Preparing for an internship or job as a game artist

Hey, game artist! Are you looking for an internship or are you applying for a job as a game artist? Maybe you don’t know exactly what an internship as a game artist looks like yet, or you want to stand out during the application process. In this article we help you prepare for an internship or job as a game artist.

serious game design

In this article we answer the following questions:

  • What is required for a good job application as a game artist?
  • What types of game artists does Grendel Games have?
  • What makes a game artist good?
  • How can you improve yourself as a game artist?

What does it take to make a good job application as a game artist?

Are you going to apply for a job or internship as a game artist? Then carefully look at the vacancy requirements. Grendel Games sometimes has  a game artist job or internship vacancies. Check out our vacancies page for more information.

At Grendel Games we ask for the following elements for your application:

  • CV and cover letter in which you let us know who you are, what your passions are and what your speciality is.
  • Your portfolio with your work:
    • For each item, explain why you made it.
    • Add technical details to assets or textures, such as resolution, poly count, wireframes etc.
    • For at least one item, show the steps from idea to sketch, and what technique you used until the final product.
    • If you are applying for a position as an animator, we ask that you show that you have mastered animation principles. Send at least one walk cycle of a character.
    • Make sure your portfolio is organized and accessible. Preferably Sketchfab for 3D models and animations and ArtStation for 2D artwork.

We often see applicants provide too few examples in their portfolios. If you have a lot of passion for game art and only show three pieces of work, that is too little. So really show as many examples of your work as possible to convince us that this profession is your passion!

In addition, we often miss the quality of rendering in portfolios of applicants. We like to see that you understand volumes of objects and line perspective: the proportions of 3D objects on a flat drawing. How does the shape of a shoulder pad of a knight progress if the figure is drawn at an angle of 30 degrees, for example? And what effect does this have on the incidence of light? In short: show drawings that take 3D effects into account. We want to see that you have quality and passion for game art.

What type of game artists does Grendel Games have?

As mentioned earlier, there are many different types of game artists. We have 2D artists who often work on User Interface design or concept art. A 3D artist has other qualities, such as making models. Finally, there are also artists who deal specifically with light and effects.

Of course, there is often a lot of overlap in these roles. Especially at Grendel Games. When we hire interns or new staff we often look for all-rounders. Artists with knowledge in different areas: 2D, 3D, UI to animation. This is because we work with a small team and therefore you are involved in the whole process. It is then not practical if you are a specialist in one area.

 

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What makes a game artist good?

Now let’s look at some of the skills and characteristics that make a game artist good. As you have just read, there are many different game artists and therefore the skills differ too. In this section we will look at an all-round game artist.

Let’s start with a cliché. At least we’ve got that out of the way!  A good game artist is one with experience. The more (different) projects you have done as a game artist, the better you can deliver quality work. In addition, there are a number of other factors that make a game artist good:

  • Spatial understanding and color/light knowledge: spatial understanding is needed to draw 3D characters and other artwork. Color and light knowledge help to make the game world as realistic as possible.
  • Mastery of drawing programs: by using advanced programs such as Photoshop and Illustrator you can work faster. In these programs, you work with layers and can quickly correct errors. If you are not so familiar with Photoshop and Illustrator, but you are with other drawing programs, that’s not a problem. All drawing programs are very similar so you can quickly switch to Adobe programs.
  • Knowledge of game engines: after you have created an asset as a game artist, it still needs to be put into the game. In that process, you often run into problems. Even though you are working with a game programmer, you do need some knowledge of game engines such as Unity. Suppose you’ve created a character who carries a big barrel on the back of his head, but in the game it turns out that the barrel overlaps with the health bar. Then it’s handy if you as a game artist can make adjustments to the character so that this problem is solved.
  • Interest in artwork from other games and movies: during the brainstorming about the style of a new game, your colleague shouts that “it shouldn’t be like Star Wars”. You immediately know what that means. Also, if you have played many different games yourself, you can more quickly form an image of different drawing styles.
  • Creative and imaginative: A mix of creativity and imagination helps to create a strong image. Perhaps you have a creative hobby such as claying or making murals. No doubt then you know a lot about shapes and colors.

How can you improve yourself as a game artist?

You now know what it takes to have a good application and what makes a game artist good. In this section we give some tips you can use to improve yourself as a (future) game artist.

  1. Challenge yourself

You have probably already made regular (game) art for a study project, internship or side job. Very good! Practicing a lot helps to get enough experience. If you’re still studying or working in a team of artists, programmers and designers who build games, then start working together with them. Build a game together from start to finish. This will help you become better as a game artist and gain more insight into the entire game production process.

Also, start experimenting with artwork outside of your comfort zone. Suppose you always make characters, try drawing a car, for example. Then when you later start working as a game artist you can be used a lot more broadly.

  1. Get inspired

Look at what others are doing and get inspired! You can learn a lot from game artists by looking at what they’ve made, but especially by talking to the artist and asking why they made certain choices. Chances are you’ll come to new insights this way.

Also, on the internet and in books, you can find a lot of information about game art. Think of Pinterest, where you can create boards with game art that you are enthusiastic about. If at any time you need new inspiration, just open your Pinterest boards and you’ll get plenty of ideas to get started!

Are you a book lover? We can recommend the following books:

tim-laning

We hope this article got you started in preparing for a job or internship as a game artist. Do you still have questions? Feel free to contact us!

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