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Hi there, recently was laid off from a job I had at a gas station and I made it my goal to support myself completely with art. You can see my portfolio here for some reference http://dylart.com/
Basically I'm gathering emails of art directors and sending them my portfolio. Looking around on the work related forums on DA and CA, and sending people looking to work with artists my portfolio. This will very much be spam but I'm also gathering emails of all sorts of different family owned business in my city and sending them my portfolio.
Other then just making sure I'm putting in the hours everyday to improve my skills on top of what ever work I get... is there anything else you could suggest?
I'm not completely screwed if I fail, I have family to go back too but I'm confident I wont.
Thanks CA =)
Thanks Noah. There's a small convention coming up next month in my city for anime called Otalite. I signed up for a table there in the artist alley, there's only 16 tables so hopefully ill get one =)
Found a post with google about some freelancing sites that ill try making profiles on and linking them to my blog.
Also Dave Rapoza made a good post on freelancing. He suggests putting your name on everything, and putting your name everywhere on the web and participating in the community challenges like character of the week. Pretty much everything that I have no been doing, in past 2 months and stuff I have heard before to do. But there's no better time to start then now.
Honestly, your work has tons of potential, but I think you need to polish it up a bit more to really start getting attention. I would take part in some of weekly challenges here on CA as I think they'd be relevant to you.
Also, if you have the time, I'd take some life drawing classes; go in, study form, light, all that jazz, but bring in some mediums like pastels, oil and otherwise, or pencils. Your painting and coloring skills are coming a long really nicely, but I think a life drawing environment would give you the edge you need to take your stuff to the next level in terms of realism and precision.
That's just my opinion though.
Nice that you're doing this Dylan and the link to Rapoza's is damn awesome. I wish you best of luck; it's a tough world out there! I agree with sanya's post in that you could tighten structure from life drawing and it would definitely improve your work tenfold.
While we're on the subject (and hopefully this helps everybody), does anybody know if it's a good idea to send portfolios even if the company isn't hiring anybody at the moment? How would you word an e-mail in those types of situations without looking awkward?
Last edited by Alex Chow; October 9th, 2010 at 10:55 AM.
Sanya: Thanks for the support, your opinion is very much the truth to me. If I'm understanding you correctly I feel that's my problem right now is just my drawing skills. I can't draw tightly, so I can't paint tightly. In my mind I know I'm not at the level where I would really be wanted for work. But I feel like maybe if I try, ill figure out something. I go to 3 hour pose life drawing once a week with alot of awesome people, (actually modeled last time instead since I'm poor haha)
I have every reason to do Chow 218, so I'm doing it =)
Alex: Hey thanks, if you want more awesome stuff check out Earl Nightingale's the strangest secret on youtube. Very good motivational lecture. It's scary when your starting out. But the better you are, the harder your service as an artist is to replace, the more people will pay you and the more jobs you will get. At this point the fact of life is I'm extremely replaceable.
As for your question Alex. My (un)educated guess would be just have your work be very visible in the email so your not spending to much of an art directors time. Give a link to your website portfolio and say you are looking for work, and have a good day. Simple as that, don't expect work or anything or a reply. But do this ever so often with new work and you will be on there radar at the very least =)
Maybe this is much like you? I feel like sending my work at this point to any big company's is just complete blasphemy. I'm not sure if that's just common sense or a bad attitude though. Cryptcrawler once said you will just "know" when your ready. No questions you will just know when your ready to send your work to the big guys. My gut tells me I'm just not ready yet. But maybe if I try I can go catch a few tadpoles.
It is a tough economy and while I wish you success there is nothing wrong with having a non-art job to take care of basics while you improve your art skills. Right now your work isn't pro quality; almost but not quite, combine that with the economy and you are setting yourself up for failure. I'd hit the books and get some life drawing and painting going to strengthen what you already have.
As for Alex, Companies are always looking for the right person and if they are smart they will take a good portfolio and file it for the future. So have your portfolio up somewhere accessable with your CV and contact info and maintain it.
A cover letter describing your passion for the type of work you want to be hired for and if you are familiar with the company why you want to work for them. Briefly cover your experience. Try to get it to the art director not just HR.
Sign up for all of the job boards to get the latest updates from companies make sure you are on Linked-in, gamejobs.com and all of the others. Right now Microsoft Games has over 60 job openings probably 10 of those are art related.
I'm in a similar boat to you. I'm far from the person to be dishing out advice on this due to lack of experience so I'm happy for anyone to correct me if I'm wrong, but for concept art related work it might be good to display more variety in your portfolio - ie; look into designs for environments, mechanics, vehicles and objects even if they're not your strength. Some more stylised work too to demonstrate that you can go beyond your own borders of style - basically anything and everything to show you're versatile as an artist.
I don't want to discourage you -- you should go ahead and try to push your stuff and see what happens -- but I think you're going to find it hard to support yourself on the type of work that is in your portfolio right now, which is, as Sanya says, full of potential but not solid yet. I would concentrate on keeping food on the table however you have to, and don't stop working on your portfolio. I'd also consider branching out from just sci-fi/fantasy.
Just adding to what Mickeymao said, in addition to branching out from sci-fi/fantasy, don't be afraid to look for work even further afield if you need to... For instance, if you have any design skills or production skills or anything similar, picking up design and production jobs can be a good way to help support yourself when illustration work is scarce. (Work like that, while unglamorous, at least keeps you in the field and connected to potential clients.)
For instance, I know some people who scraped through the early part of their careers doing comic coloring work - not terribly glamorous, but it kept them afloat until they had a stronger portfolio.
Thanks everyone I really appreciate the help. Your all very right, I'm looking at my portfolio and realizing that's it's all more of the same thing. While not necessarily a bad thing, at this point it's not going to get me a whole lot of work. And really, I'm pretty young. I think I should try out alot of different things and not get to caught up in doing one thing.
Not to say not to take my time, I gota take my time on all the things I try.
Friend of mine kicked my ass and told me to just try my best to find work. So I'm just saying to my self "screw it, I'm gona try." It wont leave a big black spot on my life if I fail, I think ill learn some things. Got nothing to lose but some pride I think Dave Rapoza did that. Just looked for work, and it got steadier and steadier as his work improved.
I feel my questions are answered but feel free to add in your 2 cents. I think a lot of people have questions like this.
For real- nothing like a kick in the stomach every two weeks (pay day). With eight years of experience, management experience, and references from chefs I've worked for who were incredibly happy with my performance I'm making a grand old... minimum wage in the bum-fuck town of Blacksburg VA (where, by the way- ALL of the food is terrible) as a line cook. Fuck the Hokies.It is a tough economy and while I wish you success there is nothing wrong with having a non-art job to take care of basics while you improve your art skills. Right now your work isn't pro quality; almost but not quite, combine that with the economy and you are setting yourself up for failure. I'd hit the books and get some life drawing and painting going to strengthen what you already have.
Nothing has made me work harder to achieve my goals than having this shit job. There's nothing like making less than 12,000 a year to really get your creative juices flowing! Every hour I spend drawing/painting is one hour closer to never having to do this again.
I know this might have sounded like a smart-ass comment, but trust me when I say I mean it. I'm not saying GO for getting a job you hate, but damn if it don't put a little flame under your pants to get you moving.
Keep at it Quigleyer you will get there, just drawdrawdraw!!
The whole lurking DA on the work related forums gig wasn't working.
So right now I'm figuring out ways of finding art directors, a friend of mine and I have tried a few things and we are slowly getting more efficient at just finding companies and the art directors.
Looking though websites, and reading submission guides has helped a bit with understanding how to market my self. Going to work on building an actual website for my self. I think it will help art directors remember me hah.
Also going to ask the art directors for a crit if they have the time so perhaps if I at least present myself well. Come 3 months from now when I have a brand new portfolio they will remember me and see how much I improved and took there crit into consideration!