10 steps to get art job in video game industry. It is also the best way to get art critique and possibly land you a job!
This post will probably be useful for all of you who really want to get a career in video games, movies and any other great profession doing art.

See the full interview with legendary art director Daniel Dociu here: Daniel Dociu master artist interview

A lot of artists would like to know where they stand and often you can and will ask teachers, senior artists or artist friends to give you critique for your pieces. If you are not really serious about being professional then you don’t really need a critique, you can just skip this post.

Keep in mind when you ask for critique what are you really looking for.
Are you looking for praise? If then you are in the wrong profession because constructive criticism is not meant to give you praise, but to make you a better artist and sometime it will kick your butts.
Even in the professional environment, everyone and I receive good amount butts whipping from our art director all the time. Best case scenario “Well, you need to change this, extend that, and maybe reduce the saturation. And often, “Ah, I think this doesn’t fit, you will need to do it over and take a different direction.” So you better get used to it, it will make you a better commercial artist. But trust me, a good professional constructive critique is better than any other praise you will ever get because it will lead you closer to the right goal. 😉

I’m going to tell you how to get a real good critique professionally. Do it right, it will pave your way and open doors to professional art career in your target industry.

1) Know what you want to do by doing research of the subject you are interested in and what kind of job available in the field. Meaning if you love doodle sketch robots and spacecraft, you might want to look into any game company who has the similar genre and style of games production. If you like drawing creatures, Trolls, Goblin, etc. look in that direction.

2) Do NOT ever sent just one piece for professional critique, no one will care. You have to work hard, every professional artist with real job are busy, respect their time and be courteous. You have to work on at least 5-10 pieces, make it look like a mini portfolio so they can really judge your ability, range and consistency.

art job in video game

art job in video game

3) Get your artwork online, upload it via DeviantArt, CG Hub, CG Talk, Picasa, Flickr, Photobucket, etc. Make sure your album is clean and contain just what needs to be in it. DO NOT send them ATTACHMENT, it will clog their inbox and chance are it will be DELETE without ever being looked at.

4) Select any real company that you like there are so many of them. My tips would be to look at your video games selection (video games, card games, etc.), find your favorite games and find out who make them (Rockstars, Ubisoft, Insomiac, etc but I would suggest you should also pick SMALLER companies also, NOT just the POPULAR one). Pick about three companies from there. Also look at the body and quality of art work of their current artists and try to make yours up to the standard of their house artists.

5) Find out about them online, it is 21st century information are all over the place.
Once land on their page, you should find “Job opportunity” and/or “Career Opportunity”. Click on it and find out what kind of positions they offer and read the description carefully. (You could also do this step before you make your portfolio so that your art work will fit the description they required.)
**It also help to find out about their art team, how many artist are involve in their one game production. Find out their names and search for them online to look at their art work as research (This relate to #4 to look at the quality of their art work).
***Nowadays you can find the companies and people in the team via their page on Facebook or Linkedin. Befriend them and like the page and communicate with anyone involves.

6) E-mail them your portfolio link with letter explain your intention. If you are looking for critique say so NICELY and tell them that you would like to get into the professional level in a year, couple of years and so on. Ask them what you need to improve on and such.

7) If you send it to three companies and no response within a week, start doing more research and get more companies on your list. There are hundreds of them to pick from. Then send your portfolio again to others (you should limited to ten or fifteen.)

8) Yes, now you will really find out if your art will get their attention or not. If you are GOOD, you will find out real soon because some will response with critique back. If you send it to ten or fifteen companies and NO RESPONSE, my advice would be “STOP” for now.

9) Now what, Now what you need to do is to start building better portfolio about ten to twenty more pieces in the next three to six months. ***But this doesn’t mean that you will put all of them into your online portfolio album, you will still pick only five to ten best pieces*** If you received critique from any company, you will have to focus real hard on what is pointed out and improve it. At this point you are in luck and you are getting closer. Plus now you have a point of contact from whoever response to you. For those who did not receive, don’t worry it happens to everyone (happened to me when first getting my foot it, it happened some of the best concept artists in the video game industry even.) It means that YOU ARE NOT GOOD ENOUGH YET and NOBODY CARES about YOUR ART WORK. Accept the defeat for now and use that as your fuel to produce more BETTER art work. NOTE: I believe even if you don’t get critique, you know what you should improve on be HONEST to yourself. Stop asking mom, dad and your nice friends to praise your art, get them pros to critique it, YOU HAVE TO BE ABLE TO GET THEM ATTENTION thru your art. That is the only way you will be good.

10) Repeat the process from one to ten again. A few more times you will either get a job you will love, or get a real critique from real professional people to start with.

***IMPORTANT! For comics book, most of the time you can get editors to review your portfolio at any big convention. You will have to find out detail from that particular convention (San Diego Comics-Con or NYC or anywhere). And if you are good, the editor will give you contact e-mail or cards for you to submit more sample pages on spot. If not, try again the next convention.***

Anyway, if you aren’t ready for the tips above. There are other ways.
You can find any big forum or community that has lots of professional artists in it (cghub.com, conceptart.org) Then post your art online in the forum, you will get critique within minutes that way. And if you are good, you will get your name out thru the community and if you are getting better and greater, the job will look for you.

Also some advice from my former boss.

Good luck!

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10 steps to get art job in video game industry

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About The Author
- Xia Taptara (黃曉聲 Huang XiaoShēng), currently a freelance concept artist for games and films, formerly a character concept artist for ArenaNet/NCsoft (GuildWars & Guildwars 2). I also work on various projects for Game of Thrones, Square-Enix, Paizo Publishing, Fantasy Fight Games, Disney Interactive, and many publishers & clients. I use Wacom Tablet Intuos and Photoshop CS2,3,4,5 to do most of my professional art work. I use pencil, pen, and traditional medium in my free time. I founded IdrawGirls.com (TheArtClasses.com) in 2007 to motivate myself to create more and better art. Also I get to draw and paint whatever the hell I want to. Hopefully I can inspired some young soul and old soul alike. *QUESTIONS & COMMENT: PLEASE POST THEM ON THE BLOG. Business Inquiry please e-mail me.