Brett Briley began his career in CG as a merchandise artist at Disney, but has worked in the videogame industry since 1999, for studios including Red Storm Entertainment, iRock Interactive, Sony Online Entertainment, Nerve Software, Liquid Development and Ensemble Studios, eventually becoming senior character artist at id Software. He has worked on a long list of titles, including Planetside, Rage, Doom 3 and 4, Halo Wars, Oblivion, Dungeons and Dragons Online and Neverwinter Nights 2. Now freelance, his clients include Reel FX and Playful, while he has taught at The Art Institute of Dallas, TAD and now CGThrive.
Tell us about your journey
I started drawing at four and realized it was something that I enjoyed doing daily. I took in as much art as I could, from comics to museums. After high school, I was accepted into Ringling College of Art and Design, earning a BFA in Illustration.
On graduating, I was honored to be accepted for an animation internship at Disney, having loved its art from a young age. Unfortunately, shortly thereafter, a hiring freeze for animators ensued. I stayed at Disney in the merchandising branch for a few years until I realized the animation freeze was going to continue indefinitely.
I decided to try my luck in the game industry and attended an E3 expo with my portfolio in hand, where I was fortunate enough to find my first placement as a concept/game artist. Sixteen years later, and after having worked with some phenomenally talented artists, I am now freelancing for both industries from the comforts of home and loving every minute!
How do you want to impact the world?
By teaching whatever knowledge I have to someone, knowing that in some small way I may have helped make it easier for them to start in their career, and made our industry stronger.
What are you passionate about?
It’s easy to just say ‘art’, but honestly it’s my family and the support of friends that allows me to have a career in something that inspires me daily. Without either, I wouldn’t be complete as an artist.
Also, creating resin busts! I love seeing something that I created in ZBrush come to life [via 3D printing], and then seeing that creation sitting on someone’s shelf.
What would be your #1 advice to other artists?
Adapt. I adapted from an illustrator to an animator, to a concept artist, to an environment modeler, and finally to a character artist and sculptor. Limiting yourself to a [narrow specialism] reduces what you will ultimately be able to achieve.