As the Game Art Team Lead, one of my key responsibilities is hiring and onboarding new game artists when open positions become available. I am often the first person to review incoming job applications, tasked with sifting through portfolio after portfolio in order to determine which candidates are most qualified to move forward in the hiring process. Want your application to stand above the rest? Here are my tips on what to do (along with what not to do) when applying for an art position at a games development studio like ours:
What we Want: A well-rounded portfolio highlighting your best work is, in our view, the single most vital component of a game artist’s job application. We love to see applicants show off their breadth of artistic talents by including stylistically diverse work in their portfolio. Variation of content is also important- be sure to show us your best examples of people, animals, environments, inanimate objects, and whatever else you can think of! Our studio creates games for audiences and clients that represent the full spectrum of age levels, subject areas, and styles. In the past, our most successful art applicants have included a wide range of examples in their portfolio highlighting their diverse abilities and skillsets.
In a similar vein, we look highly upon candidates who use their portfolio to showcase their ability to use different digital media. Are you primarily a 2D artist or illustrator but are also familiar with the principles of 3D modeling? Show us! Showcasing your expertise in many different digital media (vector, digital painting, digital line drawing, etc.) could prove to be highly effective in helping your application stand out from the crowd.
A final suggestion for art applicants is to review both our work-for-hire portfolio and Filament Learning game library to help paint a more complete picture of the types of projects our artists work on. Take note of the artistic styles and subject areas our games gravitate towards- if possible, try to place increased emphasis on showcasing your works which most closely resemble or relate to our company’s past projects. This is not to say your portfolio must look like a clone of our past projects (in fact, that would be quite weird). The fact is we make educational games, and as such want to see your best work that is playful and wholesome rather than dark and unsettling. Which brings us right into our next point...
What to Avoid: While seeing a portfolio packed with a wide breadth of content and styles is a plus in our eyes, we would recommend straying away from including work that are totally dissonant with our brand. We’re a learning games company- our mission is to create playful experiences that improve people’s lives! As such, we would prefer your portfolio not contain any explicit, overly adult, or violent work. This is not to say we don’t see value in this type of work; rather, we would simply prefer to see examples of content more in-line with the work Filament Games has done in the past.
Another tip would be to avoid applying to positions that are not a good match for your skillset. If your specialty is 3D art, don’t apply for a 2D artist position hoping to somehow make it work- this is a surefire recipe for eventual disappointment and frustration for both yourself and the rest of your team. On a similar note, we’re a games development studio that hires digital artists, so show us your best digital art (or more to the point, try to avoid emphasizing media we don’t use). If you don’t currently see an opening that matches your skills, qualifications, and passions, just wait! We regularly update our careers page throughout the year, and you never know when the perfect position might suddenly become available.
Our final point of advice is to avoid embellishments- in other words, be honest! When applying for a new job it may be tempting to stretch the truth when describing your past experiences, responsibilities, and accomplishments. However, we kindly ask all applicants to avoid sharing inflated and inaccurate claims throughout the hiring process- we perform rigorous research on all potential candidates, and transparency and truthfulness will reflect much more positively on your application than little white lies and less-than-honest statements. Use your application as a way to show off the real you!