Wacom Presents: Learn How to Get the Most out of Online Communities

WACOM PRESENTS – A Work From Home Series

In a brand-new sponsored series on ArtStation, Wacom is featuring 10 artists who will share their tips and tricks on how they find inspiration and motivation while working from home. Check out ArtStation Magazine weekly to discover new featured artists and get inspired!

Kem Yaralioglu is a Material Artist at Frontier Developments, freelance Environment Artist and owner of Experience Points. Since graduating from NUA, he has already worked and lived in 4 different countries including Germany, Russia, France, and the United Kingdom.

Throughout his career, he has worked on projects including Rainbow Six Siege, Life Beyond, and now Elite Dangerous. His versatility in the Environment Art field makes him adept at crafting large open worlds, creating materials, lighting scenes and everything in between. More recently he has taken to creating tutorials for other artists, sharing the knowledge that he has on a variety of subjects and you can find them here on Artstation Learning.

Kem is focused on building an online community known as Experience Points, a brand dedicated solely to Environment Art.

What is an Online Community?

Online communities are a place where like minded people can gather, share interests, provide feedback and help one another grow in a way that was simply not possible before. Being able to interact with artists from all over the world, build relationships, network and even find a job are some of the few things that you can benefit from by joining.

Some of you may already be a part of an online community, others may be in the search for one and are trying to decide which one to dedicate their time to. I will cover all of the fundamental steps of what makes an online community great and how you can have a positive impact on it’s growth. By the end of this article you’ll have all of the information you need to make a decision.

Benefits of Communities

There are countless communities that you can find on Facebook, Polycount and Discord. Personally, Discord is where the future of online communities is and you can see the proof in the pudding with communities such as Experience Points, The DiNusty Empire and even official companies like Substance, Houdini, Quixel and many others which have Discord servers to allow customers to interact with them, and other users.

That direct interaction with other artists is just one of the benefits, much like at a bar where you drink and socialize with each other, this is a place where you can build relationships and network with other artists, many of whom are already in the industry.

Feedback is a fundamental aspect of growth and with a community you can both provide and receive feedback on artwork and career advice. Being able to instantly bounce back and forth is invaluable and simply something you don’t get anywhere else other than a studio. We all have artists we look up to and being able to them directly is often daunting and something many artists don’t see being an option, but let me tell you, it is. The Experience Points discord has artists from all over the world, from studios such as 343 Industries, Rockstar, Epic Games and countless others, and is home to artists that I myself look up to and admire.

Everyone is at Home

With the current situation going on, now is the best time to join these communities, and not later. All of these places are bursting with activity and it’s the perfect opportunity for you to build a presence in the industry and continue working on that portfolio that you may have neglected.

If you’re like me, or every other artist on the planet you probably find yourself staring at a screen waiting for the work to start itself. The Experience Points discord keeps me on track, as it does for many others. Simply seeing so many other artists working on their projects, posting WIPs and giving feedback to one another helps me stay hungry and motivated to work on my own projects.

If you have Artstation Pro or Plus, great! If not, you really are missing out because the blog feature it provides is fantastic. This is something I find myself using quite a bit as it’s a great way to get a fresh set of eyes on your work, enabling you to share work in progress, research or anything else and not have it impact your portfolio. Artstation is unique because the amount of traffic and daily users it generates simply far exceeds that of any Discord or Facebook group.

Remote Work

Almost everyone is working from home now, which is great for you because you can now pick up those freelance gigs you always wanted, but how? Online communities can help facilitate that and I’m actually fortunate enough to have landed my current job at Frontier Developments because of the Experience Points discord. Simply building a friendship with Stefan Oprisan, he recommended me, someone he had never met, but based purely on portfolio and character.

And that’s the point I’d like to hammer home. Just be yourself, help others, and in return they will help you. Perhaps not immediately but if you consistently help someone with for example, creating props, when a freelance job pops up for that, they will remember you. No good ever comes from just asking for a job, you need to establish yourself and build a presence, not all forms of payment come in monetary value. 

Establishing a Positive Presence

First impressions always last as they say, and in such a tiny industry even moreso! You really want to establish a positive presence and be someone that others want to interact with. Come off as a breath of fresh air and don’t bring the negative tension that kills the room. It’s really important to participate in conversations with others, even just general chatting, it doesn’t always have to be about work.

A great way to build a presence is by providing feedback, helping others is the purpose of these communities and will give people a reason to remember you, think of it as building a reputation. The more you help, the more people trust you and remember you for what you do. Try to avoid just dumping your artwork with no context, this comes off as a scream for likes/followers, especially if you only just joined. It’s important to note that, having a community where professionals and students gather together ensures that there’s always someone to answer questions, even if you decide to respond or give someone feedback 3-4 hours later, that’s great, it’s better than silence and will help that person a lot more than you think.

In the long term, building that reputation of someone trustworthy and knows what they are talking about can get you a job. Your skills, personality and persona will carry themselves and someone’s referral can carry a lot of weight, especially if they can back it up with a lot of evidence.

Advice from Industry Professionals

Many of these online communities are home to artists currently in the industry, artists that are able to give you invaluable advice on workflows, techniques and first hand experience of what it’s like working in a specific studio, maybe one that you want to work at one day, be it AAA or Indie.

You may be thinking ‘they must be so busy, why would they help someone they don’t even know?’’, honestly, being able to help other artists that may be struggling with something I know the answer to is such a refreshing part of my day. This is how we grow, and being able to teach a subject shows true mastery of said subject. No single person knows everything and we have to work together to progress.

If you’re someone who wants to work at 343, Bungie, Naughty Dog or any of those big studios, joining one of these Discord communities will be the best thing you can do, and ask them questions in the public chat rooms because it’s beneficial for everyone. Not asking a question is the biggest mistake you can make.

I hope this article has been insightful and invite you to come and chat with us over at the Experience Points Discord and DiNusty Discord

[wbcr_html_snippet id=”25411″ title=”Wacom Tablets”]

  • Share this article

About the author

This is sponsored content and helps to support ArtStation.