Art Critique Please :D

edited in Portfolios
Hey guys! I'm pretty new hear and wanted to gauge the caliber of work that gaming industries in SA are looking for - specifically concept art related. So here's some stuff I've been working on, any tips on where to improve to better fine tune a portfolio for employment, future projects etc would be awesome thanks!
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Zorn Character Clothing sheet cropped.jpg
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Zorn Character sheet2.jpg
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Creature Concept Sheet Detailed.jpg
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Zorn Character sheet.jpg
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Thanked by 1Jurgen


  • nice work.
    Thanked by 1Athi
  • Noob question but how do I enlarge the pictures I upload?
  • Insert them into your post . I think
  • So, a bit of background: South African game studios are typically small, and have art generalists in-house that make it less likely for them to need a concept artist. Junior positions in particular seem to me to be quite scarce. I think you'd struggle to find employment with what you've got at the moment.

    Your work has some interesting shapes, but it does look like student work (especially your anatomy and faces).

    For reference, these are the portfolios of South Africans that I know have worked in concept art in South Africa. They've got mixed levels of experience.

    imo, you have to be able to place your work next to theirs and honestly say that your work could match at least some of theirs. I also think it's absolutely possible to reach a high level of skill, but I've never seen someone do it in less than a year of really hard, focused work (and the person that did it in a year did it under the guidance of a master painter).

    There are some mentorships that could be helpful, including one by Anthony Jones. It's expensive, but he works you hard and he knows his stuff. Alternatively, studying general drawing books ("How to Draw" and "How to Render" by Scott Robertson are excellent), anatomy (there are lots of great ones, but Paul Richer's and Gottfried Bammes's books are typical recommendations). Feng Zhu has an excellent library of tutorials and talks that you should definitely check out if you haven't already. Paul Richardson's also got a great intro about how to think as a concept artist.

    If you've got other skills that you can leverage (some 3D, some tech art, some scripting), it might help to enter the game industry via that route instead, but honestly, I think it's a bit of a tough time trying to find a junior position right now. If you've got the time or resources, I'd suggest skilling up as quickly as possible to leapfrog being a junior at all, and open up more doors.

    I really want to be helpful and motivating, but realistically making a living as a concept artist is Hard Mode. It's possible, but requires massive amounts of work, and lots and lots of luck (especially timing for when a studio wants to hire someone, and that's out of your control). The bright side is that if you can persevere to the point where you're really good, concept art and illustration get outsourced quite often, and working for an outsource studio overseas can pay very well (and in dollars/euros) while living in South Africa.
  • You clearly have the talent. Go for it. Everything @Elyaradine says is true however "massive amounts of work, and lots and lots of luck" is true for anything in which you want to be awesome.
  • edited
    Just to add to what @Elyaradine said. Quite often we (from Free Lives) hire from people we see posting in the scene and people we see collaborating.

    In general if we see someone making work with other people it proves a few things that a portfolio doesn't, it gives us an idea about the person's ability to collaborate, and it shows enthusiasm for actually making games, and it shows their work within an actual game (which is often a lot trickier to make look good than art displayed in a static image).

    At Free Lives we have a few producers and managers as well as 10 developers making games, 5 of those specialize in art. But we're not big enough to employ a specialist concept artist, and the artists we have all enjoy being involved in the concept art phase and wouldn't want to be excluded from that.

    So if we're going to hire an illustrator, they need to be able to contribute production art to the game they're concepting for, so having some experience in game art would be vital.

    The way to get that experience is to work with other people supplying them actual production art based on your concept art. Doing game jams with friends, that kind of thing.

    That said, I'm just talking from Free Lives' perspective. This is just one company in South Africa. I would suggest going to some community meetups and asking questions there to get a broader sense of what people are looking for.
    Thanked by 1mattbenic
  • @Elyaradine thanks for the links and answer. Jea, my mentor mentioned something like that, as such I've been focusing on 3D art (environment and character) and will share with you guys real soon. The links are to die for, I've been chatting with Nicko on facebook but didn't realise we have that much talent from other peeps in SA. Thanks again!

  • @Moga jea deffs hy, thanks!
  • @EvanGreenwood now that's some awesome advice, you guys just made my welcome to the community too dope :D
  • Hey Athi! It's Steve H-Tripp.
    Great to see you putting yourself out there and wanting to get feedback.
    I wanna do a paint over for you and try give you some technical crit, you should have me on facebook. send me a message with a pic you may want crit on if you're keen for a paintover.
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