Describe the journey you took into your current role?
At the age of 16, I graduated high school and pursued a study in graphic design.
Although I learned a lot, I realised that my education didn’t align well with my professional aspirations in the field. Feeling uncertain about my direction, I began creating starship designs, which garnered attention and led to a few projects that allowed me to invest in better equipment and software.
Recognising the need to improve my skills, I enrolled in an art college in the Netherlands, but it didn’t provide the artistic education I was seeking.
Nevertheless, I landed my first freelance project, which served as a stepping stone. Seeking further education, I was advised to join NHTV, now Breda University of Applied Sciences. It was there that I honed my skills and knowledge. In my fourth year, I secured an internship at Opus Artz Ltd, where I continued working until I decided to pursue a Master’s Degree.
What tasks would you be typically asked to do as a junior artist?
I can only speak for myself, but I was mainly tasked to work on projects which aligned more with my personal skills and interest into sci-fi work, however I was asked to do work which might not be very stimulating but needed to get done.
On bigger projects I was mainly asked to work on tasks that the other artists where too busy to work on. On some projects I had a lot of say in what we were working on, and on others just the standard work to get done.
What skills do you look for when hiring an artist?
From my personal point of view I would look for people who can fill in the gaps I am not skilled enough in. I would look for things in people that would compliment my skills as well, and if they have the skills related for projects we are working on.
What skills seem to be missing all too often?
Good hard-surface design skills – it’s a unique skill not many artist have. There are those who are good at everything yet those are more of a rarity. There are tons of character artists and environment artists out there, but when it comes to hard surface design, the pool is a bit more limited.
Describe your attitude towards your job?
I love my job! I love the people I work with, although I wouldn’t mind to be able to focus on more hard surface design projects. It has been a blast working with these artists, great folk, always friendly and they help out where they can.
As I am remote, I just wish we could have all been working together at the studio – I might have learned more than I have now if that was the case.
Working from home has its advantages but also downsides. I only talk to my colleagues through video chat or just chat in general. Due to this lack of direct interaction I do not really “talk” to the people I work with. It’s not a typical job for everyone, but I love working with them and learning from them in any case.
Describe a project brief that you’d recommend artists create for their portfolio?
I would recommend a briefing where a certain story is being told that needs to be conveyed through visual design: a clear goal and limitations of what should and shouldn’t be part of that world, as well as what level of technology is available, how it works, the environment it takes place in…that kind of approach.
It can also showcase the style of work at the company they would like to work for, focused on matching the quality and style of the projects that studio makes or general look the studio is known for.
What mistakes do you see artists making when applying for jobs?
Not knowing what they really want to do, or where they want to work specifically.
Sometimes you have to email a company a few times before they notice you because you may be a great artist and just not fit the style of the type of projects the studio is in production with at that time.
Do a bit of research for the places you want to work for and tailor your portfolio to the work they do.
If you could give one piece of advice to artists starting out, what would it be?
Do daily painting/art exercises even if they are only 30min.
Go to art or industry events and talk to the attendee’s and professionals that are there as well and go to the after parties or drinks at those events and bring business cards!
Look for portfolio reviews done by studios or artists that are at those events – be aware that every job has its upsides and downsides, not everything will be perfect. And finally, just try and have fun and focus on what you like and what you want to do.
Full interview over at discover the rookies