This is just a bit more info about key places and faces that I have met over the years. How I went from leaving school, to getting into the games industry as an artist. Feel free to read if you fancy a snooze :)
1998-2003: The Oldham college.
After leaving school, I started at the Oldham college. At this point I wasn't quite sure what I was going to do, I just knew it involved drawing. So I jumped onto a yearlong art and design course. My tutor was a chap called Steve Langwieser, and he was great. He was the first art teacher I had that got excited about art. This was new to me, as my art lessons at school were anything but exciting. I didn't want to draw fruit and make paper Mache, I wanted to draw Judge Dredd, zombies, Batman, pulse rifles, warriors, spaceships, all that cool stuff! Was great to be able to do that sort of stuff and see my tutor be enthusiastic about it. I stayed with Ste for another two years, completing an advanced art and design course. It was about this time that I started toying with the idea of working in the games industry, but i hadn't the slightest idea how you went about it.
After my 3 years with Ste came to an end, I was still not sure what I wanted to do. I wanted to learn how to create digital art as I noticed that's how a lot of the stuff I was into was created. Ste suggested I enrol on the multimedia course, which I did. I then spent the next two years obtaining a HND in multimedia design. The tutor on that course was a guy called Frank Fitzpatrick. It was here that I was first exposed to producing art using a computer. I learned to use packages like Dreamweaver, macromedia director and more importantly, Photoshop. A lot of the comics and art I was into at the time was done digitally, and I was really keen to learn how to do it. Thing was, I was a complete noob. I had a very little experience using a PC, and that was just time spent playing quake 2. so it was a hard first year. But with a lot of tips and tricks I picked up from frank and my friends, I finished and passed the course. I had decided to try and become a comic artist, but always had that dream to work in games. I spoke to Frank about my next step and he suggested staying in education and improve more before looking for work. And he was right, I still had much to learn (and still do!!).
Luckily for me, a chap called Jim Thompson from the university of central Lancashire visited the college to spread the word about his new course, B.A.(hons) Games Design. The following September I moved to Preston.
2003-2006: University of central Lancashire.
I spent the next three years learning to use 3d modelling packages, texturing, lighting, creating GDD's, pitch documents and digital painting. The first year was with Jim, and it was all fairly easy going until second year started. That's when you had to get serious about it. At this time a friend of Jims called Josh Taylor joined the course as a Tutor, having just left the games industry working for companies like EA and Warthog games. Josh was the guy who get me to start painting properly. I knew how to color a sketch in Photoshop, but the results were a bit flat and lifeless with no clear forms popping, no mood. So Josh showed me a process, how to establish the tones, colors, adding light, shadows, highlights and so on. And he did it all in about 20 minutes. I just watched him paint one of my sketches, and suddenly it clicked. I took what josh had shown me and spent a lot of time practicing as I would need it going into my third and final year. At this point, you have very little input from the tutors, you are expected to take all you have learned and function on your own and get the work done. It was a long year and a lot of hard work, but it all paid off in the end. I passed the course and gained a 1st with Honors.
My time in Preston are still some of my fondest memories, was an amazing three years. When my time at university had come to an end, it was time to get a job!
2006-2011: Embryonic studios, Travellers Tales and Warner bros.
I got an interview at a small, new company called Embryonic studios. This was a new company started by ex Warthog and Gizmondo staff. After getting the job, I was told that the company was in the process of being bought by Travellers Tales games, of Lego Star Wars fame. That process took just under a year, but we were already working on projects for them in that time. Our first game was a conversion of Lego Star Wars 1 and 2 for Nintendo's Game boy-DS. This was a great project to work on, and was great learning process for me. That went on to be huge success, and I was proud to have worked on it. A year or two, the company was bought by Warner brothers and we became part of Warner Games group. We went on to work on many games in the Lego series, and the company grew each year, from a small group of about 30 to about 130 people in five years. In those five years I got to work with some great people and work on some really big Titles doing a variety of tasks, from concept art and 3D modelling, to working with the design team on GDD's, level set up an implementation.
In august 2011, I left Fusion having worked on eight published games and gaining five years of experience. I dont think i could have had a better start in the industry, from the projects and their sucess, to the amazing people i got to work with. I owe a special debt of gratitude to Mike Taylor and Roger Bacon, the two guys who i worked with for the vast majority of my time at Fusion. Mike was the head of design (and the guy who interviewed me and gave me my first job) and was great to work with on the games designs and implementation. Rog was my lead artist on all but two pf the projects i worked on. I learned a lot from both of these guys and had a blast working with them. I also want to thank Erin Roberts, the studio manager. He was always very approachable and created a great working atmosphere. Last but not least, all the other guys and gals at Fusion, they were all great people who were fun to work and play with, i will miss you all :)
2011-currently working at Atom hawk design.