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Career in game development: How can an artist design a portfolio?

G5 employs more than 850 talented professionals who make mobile games with an audience of millions. For more than 20 years of existence, we have accumulated a wealth of experience that we want to share. Therefore, we are launching a series of articles "Career in game development". In the first part, we will tell you how an artist can design a portfolio in order to get a dream job.

A portfolio is an ideal tool to evaluate an artist's skills and understand what value it can bring to a particular project. The first thing your portfolio should tell you about is your specialization. Each company may have its own approach to the roles of artists. The following specializations are accepted in G5:

  • Character Artist
  • The environment artist
  • The HOG-grind artist
  • UI Artist
  • Match-3 grind artist
  • An illustration artist 
  • Concept Artist

Sometimes an artist can combine several specializations. As a rule, this is found in small studios. In large companies, everything is more often unambiguous – one role = one specialist.

Now that we have decided on the most important thing – your specialization, it's time to move on to the tips! 

1. Make sure that your portfolio reflects as clearly as possible what role you are applying for. The reviewer should understand this at a glance at the portfolio. It would also be useful to additionally indicate the desired role in the resume.

A great example of a portfolio for an Environment Artist.

If you are a character artist, your portfolio should include characters, UI artist - UI windows, and a grind artist (and this is one of the most difficult roles!) – match-3 chips and mechanics, etc.  

A good example is the Character Artist portfolio.

It happens that an artist can work equally well in two directions, for example, to draw both characters and illustrations. If this is your case, don't forget to mark it in your portfolio. 

A variant of the Concept Artist & Illustrator portfolio.

2. Pay attention to the style. It is better for beginners to choose 1-2 similar ones and focus on them. Experienced artists are required to be able to draw in different styles, especially if you plan to work on pre-production projects where stylistics is still being sought.

To get into a specific company, add works in a style close to the projects of this company. To learn how to work in a particular style, select and copy several works of the company and apply the acquired skills already in your work. Copying is a powerful self–learning tool. And works similar to the company's stylistics will additionally help reviewers understand how well you will fit into a specific position and for which project.

We recommend adding a series of works in the same style – this way you will show that you can repeat the result and know how to follow a given style. 

3. Monitor the quality of your work. Your task is to show your strengths. Remember that quality is more important than quantity. It is better to use 5-10 works in your chosen specialization and style, close to what is required on the company's projects.

At G5, we look primarily at how the candidate works with material shading and shape plasticity, light and color, whether he has design skills, in-depth knowledge of anatomy, architecture, visual hierarchy of the window in the case of UI, infographics, etc.

4. Subscribe to the accounts of the companies you would like to work for, on Artstation, Behance and Instagram. This will help you always be aware of what projects are currently in the works and how to bring your portfolio closer to the company's style.

We also invite all artists who dream of working at G5 Games to follow our accounts – Artstation, Behance.

5. Never add other people's works to your portfolio, passing them off as your own. The exception is the work done in collaboration. In this case, indicate that this is exactly co-authorship, and also note which part of the work you have done.

6. Feel free to show the stages of work on the art and the time spent on the work. This will reveal the course of your thought in the process and show that you can work not only efficiently, but also quickly.

7. If you are a beginner, try not to use stages, fanarts (if you have chosen the specialization of a concept artist), as well as the work that you did as a student in the courses. Most likely, you performed them under the strict guidance of a mentor, so they will not be able to demonstrate your real skill. Believe me, the works from the courses are always visible, even if they are not signed as coursework. It is better to repeat the same work, but on your own. This way you can show your personality.

8. Don't be afraid to use AI in your work. This can add extra points to you in the eyes of the recruiter. Specify which neural networks you used and which tasks you were able to solve with their help. This way you will show that you follow modern technologies and know how to use them competently.

A good example of using 2D and AI in a portfolio.

Facebook Instagram 9. Post your portfolio on all available platforms: on Artstation, Behance, Instagram and in profile groups on Telegram and Facebook. If you are not ready to post works in the public domain, just upload them to a file sharing site, clearly design the portfolio structure and send the link to the recruiter. Do not forget to open access via the link (your portfolio will be viewed by several people – it may be inconvenient to give personal access each time). Be sure to sort the work into folders – projects, tasks by specialization, etc.

Be sure to add a link to your portfolio in your resume and cover letter, make it as visible as possible – highlight it with a different color, formatting or size.

Remember that absolutely all links to your portfolio should be made active – this shortens the path to specialist work and shows the employer that you value his time.

10. Congratulations, you are great! Now that your portfolio is ready, help recruiters find you. Use the hashtags #UX, #UI, #Illustration, #Character and others. Name your art correctly and do not forget to specify the contacts for communication.

Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark in the 2008 Marvel movie, Iron Man.Keep your portfolio up-to-date and periodically add new works. Make it a rule to add one fresh job every 3-4 months.

And as a bonus, what exactly can "scare away" in your portfolio. Read our recommendations and never do that.

  • The relevance of the work. Everything that is not made for game development – sketches on paper, drawings on fabric, designs of business cards and websites – is not suitable for a portfolio.
  • There are a lot of folders on Google drive with a variety of works that are difficult to understand.
  • A portfolio is an archive file that needs to be downloaded and cannot always be opened.
  • The images are of poor quality, too compressed.

We hope our tips and recommendations will help you prepare an excellent portfolio and find a job in game development. Don't miss the second part of the article. In it, we will tell you how to prepare for an interview and successfully complete it.

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Спасибо большое за статью!Очень интересно.Ребёнок занимается ,нравится .Но мы родители не знаем куда дальше идти ,где обучаться ,тоже послушала бы.Сейчас дети очень всесторонне раскрываются ,хочется поддержать ...


Спасибо за статью! Было бы замечательно, увидеть следующую такую статью, уже по геймдизайнерам!