My name is
and I am a
Video Game Artist
"You should not ever undervalue yourself," Wallick said. "I think indie developers especially tend to do this, because they think that they don’t have the experience, or that their time isn’t worth something …."
"If you want to get into the game industry and you’re like, ‘Maybe I don’t know enough,’ then you’re ready to join us.""
I can’t emphasize how true this is. No one really knows 100% what’s going on. If you want to be part of creating art/games, throw yourself in, especially if you don’t feel ready. Because no one ever really is.
The PepsiCo-sponsored GAME_JAM started as a four-day, $400,000 event where game developers would collaborate and compete for prizes. It took just one day for the entire thing to go up in flames.
Filmed for YouTube and structured more like reality TV than a typical game jam gathering, the whole thing tanked within the first 24 hours, allegedly thanks to the behavior of PepsiCo media consultant Matti Leshem.
[Game developer] Adriel Wallick described the oppressive atmosphere during the first day of GAME_JAM, where contestants had to compete in a Mountain Dew sponsored film set, for Mountain Dew themed prizes, while drinking nothing but Mountain Dew. “Guys with secret service earpieces and disheveled clipboards barked instructions on how to properly represent branded products,” wrote Jared Rosen.
“You can literally trace back the entire crumbling of this show to one individual,” wrote Wallick. “Matti Leshem, CEO of Protagonist.” Protagonist has been Pepsi’s primary branding and media consultancy for the past decade, and Leshem was a constant presence on the GAME_JAM set.
According to accounts from several people present at GAME_JAM, Leshem’s behavior was brash and inappropriate throughout, culminating in a bizarre line of questioning where he attempted to get GAME_JAM contestants to admit that having a woman on their team put them at a disadvantage.
This whole thing is so fucked up, and I’m so proud of the developers who stuck together and stood up for what’s right.
“Adriel Wallick snapped. “He got me to, with an embarrassed and flushed red face launch into a statement about how his question is indicative of everything that is wrong in our industry in terms of sexism,” she wrote afterwards. “That no, we weren’t at an advantage because we had a woman on our team—we were at an advantage because I’m a damn fine programmer and game developer. We were at an advantage because my skills allowed us to be at an advantage—not my ‘pretty face.’”
Boy club mentality. I’m so glad this event got shut down, I have a lot of respect for indie devs not putting up with this shit.
Hey everyone! In some previous blog posts, I mentioned that I’m struggling with an injury to my drawing arm. Although I hoped that the problem would have totally gone away after more than a month of rest, it actually hasn’t, and I’m still struggling with it at this very moment. It’s actually been harder emotionally than it has physically. I’ve decided to go ahead and write a blog entry about it, not only to keep my followers in the loop but also as a cautionary tale to any artists out there who have not yet sustained an injury. If I had been more aware of the risks, maybe this would never have happened to me, so the very least I can do is try to help those who aren’t aware of the risks.
The most important advice I can give to artists who do not yet have an injury is to be aware that your body has limits, something I knew was true but somehow didn’t incorporate into my daily life. I figured it wouldn’t happen to me. Try to become aware of your body’s limits before it is too late, and teach yourself to become conscious of how you draw. Do not reward yourself for taking your body and mind to its absolute limits, and do not create unrealistic expectations for your productivity as an artist. Believe me, I know how tempting it is to do that, but thinking that way only forced me to take a huge step backwards. I guess, given my story, something was going to happen sooner or later, and I should be happy that it wasn’t a burnout or a more painful injury. One thing is for sure: I’ve been forced to totally re-assess my daily life, which, given my mentality, is a very good and necessary thing.
Very important post that holds a lot of truth for me personally. For me, my problem is lower back pain and I’ve had to do very similar things to try and get it under control. It’s a major reason I didn’t go to grad school and haven’t seriously hunted for full time work. Thanks for posting, Loish, I hope you find a method of recovery that works for you!
Some pros: “You should think of nothing but drawing, you should do nothing but draw; from the moment you wake to the moment you fall asleep (at your desk!) you should be DRAWING, taking time off for anything else is a WASTE of DRAWING TIME”
HOW IS THAT A LIFE
Personal note: From 2007-2009 I couldn’t draw consistently. I was in a situation where my work prevented me from watching any tv/movies, listening to any music, and I could only read a few select books. I had about 1 hour a week to be online, then only for email. I had only about 6 hours a week of free time, and that often was me blowing off steam, working out, or allowing my mind to drift. I had a rigid lifestyle. Up every morning at the same time, to bed every evening at the same time. No vacation time. No time to visit family. No real variation in daily routine. Most of my ‘normal’ resources were stripped and I had almost no time to pursue my own passions.
I thought that doing what I did for almost 2 years would completely stop my artistic progress. I thought I’d return to the land of digital art and discover that my skills had evaporated. I hadn’t been constantly drawing! What surprised me was when the opposite occurred. I sat there, mind blank as I failed to recall how to paint in photoshop. Then my arms started moving, and it just happened. I didn’t think, I just did it. It was the strangest feeling. Beyond picking up the program with ease again, I came back and was surprised at the quality of my work. Despite everything, my art had improved significantly.
This is 100% my own experience, and I’m not trying to tell people by not practicing you’ll get better magically. I owe my artistic improvements over this time to observation and a lot of pressure. I didn’t have time to draw, but the limitations that defined my life gave me a certain clarity and a lot of energy. What I saw meant more to me than before. I would take photos of leaves/clouds on the road between appointments. I’d make observations as much as I could (much to the annoyance of my peers) about trees, clouds, and colors. I was incessant. I craved this like it was food. I would paint things in my mind since I didn’t have the luxury of painting them IRL.
My point: You don’t have to draw like a mindless machine to improve. In fact, when I have tried to do so long term, it’s stifled my process. Work often takes longer and ends up worse. There is great power in looking and living. Not all improvement is made at the drawing table. You have to let yourself be inspired in a variety of ways and hold onto that, because your time with those things will be challenged. I make time for hiking, caving, biking, and such. My love of engaging natural environments is directly tied to the art I create. Time away from my desk isn’t wasted time. Though my 2007-2009 experience isn’t one I’d repeat, I am glad to have learned that so powerfully.