I decided not to go university this year as I want to focus on getting a job and get a steady income so when I do go university I am not living off my student loan. Within this gap-year I will take the time to develop my skills in photoshop, a software I have came to love and illustrator, a software I still have limited knowledge over. However, my mind is still flipping between taking concept art in university, which has been one of my most favourite things to do in Games Development, or take Ancient History, a subject I have been interested in since I can remember. It has been an ever-pressing dillema that I cannot decide, so that is why this gap-year is also another good reason. I want to make sure that when I do go to uni, I am doing a course I enjoy a lot and will not get bored of in the future.
I have looked at different universities for both illustration and Ancient History, but they all have good points. So, what I have decided, during this gap-year is take an online course for Ancient History, get a BA in that then go to actual university and take illustration. As I am very effcient at researching, the online Ancient History course will be easily achievable.
Social Media is very key for a freelance artist trying to get their name out into the world; it gives you opportunity to post the work you have created during college/work/free-time, showing off your skills. I admit, I have not used social media as much as I should of to promote myself, but as I am taking a gap-year from college I decided now might be the greatest time.
LinkedIn is perfect for this sort of promotion work as you can instantly link your work to potential employers, showing off the skills you have learned to create beautiful pieces of work. It also lets you look at companies and check what jobs they have available. I normally look at companies I am interested at working at (Naughty Dog and Bioware) and see the different jobs it takes to create a game. However, before I even think about applying for jobs – though I am too young and lack experience at the moment – I need to update my profile, uploading work I have done in class and in my own time. I mostly do illustration work, so I can show off other skills I have, maybe practice more at 3DS Max and show I am not just a concept artist. I also need to add work-experience and mention the time I joined a competition to create a video for the growing artist Lily Jo. Though I did not win, it is still a nice touch to mention that I don’t just do work in college.
Social Media is a very useful tool for getting your name out there in the competitive media business. Many different websites give you the opportunity to show the different works you have been working on, be it freelance or for your own personal project. I have used a range of different websites for preciesly this motive, though sometimes it is not to brag about a project I have done. One of the best websites you can use to get in touch with major companies in LinkedIn
The reason I use LinkedIn is to look up compnaies I have an interest in and see which jobs they have avaliable and catch up with the most recent news. It is highly unlikely I will get the job at the age, however, it is interesting to see the range of different jobs required for a games company. It can also help define what I would want to do for a future career. For example when I was browsing through the jobs BioWare recently posted I saw one which had the employee advertise. To me that sounded very interesting as I want to get more into illustration and I definitely see that as one of the routes I could possibly go down in my future. LinkedIn also lets you connect with comployers along with peers so you can look at their work and get inspiration.
When I think of illustration I think of imagination; putting down your ideas onto paper with a simple sketch. I have gravitated towards drawing ever since I was younger due to the influence of my family; being taught how to do soft sketching, along with how to add depth to your drawing by adding some shading. Without my family influences I don’t think I would be as passionate about drawing as I am today; my interests would be deeply immersed in history as that’s the second thing I am most passionate about. In my spare time, I like to create small sketches of environments that I have conjured up in my mind, or a character that I think would be perfect for said environment; I have quite the imagination.
Games Development has been a big help with developing my skills within this particular area as you have to do a considerable amount of concept art to get across your ideas. Games Development has really fueled my love for drawing — more than it already has — as you have the freedom to do anything you wish and develop your skills in the process. Something I particularly enjoy about the course I am currently doing is character design. For a recent unit I had the chance to update a character I created for the Final Major Project last year; updating the way he looks to make him fit in with the story arc. I feel that including this in my portfolio is a small demonstration of why I have chosen to move on to illustration in Higher Education.
In my free time I enjoy researching different eras of history and art throughout the ages; I love listening to music from around the world as I enjoy the different sounds each country holds; drawing is something I commonly do when I have free time. I love doing things in my free time that will fuel my creative side and sate my curiosity about the past and the world around me. When I read history books — mostly Old Norse books — I often consider the illustration on the cover. Art throughout the ages and art from different continents are almost an obsession as I always want to discover more about the art and how they managed to create it with such limited tools. The original Prose Edda by Snorri Sturluson has such amazing old Norse artwork on the front; that was what drew me to the book in the first place.
Going to university seemed like the obvious next step in my creative career: it will give me the right environment to develop my skills within illustration and also give me an opportunity
to work with like-minded individuals and share ideas. I want to discover more about the history of illustration and how different artists have influenced the changes: from using
wooden carving; to stone carving; to printing; to finally the digital illustration that is commonly used throughout the industry today.
During my time in Games Development my aspirations have changed varied on what I have found interesting during the lesson/course. When I first started Games Development my dream was to be a concept and work for the company Naughty Dog – now my dream is to be an illustrator who creates art for non-fiction history books. But like always, I am not someone to be kept to one aspiration. One of the first real career goals I was interested in was being a creative director.
Within my time in this course I have been complimented on my imaginative mind and how I see the bigger picture, not just a piece of concept art. I like making a story out of everything, adding a bit more depth and engage the audience to my product, wanting to learn more. However, being an illustrator had definitely taken over this career goal by a long shot.
During this course I hope to develop my skills for when I begin University and will be able to show off my skills as a creative, but more as an illustrator. I want Universities to know that I am more than just a Games student – I am an artist who sees more to the world than a computer.
Strengths: The strengths I have possessed throughout my time in Games Development has been very wide set. From the first year till this year my strengths lie within research, digital painting and sketching. Why research is one of my strengths is due to how I make sure I research everything that is linked to my project; for example last year for unit one I was doing a project linked to the Vikings, so from that I researched their culture, the music, their environment…etc. I wanted to make sure I knew everything before I began to do the practical side of the project. For my FMP last year I made sure to research the audience that my game was linked to, the games that inspired my character – along with long-standing characters (James Sunderland), different eras of time so I could get accurate weapons from that period for my game…etc. With digital painting my skills have definitely improved since I began this course, using my skills to create hyper-realistic characters along with detailed environments. My favourite piece I have created within these two years was Heath Quinn. He is the most detailed character I have created; grey specs in his brown hair to show his ageing, along with his detailed eyes and the faint wrinkles across his skin. With sketching for a project I draw the first draft and then develop from that sketch; for my FMP I drew the first sketch of a mask and then carried on developing it into a final sketch that gets across what I wanted – a broken doll mask with one false eye and another eye inspired by the infamous doll mask wearer Jigsaw.
Weaknesses: To me, I don’t really have that many weaknesses but I can think of one major weakness that causes me to lack in work; 3DS MAX. Though I have started to warm up to this software due to our character creation of the soldier, I still feel as though I lack in skill to create any large projects as other people in my class do. 3DS MAX is definitely a software that I cannot see myself getting deep into as I am more towards the artistic side (drawing, sketching and digital painting), spending time modelling a character does have some sort of appeal to it but I fear I might not have the patience.
Opportunities – As I am good at researching and coming up with unique ideas and then developing from that to create a game story, I would be best suited to go for a job as a creative director. I have been told by my tutor that I have the right mindset for this sort of job as I think everything to do with a project (characters, backstory, bios, environments, story for game, research into characters, moodboards…etc)
Threats – The largest threat I have within my working process is the stress I carry when something doesn’t go right – this happens a lot within my projects. This stress normally happens when a piece of work I am creating doesn’t go the way I originally planned, so I intend to leave the piece of work till last minute, which gives me less time to actually possess a good looking photoshop graphic. I have been trying to move away from this habit, but it proves difficult for someone who is a perfectionist and cannot stand work that is not up to their standard.
On the 3rd of November, the college took us to another campus that does media based university courses. I decided to check out film and TV: that was one of the most interesting courses they had to offer. What I really enjoyed about the course is how you can write your own script and build your own set for it – that was what piqued my interest. I see myself as quite the writer and script writing was something I wanted to get into, so I will definitely look into this course in further detail. However, yes you can write a script, but you also need to know how to do the jobs that are required for a film. That was the thing that kind of turned me away as I don’t really enjoy that sort of thing, only the script writing and the producing.
Like most media based courses you need to have a portfolio to show off the skills you have learnt in college. As I have not done TV and Film, already I would be the most unlikely candidate among those who have done the course at college. However, I could use my free time to experience with cameras and make little projects to show, though I am currently doing Games Development in college, I took time out of my day to learn skills that will be useful for TV and Film. The teacher also talked about the class researching the different jobs that a camera crew has (gaffer, focus puller, producer…etc) In class we have used after effects to edit our videos, along with premiere pro to edit a game trailer and turn it into our own. I think because I used film editing software I could be
The expectations that I had when I went into the introduction was quite a low one. As I have never done anything to do with TV and Film I was expecting to hate it, but when I found out they do script writing I decided I wanted to look further into what else the course has to offer that might benefit me with what I want to do. It has made me question what I want to choose as a profession as the way they talked about the course really did interest me, but I am a bit turned off due to having to learn all the skills within a camera crew as I know for definite what I want to pick. However, I understand why they want the students to learn about the jobs that are required for a film, it gives them a wider understanding of the jobs around them and sets a path towards the job they want to do. For example, I could go into this course expecting to love script writing but end up being a focus puller and setting myself to that: you never know what you love until you try it.
What I have taken from this experience is to have a broad mind about certain subjects and do not be afraid to do something different to what you do in college. All you need to do is put the time and work in and you’ll surely get onto the course