What You Need to Know with Alex Beddows

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What You Need to Know

In Alex Beddows‘s What You Need to Know series, he relays valuable knowledge for artists at all levels on how to level up and further their career. Whether you’re looking for your first job or are already a senior artist, these courses aim to provide insight on how to reach that next step.

What You Need to Know

Alex Beddows is a Senior Games Artist at Live 5 studios, Lead Artist at Dekogon and the host of the GDD podcast. He is completely self-taught and has been working in the industry since he was 19 years old. He has worked in multiple aspects of the industry, from UI and UX design, VR games, Mobile games, iGaming and AAA. As the host for the GDD podcast, Alex interviews artists in the games on their career and view on key industry topics.

ArtStation at this point is the central hub for artists, where the vast majority post their work and share, so the introduction of a learning resource on a platform already used on mass at a reasonable price point really sets it apart from the rest.

Most memorable learning experience:

When I first started to engage with art communities, specifically the DiNusty art community, it really opened my eyes to the quality out there and how much I had to learn. Seeing guys like Jeremey Estrellado on Twitch showed me that even as a senior environment artist at one of the biggest games studios, you are constantly learning and developing. It was the wakeup call I needed to reignite the fire and develop as an artist.

Having the opportunity to engage with the Discord community opened me up to receive critique from both industry vets and people starting out in their journey. It allowed me to really develop the soft skills that you cant’ acquire on your own. It also really aided in my career development as I took the quality benchmark set by their critique into my studio, and helped me progress through the ranks.

This year I have been doing a lot more teaching and mentoring, both in person, at universities and 1-on-1 with artists via Discord. This has strangely made a big difference to my understanding. You can’t really do this kind of thing without having your thoughts and ideas fully articulated to the point that you can explain a complex idea at its most fundamental level so a novice can understand it. By doing this, it really straightened out my ideas and made me a much better artist and person.

Behind the course:

It would have been easy for me to make an art tutorial on something to do with materials or environment art, but there are guys out there like Javier Perez, Josh Lynch and Daniel Thiger who are far more qualified. I spend a lot of my spare time speaking to folk, whether that’s from the podcast or in art communities. I realized the biggest help I had as an artist was from people just talking to me. All the great lessons I have learned from speaking to some of the industry-leading artists made me want to distribute this knowledge to people, and ArtStation Learning was the perfect opportunity to spread a few messages that don’t get said a lot in the public sphere.

This isn’t to say what I talk about in the course is controversial or anything, but we focus as a community on developing our hard skills and the soft skills always take a backseat. The industry isn’t always sunshine and rainbows and I have seen it catch artists off guard time and again. So, if I could help save someone that unpleasant surprise then I think it’s important I do so.

1 sentence of advice:

Humble yourself, step out of your comfort zone and surround yourself with people who will bring out the best in you.

More on the GDD podcast:

Funnily enough, the podcast was born out of self-interest. I have always been the guy who talks too much. At school, I was constantly being told to be quiet. However, my job required me to start speaking more publicly and that was a pretty undeveloped skill of mine, so the best way I could think to fix this was to set up a podcast talking to artists in an unscripted long-form discussion.

All the folks I have on the podcast are people I am personally interested in, and we talk about a whole host of topics. The idea is to shed some light on the industry as a whole. As a self-taught artist, I know how much of a mystery it can be. You know the big names who produce some of the most incredible art, but you only see their highlight reel. The aim of the podcast is to show the behind-the-scenes. I ask how they end up where they are, points of view on key topics, how they see the industry developing, etc.  The response to the podcast has been overwhelming. I get lots of messages saying how much it has helped people in their professional and personal life. It makes doing this that bit more rewarding and I count my blessings that I get to do this.

Visit Alex’s courses > 

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See more of Alex’s work here.

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About the author

Sierra is the Editor of ArtStation Magazine.