Art by Vethysnia

Traditional & Digital Art by Tasha Shropshire

My Experience Working in Game Design

Overall, I spent over ten years nurturing my little art business and cultivating a small but reliable circle of clients who consistently buy artwork from me. It was a slow but steady process, one that allowed me all the time in the world to fulfill my clients’ orders and really nail the essence of what they were getting at. Many of them are grateful and still order from me to this day.

However, the thought of doing freelance concept work for game designs never occurred to me throughout that decade. I always thought I wasn’t good enough, or I didn’t have the schooling, seeing as I’m completely self taught from a super young age in both digital and traditional artwork.

That being said, when my roommate asked me if I wanted to be a part of his startup video game company which by law shall remain nameless, I was enthralled, if not a bit out of my element. I personally had no idea the scope of resources needed to go into game design, but I drew, and painted, and drew, and painted, and drew some more. I drew and painted my little heart out for this guy who had offered me such an amazing opportunity that I would have be beyond help to refuse. It was an interesting experience, one fraught with frustration, misunderstandings, and not to mention an ungodly amount of sexual tension. I hate to say that in public, but it’s the truth, and while I regret many things about how I handled myself throughout the experience I do not regret that particular detail (LOL!).

He had such a mind for business, and seemed to genuinely know the ins and outs of our bureaucratic system. He was forever complimenting my artwork and saying that I could get a job with much more popular companies if I just put myself out there more. It was him who inspired me to hook up with Kaons, or Elise if you will, to host my domain-name website as well as create several other social media platforms to further expel my brand and artwork. In terms of networking, ironically as an ex artist, he really did know the ‘art of marketing’.

The company collapsed, taking a lot of our inspiration and vigor with it, but at the same time I learned several valuable pieces of information while working with this individual, as well as honing my comportment of how I handle myself in the future when faced with other opportunities in the freelance and game concept art world. This individual not only inspired me to further my skill in ‘the art of networking’, but he also pushed me in my artwork in ways I’ve never had anyone do before. Sometimes he was rather harsh, yes, but for a time I absolutely relied on his input to help my work reach the next level, and beyond.

Here are some bits of information I learned throughout this joust in conceptual game design:

One. Always write out a detailed and definitive terms of service. And make sure you take note of examples you have seen.

Two. Always always ALWAYS find update this terms of service. You will find new and better ways to handle yourself and there’s no reason you should not implement them right away. Do not inflict the new rules on customers who signed past versions; only new customers.

Three. BE COMMUNICATIVE TO THE MAX. Don’t ever be like me and be shy about not understanding something. Be as clear as possible and let your boss/client know that they’re being unclear about the project’s expectations. Follow this particular strain of advice and you wont have to deal with your client being upset that you did something completely unlike what they desired in the first place. 

There is a certain flare needed to sell one’s soul as an artist. One needs to be diligent, and dedicated to their craft. Art as a hobby does not fly in the world of business, and creativity unfortunately sometimes does not sell. My experience in this startup game company taught me most of all that one cannot compete in today’s conceptual art industry if they’re not willing to put in the hours, like I most certainly did, but ended up failing alongside my boss ironically. One must do art regardless of if the mood calls for it, and that’s one of the hardest lessons I’ve ever had to learn, to be perfectly honest. Having been currently suffering from the worst art block I’ve had in years, I can safely say that it passes. It always, always, always passes. Get out those strokes. Get out those doodles. Work through the kinks. But at the same time if one really needs a genuine vacation from such vigilant work, yes, by all means, take it, and take it deeply.

‘Umbra Bestius’ general character and scenery concept art

At the end of the day, I always have something to share with my followers. At the end of the day, I have always accomplished something. And this is important for every professional artist to acknowledge throughout their hard work and endless hours of working on commissions and even work for art school. Nothing, I repeat nothing, in art, equals worthlessness.

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