Case study

Environment artist — Declan Hart

Declan started out as an intern and has progressed from a junior to mid-level artist. He has future ambitions to lead his own art team

How did you get your job?

I applied for an internship with SUMO Digital through their website, and was interviewed a few months later through a double-stage interview process. I was then able to progress onto my current role as an environment artist.

What are your main work activities?

I like to use the analogy of a jigsaw: with the help of my leads, I decide how the jigsaw puzzle will look. I then determine what pieces need to be made and how they should be made to bring this goal to life. I brief and task all this up and send it to the outsourcers. When the jigsaw pieces come back to me, I put the jigsaw together.

How has your degree been relevant to your job?

My degree in game art transformed me from someone who knew nothing about 3D art to someone with a very broad skill set in the discipline. The course covered a wide range of skills, which allowed me to develop in all areas and see where my strengths were best suited and to work on what I enjoyed the most.

I had the freedom to choose what I loved to do, so I could show my passion to future employers.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I enjoy working with a team to make a strong product, where art and design are both highly respected.

What are the challenges?

Providing feedback on work that may miss the mark of the goal set out can be a challenge - it can be difficult to remain objective and provide constructive feedback to put the work back on track. Getting a second or third opinion from artists around me or my leads often helps with this. Always be prepared to ask for help and engage with those you work with.

How has your role developed and what are your career ambitions?

 I started as an intern and within six months I was promoted to junior environment artist, and then six months after that I was promoted to mid-level artist. This was a very rapid advancement and I'm very grateful to the Sheffield Hallam University BA Game Art for giving me the best possible skill set for the industry.

My ambition is to lead and direct a team on a project where great importance is put onto the artwork being created.

Any words of advice for aspiring game artists?

  • You always get back what you put in. Push yourself to try new techniques and compare yourself to professionals. Don't be afraid to acknowledge that you have things to learn and that your work isn't perfect.
  • You can do all the amazing things you see from the greatest of artists - your success is down to the mileage that you're prepared to invest in order to learn and practise the discipline.
  • You'll be part of a team, working with people and professionals to deliver a product of the best quality you can. There's no time for egos and there's no time for drama. Just be as nice, approachable and humble as you can. Trust me, your entry into the industry will be much smoother!

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