JAMES PAICK IS THE FOUNDER AND CREATIVE DIRECTOR AT SCRIBBLE PAD STUDIOS WITH OVER 15 YEARS OF DESIGN EXPERIENCE.
Scribble Pad Studios under the direction of James Paick has been responsible for creating some of the most memorable designs and moments in entertainment design. James has developed many projects within the gaming, film, theme park, illustration, entertainment space and advertising fields.
www.BrainstormSchool.com – This is a school specifically focused on design & job placement for students in the video game industry.
James Paick/ Scribble Pad Studios’ current portfolio examples
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out Part 1 of this interview, where we asked him specific questions about what it’s like to be a concept artist in the entertainment industry, dispel a few common misconceptions that aspiring artists tend to have about the field, and discuss his educational background. Here, in part two of this interview, we asked him specific questions about, building his portfolio, marketing himself in the industry and more. Here’s what James Paick had to say:
WHAT IS YOUR LIST OF DOS AND DON’TS TO BUILDING A STRONG PORTFOLIO?
A student portfolio will always lack the techniques that are needed in the industry. What a student portfolio should show, however is potential, ideas, & that you really love the world of Art & Design. I feel my portfolio even though very raw & lack of technique showed that I was very excited about this field. Excitement is one way to really get people to notice you.
I would say for students to constantly strive for better ideas, & better finished quality. A portfolio is purely to show where you are at a given moment, & should always change, improve, & update through time. What I would highly discourage is a for a student’s portfolio to stay sterile.
As a Creative Director @ Scribble Pad Studios, I have been in a hiring position for artists & designers.
Your portfolio is only as strong as your worst piece
Be careful not to put work into it that you’re either attached to, that YOU think is good, or that took you the longest. The biggest mistake that I see is creating a generic portfolio. Students need to be aware that clients hiring for film, games, TV commercials, matte painting, etc., are all looking for different things. One of the best things to know what these specific things are.
I would highly encourage students to ask peers, instructors, & artists to get an opinion on your portfolio.
James Paick Student work examples
HOW DID YOU HUNT DOWN YOUR FIRST JOBS IN THE INDUSTRY?
I tried to utilize all resources, from: school interviews, to emails, to student networks, & literally sending out physical copies of my portfolio to studios, not even knowing if I would receive my portfolio back from them. It’s really worth a shot, since the long term investment of landing one of these jobs would definitely be worth the time, energy, & money spent during this early phase in my career.
HOW DID YOU MARKET YOURSELF COMING OUT OF COLLEGE/ FIRST STARTING OUT?
The main task back then was to find where people gather to look at Concept Art. Luckily when I was coming out, there were only 2-3 main resources where artists went to get concept art inspiration. I was able to find those places, & I started to post my work & become part of the community. Once that happened, it just takes time for people to notice what you do. The major thing that was important was to keep consistent, & basically make it apart of your daily routine to stay active in the community.
WHERE DO YOU CURRENTLY MARKET YOURSELF? (WEBSITE, SOCIAL MEDIA, WORD OF MOUTH?, ETC.)
All the above! Every single one of those are absolutely important for different reasons. Social media is definitely one of the areas to involve on top of websites, art forums, blogs, etc.
Going to events & meeting people in person, and not being shy to simply say ‘hello’ were also very important items to do while seeking exposure.
DO YOU THINK THE INDUSTRY IS VEERING TOWARDS A MORE CONTRACT AND OUTSOURCING MODEL FOR ARTISTS?
Since the industry has expanded, there is going to be growth within outsourcing and freelance positions. However, studios will always want in-house artists to develop & envision the look of the project. The industry is growing year after year without any ended sight, so there will definitely be room for both types of work.
DO YOU HAVE ANY OTHER ADVICE FOR ARTISTS?
Always carry a sketchbook & pen. The world is your biggest source of inspiration. Try to ‘see’ & understand the world, instead of just ‘looking’ at it.
The Design Studio Library is a MUST HAVE for any concept artist. There are many “Art Of” books that allow you to see how these artists designed, as well as what struggles they went through while working on the particular project.
On a personal note, I try to do something Art related every day. Whether its watching a movie, sketching, doing a painting, or even going out for a walk to look at the landscape. As long as you have your art mind turned on, you will really develop your skills in any scenario.
All images used with permission by the artist. ©James Paick