Being a Self-Taught Artist in the Games Industry.
4 min read

Being a Self-Taught Artist in the Games Industry.

The tips and advice for beginners trying to get into the arts industry, coming from a self-taught junior concept artist. - By Jakub Bobkowski
Being a Self-Taught Artist in the Games Industry.
Artwork by Jakub Bobkowski

A note from the editor:

I met Jakub Bobkowski very recently. When gathering ideas for the next article for the blog, I thought it would be good to get an aspiring artists on board to give their views on certain topics.

Jakub was the first to come looking for the opportunity,  and the outcome couldn't have been better. This article demonstrates how regular people like me, Jakub, or many other artists that I met along the way have something fresh to bring to the table.

I would love to thank Jakub for his time. I hope this inspires many upcoming artists with a bright future like Jakub's. - Javier Benitez.

A prelude to this article - How my journey began.

It seems like more and more people are getting interested in art as a means of living nowadays. The ever-growing art industry keeps on attracting young talents wishing to get their dream job.

Unfortunately, there's a long and hard road ahead of anyone trying to do so, and with it, you'll need many important things along the way.

The first and most important is an appealing portfolio that shows your skillset. This raises my first question. Where should I even start?

When I decided to make the first step into the world of art, I wasn't completely aware of how complex it is to become a professional artist. I was overwhelmed when I discovered how many things I could learn.

After discovering some of them, it was time to make a decision.  Do I want to dive into this or give up on it and focus on something else?

To me, the answer was simple. I'm still young and got nothing to lose, so why shouldn't I?

Being self-taught - Sometimes, it's our only option.

I come from an impoverished family, and taking expensive classes or having a proper art teacher was nothing but a fantasy. Nobody was going to be there to guide me, so I was forced to look for other ways to learn.

At first, I found some tutorials on YouTube. To be honest, I believe that's all a newbie like me needed in the beginning. These videos should teach you some fundamental skills, such as the basics of anatomy or perspective.

However, once you spend some time following tutorials, I suggest buying some more complex art books. They shouldn't be too expensive when compared to taking classes.

I highly recommend these books written by Andrew Loomis and Ernest Norling:

Consistency is crucial here. When following these books or any learning process, try to dedicate some time to it every day, even if that's only a couple of minutes.

When the time comes, and you are ready for a job, keep in mind you are bound to do work for at least 7 hours a day, five days a week, so getting used to force your focus and get a routine is the key to a future happy working life.

Inspiration - The enemy of our sanity.

This whole section goes on a different note. Like me, sometimes you're gonna feel down and start to question whether what you're doing is right. You see other people's work and start to feel insecure. It happens to all of us.

As human beings, we all have our ups and downs. It's common from time to time. You just need to keep on working hard, and sooner or later, your dreams will come true.

There's always going to be someone better than you, and that's great.

Think about it. It's just another challenge. Try to get better than they are, peak some of your favorite artists and tell yourself that one day, you're going to be in the position they are now.

The only difference between them and you is time.

Try to learn from them initially, but don't spend your days comparing yourself to them, as the one you should be comparing yourself to most of the time is none other than you.

Analyze your work from the past. Look at your progress. How much were you able to get better. That's the only thing that matters. Sooner or later, you'll be on someone's radar as the artist they want to become.

Just look at me. Not long ago, I wasn't even sure about what I wanted to do with my own life, and now you're reading my thoughts here.

It seems like anything is possible if you just try hard enough and reach out to the right people.

Artwork by Jakub Bobkowski

Learn from yourself - Analyze your art.

If you asked me how I feel about my art, I'd probably say that it's nothing special. I'm not saying that it's bad, but I'm aware that it could be better.

That's exactly what you should be striving for. Improving. Being an artist is a path of constant advancement. You can always get better at something or learn some completely new skill like 3d modeling or painting the traditional way.

All those possibilities are what make art unique and amazing.

Art is a complex matter. There's no way you'll ever know everything there is to know. And that's fine. It's not about perfection. It's about achieving certain goals that you set for yourself along the way.

As an artist, spend time looking at your art and thinking about the next step to make it as great as those pieces that inspire your creations.

- Written by Jakub Bobkowski, Edited by Javier Benitez.

So what do you think? I think Jakub has a bright future ahead of him. His way of thinking seems like what I look for when hiring people for the teams I sometimes build.

A humble person goes a long way and even further when given the ability to reason and understand how to get better.