How Participating in ArtStation Challenges Can Benefit Your Career with Tony Sart

ArtStation Community Challenges were created in the spirit of openness, community and learning.  Artists from around the world take part to improve their skills and get their work seen by the community.

Tony Sart is a Moscow based freelance artist who started his career just 5 years ago. In the past 3 years, he has taken part in as many ArtStation Community Challenges as his schedule has allowed. For him, the challenges are not only a constant motivator to continue improving, but also the source of his job opportunities.

Character Design entry for the Legend of King Arthur Challenge

From Challenge to Game Studio

Sart’s submission in the Wild West Challenge gained a lot of popularity for its playful and stylized take.  It even earned him an honourable mention from the judges.

His character designs caught the attention of several studios who reached out to him with opportunities. At the time, Cornbilt Games had just started development on a new game set in the Wild West and were inspired by his designs. 

Cover art for LocoMotives

At first, they contacted him to buy the rights to his 10 characters from the competition. Soon after, they ordered 40 more characters and cover art in the same theme. Many of the visuals of the soon-to-be-released game (LocoMotives) were based on Sart’s original submission.

The artist sees a direct correlation between challenges and job opportunities.

” I usually get a lot of offers and orders during and right after the challenge. Apparently, many companies are following the challenge. You could say that one challenge provides me with enough orders until the next challenge. This is a very good motivator!”

Character design entry for the Wild West Challenge

It’s Not About Winning

Sart’s main motivator in starting to compete a few years ago was just to grow and meet new people while he’s at it.

” I often hear stories from beginner artists that only super artists can take part in the challenges on ArtStation. I don’t know where this horror story came from since I was always urged to take part in such events, regardless of skill. It is always good to develop yourself.”

The briefs are not easy and often, you’re competing with hundreds of other artists. The friendly competition drives a motivating push for improvement. Sart explains, “some stress in the conditions of the challenge makes me (and I think a lot of artists) better than in ordinary circumstances”

Creature design entry for the Beneath the Waves Challenge

The open submission format of the challenges enable anyone to peek in and watch others’ progress.  His advice for other challengers: learn, be motivated by others and just give it a try.

A bonus motivator is creating a concept that people want to bring into production. 3D artists in the production phase have the option of basing their submission off a concept from the first phase. Sart describes seeing his concepts realized as a 3D model as being “like magic”.

“Look at experienced and professional people – how they think and what motivates them in creating concepts. After all, this is an experience and with some luck you can also find a job. My main advice is to try. Always! Fear and jitters don’t help anyone.”

Like many young artists, Sart’s dream is to one day work for global companies and AAA games. “I would be very glad if people from all over the world could see and enjoy my work.”

Check out more of Tony Sart’s work on his portfolio website.

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About the author

Sierra is the Editor of ArtStation Magazine.