How to be a more EMPLOYABLE artist in Video Games – Concept Artist tips.


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I wanted to make a video with a few ideas about how to make yourself more valuable as a video game developer. Many people don’t know the kind of work that a concept artist does at a video game studio, so I wanted to pull the curtain back a bit and explain a bit more of what you should be doing with your “free time” after you clock out at the end of a hard days work, painting monsters all day at the office.

Things I’ve worked on:
Overwatch (PC, PS4)
League of Legends (PC)
Diablo 3 (PC,PS4)
Hearthstone (Mobile, PC)
Burning Crusade (PC)
Wrath of the Lich King (PC)
Unsung Story
Final Fight Streetwise (PS2)
He Man (GBA)
Terminator 3 (GBA)
CannonBallers (Mobile)
Twilight Monk
Nova Colony
Galaxy’s Edge
Millenium Actress
Goblins and Gnomes


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35 thoughts on “How to be a more EMPLOYABLE artist in Video Games – Concept Artist tips.

  1. I’m a concept artist at a very small indie company, and my personal style is much more of an illustrator. I use linework, cell shading, etc. I use this same style in my concept art, is that a bad thing? I keep seeing this painted style being used and I’m wondering if that’s a NECESSITY in the field, or is it a game by game basis? I’m open to learning the style, I was just wondering.

  2. No dice como ser mas empleable o contratable en una empresa de video juegos, osea como hacer o que hacer para ganar ese empleo y ser tenido en cuenta antes que otros, sino que dice como ser buen empleado ya estando en la empresa.. no trata puntualmente lo que dice en el titulo.

  3. Can you please tell me the tools/softwares that you are using in this video ? It was very inspiring to see someone drawing concept arts.

  4. The more you talk about the difference between smaller and larger studios the more I want to work at an indie studio. I'd love to do a whole bunch of things, form UI to environment to modeling characters- having a hand in writing a script sounds like a lot of power, but it sounds fun!
    Once I get a laptop that doesn't try to die every time I open an Adobe program, I'm definitely going to learn Blender again.

    Also watching your timelapses are so satisfying

  5. Contradiction #1:You’re about to speak on how to make yourself more employable, yet assume a scenario where you’re already employed and make yourself a better wage slave to hopefully avoid getting laid off. So from the start you’re way off the subject, answering another question. But your answer shows a problem with the video game industry. When once what was needed was fundamental art skills, now we got job titles like “Female Monster Pelvis Concept Artist”, concept art that has the finish of a painting bu Leonardo, and all back and promoted by blood sucking HR and Exec monsters who are trying to manipulate artists into feeling emotionally gratified for selling their soul so cheap. What do blockbuster games make, what do the artists?

    Contradiction #2: A concept artists’ job is to come up with ideas and give a previz of them for the modeler to take direction on, and at best some clarifications in the form of a note or reference. The modeler’s problems are NOT the concept artist’s problems. He is as obliged to know anatomy and use reference and creativity as much as anyone else in the pipeline, not just be a guy who wants everything on a plate and manipulate vertices to match the fully rendered concept piece. This full illustration concept art crap came up as a half assed solution to coverup for useless modelers who didn’t have artistic ability or create anything without a precise schematic. It’s indicative that the more specialization and “finish” we give to concept art the more formulaic, boring and similar games and movies look. With exception to some great vision coming to someone in the pipeline (for example the two swords in Conan the Barbarian that came to one guy overnight and were so good that they just had to be used as they were) everything else was a blurry, collective process that slowly focuses. Now it’s a mess.

    Contradiction #3: Concept Artists hate being concept artists because they wanted to be artists. They didn’t put pen to paper to learn to be a good slave to the boss for his profit from the game, they didn’t look at clowns like Craig Mullins and idolize how many senseless painting they could produce in a day for the same hour wage as working at Burger King. They became artists because they were instilled to create art and be Frank Frazetta or Simon Bisley… not to be a gear in a production machine that breaks up the pipeline to increase efficiency, reduce cost and increase profits for the bosses.

    Contradiction #4: You’re giving examples of how to do more stuff, 3D, writing, etc. This doesn’t make you more employable, but possibly more useful to keep around because you can erase the necessity for job positions, the total yesman. This kills jobs. If they have an idiot who can do 3D along with concept art then for the price of one employee they get two. Again wage slave, boss asskissing stuff. But the contradiction is that with exception of an indie team where no one is making money and are trying to make something, there is no company that will hire a guy who projects he’s a jack of all trades. Games developers look for specialization, character concept artists, environment concept artists, dungeon designers, illustrators, graphic designers, and internally they sometimes break them up into even more specialized ways, for efficiency and copyright…we don’t want the style of one guy and his name define our product cause that then makes him invaluable, can’t have that.

    Contradiction #5: You’re presenting the environment of work as a necessity as if people looking for work are rich people looking for a hobby to fill their time with instead of work that will provide them with money so they can use to live out their lives. “Loving” art is but one part of human life, what’s it’s use if you work like a machine that will a) never enjoy life b) never make as much as he puts into it c) never get the recognition for it and d) look back at a life where the shining spot was that they kissed the feet of corporations that made millions on their backs where someone’s son squandered it snorting coke of some prostitute’s ass while he, the concept artist, was slaving over a screen to generate more profits for his overlords. This obviously comes into conflict with the very reason you’re being asked for advice, people want to work to live, not live to work.

    I appreciate you having answered a question, but your advice is totally advocating for people to be slaves, to willingly bend over and take it up the ass for jobs that have no equal gratification by your own testament as to other concept artists dissatisfaction. You are not sugar coating things, but given that this video contradicts the hiring process (specialization) and that you’re ignoring the hiring process entirely, it sounds more like propaganda from the exec board than from an artist who wants to help. Let alone that your advice could be coupled with how to break this cycle, instead you seem flabbergasted people actually want to live their life for themselves instead of their adopted Masters. What the hell is wrong with you?

  6. Hello, thank you for sharing your experience throughout designing characters as a concept artist. I have a question for you. I'm a beginner concept artist that would like to follow the journey along. Where do you find such inspiration, Does it come from a story?

    Do you have any recommended book you find it best to learn the concept of art?

    Thank you 🙂

  7. For the past few months I've looking for a career change that involves art and the role of a concept artist really caught my attention. I don't have a body of work for that position right now and there are still a lot I need to learn, so I'm planning on dedicating the next several months to building that portfolio, improving my technical skills, and learning 3D art. This video was both really helpful and probably the most reassuring thing I've heard in my life so thank you so much.

    I'm probably being very presumptuous of myself about a career I haven't had experience in, but in this moment I feel am down to give up my every waking hour to being a concept artist. I've always loved drawing and I've gotten very seriously into creating stories, worlds, and characters in the past few years, but never thought I could make a career out of it, so I just kept it up as a hobby and over time, what I value and love to do with art gradually aligned with this job.

    Good luck to everyone who's new to the industry!!

  8. The problem is not how to imporve yourself AFTER getting a job. The problem is getting that first job.

  9. No matter the time. Your videos get older, but your tips never stop being awesome. Also hearing your videos while drawing and being able to watch you crafting something is such a boost for me when drawing!
    Thank you trent.

  10. My question is, how to make yourself more employable in terms of entering the industry? If you don't have access to feedback on a consistent basis, and school is not an option for you at the time, then your improvement is much slower. Even with taking online classes, it's not substitute to raw, real, consistent feedback. I keep hearing that studios are looking for someone who already knows what they are doing, but for anyone coming into the industry they won't know until they are coached on the process. When applying studios don't have time to review your portfolio to explain the "why" it was not strong enough to make the cut. Mentorships seem to be a rarity, and unless you have a community of artists (which not everyone does) to help you grow, experience is the last resort. If you can't get your foot in the door at studios, then the next option is freelance. If you are backed in the corner of not having enough experience to get a job to get experience, how do you make yourself more appealing? Projects help, but they cannot replace the pipeline experience from working on a team.

  11. I have a deep love for art and creativity, I also want to create video games and program (though I’m. It very good at programming yet). Is a games artist a suitable career path for me?

  12. I just recently had the epiphany of becoming a digital artist, I’ve been an artist since I was a kid but never thought it’d be something I could do for a living so Instead I went into healthcare and I hate it. What can I do to prepare before I go back to school? Any tutorials and or software I should start messing with?

  13. I think thebest advice was "learn 3d!"

    I'm not a concept artist but I'm working in product development and there are so many people that come up like "hey, I got this Idea – make it work!"
    Alright man but If you want me to model your vision you gotta come and help me do that.

    If as a concept artist you understand what the 3D Modeller needs you will be so much more valuable.
    Maybe something that takes you an hour of time to draw another perspective will save the 3D guy 2 or 3 hours of work
    AND you ensure that the outcome is exactly what you had in your mind when you came up with the concept.

    Understand the problems of the people that come after you in the pipeline and you will be a) loved by your coworkers for the work you do b) you will be of much more value to the company
    because if you were forced to do another job you could take on that quicker and c) you will be always the last guy they think of when a staff cut is about to come.

  14. This makes me feel good, at my current job I ended up do ok ng a little bit of everything for the marketing team and ended being a generalist
    I'm glad to know I could be useful

  15. I’m in game design in my college and I wanna work on character design and mostly storie telling. And I made a art account do any body have any ideas on what I should make and post on my account thank you. 😊

  16. Pls help me to have a job like u plsss…I love art but I don't have money because we are only poor but I am good in anime or cartoon maker I really want a job in an artist way…plsss if you will help plss help if you have a kind of heart

  17. Game desginer and programer here, any artist want to build a portfolio with me? Let's make a game!

  18. I jsut got my first game job in small indie studio, and your advices are exaclty what I need 😀 😀 Thank you so much ! I start next week, going to be jack of all trades 😛 it's a little bit overwhelming XD
    need to create character from concept to full, texturized 3D model 😀

  19. My question is how did you get a job like how do you get a project from from who did you get a project

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