Aline KrebsAline is a 2D/3D Game Artist for Voodoo Berlin, where she creates concept art and both in-game and production assets.

With a passion for 3D environments and all things colourful, Aline has produced artwork for mobile games such as City of Love: Paris and Partouche Casino Games, alongside working as the solo artist for Steam and Switch game BAFL – Brakes Are For Losers. After being introduced to video games by her parents at a young age, Aline made the decision to enter the games industry as a teenager, teaching herself the skills she needed before securing a diploma in graphic design and attending Enjmin to study games and interactive digital media.

Tell us a bit about yourself, background, and your current role

I’ve been working in the video games industry for about four years now, and I love it. I’m currently a 2D/3D Game Artist for hyper casual mobile games developer Voodoo, working on their current and upcoming mobile games. My role is pretty diverse; I create 2D art to help the team conceptualise an idea, alongside developing 3D art that will be included in the final game.

Before joining Voodoo I created and ran my own business, Homecoming Studio, with my partner, where I worked as an outsourcer on multiple projects from video games to classic graphic design work.

It was my parents, my father in particular, who encouraged me to follow my dreams and find a career that I loved. He wanted me to have the choice of career that he didn’t have, and he’s been incredibly supportive of my decision to enter the video game industry.

I’ve always had a passion for video games, drawing and DIY in general, and I’m happiest when I’m creating something. That can either be something I’ve made on my computer or on paper

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

I always knew I wanted to work in the video games industry as an artist. I remember being 14 and having an appointment with a guidance counselor when I was in middle school. She helped me decide what I wanted to do during high school, and that set me on the path I’m on now.

When I got to high school, my teachers unfortunately didn’t really know enough about video games to be able to help me too much, but I didn’t let that stop me. I knew I wanted to work with video games so I worked towards a diploma in graphic design and taught myself some additional skills, before attending Enjmin to study games and interactive digital media. 

Have you faced any career challenges along the way and how did you overcome these?

I faced my biggest challenges while running Homecoming Studio. I was mostly unknown to the industry, so it was a constant challenge finding clients to work with. The journey to making Homecoming Studio successful was a long one, and sometimes I had no projects on the table and therefore no money coming in.

I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I wanted to give up on several occasions because I lacked the confidence in my own skills and abilities. But in one final bid to find success, I set myself the challenge of learning a new skill, and not long after this, I secured my current role with Voodoo.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

Definitely joining Voodoo about a year ago. The studio lead, Sophie Vo, had seen my profile and portfolio on the Women in Games France website, and contacted me directly on LinkedIn asking me to join a new team they were building in Berlin. It was an amazing opportunity that I couldn’t turn down, but at the same time it was quite scary.

I was born and raised in the south of France, and the role with Voodoo was in Berlin. I didn’t know anything about the city or the German culture, and I’d never worked in an international environment, so it was a big challenge.

The difference in language and culture was something I also needed to overcome, and with the pandemic I had to get to know my colleagues online, which was a new experience for everyone. In an office environment you get social cues from body language and can talk more directly to people, but all those things are removed in a virtual environment so you need to communicate differently and, as an introvert, it can be even more challenging to be vocal.

One of the things that helped us get to know each other better was setting up a Discord server. We used this to talk to each other throughout the working day, as well as using it for things like cheese tastings and, of course, gaming sessions. This really helped with the language barrier too, as having regular conversations on Discord helped with picking up slang and other intricacies of the language so I could communicate better with my colleagues.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?

I’ve been really resilient and never gave up, even when things were really hard and quitting felt like the only option.

Facing adversity, it can be tough to face reality and move forward. There was a long period where I didn’t have a paid job, but during those times I always worked on improving my skills and remaining optimistic.

What top tips would you give to an individual who is trying to excel in their career in technology?

Always follow your dreams. If you think you have something to offer the industry, do whatever you can to be a part of it. It can be exhausting and challenging, but follow your heart and you will make it.

Don’t pay attention to those who say you are not good enough either, because it’s simply not true. Understanding your value as a person is incredibly powerful, and will give you the much needed resilience in what can be an incredibly tough industry.

Also, make sure you’re constantly networking. Connect with people in the industry, champion your work and share your tips. Be a part of events and meet new people.

Do you believe there are still barriers to success for women working in tech, if so, how can these barriers be overcome?

There has been progress, but there’s always room for improvement.

The first thing I want to see more of is female role models in the industry. There are plenty of success stories from men, but similar profiles of women are much less prominent. One of my role models is definitely Audrey Leprince. She runs her own company, The Game Bakers, and she created the Women in Games France branch with Julie Chalmette. Jessica Rossier, founder of WARDENLIGHT Studio, is also an inspiration to me, particularly when I was running my own company.

It’s also really important to educate people. It may be a male dominated industry, but there’s plenty of room for women too. Just because women are a minority right now, that doesn’t mean our ideas are less valuable. In fact, bringing more diverse ideas into the industry will lead to more diverse technology and products, reaching a much wider audience. You need to make games for the audience, not just for yourself, and that includes women.

There’s also a mentality that’s still ingrained in society that just because you’re a woman, you deserve less. That’s simply not true, and we need to keep fighting to make sure our voices are heard.

What do you think companies can do to support the progress of the careers of women working in technology?

It’s simple; trust women. It’s really important to encourage women when they take initiative, and also let them speak. I still see a lot of women, myself included, who stay quiet during meetings because it can be difficult to share ideas in a masculine environment. It’s so important to encourage them to take the rightful place they deserve.

There is currently only 17 per cent of women working in tech, if you could wave a magic wand, what is the one thing you would do to accelerate the pace of change for women in the industry?

Introduce more role models. By showing off the stories of successful women in the tech industry, younger women will realise that the industry is open to them and they will be more inclined to work in it. When you have relatable role models, you stop seeing that invisible barrier to entry and you see the diversity the industry has to offer.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

Try to attend as many networking events related to your area of expertise as possible. Many of these events will be online right now, but a good place to start from a broader industry perspective would be somewhere like the Game Developers Conference or the Women in Games conference. For those looking to go down a more artistic route, like myself, make sure you’re meeting people who do something similar. Share ideas and get inspiration from the work of those already working in the industry.

I also strongly recommend reading Women in Gaming: 100 Professionals of Play, a book about awesome women who work in the video game industry. The No Clip YouTube channel is also a great source of documentaries all about the video games industry.

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