By Jules Langran, Art Director, MAG Interactive

teenager on a computer, gaming, cyber securityAs many sectors of the economy are effectively on pause, the games industry is thriving.

The nature of the work means it’s possible to do the job remotely and thanks to technology like Google Hangouts and Zoom it’s easy to communicate. This also means candiates can take part in interviews from home and start their new job remotely too. A new recruit joined the company as the pandemic worsened and has already been made to feel part of the team, with virtual after work drinks and even yoga! So don’t let the lockdown be a barrier to netting your dream job as a games artist.

But how do you manage to nail down that first job? How competitive is it? And what do you study to get into this field? Here’s my advice to get your big break as a games artist.

Pick a discipline you enjoy

There are multiple disciplines within games design including 3D, 2D, animation, FX, GUI, or generalist, to name just a few. The best bet is to find a discipline that you enjoy doing and a suitable course.

It’s a great idea to support your study by attending industry events which will help you to keep up-to-date with current trends and give you the chance to hear some inspiring talks from experts within the games industry. Check out Develop, EGX Rezzed and Pocket Gamer Connects which are some of the best around.

Never give up

To get a head start on the other artists out there, gain an understanding of game engines like Unity and how you would import your art into a game. There are plenty of tutorials for beginners on the Unity website so you can be one step ahead of the competition.

Keep creating art and thinking about new ideas, then make sure you talk about them in your interviews. If you are inspired about working on your own projects then that enthusiasm will come across and shine a very positive light on your interview. And most importantly – don’t give up.

The games industry is competitive but don’t let that put you off! It just means when you land that artist role it will be all the sweeter. Persevere; you may not be successful in your first few applications but keep going. At the same time, ensure that you are creating new work all the time while you’re job hunting.

When putting together a portfolio, it’s likely the person hiring you will make a very quick decision to invite you for an interview based on the first few pieces so it’s better to show a dozen exceptional pieces, rather than 50 average ones.

Look at what is required from the role you are applying for. If the company is asking for a 2D artist who can create assets and also animate them, then show them you can do this.

Do your research

When researching job roles, study the games they have produced and think about if you would enjoy working on those types of games.

When applying for jobs, don’t just send out a blanket email. Look at the work each company produces and in the application email mention one or two of their games you like, and why.

Research the company ahead of the interview and think of some questions you can ask. How does the company run projects? How would it manage your personal development? Are you able to attend industry events? What is the culture like?

Stay humble

When you’re starting out in the industry my advice would be to be flexible on where you work, for example by looking at jobs in small to medium-sized companies. Be ready to switch between disciplines. One day you might be working on in-game assets, the next creating GUI designs, so it’s important to have some varied skill sets under your belt and be willing to use them.

The games industry is tight knit so you should check your ego at the door. Even if you’re the best artist out there, if you have a terrible attitude, people will remember that attitude more than your art – don’t burn your bridges!

Sense of pride

The games industry has a very positive culture which offers support, encourages personal growth and knowledge sharing. It’s also a very exciting industry to be a part of and everyone shares a love of creating games, which makes for a great environment.

As an artist there are so many areas of design that you can sink your teeth into so it’s multi disciplinary and there’s always something new to learn. It will give you the opportunity to work with some amazing people who will be able to teach you so much. At the end of a project you’ll have an enormous sense of pride in what you have helped to create. What could be better?

Jules LangranAbout the author

BAFTA award-winning games artist Jules Langran is an Art Director for mobile games company MAG Interactive at its Brighton studio.

Langran is currently working on the studio’s next smash hit game and contributing to MAG Interactive’s success as a leading mobile developer and publisher of casual mobile games, including Ruzzle and WordBrain. Combined, the company’s ten games have been downloaded more than 250 million times around the world.

A talented creative, Langran is proud to be part of the positive and trusting environment at MAG Interactive, where an open and collaborative working culture is key to its ability to continuously create top notch games. MAG Interactive has offices in Brighton and Stockholm. Visit www.maginteractive.com

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