Join 500,000+ Artists
Its' free and it takes less than 10 seconds!
I've talked to a lot of creative and non creative professionals, who all say that it comes to networking and making connections to people. However no one them are concept artists or game artists, and I know that people skills are more important in some fields than others, so which category does concept artist fall into? I mean isn't this field more about your skills/creativity demonstrated in your portfolio?
Also what kind of people tend to "keep" their jobs once they get them, I'm not sure if this is a field with a lot of office politics or not. When it comes to personality, what do game companies like their concept artists?
I'm still a student trying to collect info on something i'm interested in...I hope i don't soun too clueless
Artists have to produce great work that satisfies the client. So being great at what you do should be the number one concern, as Maidith says.
After that your personality comes into play when dealing with other people; nobody wants to work with an asshole. The people who do well are the ones who keep their head down and do their work. Office politics are for losers and mediocre talents, people who don't do their jobs well, so they have to scheme to get ahead. If they spent as much time improving their craft they wouldn't need any of it.
All of that.
I'm not saying you can't get a job if you are an asshole, but it's like a scale...you need to be REALLY REALLY fucking good for an employer to overlook it. Sure there are some 'rock star artists' in the world that need some humble pie, but overall most people learn that just being a nice person and doing good work is the way to go. Not just in art, but in life.
Networking and connections are vital, but I don't think it's the kind of thing that you sit down and say "Okay...it's 10am, time to network today".
Just by posting on CA.org, you are networking in a way. Talking to people, working with people, meeting people at art related events, following your favorite artist on FB or Twitter....that's all networking.
That's the best thing you can do...just let it go organically and don't think too hard on it.
For active job hunters, networking is basically a strategy of doing an end-run around HR through personal connections.
So, I guess a rephrasing of the OP's question would be:
How important is it to avoid corporate HR in getting a concept art position?
You can't avoid HR when you get hired by a company. Networking can help you come to the attention of HR quicker than you might be able to on your own. In the end though your portfolio will get you the recommendation.
I saw plenty of people get recommended to me when I was an art director; girlfriends, boyfriends; family members. No one ever got hired without the skills to do the job and no one ever got hired over a more talented person that came from HR.
Given an appropriate skill base, I think there are many cases in industry where HR "takes dictation" from folks who are high enough up the food-chain. Again, this has been my experience, personally, and that of friends and associates, all be it, outside of the conceptart realm.
I think you're mixing up some sort of corruption with HR departments that arbitrarily weed people for no apparent reason.
In my experience, people who actually have the skills to do the job at hand have, in conjunction with personal contacts with upper management and/or VP level personnel, have been able to score jobs, often before any postings to the public at large, despite any guff or misgivings that HR may have.
Granted, I have a negative view of HR types that I have been able to avoid/evade!
anyway my view on this is... given a certain minimum skill-level... more people knowing you = better chances to get onto a project. thats it.
softskills? they are important everywhere and at all times... noone likes assholes, and everybody will avoid spending time with them as best as possible.
Edit: Dusty beat me to it.
I love Neil Gaiman's comments here (at 14 min). There are three factors: being really good, delivering on time, and being pleasant to work with. You have to have at least 2 out of three. He's talking about freelance but I think it applies within a studio as well.
I will also say that I never had to apply for a job after my first one. Networking (plus my scores on the above three factors) always got me a job offer without applying anywhere. Conversely, places I applied where I didn't know anyone never hired me, except for that first time.