Hi Vrit! You’re so welcome, and I’m always happy to help!
As far as international workers go, I can tell you it’s harder to get a job here than if you were native-ly from the US, but it’s also entirely possible. Many of the people I work with are originally from other countries and have been working here for years. There are just more hoops you have to jump through if you’re non-native. You have to get a work visa, which typically involves a company being willing to “sponsor” you, i.e. put up a lot of money and declare to the government that no one from the US can give them what you provide, so they need to go with you. (That’s kind of the glossed-over idea, based on how I understand it.) It’s usually a good chunk of money that a company has to put up for this sponsorship, so it may limit you on who’d be willing to do it. Also, because you need to get a work visa, companies will sometimes say they can get you one quickly, and then drag their feet on the process. You’d still be able to work for them during that drag-the-feet time, but you wouldn’t necessarily be able to change companies until that work visa was in hand.
This is how I understand all of it, at least, based on the international people I’ve worked with and what they’ve told me about their experiences. I may have gotten my facts wrong and I’m sure there’s a lot more involved, but this is usually what I hear come up.
All of that said, there are so many people I work with who aren’t from the US. A ton. haha. So they’ve all made it and managed it one way or another, so it’s far from impossible. In fact, it seems very possible so long as you make the effort.
Hope that helps!
Hi Tyler! Unfortunately, not off the top of my head, because you’re right: most places see the word “graduation” and automatically categorize people as “looking for work” versus “internship”. Muh.
With that in mind, I suppose at this point you’d have to ask yourself why you want an internship instead of work. If it’s because you feel like you’d learn more from an internship, I can tell you that’s not the case. On the job learning is one of the most intensive and gratifying kinds there is. In the last year with two studios under my belt, I’ve gotten exponentially better than I ever had done through years of school or even more internship. So if you can find a solid professional environment, you’ll definitely continue to grow.
If you’re looking to still get some specific help in certain areas that you maybe thought an internship would be better equipped for, I’d recommend programs like Motivarti, which pairs up industry mentors with mentees to get them ready for animation careers. Also, schools like CGMA and small in person schools like Concept Design Academy (that’s a place out here in Southern CA), have classes that target specific areas you might want to dig into more deeply.
Hope that helps!
Hey there! So, I have no idea when you asked this (because tumblr got freaky and was having some notification issues), so I’m sorry if you’ve had to wait a bit!
So, when I was at Sony Animation, every week we could participate in a Sketch Club outing, where a bunch of us would take some art supplies with us to a nearby lunch spot and just eat and draw people. What was nice was that it kept you life-drawing and you got to see what your friends were up to and got new inspiration. One of the games we’d play was: we’d pick a “mark” or a target at the end of the meetup, which would just be some passerby we thought looked interesting, and we’d have to take a mental snapshot of that person right then and there. You weren’t allowed to take a real picture or take notes or do a sketch. You then had to go back and draw the person as you recalled them, just from memory. It was cool seeing what stuck out to people and what anyone actually remembered. haha.
Tons of people do sketch clubs within artist communities these days, many of them during after-work hours, so you should be able to find one if you don’t want to make one yourself. As extra fun, you can draw each other, do caricatures, look for people doing certain activities, etc. It’s a good time!
Hey guys! Reply or put in my askbox some of your favorite fairytales or stories (nothing too complicated). I’m looking to start a new art project, and I need to get ideas going.
Hey hey! CTNX is wonderful. For anyone who doesn’t know: CTNX is an animation expo held every November in Burbank, CA. It features artist booths, panels with industry pros, live demos, and countless portfolio reviews with major studios and artists. (I’m a HUGE proponent of getting your portfolio critted by as many people as you can stomach, because the feedback is invaluable.) Also, everyone is SUPER nice there, so it’s a totally safe environment to share art and get advice!
Now, your actual question: character design portfolios! To address your concern about styles, it’s, as all things are, trickier than one might hope. haha. I’ll try to break it down:
1) Know the company you’re showing to. Like I said in my last askbox reply, knowing what studio you’re approaching usually informs the kind of art you show, and this is true of character design. For example, Laika probably isn’t looking for the same kind of style as Disney, so your stuff could be a hit with one and not the other.
2) Know if your style is more TV or feature animation. There’s a definite difference, and one’s not better than the other. But Pixar probably isn’t looking for a portfolio that’s tailored for Cartoon Network. Again, it’s about knowing your audience and knowing the visual difference.
3) There’s no “one way” to get into the industry. Some people get in because their style is so unique, that no one else can do it so the studio HAAAS to have THEEEEM. Other people show they’re so versatile in their styles, that employers are excited to have someone on the team that can handle anything. Because of this, it’s kind of a matter of assessing your own artwork and figuring out where you fall in that spectrum as a designer.
4) Does your work have “broad appeal”, e.g. could it fit many employers? Keep in mind: it doesn’t have to, at all! But there are probably more places that can find a spot for you if it does. My style can kind of fit anywhere, so I used the same portfolio for all the studios. I showcased roughly two feature animation “styles” that I do, to show I can adapt but that I also have a voice. If my artwork was more experimental, I’d just have to know how it might limit my choices. Or, I might have to make the additional effort to show other styles as proof I can do different things.
In general with character portfolios: show characters’ personalities. Yes, design is important, but it’s only half of character design. You can have awesome shapes going on, but if the character is standing there, blank expression and static pose, then I’ll have no idea who this person is or what I should think of her. Make your characters ACT and MOVE. Show them expressing emotion. Show them interacting with and reacting to other characters. These people you’re making won’t exist in a bubble: they’ll be on screen moving around, so you want to show HOW’D they’d move. WHY they’d be engaging to watch. MAKE us care. Tell us a STORY. Animation is simply story, and characters are the vehicles to tell it. Also, “finished” work isn’t essential. Really excellent, emotive sketches can go a very long way.
I hope some of this helps. If there’s anything you want me to expand on, feel free to ask!
Before I get started, I just wanna say good for you for already thinking about and prepping for CTNX! The sooner you can get that ball rolling, the better, and it’s such a wonderful expo.
The answer is kind of more complex than one might think.
The first thing you’ll want to do is ask yourself the following questions:
- Are you interested in vis dev for animation, video games, or live action? These are stylistically quite different even though they can pull ideas from each other. It’s important that you can see these differences and gear your portfolio toward the look of the one that interests you, because it will be the look of the field you’re trying to get into.
- Once you have that figured out, what do you want to do in vis dev? Do you want to design characters? Environments? Props and vehicles? Color? There are definitely jacks of all trades in the industry, but typically when you present a portfolio, you’re showing what kind of artist you’d be for that company, what you could do for them, what your goal is. When you have a little bit of everything scattered everywhere, the person looking at it probably won’t know what they’d hire you for. You want to make it as clear to them as possible why they’d want you as an employee and what you’d bring to the table.
- What company do you wanna work for? These questions help you specify your focus. Different companies, even within the overall field of something like animation, have different looks to their studios. Pixar doesn’t look like Sony, etc. For you personally, it’s good to know what style you’re interested in so you can aim for a company you like, but for your portfolio, it’s good to know the differences so you can gear the portfolio TO the studio. People typically have different portfolios to show different places, unless your portfolio has a sort of general mass appeal about it.
As for some organization for your portfolio: ONLY put in your best work. I think sometimes people try to shove in everything they’ve done that shows different sides of them - but only show the BEST. Organize it so that your front-most pieces are your strongest AND the ones that most clearly show what job you’re after. For example, having life drawings in the front doesn’t give people a clear idea. And putting a bunch of characters in the front if you’re most interested in environments is confusing. The majority of what you show should be the stuff related to what you want to do. You can always devote a small section in the back to great pieces that show a different side of you.
Hope some of this helps and let me know if you have other questions! :D