Every working day this month, as part of our New Year, New Job 2014 special, Develop brings you a game industry professional to explain what their job involves and key advice to help you follow in their footsteps.
Lead environment artist
Thomas Klingström, lead environment artist at Mad Max developer, Avalanche Studios, explains what it takes to coordinate and motive an art team.
What is your job role?
As my project’s lead environment artist, I am responsible for the visual quality and production of the environment art, while making sure that it works within the premises and needs of our game. I am responsible for the planning of long- and short-term art production and ensuring that my team works and collaborates under the most productive conditions.
How would someone become a lead artist?
In most cases you work your way toward the role through experience; starting as a regular artist and moving upward through the ranks. Once you have earned a senior role you usually have two choices. You are either passionate for a certain niche of production and specialise in that area, or you are about the big picture and show leadership abilities. The latter will hopefully get you a chance to move up to an assistant or lead role.
What qualifications and/or experience do you need?
Most leads, no matter what discipline of game development, have proven themselves within their field. With that said I find the biggest differentiation between a good artist and a good lead to be the ability to handle stress, be open to suggestions, and most importantly find pleasure and pride in others’ performance and development.
What do you look for when recruiting a new lead artist?
Show integrity and confidence while still remaining humble and open to suggestions. You and your decisions are only as good as you let others help them to be. Apart from showing a wide and experienced skill set in the discipline you are supposed to lead; a strong eye for quality and being able to quickly and clearly provide feedback to both your team and potential outsourcing partners is crucial.
What opportunities are there for career progression?
Moving up the ladder on a big scale production, you would eventually be aiming for that art director role. Depending on the size of the production, a step in between would be assistant art director.
Why choose to follow a career in your field?
I love what I do. Plain and simple. If you feel the same way about this field, that’s most likely all the motivation you’ll need.
This feature is part of New Year, New Job 2014, Develop’s month-long guide to games recruitment. You can read more at www.develop-online.net/jobs2014.