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Educational Feature: The Artistic Pursuit

Educational Feature: The Artistic Pursuit

March 13, 2008 | By Jill Duffy

Carey Chico, executive art director at Pandemic Studios, can tell you exactly what kind of artist video game companies want to hire. He can even explain why there are still in-house jobs for artist, even though 60 percent of what you might see in one of his games came from outsourced labor.

Chico gave a talk recently at the GDC 2008's Game Career Seminar, sharing his knowledge with industry newcomers, and recounts his major points in a new feature article:

"Chico explained that the kind of artist Pandemic is most seeking to hire is a generalist. By 'generalists,' he explained, he means someone who is 'extremely capable at more than one task.'

For example, he said Pandemic is always looking for artists who can make great characters, but the ultimate candidate is someone who can jump in and work on world-building when needed, too. Because Pandemic's games often feature large explore-able worlds, it's beneficial for the company to always hire an artist who can do something useful with environment art.

'Another thing I'm looking for are really extremely technical people,' Chico mentioned. 'Artists who know programming -- they're really hard to find. Any amount of you being a technical artist' makes you a more desirable candidate, he said.

As mentioned, Pandemic does not outsource animation, leaving animator positions to be filled in house. Another job title that Chico said he's always looking to fill is that of 'leader.' He said Pandemic needs leaders, people who set the bar and deal with the outsourced art team in an effective way. For this job, artists who have experience in management, or even project management, are highly desirable."

You can now read the full feature on, with more on the other in-demand qualities of artists in the game industry.

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