Featured Pro Portfolio: Johnson Ting

ArtStation Pro websites allow artists to have their portfolio work, personal projects and resume information all set up in a beautiful and easy to navigate theme in a matter of seconds!

This week we’re featuring the work of Johnson Ting, a Malaysian concept artist now based in New York. Johnson currently works for Project Triforce doing preproduction art and designing collectibles for AAA titles and teaches concept art classes while continuing to develop his main IP Neo Japan 2202.

Check out Johnson’s ArtStation-powered website.

Johnson took the time to answer questions and give some advice on improving your work and portfolio to get noticed in such a competitive industry.

What kind of training or practice did you do before you were able to get a job as a concept artist?

I think my turning point was when my family couldn’t afford to get me through college and I had to find a lot of ways to survive by myself. It was at this time that I was so desperately eager for improvement. I wanted to be really good in what I do and to make my family proud and prove that it’s going to be worth it. I practiced life drawing, pose studies, photo studies, master copies, and so on whenever I had the time. A quote that I lived by at the time was “Every day you wake up, practice, and try to be better than yesterday, even if it’s just a stroke better, small but it’s still an improvement”. This quote was given by one of my lecturers and it has been stuck in my head since.
After years of watching tutorials, practicing, sleepless nights, coffees, trips to doctor later, I managed to get my skills up to being able to project what I have in my head onto a canvas so I started making a lot of illustrations to build up my portfolio. At the time I was just aiming to be as diversified as I can on any aspects I could. I later managed to land a job at a local game studio and had a very supportive boss and amazing seniors that have guided me along the way. The rest is history.

What do you think makes a good or bad portfolio?

This is really subjective but for me I’d usually suggest to my students to be as diversified as they can when they’re just starting out. They have to at least be good at the basics like anatomies, color and light, rendering techniques, etc. After you landed your first job, I’m sure most people would find out their strengths and start to work more in that direction while making sure to stay well rounded. There’s also the option of a more focused portfolio that highlight a specific area of design and those artworks reflect one’s knowledge of how the stuffs work, the functionality of the design and so on.

A bad portfolio is easier to define. Usually if a portfolio is riddled with artworks that have obvious issues with basics such as human anatomy or perspective, it’s usually considered a weaker portfolio since it shows the lack of knowledge in basics. Often it’s very easy to see through the tricks some beginner artists use to cover their mistakes. You can’t cheat and trick an art director that’s looking at your work, and you don’t want to! So I would recommend at least getting your technical skills to a level where you think you can present your artwork comfortably and are able to send the message across while at the same time making sure that level is at least comparable to current standards.

Final advice for aspiring artists:

Making friends in the field is a must in my opinion. I strongly believe that artists should always look out for each other and knowledge should always be shared. Also, it is important to make sure that we enjoy what we do! Sometimes taking a break is extremely important to balance the mind and soul, so a few trips abroad is highly recommended to do some recharging. That’s why I think events such as IFCC, THU, IW, Promised Land etc are so worth going to, not only because you get to meet great people but also because you learn to see another artist’s point of view and refresh your mind. It’s extremely helpful in getting yourself  motivated and inspired, so I’d say to try to attend events/workshops like these as often as you can.

See more of Johnson’s work on his ArtStation Pro website. To find out more about ArtStation Pro portfolio websites, click here

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About the author

Sierra is the Editor of ArtStation Magazine.