Getting my role at Jagex came at a convenient time. I was just about to finish the module part of my masters degree in game art when I decided to see what jobs were out there. Before then I worked in the QA department of another game studio in the North East and previous to that I studied a BA in Computer Game Design.
I had a friend who I studied with on my undergraduate course who was already working here. When I was looking for work I contacted all the people I knew from uni that were in the industry. Contacts and networking is very important and the more people you know in the industry, the better chance of getting a job. Luckily there was a role going at the time and after a successful interview and trial I was hired.
Over the past 4 years I have worked my way up from junior 3D artist to senior 3D character artist. As a senior character artist I am responsible for creating characters for RuneScape and also overseeing new projects and quests as well as mentoring junior artists.
I have also been involved in the recruitment process and attending careers fairs.
My usual day will consist of getting new pieces of concept art to work from, creating a 3D model, colouring and texturing the model and then setting it up to be animated (with a couple of games of pool or console games in the games room during lunch ;)). I will also occasionally have to be part of quest/project meetings to discuss the art assets required for new quests/projects.
Other than the fact that I get to do what I love day in and day out and get paid for it? It is definitely a fun studio to work for who value their employees. I work with many talented individuals who are passionate about what they do and we also get looked after very well.
Free gym membership, healthcare (came in handy when I severed the tendon in my thumb....ouch!), fruit baskets, free bike repair. They are all very good perks but Iíd say the best is definitely the jollies. We have had some awesome parties here at Jagex whether it be for Christmas, launch of a project or just because itís the summer!
There are many good memories - from the Christmas parties to creating some truly great work for the Clan Citadels project. But probably my favourite memory was when I found out we were hiring Pascal Blanche as the new art director for RuneScape. Oh actually scrap that......it was probably when I got my first bonus.
Itís got to be the people, the fun times and the relaxed atmosphere.
Portfolio and practice. Having a competitive portfolio is probably the most important aspect. There are plenty of amazing artists out there who will be your competition - find the best portfolios and aim to be as good or better than them.
It also helps if you have an interest in games and specifically game art. The more places you can learn from and draw interest from the better an artist you will become.