Although that is all good stuff to know I think it's misleading and a bit daunting to create list of everything in the universe and say, "This is what makes you hire-able" I worked as Senior Concept Artist on Uncharted 1 and Uncharted 2, and in 4 years I don't think I did one "Drawing" in the traditional sense. We did only paintings. We don't "draw" anymore.. at least not for drawings sake. Drawing is just for THINKING OUT IMAGINARY THINGS. The more fantastical, the more drawing is necessary, but again ONLY to actually work it out, not to have a sexy drawing. The reason is drawing is an antiquated art form for concepting (not for art generally). Most of us can do 5 quick paintings in photoshop with links to usable photo reference in the time that someone else can do one lovingly rendered drawing.
This is Bioware's wish list so I understand why they would say that, but most games are realistic so you would never sit down and start drawing buildings in Iraq for the next Call of Duty game, you would do a 3 hour photo search for Bagdad, collect reference, and then make an awesome composition out of the images you found picking what you thought worked best and making an epic shot using a combo of quick painting, lighting knowledge gained from observing life and photos, and perhaps some photo compositing. I think well composed IMAGES, painted quickly (2 hours) and in full color are the main indicator of experience and the artists "eye." Everything else can be researched.
If I was starting out I would say don't worry about everything on that list. Pick a story from a book or movie and design/re-imagine it based on your knowledge and what the story is. Look at what's done in that genre and keep it classy, not video-gamey (meaning be SPARING with the amount of buckles swords and shit you put on everything... just look at actual movies for examples. Download Power DVD 11 and watch your favorite film with the sound off and capture frames to get you started. Most importantly do the kind of work you want to get. So if you like Final Fantasy style stuff then make your stuff like that. Just keep in mind most games are going for photo-realistic and that realism skills trump every other in this business
Very useful post, thank you. Also a big thanks to shaddy for the realistic view. Much appreciated.
I was fortunate enough to attend a seminar conducted by Doug Chiang. His opinion about portfolios was to have three different sets.
Set A - your master portfolio
- a compilation of about a dozen of your best works you update regularly.
- the pieces should reflect the position you are applying for
- ex: so if you aiming for a game concept artist position, you should put in your best environment concepts. stuff that is industry relevant which you are capable at.
Set B - Your Backup portfolio
- a compilation of artworks you can fall back to. like a second discipline.
- if your main was environments, your back up can be filled with characters, or vehicles.
- something to reassure that you are still a versatile production artist.
Set C - You Interest portfolio
- a compilation of artworks you like to create on the side, you personal taste so to say
- this is to show that you have a strong personal desire in art itself, it could be life drawing, abstract painting, sculpture. something you have strong passion in.
- Usually this portfolio sets you apart from other artists, since its a more private appreciation and desire for the arts, rather than just being a worker bee creating production art. Not that that is a bad thing at all.
hope it helps, pardon me if this was mentioned before this. cheers!
ALL things said there was extremely helpful. Great thanks to all
I would add that it depends a lot on what the job is, and who is viewing the portfolio.
Besides having a good portfolio, a lot of it comes down to timing and taste of the viewer.
In the past I've been told 'yes' and 'no' by the same company, same job, regarding the same portfolio, only different art directors.
I got one of my ongoing freelance jobs because my portfolio happened to land in the Art Director's inbox within hours of two regular artists taking sudden sick leave. He liked what he saw, it was convenient and I was available.
So I guess in my experience it's a mix of Perseverance, Skill and luck.
Ideally in that order, because the skill itself won't get you a job.
The perseverance will improve your skills, and create opportunities.
more opportunities = more apparent luck.