Marketplace Success Story: Suzanne Helmigh

Suzanne Helmigh is a freelance character concept artist based in the Netherlands with AAA game credits on Horizon Zero Dawn, Hitman and Magic the Gathering. You may also recognize her from as a host for the Character Design portions of ArtStation Community Challenges and Caldyra, her illustrated novel which was successfully funded on Kickstarter earlier this year.
Over the past months, she has also been known for unique reference packs on the ArtStation Marketplace that were specifically created to help artists with character posing, design and illustration.
“I decided to sell my reference packs on ArtStation because it’s simply the best place to reach other artists. Everyone from students to professionals – they’re all on ArtStation and they all have a good use for my reference packs, whether it be for commercial artwork, concept art, or studies.”

Sharing is Caring

Helmigh is a strong advocate of sharing what she has learnt to help other artists grow. Her interest to pursue a career in concept art was piqued after finishing her degree in film school. Although she was rejected from local art schools at first,  she began her self-taught education in digital painting in 2009 and got her first job as a concept artist just the following year.

In her own practice, she has always worked with home shot references  whenever pressed for time or trying something outside of her comfort zone.

“Having come from a AAA concept art background, I know all too well how fast ideas need to be generated. To get a solid and realistic rendition, you must work with references,” she shares. Two years ago,  she started practicing HEMA (Historical European Martial Arts) and found that clashing swords with others was a great way to blow off steam and get in some exercise. The need for good references and doing such a sport as HEMA lead to asking friends in her class pose for reference. Eventually, she began sharing her private reference albums with other artists and splitting the income so they could afford to make more reference packs for the community.

Visit Suzanne’s ArtStation Store > 

Forrest Warrior Pack – Reference Image Example

She firmly believes that in order to get better movies and games to come, it’s up to earlier generations of artists to leave good learning material and ideas so that future generations can outgrow the previous ones. “Simply put, sharing is caring.”

Making Supplemental Income as a Young Artist

Her advice to young artists is to make sure to work on discipline and learning and repeating all the basics. Having good artistic skills is the key ingredient of receiving good job offers and that’s the fastest way, she says.
“If you have something you’re already pretty adept at, share it! Maybe even for a small fee. It can be in the form of reference packs, texture packs and  kitbash packs – heck even speedpaint video’s of your studies. “

Being Active & Responsive to the Community

When it comes to knowing what kind of references or products will be useful to the community, she produces references that help her in her work but also responds to where her followers have expressed interest.

She noted that since there has been a lot of interest her composition and line-art process, she’s putting together  a tutorial about that and teaching people the simplest route of telling your story the best way by the use of composition, lighting, bodylanguage, focal points,etc. She’s also currently working on a female warrior anatomy pack as well and reference packs based on lighting and facial expressions.

Engaging with the community is part of getting your work out there.  Helmigh says she saves time by linking her other social media platforms to ArtStation so that she can post to them with a custom message automatically when she uploads new artwork.
“This way you can simply keep on painting. As a tip: When adding text to your image, it’s often key to ask people a question like: What do you think? Do you think this character will survive this dragon fight? What do you think the character in the image is thinking right now? This will inspire people to comment on your work and start and interaction with you.”
“The moment I joined ArtStation felt like a new breath of air was given to the online artist community. Other social media had become saturated with self-promotion and lacked interaction. Now I always have ArtStation open in my browser to get inspired by the new works that get posted every day as well as follow my favorite artists closely on their inspiring journeys.”

Follow Suzanne Helmigh for updates on her latest posts and products.

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About the author

Sierra is the Editor of ArtStation Magazine.