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A Student’s Guide to Game Art

Game art is exploding. With video game companies making billions of dollars and the games themselves turning into miniature movies, the sky is the limit in this fast-moving industry. Local artist and game art professional Mark Sorenson has been moving and shaking with the industry for years. With his educational foundation in 3D animation, illustration and fine arts, and practical experience as a concept artist in game design for the Waterford Institute, Mark is pursuing his passion.

“I love the story part of gaming; it’s like a movie but with your own story,” Mark said. “Games have cut scenes but you are also controlling it. This is like an artist’s dream; you pick something and go with it.”

game art, BEAU, Mark recently found a home at BEAU as the Game Art Program Chair and is excited to mix education with industry concepts.

“You really need to know what you are doing when you get out there,” he said. “One of the things that drew me to BEAU was that they were working with local companies. And having basic drawing and shading classes are important; you can fake it for a while with these new tools but eventually you’ll get called out on it.”

As a mentor and industry professional, Mark lays out his best advice for current and new students:

Advice for New Game Art Students

  • Don’t assume you know everything, and don’t be afraid to do the work. People in the game art field literally debate what goes into the curriculum… it’s there for a reason.
  • Spend the time to know what each class is set up to teach you.
  • Have an understanding of different software and tools.
  • Do an internship whenever you can. The ability to go into a new business and see how they work is really important.

Advice for Current Game Art Students

  • For work, just take what you can get and work your butt off.
  • Get your portfolio up to snuff.
  • Make sure you have the basics down as companies are always looking for talented people.  
  • Be fiercely dedicated to knowing what you want to do. If you want to do animation, then own it.