Game Design Artist Question
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    Game Design Artist Question

    Hi guys, my name is Michael Scala, I graduated from school last month and I have been trying to make it into the industry as an artist. I have probably sent out my resume/ portfolio over 200 times, and no bites, although I have taken a few art tests here and there.

    My main question is, I keep getting told by my family/ friends that I should move out to LA, Seattle, San Fran to have a better opportunity in order to get a job. I would love to move but I dont see the point if I cant land a job by sending out my resume from where Im at now.

    Will moving out to a big city really bring my chances any higher? I do consider myself to be a good artist.

    My portfolio can be found at: http://artofscala.com/

    Last edited by thescala; August 8th, 2010 at 06:58 PM.
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    Sweet, alot of help with this one.

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    Hey Michael, you need to be a bit patient, sometimes people can take a while to start replying on posts here! (The really useful people don't have as much time on their hands )

    I was in your position last year and had no idea how to get a job in the industry. I think the best route right now is to get a load of experience any way you can. Find a mod that needs concept art, see if there's any Flash game devs who need artwork. Keep building on your portfolio, and keep applying. Soon enough someone will take notice and give you a shot!

    I don't think necessarily moving to a big city will help your chances.. If you don't have anything tying you to where you are now, you can always move anywhere, whenever which is what I did. I applied all over the UK and ended up moving 200miles to start my job at Traveller's Tales (I know 200miles in the states is nothing though!)

    You have some good work so keep it up,

    Jenx

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    Hi Michael
    I'm by no means an expert on the subject, but as someone who has looked at a lot of portfolios I see a couple things that stick out to me. I don't think moving is going to change things, ultimately your art is what sells you, and there are plenty of forums where networking can be done. Now as to your portfolio and site, the first thing I would do would be to remove the splash screen. Imagine youre an AD and you have to look at 50 portoflios in a day to fill a position, and theres a million other things that need your attention. As insignificant as it might seem, that extra click you're making them do is slowing them down. When I go to your site the first thing I should see is your art. Secondly, I like what I see in your portfolio, they are pretty pictures, but thats about all they are. Can you design a prop/vehicle/character/environment that gets the idea across? Is your work translatable to 3d? Can you iterate on a theme? Look at your portfolio with these kinds of questions in mind. Check this guy out, hes got some great commentary on the industry, specifically as it applies to the concept artist:www.autodestruct.com/thumbwar.htm
    Hope that helps and keep at it.

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    Looking again at your website I agree with Redfender. Though don't just send people links to your work, send them images in the email you send when applying or enquiring.

    Also on the actual images, to elaborate on Redfender's points: take for example your image of the library with knights. Thats a nice mood concept, but you would then need to do back up detailed images like the bookcases and railings. What kind of design are they? how elaborate are the carvings? These would need to be fairly neat images that an environment artist can work from to build the level (some of them have no imagination!)

    Concept art is less glamorous than it appears! But it is incredibly rewarding to see ideas you've conjured turned into a 3d playable area, so keep at it :-)

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    Fair enough, I agree with taking elements from a painting and translating that into a model sheet. I assume this is what you mean.

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    I really like you art, but just as art, in order to make it applied art and appealing you need a lot of work, detailed and so, and mostly to make something eye catching, especially in the gaming industry you need something that would entertain 15 - 35 year olds other than art admirers. Also try at first doing some free works and concepts for a small gaming company and work one year for free. Then your chances will be much bigger in getting hired and getting payed well. As i've seen from successfull games most artists are over 25 or even 30 years old. Also enhance your portfolio it needs more artwork.

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    Quote Originally Posted by thescala View Post
    Sweet, alot of help with this one.
    Don't get snarky just because you posted in the wrong section. Moved.


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    "Will moving out to a big city really bring my chances any higher?"

    I think so, but lets take a realistic look at a few things.

    It sounds like this will be your 1st industry job and you are trying to get the most competitive industry job there is : concept artist.

    While its not impossible to get one just remember all the competition you are up against and that it will take longer than a month. You are competing with all the current concept artist as well as all the other artist in the industry that are doing other things (like env art, character art ect) waiting for their chance to move over to concepting.

    At 200 resumes it sounds like you are applying to any concept job there is but you need to do more than just send out resumes with a portfolio link. Are you writing specific cover letters to each company?

    Are you creating new works or showing work to companies that makes sense? What I mean by that is if you are applying to a game house that does a lot of fantasy you better have some fantasy pieces in it or pieces that relate to the company you are applying to.

    Not many companies (if any) will pay to relocate someone that's brand new to the industry they will look to hire locally 1st.

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    Quote Originally Posted by thescala View Post
    Sweet, alot of help with this one.
    Careful.

    As for your question, overall...yes, your chances will increase if you move to a game developer hotspot. When I was young in the industry (and only 2 games under my belt), I wanted to move to Seattle and no one would even look at me.

    The reason is because at the time, my skills were pretty mediocre and they are only going to pay your flight to come out for an interview if you are stellar. Are you stellar? Then you probably don't need to move. But if you are not stellar, then yes, you should move and accept that you will probably go into debt a little bit.

    That's what I did! I moved without a job and it took me about 8 months to find one (and in that 8 months, I spent the entire amount of time working on my skills to make me more desirable, not sitting around complaining about not getting responses).

    Also keep in mind, the industry is really clogged right now (especially concept art, where there are fewer concept artists on any given team than for example 3D artists). You will need to stand above the rest with your art.

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    Just to toss this out there -but your resume on that site is lacking. Pump your "experience" up top.. throw some bullet points under each to explain what you did or achieved... Education after that... years attended as well.. Were they any extra circular activities you participated in? Program/skills at the bottom..

    The highlights part.. ah.. yeah I am not sure what to do there except tell you to put that into a professional summary. Skip the bullet points and throw it into an active paragraph.

    http://workbloom.com/articles/resume...e-summary.aspx

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    Thanks for the feedback everyone. To answer a question, when I do send out cover letters, they are specific to the company.

    As for moving out, I spoke to a few of my instructors, they said the opposite of everyone here though, which I find odd, you guys are probly younger than they are, that might have something to do with it? And I do have some money saved, so moving anywhere really isnt worrying me, mainly because I knew ahead of time what I needed to get done.

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    Michael I'm just curious, you said you recently graduated from school, and I was wondering what did you study. Or what is do you have a degree in?

    Another thing I just wanted to add is this: You said "I do consider myself to be a good artist." and I feel like perhaps that is not a very constructive attitude to have, especially as someone as young (I'm assuming) and inexperienced as yourself. And I'm not talking about modesty in terms of how others perceive you, but I'm talking about your personal, internal drive to excel.

    I feel that one should never be satisfied with their art, even when they reach a stage in their development when he or she can paint like Michelangelo, one should always be critical of ones self and constantly strive to build upon the past, learn from one's mistakes, find ways to improve and develop and grow.

    Also, to answer your question, I think yes, it would be valuable to move to a major city. Also, your resume is 6 MB, which took me about 3 minutes to download just now, maybe consider making it smaller, I am currently in Shanghai and the internet here just kind of sucks so maybe its not a big deal.

    And do be sure to check out my sketchbook if you have time!
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    Na, his site was very slow for me too and I'm looking at it on a 10 MB optical line, off peak time, Western Europe.

    Last edited by Flake; August 13th, 2010 at 12:09 AM.
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    Flake, Yeti: Well Im not sure what to tell you guys about my site, it works fine for me and my computer, as well as on my laptop which is 10 years old and at the public library by my house, so...

    As far as my critiquing myself and my skill level. In no way shape or form am I satisfied with where I am at. I have only been painting digitally for about 10 months, so in that time span, yes I do think I am pretty good considering I have learned how to do it by myself. I definately want to get better, if I didnt, I wouldnt be hear asking advice. So Im sorry if I come off a bit in a rush.

    And I went to school for Game Art Design at the Art Institute of Las Vegas. Reason being, like many other kids (at the time ) I loved playing games and I so I wanted to make them, not realizing how much had gone into the process. Believe me, Vegas is not hot spot for game design, and it refelcts in the courses. If I knew back then what I know now, I would have gone to DigiPen in Seattle. I hadnt taken any conceptual/ digital painting classes until my 3rd year at school, which is the reason Im so new to it all, sorta.

    To sum it up, now that I feel I have a grasp on digital painting, I would like to go to the Concept Design Academy.

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    You have money so stop complaining, you don't need a job anytime soon.

    Buy a newer pc (1200$ would be enough you don't need state of the art just a newer pc) what's a concept artist without having decent tools?

    Buy a wacom intuos 4 if you don't have any yet.

    Paint all day long, having some money i suppose you don't need a job any time soon. 10 hours +/day is a must Try pushing it up to 12 or even 14 if it isn't that hard for you. Try making concepts of a lot of stuff not just sci fi. Push up doing a new detailed concept every 3-4 days. Also do some roughs before getting into detail.

    If you do all these for a year i believe that then it will be much easier to find a job. And when you find a job don't just relax over, on your free time work 2-3 hours more on personal projects.

    Also if you have some more money to spend, buy some conceptart.org dvds and some gnomon dvds

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    Quote Originally Posted by michael92 View Post
    You have money so stop complaining, you don't need a job anytime soon.

    Buy a newer pc (1200$ would be enough you don't need state of the art just a newer pc) what's a concept artist without having decent tools?

    Buy a wacom intuos 4 if you don't have any yet.

    Paint all day long, having some money i suppose you don't need a job any time soon. 10 hours +/day is a must Try pushing it up to 12 or even 14 if it isn't that hard for you. Try making concepts of a lot of stuff not just sci fi. Push up doing a new detailed concept every 3-4 days. Also do some roughs before getting into detail.

    If you do all these for a year i believe that then it will be much easier to find a job. And when you find a job don't just relax over, on your free time work 2-3 hours more on personal projects.

    Also if you have some more money to spend, buy some conceptart.org dvds and some gnomon dvds
    Oh dear, reading things like this almost gets me angry.

    "what's a concept artist without having decent tools"
    It's a concept artist with tools to work even if they are not the best of the best out there. It is and will be just tools. Getting decent tools will make you have decent tools, they will not give you the skills to be a concept artist.

    What you're basically saying is: "Go spend a shitload of money buying hardware you probably don't need and when you have, draw your ass off".

    I agree with making a lot of hours a day for a long period of time, but saying someone has enough money and should go out and spend it is just plain wrong.

    Looking trough his portfolio he has got the stuff needed to do his digital work. What the hell does it matter if it's something that just rolled out of the factory or if it's something 5 years old. It's about milage not spending a lot of money and time getting the things to do work. From my point of view you can learn to paint with the cheapest paint available and I know first hand that getting something better and more expensive doesn't mean a thing if you don't know how to work with it or if you don't need it. Only replace something when it's broken. It'll save you a lot of money.

    Buying all the tutorials won't get your work done. I agree, it's a great recourse to learn new stuff. Only buy videos you really need, otherwise you end up spending hundreds of dollars on videos you watch once or twice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LostFayth View Post
    Getting decent tools will make you have decent tools, they will not give you the skills to be a concept artist.
    I agree on this but

    i think you misunderstood my point.

    Having tools that may be somehow buggy or lagging will be a barrier on his work especially if he works a lot on that system
    I think he said something about a 10 year old pc, so i doubt he will be able to work on high resolutions (Quad HD etc in order to produce higly detailed artwork)

    As for the tutorials i meant buy a couple or 5-6 so totally he would spend less than 2000$. I don't think it such a huge amount of money these days, especially in fact that this purchase would be enough for the next 5 years or so...

    EDIT : Just found out that his laptop is old, so if he is having a fairly new pc (3-4 years old) he won't need a new one...
    So make it less than 700$ spending if he does not have a wacom intuos...

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    "As for moving out, I spoke to a few of my instructors, they said the opposite of everyone here though"

    Thing about instructors is that they aren't typical tuned into the pulse of the industry as much as they think they are. Unless your instructor is working at a game company while teaching I would be careful on what advice I took from them.

    I recently attended a presentation by a top recruiter for a major game company and they said that they don't even look at out of state submissions, they skim right over them and look for the local artists.

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    @ Michael92- Dude you have to realize, I have money saved up so I can move out and be comfortable for a while, I dont know what that has to do with me not needing a job. Im a part of the small group of artists who doesnt care about making a big paycheck, as far as Im concerned, if Im doing work that I love and can be creative with, thats all I care about. I was very close to placing the "troll" stamp on you.

    Im actually gonna sign up to go to Concept Design Academy for the fall semester, I figure, I can get the hell out Vegas (a complete shithole with no culture) get to a new city, learne some great stuff from industry artists and make some contacts while looking for a job... and I updated my site to so there is no splash page, that was sorta lame sauce.

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    I can't speak for whether moving would work or not; I'm not even close to being in this industry (I'm aiming for children's illustration.)

    However. Looking at your portfolio, I would say that your work is good but not "stellar." Everything is painted well enough and generally clear, but nothing jumps out and wows me. I don't even look at that much concept art. So honestly, someone who looks at different artists all day (like an AD) is probably going to be even less impressed.

    I would look at doing some complex environments, different angles and challenging perspectives. Show people you can paint all sorts of amazing things, not just straight-on landscapes that are sometimes vague.

    ALSO. Get rid of the sub-par pieces in your portfolio. I think I actually saw "History Lesson" on CA sometime in the past, and I can still tell that you just took a photo from somewhere and threw a filter on it for the main background of the library. That is not impressive, especially not for a concept artist.

    If you're aiming to be in a very competitive field, you need to be amazing. I think you have some talent, but you're not fantastic yet, and that may be why you haven't been getting answers.

    I don't know if you're aware of the blog Art Order or not, but I would check it out. It's aimed more at illustrators (the author is the AD of Wizards of the Coast) but there is a lot of really fantastic advice on there about portfolios and what AD's expect to see.

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    Fair enough.

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