Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Guest Authors


In addition to reviews of various international universities, and online courses, we will help provide a broad guide via shared experiences of how each individual artist came into their own.

What will be quite obvious is, there is no set best pattern as to how we got here.

Each artist has his/her own unique tale to tell, and sometimes its a case of being in the right place, right time, right connection whereby the planetary alignment all comes together. But in the majority, it is often parallel tales of hard graft, and asking the right questions, and applying it in the best way possible to make their own choices and strategies work for themselves.

Afterall, one needs to have a strategy that works best for you and your unique individual artistic talents.

"The difference between the various artists, that makes them all unique is their sum total life experience and ideas"

Monday, 30 May 2011

Self Education Survival Guide - Part 1

Self Education, will stand you in good stead all life long as a artist, although if you have the financial means, perhaps a art education will help accelerate your path and thus be a worthy investment.

Nevertheless, let us look at Self Education as a viable creative means of the modern digital artist.
Especially if one enjoys the lifestyle of a truly mobile artist that can survive and paint anywhere, thus being able to enjoy roaming from say games to film to animation all offsite or onsite.

Also, one should note that there are essentially THREE types of artist towards which, the self educated route may differ in terms of education, continuing education and lifestyle
  1. The Illustrator
  2. The Concept/Animation Artist
  3. The Production Artist


In the internet age, a good friend said:
well to be honest... i don't think where you are locally makes a huge impact nowadays.... work hard, make good arts and put it online!
To this I would say:

The majority of work relies of the artist education themselves lifelong, and to a large extent this is good in a freelance capacity and building a reputation for themselves to the point they join a studio or continue their current course.

The slight drawback is, working in isolation can limit a artists growth and eventually they might feel the natural inclination to reach out to other local artists. There is a certain organic growth of bouncing off ideas, or even showing off a sketch to receive some sort of feedback from other artists that allows for a different mindset and perspective to kindle a artists growth.


As a self educated artist, one needs to develop a disciplined routine.

You need to establish a "work space" that represents your studio, ensure adequate breaks and when work is all done, be able to step away from the work - to return to sociable non artistic activities.

Afterall, the artist is really the sum of their life experience. Thus to fill their ideas, imagination and creative juices, alternative everyday life stimulation is vital!


Common things being common, its no secret of how you get yourself a foot into the industry.
"work hard, make good arts and put it online!" seems to sum it all up in a nutshell. What this means essentially is.

//////// BUILD A VISUAL PORTFOLIO ////////
Without a basic stall to showcase your wares, no one can see the budding promise and talent that you are. With arts, its really straightforward - and there are multiple online websites to portray your works ranging from personal websites to online art communities eg. cghub

//////// Network ////////
Once you have your visual portfolio in place, do your best to go out there, meet fellow artists, participate in artistic communities and attend local/international events. This will not only educate you in the current pulse of the moment, but provide immeasurable first hand information about current trends, obtain invaluable artistic feedback and provide a firsthand social humanistic aspect that helps represents yourself as a artist.
People being people, love to work with reliable sociable creative talent and putting a name to a face means in the future, the relationship can work at both a personable and professional capacity.

The community itself is relatively modest to small, and with time you will find you bump into the same folk over and over again. Thus, all those initial choices add up and can help improve your career, or destroy a career depending on your work ethic, and choices.

//////// Can't Please Everyone ////////
Perhaps, one can only try your best.
Be professional at all times and make every art asset, art piece and project a lifelong learning experience. For it takes many years to build a solid reputation, but a instant to cast a long shadow of doubt.

Entertainment Design - Continuing Education


With each cycle of artist entering the Entertainment Industry, the main challenge and most frequent questions are, which centres of higher education or courses are available throughout the UK and Internationally.

The thing to keep in mind is that good, accredited game or entertainment related design courses are overall in its infancy. Animation or Industrial Design of Illustration schools on the other hand are more established.


Alot of folks want to be the next kick ass concept artist or digital illustrator, and self education in this respect is how most folks approach the industry, in terms of what options are available, how to improve one's artistic skillset, and how to get a foot in the industry.

In a nutshell, there is no one specific best approach to this, however hard graft and informed choices with a view that art is a lifelong lifestyle will stand you in good stead, should you continue down this path.

Thus, let us look at the various options available and perhaps help provide a more informed opinion.

  • Traditional centres of higher education
  • Online courses
  • Self Education


A list of various educational centers and courses worldwide are available at the Higher Education course page list.

The main body of the strategy is really to help maximise one's time and plan how to be a concept artist, illustrator, production artist or 3D modeller.


The main strategy for the canny upcoming artist is to ultimately get a name and reliable reputation for themselves prior to graduating, such that they literally walk into a job of their choosing - be it in games, motion pictures, visual effects or fine arts.

To achieve this, is relatively straightforward.
Hard graft - to ensure coursework is produced whilst you moonlight in parallel.

How you freelance on the side, is the ultimate challenge in

  1. Time management
  2. Efficiency
  3. Reliability
  4. Learning the tips/tricks of the trade that no school can teach save experience
Practically, a good way to build a portfolio and client list is via Card illustrations.

These can range from board games eg. Fantasy Flight, to card games eg. Art Order challenges, Magic the gathering, D&AD to game rule book illustrations eg. Sandstorm productions.

Once a few of these gigs are worked at, these should provide some good and bittersweet memories of managing work assets, invoicing, getting paid and staggering more work and so forth.

This now also provides a selectable range of images to use in the portfolio, to migrate and obtain book illustration or promotional illustrations for all sorts of merchandise.

If you choose to be a game concept artist, then I'd recommend along side, one should start learning the finer aspects of production art eg. producing weapons, character orthographic designs, environments, and transport which utilize the principles of solid product and industrial design.