Retroactive Roundup: Eurogamer Expo/ Career Fair

16 11 2008

The Eurogamer Expo and the Career Fair were held in the same building on 2 floors over Tuesday 28th – Wednesday 29th of October 2008.

An early, early day, and despite my best efforts, one spent alone.  I have many friends with a massive interest in video games, unfortunately non of which seem to want to spend £50 to go to london at short notice. This however, may of been a blessing in disguise, as It enabled me to get more done.

Held at the old truman brewery on Brick Lane, London, these 2 events were a great fit for one another, a consumer video games exposition downstairs and a video games industry career fair upstairs. Unfortunately, as I could only afford to be there for one day, this meant balancing my urge to play the latest and greatest pre-release video games with my need to be upstairs communicating with industry professionals.

After a morning on the train however, I’d resolved to get things off on the right foot. I started the day with a booked in (almost, one on one) BAFTA Surgeries session with Richard Jolly, Art director at splash damage. This was a fantastic start to the day, as Richard extolled the virtues of working on a mod team to further your career prospects (splash damage started life as a mod team) and discussed the growth of art in the industry. He commented also on how he likes to see applicants with one big stength, one area they excell at, but they must have an understanding of the processes the other areas go through – and they MUST love games. (I’ve got the latter one covered already!)

I spent the next hour or 2 downstairs, playing some Gears of War 2, Mirrors Edge and Little big planet. (i’ll talk more about the specifics of these games in other posts), before venturing upstairs to the game career fair again.

During the day I managed to speak to Steve McFarlane from Rare, who offered very encouraging advice, he recommended copying the work of others in my free time to learn their techniques. He encouraged me to stick with the styles I excelled at, but don’t ever drop a style, as you need to be adaptable.  He also said it was important to frame my work in a personalised way, which adds a coherent link across all my work.

I spoke also to someone at Rebellion software, who was interested in my ability to animate, and said the industry needed many more animators. I spoke at the end of the day to a kind chap from Lionhead, who despite looking like he was ready to go home, spared me 5 minutes to give me some advice. Above all, he said just keep drawing every day, and keep at it.

The main thing I derived from the expo was that, contrary to what I had thought previously, there was a more positive reception to my typical thick line marker style drawings than there was to my attempts at a typical “concept art” style. People seemed to want to see more of this work, with more of it animated.  There was a focus on needing good animators in the industry. It’s something I’ll bear in mind this year.


Retroactive Roundup: MA trip.

15 11 2008

Retroactive Roundup is a series of articles covring events from my recent or distant past which have relevence to my year of study. You’ll be noticing a lot of these in the coming weeks, as I recap the first 2 months of the MA. – Walsh

A Grand Day out, so to speak.
Splitting into groups and (for us nottinghamites) playing tour guide to the international students for the day.

After the Brewhouse yard and the skymirror, I can’t really say I was feeling the interest too much. Outside of an oppertunity to socialise with my new mates, I was just retreading Nottingham for the umpteenth time.

At the NAE though, my ears started to perk up a bit.

Newly opened, the new art exchange was exciting and new, with some decent quality artwork on display;


What did really strike me though, was the theme of the exhibition, “Black art” (or something to the same effect). I hate these terminologies,  “black this” “black that”, “white this”, “white that”.

Whilst I realise that it is important to recognise the contributions of different ethnic groups in art and design, I would of thought the content and style of their work would be enough of a clue to that, without having to slap the word “black” or “white” or “insert ethnic group here” on the front of it.

To me, it’s terms like this that subconciously drive segregation. Categorising creative output by race seems counter collaborative and accidentally defiant of any other ethnic groups contributions to the the genre.

Yes, it’s important to have and to cherish art with different flavours and backgrounds, but they should be side by side, basking in comparison and similarity, echoing the world we live in.

On the  quality of the work itself, most was interesting, some brilliant – the chalkboard sound installation piece in particular.

But for me, being the illustrator I am, the highlight of the place (and the day) was wandering outside and encountering a fantastic graff’ wall by the local “oxygen thieves”;

Graff wall