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10 steps to get an art job in video game industry

10 steps to get an art job in video game industry.
It is also the best way to get art critique and possibly land you a job!
This post will probably be useful for all of you who really want to get a career in video games, movies and any other great profession doing art.

A lot of artists would like to know where they stand and often you can and will ask teachers, senior artists or artist friends to give you critique for your pieces. If you are not really serious about being professional then you don't really need a critique, you can just skip this post.

Keep in mind when you ask for critique what are you really looking for.
Are you looking for praise? If then you are in the wrong profession because constructive criticism is not meant to give you praise, but to make you a better artist and sometime it will kick your butts.

Even in the professional environment, everyone and I receive good amount butts whipping from our art director all the time. Best case scenario "Well, you need to change this, extend that, and maybe reduce the saturation. And often, "Ah, I think this doesn't fit, you will need to do it over and take a different direction." So you better get used to it, it will make you a better commercial artist. But trust me, a good professional constructive critique is better than any other praise you will ever get because it will lead you closer to the right goal. ;)

I'm going to tell you how to get a real good critique professionally. Do it right, it will pave your way and open doors to professional art career in your target industry.

1) Know what you want to do by doing research of the subject you are interested in and what kind of job available in the field. Meaning if you love doodle sketch robots and spacecraft, you might want to look into any game company who has the similar genre and style of games production. If you like drawing creatures, Trolls, Goblin, etc. look in that direction.

2) Do NOT ever sent just one piece for professional critique, no one will care. You have to work hard, every professional artist with real job are busy, respect their time and be courteous. You have to work on at least 5-10 pieces, make it look like a mini portfolio so they can really judge your ability, range and consistency.

3) Get your artwork online, upload it via Picasa, Flickr, Photobucket, etc. Make sure your album is clean and contain just what needs to be in it. DO NOT send them ATTACHMENT, it will clog their inbox and chance are it will be DELETE without ever being looked at.

4) Select any real company that you like there are so many of them. My tips would be to look at your video games selection (video games, card games, etc.), find your favorite games and find out who make them (Rockstars, Ubisoft, Insomiac, etc but I would suggest you should also pick SMALLER companies also, NOT just the POPULAR one). Pick about three companies from there. Also look at the body and quality of art work of their current artists and try to make yours up to the standard of their house artists.

5) Find out about them online, it is 21st century information are all over the place.
Once land on their page, you should find "Job opportunity" and/or "Career Opportunity". Click on it and find out what kind of positions they offer and read the description carefully. (You could also do this step before you make your portfolio so that your art work will fit the description they required.)
**It also help to find out about their art team, how many artist are involve in their one game production. Find out their names and search for them online to look at their art work as research (This relate to #4 to look at the quality of their art work).
***Nowadays you can find the companies and people in the team via their page on Facebook or Linkedin.  Befriend them and like the page and communicate with anyone involves.

6) E-mail them your portfolio link with letter explain your intention. If you are looking for critique say so NICELY and tell them that you would like to get into the professional level in a year, couple of years and so on. Ask them what you need to improve on and such.

7) If you send it to three companies and no response within a week, start doing more research and get more companies on your list. There are hundreds of them to pick from. Then send your portfolio again to others (you should limited to ten or fifteen.)

8) Yes, now you will really find out if your art will get their attention or not. If you are GOOD, you will find out real soon because some will response with critique back. If you send it to ten or fifteen companies and NO RESPONSE, my advice would be "STOP" for now.

9) Now what, Now what you need to do is to start building better portfolio about ten to twenty more pieces in the next three to six months. ***But this doesn't mean that you will put all of them into your online portfolio album, you will still pick only five to ten best pieces*** If you received critique from any company, you will have to focus real hard on what is pointed out and improve it. At this point you are in luck and you are getting closer. Plus now you have a point of contact from whoever response to you. For those who did not receive, don't worry it happens to everyone (happened to me when first getting my foot it, it happened some of the best concept artists in the video game industry even.) It means that YOU ARE NOT GOOD ENOUGH YET and NOBODY CARES about YOUR ART WORK. Accept the defeat for now and use that as your fuel to produce more BETTER art work. NOTE: I believe even if you don't get critique, you know what you should improve on be HONEST to yourself. Stop asking mom, dad and your nice friends to praise your art, get them pros to critique it, YOU HAVE TO BE ABLE TO GET THEM ATTENTION thru your art. That is the only way you will be good.

10) Repeat the process from one to ten again. A few more times you will either get a job you will love, or get a real critique from real professional people to start with.

***IMPORTANT! For comics book, most of the time you can get editors to review your portfolio at any big convention. You will have to find out detail from that particular convention (San Diego Comics-Con or NYC or anywhere). And if you are good, the editor will give you contact e-mail or cards for you to submit more sample pages on spot. If not, try again the next convention.***

Anyway, if you aren't ready for the tips above. There are other ways.
You can find any big forum or community that has lots of professional artists in it (, Then post your art online in the forum, you will get critique within minutes that way. And if you are good, you will get your name out thru the community and if you are getting better and greater, the job will look for you.

Good luck!

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Stacey said…
Thanks a lot for this post. I'm an school for graphic design but I enjoy illustration more. My goal is to improve upon illustration while working as a designer. :)
chalian said…
Friends are the worst critics !!!
Just a question for you, could you make a tutorial video pin'up has the future?
Please !!!
Thank you !
Anonymous said…
My critique to you is to fix your spelling and grammar. Also you should lose the attitude
idrawgirls said…
@Stacey Always good to keep developing and pursuing your true calling. ;)

@Chalian Thanks brother. True to that, in this profession if you want only praise and not facing reality, it will not work out for many. Cheers!

@Anonymous True to that neither of my spelling is correct nor good. It is in fact bad and far from perfect. but I am not teaching English here. Also I have no attitude, I am just bluntly stating the FACT. The field is very competitive, getting there or not is NOT up to me but up to the people who will pay you the salary you deserve. That is the FACT.

And if you don't like what I said, you don't need to come to my site.

Unknown said…
can you please recommend a site gives professional critiques ??
thanks for all the valuable knowledge and experience you share
rory.hinks said…
Yo man, thanks for the good advice. I don't understand what that guy's problem was.

A special request for a free cityscape concept please!

Kind regards,

chalian said…
here's a link to a community that makes reference in France :

The reality can be hard !!!
pokepetter said…
Friends are bad critics.
Art friends are great critics.

Speaking of critique, if you want me to critique you work you can send me an email to pokepetter(at)
I hope that will repent for my community absence. Thank you.
Bernardo Mota said…
Hi Xia!
I'm just 14 but in my country we can choose a brief direction at 15 years old so i want your opinion please ^^
My dream is to follow concept art and illustration and maybe go to the game industry but now i need to choose between graphic design and animation 2d/3d. Which one do you think is better for my dream job?

Thank you in advanced :D

PS: Cool info there, thanks for that too :)
Bernardo Mota said…
Hello Xia!
I'm just 14 but in my country we can choose a brief professional direction at 15 years old. My dream is to become a concept artist and illustrator and maybe enter in the video-game industry :)
Right now I have two good options and i want your opinion please: should I go for Animation 2D/3D or Graphic Design?

Thank you in advanced ^^

PS: Good tips there, thank you.
Anonymous said…
You are spot on here.

I had the privilege of sitting in room last weekend while some of the top pros in the illustration field reviewed student's artwork.

There was some really fantastic artwork being shown, but within moments one of the panel would jump on the wacom and with just a few changes, show everyone how it could be made better.

Whether it was a change in composition, a correction to anatomy, or a slight shift in the saturation that made the image just pop.

The highlight of my weekend was having an artist whose work I very much admire take a look at my work and give some very pointed critique. NOW I know what I was not seeing, and can get better.

And a word of caution, if you are thinking about getting into ANY creative work because you want people to say nice things about what you create--run in the other direction and do anything else for a living.

Create because you can't not do it, not for your ego.
Anonymous said…
How on earth did you get a job with this kind of language! I would hate to be a client dealing with someone who acts so unprofessional and lashes out like that, TYPES IN ALL CAPS at random moments and types in some badly formed english. Communication must be very hard for you.
Unknown said…
Holy Cow! Thanks so much for all of this valuable advice, Xia! You know, many artists who are already professionals in their fields would keep all this strictly to themselves, preferring to force beginning artists to struggle as they did. I'm thankful you're not of that ilk, and can't wsit until January when I can purchase as many of your tutorials as I can get my creative little paws on!

Rock on bro!

CyberTriber said…
Thanks, really sound advice...though i think i'm gettin a bit long in the tooth to pursue a career in the field. I think you are a great asset to the art community and to aspiring artists alike. And btw, i think your way of speaking makes you unique and interesting. Peace.