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  • 20 Tips For Applying To A Junior Artist Position

    [02.28.19]
    - Herve Piton
  • My company recently had an opening for a junior game artist position and I was really surprised by the amount of interest it received: over 250 applications in a bit more than a week, even though we're not exactly a high profile game developer. As I looked at the applications, I noticed the same kind of oversights kept showing up and often made it difficult to consider those applicants for the next step.

    I was a junior artist once but in the past few years I've had the opportunity to hire over 15 2D and 3D artists. Here's the kind of advice I would have liked to receive when I was fresh out of school and desperate to get a foot in the door. Some tips might seem obvious but I still decided to include them because I kept seeing the same faux pas again and again. Your context might obviously be different so feel free to discard some of points below, but overall I hope they will help you land your dream job!


    Photo by Mark Cruz on Unsplash.

    PORTFOLIO

    Make finding your portfolio easy

    The portfolio is by far the most important piece of your application, the thing the company will check first because it's the fastest way to assess if you're qualified for the job, but somehow it seems a good 5 to 10% of applicants don't provide an easy way to actually see any of their work. Without a portfolio there's a good chance your application will be rejected right away.

    Show game-related art

    You want to work on games so show how your skills can be applied to games in a very concrete way. Make it easy for the company and present art that relates to the work they might ask you to do once you're in: characters, menus or even mockups for imaginary games, similar to what you would see on the screenshots on the App Store or Steam. Game Jams can be a fun way to enrich your portfolio with such material. 

    Ensure your portfolio is deep enough and wide enough

    Graduates often have a wide portfolio (different styles or types of work) but the company will also want it to be deep enough (several examples in the same style). It's hard to judge somebody's skills and consistency on a single asset: rather provide a small set of items or characters all in the same style, as if it was for a game. Similarly, if your portfolio only contains the few projects you were required to do during your studies, you're going to be at a disadvantage against other applicants who can also present personal projects that are often more valuable to assess the skills of an applicant. 

    Show (mostly) finished artwork

    You want to show you can manage the creative process from start to finish, so show primarily finished artworks that look like they are ready to be used for the production of a game. Too many unfinished pieces in your portfolio may make you look like you lack focus or give up easily. 

    Organize your artwork 

    Present your strongest images first. What ‘strongest' means might change depending on the position or the company you're applying at. Chronological order is often not ideal and that's why having your portfolio on Facebook or Instagram is not recommended. If you have multiple skills, split your portfolio into different sections, like 2D, 3D or UI so the company can focus on exactly what they are after. 

    Keep your portfolio up-to-date

    If all your work is marked as being from a few years ago, the company is going to wonder what you've been doing lately. To avoid this you might even consider not to date your pictures so that they look evergreen.  

    Use tests from unsuccessful applications with moderation

    Be wary of using tests you've done for other companies in your portfolio. If they're recognizable (some studios ask for the exact same test for years), it's also a way of saying "I was turned down by those guys" which might make the company you're applying at reconsider.  

    A portfolio is for professional work only

    Because apparently it's not obvious to everyone, your portfolio should contain professional work only. It shouldn't be an Instagram account where your artwork is mixed up with selfies and photos from your holidays. Similarly be wary of applying with any art that could be considered NSFW as that might not always be well received.

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