Hello everyone, Dee here! Hope you’re all doing great!
Today we’re going to talk about one of the top requested subjects which is how to build an art portfolio that helps you land your dream job in the game industry.
Whether you are a beginner or you’ve been trying to enter the industry for a while but can’t quite do it, I’ve got you covered with today’s blog of practical tips that you can start using right away.
Being a game artist in the game industry is a vague term; you can be a concept artist, a 3D artist, an animator, a VFX artist, and the list goes on. So, I’ll divide the Art fields into two major sections and attempt to give general advice to both sections. Those two sections are people who draw and people who don’t. So, without further ado, let’s dig in.
Artists who draw:
Artists who do the drawings in the game industry are usually concept artists. Whether they work on character concepts, scene concepts, item concepts, environment concepts, VFX concepts, etc.
Here’s the general advice for concept artists in general who are trying to get in the game industry:
Draw from books: Your portfolio has to feature a wide range of concepts. Artists often struggle to find inspiration for what they should draw. One simple trick is to read bestselling novels and attempt to draw the characters, scenes, items, etc, found in these novels. I prefer reading fantasy novels as they trigger my imagination. The trick here is that bestselling novels usually have well-written characters and scenes which makes it easier for any reader to imagine the book in their heads as if they are watching a movie. Now use your artistic talent and realize this image through your concepts.
Not only does this trick help you in the game industry, but it also can drive traffic to your portfolio if the authors of these novels like your concepts and share them around social media.
Mimic Famous concepts (fanfiction): That’s right, mimicking is a handy approach. I know a lot of artists are looking for their own unique touch, and that’s exactly what you’re going to do. Try and take a popular character or scene from a famous video game or a movie and mimic it. Only, provide your special touch to it. You can even alter the context of the scene to make it tell a completely different story. This trick is very helpful specially to get recognition since your work becomes relatable to many. Just make sure you add something new and not just mimicking. It’ll help you a lot if you are one of the communities of whatever that you’re mimicking so that you can give the community what they fantasize about.
Offer free concept art for indie creators: I don’t encourage one to work for free. But if you’re a beginner, one of the easiest ways to get to know the workflow as an artist in the game industry is to collaborate with an indie developer and help them with some concept art in return for experience and recognition. If this indie developer manages to share their work, all the better, now you have art that is inside an actual game on the store. Just don’t overdo it so that you can focus more on the previous points.
Artists who don’t draw:
Whether you’re a 3D artist, a VFX artist, an environment designer, or any other form of game artist. To build your portfolio you simply need to produce more content. But here are some tips to spend your time efficiently.
Work on things that are relatable or trendy: Don’t just work on random stuff, work on things that are trendy or relatable to a large community. For example, when The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the wild came out, I’ve seen many artists post their own work that is similar to the style of the game, from level design & lighting to 3D characters, to VFX. It was relatable back then and it got them the recognition that they needed.
Don’t post unpolished work: Never post a WIP. I know that this is hard and sometimes projects can take a lot of time and it would encourage you if you can share it with people, but here’s the thing, most developers who are seeking talents will just skip your work if it’s still a WIP. Instead, only post your finished work that is the highest quality you can produce. This way developers who take a look at your portfolio would be amazed at the quality of the work you’ve done even if it’s not as much.
Don’t mimic: Unlike concept artists, you shouldn’t mimic other game creations since people will often get confused between the original art and yours. And if you tweak it enough then it becomes pointless that you mimicked it in the first place.
Collaborate with other creators: Whether it’s other concept artists whose concepts you help bring to life or other indie developers who have the experience to teach you the workflow of different art fields in the industry, collaboration helps boost your recognition as well as helping build your reputation through people who have enjoyed working with you.
One last general tip for all artists; Keep at it and don’t get bored. Those who stick around are the ones that eventually reach their goals. There are many ways to profit as you’re building your portfolio like doing freelance jobs or joining internships. Keep your eyes open for possibilities and your mind open for possible artwork and before you know it, you’ll be racking a portfolio that gets you that dream job you’ve been working for.
Hope I was of help to you, until next time, Dee out!