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  1. #1
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    [URGENT] Hello Seattle

    Well friends i am moving to Seattle in 3 weeks in hopes of landing a job in game concept art, the last year as a SCAD grad hasnt been too kind in the employment aspect, then again my portfolio hasnt been exactly professional either. Im hoping to meet some people in the field or artists who live in the area of Shoreline/SeaTac. What are some great hangout spaces, where can i make connections and network, and where are the best places to "bump into" professionals? Im aware Austin and San Diego are probably easier areas to meet people in the field, but Seattle is so much more affordable, especially with loans coming due...

    Hope to hear from Seattlites past and present!
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  3. #2
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    One of my best friends is one of the people behind the Seattle Sculpture Atelier They have some great programs and there are people who are in the industry taking classes there. Good place to go and get your chops up to par after SCAD.

  4. #3
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    Your most important thing to look at is going to be this:
    http://www.gamedevmap.com/index.php?...&Submit=Search

    It's a list of all of the game developers in Seattle, large and small. That will at least give you the contact info to start sending your stuff out. As for local hangouts, I can't really help you there. A lot of game artists congregate at things like life drawing, so that is a good place to start. There are a few sessions that start up on capital hill at the college up there on weekends. I don't know the specifics of it, but I am sure with some research you might find it. Simply call Seattle Central Community college and ask for information. Also, you can't walk around downtown Kirkland around lunchtime without seeing someone from 343 studios walking around. :p Of course, asking them how to get a job on their lunch break will likely not be a good thing.

    On a side note....
    While I am not discouraging what you are doing, I want to at least make you aware that jobs in Seattle are BLEAK at the moment. VERY VERY VERY VERY BLEAK.. This is across the board for most disciplines. Not saying there aren't jobs; There are, but they are incredibly picky people. You are trying to find a job in a market that is over-saturated with people, so just be prepared for that.

    Why am I warning you? Because I speak from experience. In 2002, I quit my game job in Santa Monica (Treyarch) because I was getting homesick and wanted to get back to Seattle. So I tried to send a few resumes, but nothing special. I finally got sick of it and decided to just take the dive and I moved up here just expecting to get work. I figured, I had experience, there'd be no problem getting work at one of the MANY game developers in the area! I was out of work for over 9 months and that was in a market much better than now. I was 21 at the time and it sunk me 30K in credit card debt because of that choice. Now, I don't regret it at all and I am not saying you would make the same mistakes as I did, but there is something to be said for hastily moving without a job in place. Have a plan B and a plan C, D, E, and F.

    All I am saying is...1) I hope you have savings 2) Have a couch to crash on 3) Family, possibly. These 3 things will make your life much easier on the chance that you hit a dry spell of job offerings. I'm not saying you WILL NOT find work. I'm saying it will very likely be VERY difficult and it is *not* cheap up here. A studio apartment to 1 bedroom is gonna run you anywhere from 700-1000.00 a month with no roommates unless you life way south or way north and then you are talking gas pain. Gas is about 4-4.30 a gallon right now.

    I really do believe it would be in your best interest to at least test the waters by sending a portfolio to EVERY DEVELOPER on that list first and see how many ping you back. Of course, if you have family or friends you can stay with that can put you up rent-free...then take it. But starting your job search and starting your life in a new, expensive city, will pose many challenges.

    Finally..."Seatac/Shoreline"? Those are two vastly different areas. Seatac is down by Tukwila and the airport. Shoreline is way north Seattle near Northgate Mall. There's about 30-40 minutes separating the two with traffic.

    Anyway...I'm happy to answer all questions you may have. I've lived in the area for over 12 years! Anything I say isn't gospel and there is always exceptions, but it is based on my own experience.
    Last edited by Dusty; May 24th, 2011 at 07:07 PM.

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  6. #4
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    Try Meetup.com, looks like there's some cool groups out there. Seattle has fallen far since the 60's and doesn't have nearly the clout New York has to justify its ridiculous cost of living.

    Seattle used to be "not as bad as Socal" now it's about the same. The 90's Gen Xer's still attached to the art scenes moved on - they couldn't really afford it. Some came to Olympia, some moved back to Cali, others to Portland (allegedly from what I hear the "new" Seattle)

    All of the great scenes and neighborhoods you hear about as being part of Seattle don't exist - ie the Wallingford and Fremont of the past no longer exist in Seattle, although the "shell" of these communities exist they are "cultural ghost towns"

    Young and brilliant artists/writers/programmers tend to be as a demographic, poor and eclectic, they need cool venues to hang out at late at night for a cheap cup of coffee and an inexpensive studio apartment or room. Seattle used to have all of that. Instead it catered to a rich demographic hoping to make money off of all the people wanting to live in a hip town!

    I didn't want this post to seem negative without actually being the truth, so I looked up some information on what other people actually living in Seattle right now are saying. (Although I am not just making this up, I have met a ton of displaced artists here in Olympia who are suffering a lot of hardship)

    I move here 13 years ago, almost to the day, and most of the interesting, fun, musical or artsy people I knew have either left town or been pushed to the peripheries of King County where they can still afford (barely) to live.
    biliruben September 4, 2008 Seattlebubble.com

    I grew up near Seattle but have lived in Portland for the last decade. I’m not bragging because it doesn’t have anything to do with me, but in Portland people talk about how “not to turn into Seattle.
    DaveG September 8, 2008 Seattlebubble.com


    ok so the last one made me lol, Oregon's laws, once viewed as draconic compared to Washington now seem like a democracy. Washington Law has become a restrictive and ugly police state. People will snitch on you for not trimming your lawn, even if its not against the law!

    I imagine that living near one of the big software companies might be a little more pleasant - I don't know! Check it out and let us know.
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  7. #5
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    Ah cool thanks alot guys. Especially Dusty! Ive narrowed my apartment search to two very inexpensive choices, one is right next to the seatac airport and the other is in shoreline. I knew about the job drought, but it isnt much better anywhere i guess huh? Especially for those of us with no "experience" in the field. The problem for me is that i live in rural PA, so getting a job out here is about as doable as bringing down a panzer tank with a wiffel bat. Right now its just picking the apt that is best based on cost of living and the like, of course i will be using the bus system over a car anyway. Ive spent the past 8 months saving money (about 6.5k) and researching the area, including gamedev map (the best resource for company finding ive ever seen) and have made some good friends in the area. I figure the worst thing that happens is i get stuck at a minimum wage job for a while and come back home a failure... (wait thats pretty bad) its a year long Trial, but i am more than looking forward to it. I really appreciate your advice and warnings it actually brings me down to earth a bit so ill be that much more ready. Here is hoping we get a chance to grab coffee!
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  8. #6
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    Well, I partially disagree with Naomi, but that isn't really the point of the thread. There are still PLENTY of fun places for artists to hang out. Great bars, great coffee places, great artists all around. To say "that's all gone" is just jaded talk from someone who got torn up by the "big" city (I say that in quotes, because this is still a big little city or a little big city, however you want to look at it).

    And it kills me when people compare Seattle to Portland. Love Portland, but it's no secret there is a high hipster population there. And no I am not slagging on everyone with a beard and a funky hat. I mean the stereotypical, annoying hipsters that no one wants to be around; "Oh, I don't like them now that they are popular" type of people, etc.

    That all said, it is expensive. The rich people are taking over. And a lot of the great culture in places like Capital Hill is getting replaced by condos and walgreens. But whatever. The city is still great and I love it.

    Anyway....bullit, I looked at your blog, and I would say the second piece of advice I can give is to drop the cup-sizes down to a more reasonable level for all of your art. It's fine if you want to draw that kind of stuff for personal stuff, but for looking for a job, I think you'll want to reel it back a notch. While it is a reality that video games typically have large chested woman, I think a lot of concept designers have been trying to break that mold lately and make more realistic proportions at times.

    I'm sure someday you'll have a boss that says "Make me a big chest samurai chick" and that will be all in a days work. But for your portfolio, you will want a range of styles, cultures, and subject matter in your work.

    I live near Shoreline myself, btw. Great area!

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  10. #7
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    I was born and raised on Capitol Hill so my memories of Seattle only span 80's-2002. I remember Starbucks before it became a chain, the WOTC basement etc.

    I never came back after 2002. The smog and traffic (already bad when I was in HS) was terrible when I visited (I was living In Memphis TN at the time) and traffic had gotten worse. My whole family has lived there since the 1920's and they stay far away from Seattle, I only have two relatives there now, the rest moved to the east coast, colorado and new mexico.

    So I think my experience is different than yours. From my experience living in other poorly managed cities Seattle has been managed the worst. I am due back for a visit soon - firsthand experience is best. There is an Ethiopian restaurant in SEA I want to try.

    Do you know of any good mediterranean style 24 hour coffeehouses in business in Seattle? IF there is one good "real" coffeehouse left in Seattle I will change my mind and not destroy it with fire and brimstone.
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  11. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dusty View Post
    Well, I partially disagree with Naomi, but that isn't really the point of the thread. There are still PLENTY of fun places for artists to hang out. Great bars, great coffee places, great artists all around. To say "that's all gone" is just jaded talk from someone who got torn up by the "big" city (I say that in quotes, because this is still a big little city or a little big city, however you want to look at it).

    And it kills me when people compare Seattle to Portland. Love Portland, but it's no secret there is a high hipster population there. And no I am not slagging on everyone with a beard and a funky hat. I mean the stereotypical, annoying hipsters that no one wants to be around; "Oh, I don't like them now that they are popular" type of people, etc.

    That all said, it is expensive. The rich people are taking over. And a lot of the great culture in places like Capital Hill is getting replaced by condos and walgreens. But whatever. The city is still great and I love it.

    Anyway....bullit, I looked at your blog, and I would say the second piece of advice I can give is to drop the cup-sizes down to a more reasonable level for all of your art. It's fine if you want to draw that kind of stuff for personal stuff, but for looking for a job, I think you'll want to reel it back a notch. While it is a reality that video games typically have large chested woman, I think a lot of concept designers have been trying to break that mold lately and make more realistic proportions at times.

    I'm sure someday you'll have a boss that says "Make me a big chest samurai chick" and that will be all in a days work. But for your portfolio, you will want a range of styles, cultures, and subject matter in your work.

    I live near Shoreline myself, btw. Great area!

    Ah yeah my infamous boob fixation hahaha. Im in the midst of completely undoing all of my previous stuff for my portfolio. Ive completely started over as of may1st. If you'd care to spare a second my newest portfolio piece is in need of critic here

    http://www.conceptart.org/forums/sho...52#post3134952

    but yeah, taht was the advice i had gotten before and over hte past year ive pretty much been bussing tables and drawing boobs as sad(or not) as it is. I realized my work had stagnated if not lost quality over the past year and have now been drawing everything i can(including women of course but not as many...) 12-14 hours a day trying to get my chops back up.
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  12. #9
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    I was born and raised on Capitol Hill so my memories of Seattle only span 80's-2002. I remember Starbucks before it became a chain, the WOTC basement etc.

    I never came back after 2002. The smog and traffic (already bad when I was in HS) was terrible when I visited (I was living In Memphis TN at the time) and traffic had gotten worse. My whole family has lived there since the 1920's and they stay far away from Seattle, I only have two relatives there now, the rest moved to the east coast, colorado and new mexico.

    So I think my experience is different than yours. From my experience living in other poorly managed cities Seattle has been managed the worst. I am due back for a visit soon - firsthand experience is best. There is an Ethiopian restaurant in SEA I want to try.

    Do you know of any good mediterranean style 24 hour coffeehouses in business in Seattle? IF there is one good "real" coffeehouse left in Seattle I will change my mind and not destroy it with fire and brimstone.

    Oh, make no mistake...the traffic still sucks and the city is still run by deranged monkeys. That won't be changing anytime soon.

    I don't think pollution ever bothered me. It still rains so much, the clouds dump all of the badness. So I personally never witness TRUE smog, like in LA. And I lived there for 3 years. So comparatively, LA has way worse smog and traffic, haha. Doesn't mean much if you never lived in LA, though.

    Not sure about 24-hr coffee places. And honestly, I don't even know what a "Mediterranean style" one is or how that makes it more "real" than any of the other thousand coffee shops up here.

    Coffee is coffee. I've tasted bad coffee and good coffee, but I don't elevate anything about "this is a good cup". There is no "18 yr single malt" coffee equivalent to me.

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    Heh, remember when Speakeasy was quite literally a hole in the wall internet cafe and not a major ISP?

    Also, on the portfolio, agreeing with dusty about your characters. Also you need to work on better shape recognition and diversity of your characters. They all seem to be the same kind of female with a palette swap. Could some of them hail from India or be more skinny, some more portly - but each with a recognizable story to tell?

    http://blog.aviary.com/good-design-l...he-foundation/ <-- take a look at this as I think many people designing characters should think about.

  14. #11
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    Heh, remember when Speakeasy was quite literally a hole
    Haha, I used to go there in 1997 when I was in AIS to email my folks. Was basically near the dawn of the public internet, so I couldn't afford it in my room yet. They were SO EXPENSIVE. I usually just snuck in and ducked out. I was such a scam artist back then. :p

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dusty View Post
    Haha, I used to go there in 1997 when I was in AIS to email my folks. Was basically near the dawn of the public internet, so I couldn't afford it in my room yet. They were SO EXPENSIVE. I usually just snuck in and ducked out. I was such a scam artist back then. :p
    Yeah, I used them back in 95-97 when I was going to AIS too. Between them and the Spaghetti Factory - was where my disposable income went. I think though I was paying 10 bucks a month for telnet. I used to use make IRC bots with that account and get into so much trouble with them XD

    Oh and speaking of Hole in the walls, Amazing what Amazon.com became. I remember walking around one of their warehouses back in the day.
    Last edited by Arshes Nei; May 24th, 2011 at 08:09 PM.

  16. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arshes Nei View Post
    Yeah, I used them back in 95-97 when I was going to AIS too. Between them and the Spaghetti Factory - was where my disposable income went. I think though I was paying 10 bucks a month for telnet. I used to use make IRC bots with that account and get into so much trouble with them XD

    Oh and speaking of Hole in the walls, Amazing what Amazon.com became. I remember walking around one of their warehouses back in the day.
    Haha, yeah I had a few friends were working at Amazon when they just first started out. They got their original stock chunks, blew it on booze and weed (stupid 19 yr olds) and ran! Imagine if they had stayed and kept all that stock!

    That's weird, though. We probably overlapped at that school. And after I graduated I moved to Torrance, CA haha. Small world!

  17. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dusty View Post
    Oh, make no mistake...the traffic still sucks and the city is still run by deranged monkeys. That won't be changing anytime soon.

    I don't think pollution ever bothered me. It still rains so much, the clouds dump all of the badness. So I personally never witness TRUE smog, like in LA. And I lived there for 3 years. So comparatively, LA has way worse smog and traffic, haha. Doesn't mean much if you never lived in LA, though.

    Not sure about 24-hr coffee places. And honestly, I don't even know what a "Mediterranean style" one is or how that makes it more "real" than any of the other thousand coffee shops up here.

    Coffee is coffee. I've tasted bad coffee and good coffee, but I don't elevate anything about "this is a good cup". There is no "18 yr single malt" coffee equivalent to me.
    All the Mediterranean (sometimes called Moroccan) style is, is a type of coffeehouse that is pretty rare these days actually - has nothing to do with the coffee quality. It's a place where you can hang out 24 hrs or til at least 2 am, have big meetings and just get a cheap cup of coffee. I am glad you don't find the rare coffee brew hype impressive - it is pretty lame at times the way people go on about coffee like it is some mystical experience. They need to have a beer or a glass of wine or something.

    Anyways here is a great article on The Last Exit to give you an example of what I mean.

    http://seattle.wikia.com/wiki/Last_Exit_on_Brooklyn
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  18. #15
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    Hey cool, I'm applying to SCAD
    But I live across the water from Seattle and spend a lot of time there. I can't say I know everything, but I know a bit.

    I know my dad goes and talks to some arty people at Freemont Coffee Co. And there is many galleries which you could talk to and such to get exposure. Also, art walks and Pikes Place would be great too.

    But there's more to Western Washington than Seattle. In Poulsbo, Bremerton, and Port Orchard there is a quickly growing art scene you would probably like to get involved in. And living in the Kitsap area is cheaper and nicer in terms of traffic, pollution etc IMO.

    Also, in the U-district, Memo's is a decent place for cheap food.
    And hate to intrude/derail, but can anyone tell me where the Dick Blick's is? I ended up in the residential part of Broad St. with my boyfriend after following directions from someone at the Seattle Center.

  19. #16
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    I moved to the Seattle area from Austin about a year ago and the economy is pretty bad here. Im not saying you can't make something out of it though. Personally, my wife and I had to leave the TX heat we endured for 20+ years --and a bad economy, although a shock, was well worth it. We have my brother, who moved with us and is going to Digipen, as well as some family living in
    Poulsbo...so if you have any friends or family, i would recommend connecting with them. My wife is about to have our first child and my contract with Microsoft might end soon...so were interested to see what happens.

  20. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Naomi Ningishzidda View Post
    I am glad you don't find the rare coffee brew hype impressive - it is pretty lame at times the way people go on about coffee like it is some mystical experience. They need to have a beer or a glass of wine or something.
    Maybe you should have a great cup of coffee or something. If you can have better beer and wine why can't you have better tea or coffee? Just because it's not your scene doesn't mean it's SOOO TEDIOUS OMG.
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    I don't want to hijack this thread (but also don't want to make a new one) so I'll keep it brief. I'm about to move out of state, thinking about Austin. No job lined up but want to get into the gaming industry. Austin sound okay or should I look into other places first?

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