My Goal is to become a 3D Character Artist, an amazing one. Simple right?..
Well how do I get there?
I had no idea, even now sometimes I still wonder!
I went to Uni to study Animation (I actually went to study Game Art, but they told me animation would be better for me, what good that did me?! mann...), ending up finding I enjoyed creating characters more then anything so my final major ended up being just that. And BAM I find out i can freelance just doing this!? Great!!
But! Wait a second...
What does it take to become a successful Character Artist?
Can I have a great career just Freelancing?
And by great I mean have a ''healthy'' work/life balance. And by ''healthy'' I mean seeing daylight more then just a few hours a week, actual human interaction!
Well I think I have a answer to one?!
I emailed a bunch of different professional character artists asking for advice on what steps I should be taking. I was over the moon (I was actually over the bog, but that's not the point) when I got a reply so quickly from Peter Zoppi. Who, is a amazing character artist working in films and games.
And here's what he had to say.
''The things that will help you get a job is showing you can analyse things and recreate them properly. Anatomy is the perfect place for that because everyone will know straight off if you've executed it properly or if it isn't right.''
He also mentioned to do several small anatomy studies instead of big ones, and to take a few days or even a week doing them. Working my way around the body taking it in small chunks.
So, taking Peters advice I plan to do more anatomy studies and small modelling projects.
But I personally think it is important to have a few big projects that I can spend weeks on working the whole character pipeline, so I can demonstrate more ability as well. But nevertheless I am taking his advice and running with it!
I listened to a pod-cast recently By Dave Rapoza and Dan Warren. Which are both amazing Freelance Artists.
They had a long talk about Freelancing as a Concept artist, although there field is in 2D art, it was still a great listen specially for the weird funny parts! Youtube Vid Here!
They hit a lot of interesting points in the talk most of them shocked and scared me, and other motivated me into wanting my goal more.
The overall talk was about ''Making it'' becoming a professional and getting the jobs you want and working when you want. They go on to talk about the three stages that you'll go through.
The Beginning, this is where you just start out and you're not known at all. You'll take any job just so you can start making something but these are very rarely the jobs you want. And to top it of the pay is minimal sometimes even none.
The Middle, Now you're finally establishing yourself, you're getting more jobs, they still aren't the jobs you want though. Now this is were it gets dark.
They go on to talk about how much of a struggle and push it is to get jobs to have enough money to live. And how much the work can pile up, if you don't do the jobs then you don't get the money and all the pressure adds up.
Right now Dan says he is just past the worst of the middle, he literally said it was hell. Having so much work they said made less time for other activities.
Here's one of the things that scared me and motivated me.
The End. After 4-5 years, you're a pro working the jobs you want to working when you want to.
Now that doesn't sound to bad but then I think about how much time they put into working and what things they gave up just so that they had more time to focus on becoming better. It just puts things into retrospective for me to know what to expect if I don't pull my socks up! Pro at 26yrs sounds good to me!
Now I know that these guys are 2D Artists But I imagine things not to be too different. Most Freelance character artists have already 5-10 year experience in a company before they freelance.
My best bet it seems would be to land a job with a company, establish myself then freelance. But that is to say I haven't changed my mind by the time I ''Get in''.
I have time on my side, living at home is a blessing, it gives me time to study and work without worrying too much about bills or money. I'm taking this opportunity to work my ass off and get it into a company!
I think it'll be a good idea to email some employers (Crytek please!), see what they want and if i can get any advice from them! Maybe even sneak my way into a job.