After receiving a few emails recently asking for portfolio feedback and general advice, I decided to write up a small list of tips that can help a student or graduate create a portfolio that game studios will want to look at.
Degree ≠ Job. A lot of studios don't look in a resume for where you went to school. The first thing they're interested in the quality of work in your portfolio. If you have the skills, then you probably have the job!
Do more than homework. Lot's of college students get turned down by studios because they give them a portfolio that only has school work in it. Studios look for people that create more outside of class. It can range anywhere from fan art to designing your own characters.
Get on forums. Stay active on the game art forums like Polycount or others like CGHub and GameArtisans. Post your work and speak with other aspiring game artists and professionals all over those sites. Lots of studios go to there first to scout for new talent (it's how I got both of my jobs) and you will make tons of connections that could secure your future in the games industry.
Take critique. Always look for and apply critique on your work (especially if feedback is coming from artists with a higher skill level!) It's the only way to learn and ultimately grow as an artist.
Be specific. Having a large range of styles in your portfolio is fun to look at, but isn't that great for hiring. Studios look for artists with specific strengths in the look and style of the type of games they create. Such as realistic, normal mapped army men and weapons if you want to work on Call of Duty, or creating low poly, hand painted textures for characters like in League of Legends or World of Warcraft. The more specific you are, the more a studio will see you fit.
Stay up to date. Studios update their software frequently, so it's great to learn new tools and tricks often so that you're doing more art and less technical tweaks during your day.
Be willing to be temporary. If a studio offers you a temporary position, take it. The sooner you can get your foot in the door, the sooner you will always have that door open to you (you might even be hired on full time!)
Be inspired. Create an "inspiration" folder on your computer and fill it with art that inspires you. It'll help keep you motivated and provide lots of reference to store in your head if you ever design your own.
Create every day. The more you do art, the better and more efficient you'll get (even if it's only an hour a day.)
Stay positive, practice, and make art!
P.S. If you want to read about my personal journey into games, check out my entry here! -> missmaddytaylor.deviantart.com…