Jason Pickthall – BSc Product design
I am currently Lead Concept Artist at Activision Blizzard, producing high quality designs and artwork for use in the video games industry. I direct a team to produce work of equal quality as well as spanning a broad range of styles and themes ranging from cartoon through to realistic Sci Fi.
I really enjoy creating and experimenting with new styles and art direction and generally the varied nature of my work. One of the most challenging aspects of my job is that I have to visualise someone else’s idea and this isn’t always straight forward. Most of all I enjoy the fact that I work in a creative and fun environment in a role that is an extension of my own hobby.
I graduated from University with a 2:1 in Product design but more importantly my portfolio played the biggest role in getting my foot in the door. From that I had to be self-motivated enough to try and master my craft in any spare time I had. I’ve still not mastered it and never will, but as long as I keep enjoying it I’ll keep improving.
Self-motivation is key and it’s been one of the biggest factors that have helped me along my career path. My course was very competitive so everyone was striving to be as good as they could be. I gained my first role in the games industry as a level editor. The software I’d been exposed to on my course such as Photoshop and 3DS Max was certainly beneficial along with my own portfolio. The biggest unknown for me is how I can continue with my career trajectory, possibly even set up something for myself whilst maintaining a hands on approach to creating art. It would be a shame to drift away from the thing I love and have been quite successful at.
My degree taught me problem solving, which is one of the most transferrable skills you can have. Another aspect that I feel has set me apart from others is my consideration for presentation. Whether it be a sketch or a full painted piece of art, present it in the most appropriate way and you will get the best out of it – I’ve seen some great work in some tatty portfolios in my time! My advice to graduates looking to work in this field is if you think like a professional, you’ll get treated like a professional. You don’t need a design job to think of yourself as a designer. This is true for any profession I believe.
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