Danette Beatty, artist at Ustwo games talks about how they got started in their career, and the importance of diversity in the industry
How did you break into games?
A mixture of privilege, luck, timing, being active on social media and having the right portfolio. I went to College for Creative Studies in the States, majoring in game art. I knew I wanted to make colorful approachable games and tailored my portfolio to that.
After I graduated I applied to Ustwo games for a full time junior art position and after a few interviews and flying me over to London I was accepted for the position and have been here ever since.
What has been your proudest achievement so far?
My proudest achievement so far has been working on Assemble with Care from the very beginning and seeing it through to shipping. I feel like it’s quite an accomplishment, if not rare, to see a game from start to finish and be part of that process of coming up with something from scratch.
We were prototyping for a long time before picking the game that ended up being Assemble. Getting to learn about how we concept for a new game, picking an art style, creating pipelines, planning out the work that needs to be done and executing on it was incredibly valuable.
What has been your biggest challenge to date?
My biggest challenge has been creating boundaries between myself and my art as it changed from a hobby to a full time job. For a while I tried to continue to tirelessly do art in my spare time as well as at work, but for me it just wasn’t sustainable.
I spend 98 per cent of my creative energy on the job and trying to squeak out that last 2 per cent for something to post on social media just felt like a chore. Instead, I have gravitated towards new hobbies such as learning ukulele and growing plants.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I enjoy working on all the aspects of art and collaborating with other disciplines to make the best game we can. Because we are such small art teams, I get to do a range of things from concept art, 3D, lighting, animations, UI, and illustrations. I really like having such varied work and having a lot of ownership in a project.
What’s your biggest ambition in games?
My biggest ambition is to help make this industry a safer place for marginalised people. Getting more diversity into the industry is really imperative. It’s how we get new perspectives and grow as an industry. Currently Ustwo games hosts an amazing event called POC in Play that I hope to be more active at!
What advice would you give to aspiring game artists?
Don’t be afraid to make art that looks bad. I have never made a perfect finished piece without iteration. Most of my job is creating something and making changes to it. With social media it’s easy to see artists curating their work so you only see the amazing finished product, but trust me there’s a lot behind the scenes that gets scrapped!