Network Your Way to a Video Game Career With Tips from Overwatch 2's Art Director
In the last post in a series of three, Dion Rogers offers tips on how to network with industry professionals who can get you hired.
Few people have had more artistic influence on Overwatch’s stylized, playful art than Overwatch 2 Art Director Dion Rogers, who has been with the game since it was in code-named status.
Twenty years ago, Dion landed his first job with Blizzard — working on landscapes for World of Warcraft — thanks to key feedback on his portfolio from a hiring manager who’d already passed on him for two other roles.
Today, Dion tries to pay forward the guidance he got as a young developer. Below, he shares some of his best tips for networking with industry professionals. This is the third in a three-part series of Dion’s best advice for aspiring game artists.
Get Out and Meet People 👋
Opportunities to network in-person have improved, and not just because people are getting together in-person again. GDC (Game Developers Conference) and E3 have begun making it easier for non-industry professionals to attend. Lightbox and SIGGRAPH also offer chances to meet people in the industry.
But once you’re at these events, you have to reach out, meet people. It’s not like you’re going to go there and find a table of industry people waiting for you. Open yourself up. Talk and say ‘hi.’ Find out what people do. Every other person is going to be an industry person, so see if you can talk to people who worked on the games.
Our recruiting leaders say that the best time to approach someone working a booth is first thing in the morning; because after lunch and later in the day, they're likely to have mental, physical and visual fatigue.
Keep your best work in a nice notebook size folder or something similar. It should be something that’s easy to flip through, so you can speak on your designs as you share. Again, bring only your best stuff. And have a conversation with the person when you’re ready to share. Get to know them a little bit.
In terms of what you give away: Other than a business card or something similarly small and simple, don’t give out any items. We’re not going to plug in a random USB drive of your work. Make sure the business card includes a website the person can go to later. Keep it nice and simple.
Pro tip from our recruiters: On one side of your business card, have an image of your best piece of art and put your contact info on the flip side. Artists, and those who hire them, have visual memories. We may forget a face, but we remember artwork!
Stay In and Meet People 🧑💻
If you can’t get out to in-person events, following and reaching out to game artists on Twitter and Instagram can lead to some valuable professional connections.
As I said earlier, you should have a Twitter or Instagram feed for your art as well. These are great places to show a little bit of everything – your works in progress, your finished works, your early influences, etc. So when you have those conversations with game developers, they can see what you do.
Instagram allows you to find and follow recruiters and tag them when you have new work to show. Update your artwork on a regular cadence — you don't want to keep showing the same pieces over and over again.
When sharing your work online, Art Station is another great site. It can serve as an online portfolio, but only put your best stuff there.
LinkedIn is a great place to follow studios, developers, and publishers as well. Our recruiting teams often host virtual events, like this one, to provide insight into the recruiting process — and they’re almost always posted on LinkedIn.
Keep in Touch With the Careers Page 💼
Years ago, knowing someone at a studio was the way to get in. Now we have a standing recruiting team whose members are trained to review every application to spot things we like and dislike. They don’t have time to go through a hundred images, so get your best work up front! If you count slowly to 10, that's about how long a recruiter spends looking at your work. Use that time wisely.
Be Yourself 🤗
At Blizzard, we love people who can be themselves. If you’re geeky or nerdy, just dig in. Whatever helps you be creative, do that thing. Don’t let anyone tell you being a nerd or geek isn’t cool; it can be necessary to do the work we do. Embrace that part of yourself.
Explore the future of entertainment, see how heroes game, and land inside tips on breaking into the industry. Written by the Activision Blizzard team and community.
Dion Rogers is an Art Director at Blizzard Entertainment. Collaborating with an international team of artists, he contributes to the visual development and world building of Overwatch and Overwatch 2. As a game developer at Blizzard for over 15 years, Dion has worked on a variety of titles including Heroes of the Storm and World of Warcraft. Born in New Jersey, Dion spent most of his life in North Carolina studying art history and game development. He loves creating bright and vibrant artwork that depicts near-future worlds and fantastical environments. He’s also a devoted miniature wargamer in his spare time.
📖 Read more advice from Dion on what to create for your portfolio and how to organize it before reaching out to recruiters.
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