Career Interview

This is an answer to Conceptart user Keckhs

Job Title: 2D artist
Name: Chantal Fournier
Company of Employment:Ubisoft
Work Address: Quebec City

Career Info
Why did you choose this career? I have a degree in fashion design and decided I didn’t want to do thatall my life. When I came across an ad for a 3D school, I decided THAT is what I wanted to do. I always wanted to do design or art.

What does this job entail? Mostly, I draw and animate 2D assets for videogames. Usually for DS games lately, but I have worked on retail PC, Flash and mobile games in the past.  I also sometimes get involved in evaluating the amount of work in some projects and planning work pipelines. This is because we work in very small teams. Most artists in large teams don’t get so involved in planning. I have also done some project and team management in previous jobs.

What do you generally do in a typical work day? Can you explain your typical day-to-day work routine? Are there ever any exceptions to this routine? Well, it can vary but most of the time, I draw, animate, then I test my stuff and then put it on the central server. We have days where we plan ahead, usually a few days every 2 or 3 weeks. Sometimes I do test new possibilities and prototypes instead of doing final art.

What range of salary or income do you make, and who does that money come from? What is the typical income range for someone in this career? You might want to have a look at the Gamasutra salary Survey.

What would you say are your favorite things about this job? The possibility to come up with solutions. Since we are in small teams, we do a lot of different things and we get to come up with our own solutions to problems. We aren’t parked in a corner doing always the same work.

What are the challenging or difficult aspects of this job? Sometimes, we do things no one has done before (at least that we know of) so, while it’s fun to come up  with solutions, some problems are tougher than others.

Skills and Education
What skills do you think are needed for this job? The ability to communicate verbally and textually. The ability to draw. Understanding of how art assets are made and different image formats. Knowledge of Photoshop is important.

What high school classes should a student interested in the career make sure that they have in order to get into said education? Art, language, math (yes yes, you will need your high school level math to do art.)

What higher (after high school) education is needed to get into this career? An art degree, or a video game art degree, or an animation degree, or no degree. But in all cases, a killer portfolio.

Are there any institutions that you would particularly recommend? I don’t know many of them. And I don’t even work in the field I studied (went to 3D school and I worked in 2D since then.)

Is the prestige of the institution important? Most often, your future emplyer won’t even ask if you went to school if your art is good enough.

What skills and/ or education do you have that you think helped you get into this career? I have management and leadership skills, I always end up with more responsibility than I signed up for. I can easily express myself.

Getting a Job
How did you specifically get into this career? My school had interviews at the end of my education and I was hired right out of school. So this helped with connections I might not have had otherwise.

How does one typically go about getting a job in this career? By building an swesome portfolio and sending it around, by networking (IGDA and CA.org are good places.) By being nice to people and letting them know they are looking for work.

Are there any particular methods that you would recommend? Make sure your website is up to date with your best stuff. Circulate it. If you have friends in the industry, being recommended is the best way.

What is your opinion of the job market for this career today? Is it easy or difficult to get into? How do you see it changing in the future? I think it depends on the location, and on your specialty. There are way more 3D people than 2D because it is taught more in schools. Some cities have more artists than jobs and others have more jobs than artists. It might be easier to get in smaller unknown studios than in large glamourous ones.

How does a person generally progress in this career? Artists often become leads, then art director or concept artist. Then they might move to technical art directors or assistant producer.

Are internships usually available for this job? If so, where would you suggest someone look for them? Do you know of any opportunities you would recommend? I saw some companies that had art internships and some that only had more technical (IT) internships. I have to say  that I never had an internship and I know little about that.

Final
Do you have any other advice for those looking into this career? Draw as much as you can. The stuff you put in your portfolio should be the stuff you want to be doing. If you want to do videogames, do mock up GUI, isometric tiles and units, character sprites. If you want to do concept art, do turn arounds and renders in many different styles (not just space marines!) Don’t forget the enviros and props.

Have a clean portfolio site with your best stuff in it. Never miss deadline. Be nice to your coworkers and classmates, you never know where your next job will come from.

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