I had a wiggly route into games, starting out as a graphic designer and illustrator, mainly doing print work.
I always loved animation and character design so taught myself some basics and used those skills to secure work with web companies and then eventually games companies.
In fact, I do not have a degree in graphic design. Instead, I am self-taught and I’ve had the opportunity to learn throughout my career from the talented people I’ve been lucky enough to work with.
Working for a games developer
I am part of a team that is creating a new product for MAG Interactive. I will be helping create the look and feel for the game as well as making final art assets, animations, UI, and FX, to go into the game.
When I joined, I was very impressed with the whole MAG ethos. In the interviews, it was clear that they cared as much for their employees as for the games they make and that made me feel like I would be valued as an artist at MAG. Hopefully, I am bringing as much to the team as they are already bringing to me!
At MAG we have a flat hierarchy, which is different but works very well. As an artist, it is always a bit stressful to have someone looking over your shoulder and that just doesn’t happen at MAG. We work in autonomous teams where everyone is valued for their skills and we all have an input into the game we create, as a group.
I love the fact that you are fully supported as a games artist (or any role in games), and you are instantly made to feel part of the amazing and talented group of people at MAG – from your first day here. Also, there is a brilliant training budget. MAG gives you time to daydream, and that’s when the best ideas can be created.
What it’s like to win a BAFTA
The BAFTA was for the Interactive: Adaptive category at the BAFTA Children’s awards. It was created as a fun way to explain what children might be going to hospital for, such as a broken bone, and to try and ease any worries they might have by explaining what would happen when they visited a hospital.
It was amazing to win the BAFTA. And I’m very proud that it was for something which helps children feel less stressed about hospital visits. I love creating games for good.
The BAFTA was won when I was at my old company Plug-In Media, so it currently lives at their office, but I’m allowed to visit it when I like! The BAFTA win was really a team effort and Rebecca Deakin, who also works as an artist at MAG Brighton now, was very involved in the game that earned us that prestigious award.
What it’s like working in the games industry
It’s exciting! Although weirdly it wasn’t a conscious decision on my part to get into games. I love art and I love games, so it’s obviously a match made in heaven but I’m still not sure how I got here. I’ve always wanted to make art and to be able to make art in the games industry is just incredible.
Believe in yourself
It’s a bit trite but just believe that you can. Keep drawing, animating, coding, creating and designing. Don’t stop! And when you are developing your portfolio, show the things you want to do, then you will be hired based on those pieces.
My final piece of advice is: when you’re interviewing it’s better to show ten solid pieces of work, rather than 50 which are just okay.