HOWEVER, it covers producers, managers, marketing directors, and magazine editors and such, and not really any actual “artists” so I don’t think it counteracts my point.
    http://www.edge-online.com/features/...women?page=0,1
    Confirming this observation:
    “As for percentages in individual disciplines, business and legal, with 27% female, 72% male (marketing, PR, sales, other administrative staff, executives) saw the largest female quotient, with production (producers and executive producers) also comparatively high, at 21% female, 79% male.

    On the other end of the spectrum, game design saw just 7% female and 93% male, and the programming discipline saw the lowest female percentages altogether, with 4% female respondents and 96% male. Art was the development discipline most staffed by women, with 10% female artists and 90% male across the Audience Insights survey, which is the only major survey of game professional salary and location information conducted each year.”
    (From http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/new...php?story=8928)

    What’s surprising to me is that I always thought art-related jobs tended to have an even distribution of women, as compared to business-related ones like producing. Huh…

    ---------------------------------------------------------------

    But that gets off topic a bit because it doesn’t measure the highest-level positions and the most well-known artists.

    Anyway, sorry this post is so long- I want to hear what others think more than just spouting my speculations.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Zirngibism View Post
    I’ve heard that the gender gap existed because of a lower rate of female interest in the industry.
    When putting the games industry under the microscope regarding the gender thing, i can say with quite a bit of certainty there isn't a glass ceiling, but just that there arent as many women in the video games field. When i went to school for video game art and design, out of a class of 800, probably under 30 were women. Games are largely marketed toward men, only now are they really trying to reach out to both women and men. That is in my opinion why there seems to be less female concept artists, or art directors, just that there isn't as many women doing it, or anything drawing them to it, which you mentioned.
    "I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain."
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zirngibism View Post
    If I were to ask anyone on this forum to name, in their opinion, 15 of the most “well-known” concept artists, I’ll bet most of them would list 15 males. I would, at least.
    Sure.

    If you asked them to name 15 of the best concept artists, would their answers be any different? Would yours?

    It’s a meritocratic field. The hard sciences attract similar criticisms, despite their indifference to superficial qualities.

    People can argue over whether societal or biological forces are at play. Your best bet is to ignore the possibility of both. Work hard. Make yourself deserving of recognition, and you will receive it.

    In fact, if you were to rise to the position of Lead Concept Artist, your male subordinates would be anything but bitter. They’d glance at each other and say, “cool”.

    I mean, look at Jade Raymond.

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    If I were to ask anyone on this forum to name, in their opinion, 15 of the most “well-known” concept artists, I’ll bet most of them would list 15 males. I would, at least.

    I've had the pleasure of working with as well as meeting artists in the VFX industry who have been working there for years and are extremely talented.... but they've always been in-house full time and probably have never had a need to post portfolio work online.... for that reason they're probably unkown to a lot of the online art community.

    I don't know how a concept artist could become 'well-known' unless they had their portfolio online and used to be/are active members in one of the larger art communities like concept art.org.

    I think it would be easier to name off alot of famous female illustrators because they're more than likely freelance and have lots of exposure from online portfolios.

    They also might work in vfx, do concept art, but their job title might be something other than "concept artist" when the credits roll... they also might only be credited as the company or vfx shop they worked for.

    on a side note...
    One of my favourite illustrators is female and from what one of her former professors told me she did work in games for a while after graduation.

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    shelly wan can run with any of the boys around here.

    it has nothing to do with gender..it has to do with taste...the reality is relatively few women are interested in tanks, robots, and big boobied video game girls compared to the mass quantities of boys who dig that stuff...though thank god there are some because the ladies around here have made this place what it is today.


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    From my experiences, women are just as, if not more interested in art than your average man, however, as jason said, it is more common for women's preferences/sensibilities to lean toward fine art rather than the type of concept art we like around here.

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    The weird thing about this is that in High School I'm the only male that interested in Art amongst a bunch of girls.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jason Manley View Post
    shelly wan can run with any of the boys around here.

    it has nothing to do with gender..it has to do with taste...the reality is relatively few women are interested in tanks, robots, and big boobied video game girls compared to the mass quantities of boys who dig that stuff...though thank god there are some because the ladies around here have made this place what it is today.


    jason
    yea, i was going to say the same thing. Not too many girls grew up drawing that kind of stuff, but it seems every guy i know at some point in their life has went through a phase where they draw those things. The concept artists & illustrators are the ones who never got out of that phase; and never intend to leave it.
    "I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain."
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    Quote Originally Posted by James Kei View Post
    My friend Molly Denmark is the Lead Concept artist over at Lucas Arts.
    Woah, thanks for that-- That's the kind of exception I was sort of looking for. I hope she posts more, soon. I could only find 2 pieces and they're great!

    I remember browsing through the Art of Star Wars books and no female name jumped out at me, let alone hers, which made me think it was pretty much an all-male concept art staff. Wonder how I missed it...

    Guess it shows that certain people just tend to represent themselves more than others.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Palomar View Post
    Sure.

    If you asked them to name 15 of the best concept artists, would their answers be any different? Would yours?

    It’s a meritocratic field. The hard sciences attract similar criticisms, despite their indifference to superficial qualities.

    People can argue over whether societal or biological forces are at play. Your best bet is to ignore the possibility of both. Work hard. Make yourself deserving of recognition, and you will receive it.

    In fact, if you were to rise to the position of Lead Concept Artist, your male subordinates would be anything but bitter. They’d glance at each other and say, “cool”.

    I mean, look at Jade Raymond.
    Good reply.

    In reply to the "list 15" question, they would be slightly different, but not too much.
    I worded it that way because I didn't want to start a debate about ability, but instead about position.

    Good point about the hard sciences.

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    there is no glass ceiling. the only thing that matters is ability...beyond that it is ALL people skills.

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    I checked out my big bookmark list and also found one good female concept artist. No robots or tanks but characters are amazing - http://www.nezuyukiko.com

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    Hm. I wonder what the ratio of men to women is in flower arrangement...and why nobody ever sees anything sinister about it.
    I was once on the receiving end of a critique so savagely nasty, I marched straight out of class to the office and changed my major (sketchbook).

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  17. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zirngibism View Post
    I remember browsing through the Art of Star Wars books and no female name jumped out at me, let alone hers, which made me think it was pretty much an all-male concept art staff. Wonder how I missed it...

    Guess it shows that certain people just tend to represent themselves more than others.

    Terryl Whitlatch!
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    No.

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    'art' is a wide field, and illustration is just a part of it; similarly, game design/concept art is a sector of illustration. there's plenty of overlap, but from what i can tell - working for a game developer traditionally seems to stress some subjects and styles above others. to get a decent job in the gaming industry, i'm guessing you'd need a strong portfolio showing off your ability to provide what a company needs; and your portfolio is a very strong indication of your interests and tastes. basically, you work in the industry if you're interested in it.

    i have no numbers to back anything up, however: it seems to me now that much of the gap can be accounted for in terms of interest. i know of many female artists who have made their names well known, and personally know many who will. none, as far as i know, are active within the gaming industry. illustration in particular seems to be a meritocratic industry, but you can't rise to the top of a specific field if you don't have the requisite interest.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jake Kobrin View Post
    The weird thing about this is that in High School I'm the only male that interested in Art amongst a bunch of girls.
    Same thing with me in my college painting class. The difference wasn't gender though, it was mindset; they wanted to paint 'fine art' as they called it, and apparently that meant rainbow stripes and surrealist pieces with terrible craftsmanship that they would make excuses for.

    I wanted to paint naked people and creatures

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    Check this one and add to favourites: ^^

    http://www.conceptart.org/forums/showthread.php?t=83822
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stoat View Post
    Hm. I wonder what the ratio of men to women is in flower arrangement...and why nobody ever sees anything sinister about it.
    I DO, GOD I WANT MY MAN FLOWERS NOW!

    no but seriously, if girls were interested in skeletons fighting naked ladies and monsters eating jacked dudes then I would've had a lot more girlfriends. I only wish that were true.

    But yea, its all about the skills
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stoat View Post
    Hm. I wonder what the ratio of men to women is in flower arrangement...and why nobody ever sees anything sinister about it.
    Actually, I believe there's quite a number of males doing those jobs since they can be doing the set designs and other kinds of stuff than just "send your girl a boquet!"

    Sometimes it could be client preference. For example, in doing Sales or Customer service, women are paid higher than men due to the fact customers like to feel comforted by a female voice over a male one.

    I guess it's all relative to what the concept work is too. As entertainment changes so will concept work. It's not *always* about a scary monster. Concept work for character designs for games geared towards a gender etc...

    Now that times change, gender roles change and perception too. After all there was that Disney rejection letter I posted before that did show there was a bias previously to what women could do. So I think as things progress and those of any gender want to do what is considered concept art work

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arshes Nei View Post
    Sometimes it could be client preference. For example, in doing Sales or Customer service, women are paid higher than men due to the fact customers like to feel comforted by a female voice over a male one.
    Not only is that illegal in many countries (to have different salaries according to the gender,) but I have worked in customer service and sales support for many years and my fiance has been a manager and trainer in call centers and that is absolutely untrue. Where I worked there were more male reps and they often got more promotions than the female ones. My theory is that it is a matter of being tough and ruthless... but I can't say that I have made a study on the subject.
    Last edited by Qitsune; December 30th, 2008 at 09:18 PM.

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    Any women in the industry have an opinion on this? I mean, it's one thing for a bunch of guys to sit around talking about how unsexist the industry is, but discrimination can be hard to see when it isn't directed at you.



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    I'm a girl, I do concept in the industry. And I like drawing tits, though I am still working on learning more about tanks n stuff.

    I don't know about a glass ceiling, I was hired based on my work before anyone even met me. I will say I am one of a small minority of women in my office but that's not so unusual. It has a whole lot more to do with what you want to paint and how hard you are willing to work at it, no matter what your gender.

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    I can't speak for concept art or the games/vfx industry, but in publishing/editorial work the vast majority of illustrators are male, and the vast majority of art directors are female.

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    Unless you use your vagina to draw, your gender will not hinder your ability to get a job as a concept artist.

    As for Star Wars concept art, go pull a copy of the art of the Force Unleashed from the shelves of your local bookstore, and you'll see a lot of stunning concept work by Amy Beth Christenson. And I don't mean "girly" art of Princess Leia braiding flowers into a Wookie's fur while Vader foxtrots along a nice seascape background. I mean blow-your-fucking-mind character concepts and environments that helped shape the game. Or go back to the LMS rounds and watch Shelly Wan spank the boys (gracefully).

    Hell, I'll save you the trouble: http://www.starwars.com/gaming/video...s20070330.html

    I wouldn't judge who is in the "tippy top" of the industry by exposure. Writing an article for a magazine like ImagineFX or having a big online presence is something an artist chooses to do, and doesn't directly reflect on their position in the industry. Most people have probably never even heard of Amy Beth, but if working with George Lucas on a game like Force Unleashe isn't "tip top" of the industry, I don't know what is. Sam Didier doesn't have a huge online presence either (that I know of, I could be wrong) and he's the art director for Blizzard (and an active concept artist as well).

    It all comes down to this: if you want it badly enough, nothing can stand in your way. Not your gender. Not your social standing. Not money. Nothing. Jason overcame odds much more daunting than possible sexism, and many other artists have done the same.

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  31. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell View Post
    I can't speak for concept art or the games/vfx industry, but in publishing/editorial work the vast majority of illustrators are male, and the vast majority of art directors are female.
    YEAH
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    I wonder if it could also be a competition thing. Men seem geneticly coded to compete (which makes sense from a survival of the fittest sense- males don't breed if they don't compete), and that may make for men striving harder for top positions (in any field), or women not being as likely to self promote or seek personal glory/fame once they have a good job. Even if they are a top artist, if they don't self promote how would we know?

    Just some theories, but I'd also like to hear from more women on what their experiences are.

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    Funnily enough, almost all the people that told me that this industry wouldn't accept me / would discriminate against me have almost entirely been women who know almost nothing about the industry.

    All the guys (and gals, actually) I have met in the industry have been absolutely totally supportive. That's why I really don't mind the fact that we're outnumbered a little, I've never felt unwelcome or put down by them.

    The only guys have have ever done that were ones that were in my school program, but to be honest, from what I've seen now, those are exactly the guys that I don't think will make it.

    Once games start leaning a little more toward female interests (and i think many of them are starting to, now), you'll see more girls wanting to get into the industry, and our populations will rise.

    The best you can do for *that* future is to do your best and be a roll model for the rest of us, right?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Qitsune View Post
    Not only is that illegal in many countries (to have different salaries according to the gender,) but I have worked in customer service and sales support for many years and my fiance has been a manager and trainer in call centers and that is absolutely untrue. Where I worked there were more male reps and they often got more promotions than the female ones. My theory is that it is a matter of being tough and ruthless... but I can't say that I have made a study on the subject.
    Whether it's illegal or not it is happening.

    http://blogs.payscale.com/ask_dr_sal..._women_sa.html

    As you said you haven't done much study on the subject. I just remember the argument on average are paid less than men, but it also showed where women were paid higher than men in certain industries. Sales, certain kinds of Customer service...

    This CNN article had some interesting info such as men seem to take more risks with their careers than female counterparts. If a guy is willing to move around the country more than a female who is more worried about security that may play into it. Granted, this is more of an opinion piece, but I think it provided some interesting points that aren't accounted for. I think many people doing the studies have good points on both sides.

    http://money.cnn.com/2006/02/28/comm...hadi/index.htm

    Here's a pay scale table about 2006 where you see there are circumstances where women get paid higher than men.

    http://money.cnn.com/2006/02/28/comm...able/index.htm

    I do think there are gender gaps in jobs since there is still the mindset of what females and males can work on ...but it's been eradicating as things progress, so it's nothing what it was 10 years ago or later.

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    I thought the glass ceiling in the video game industry was called a SKY BOX.


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