Your First Week as a Junior Artist With Patrick Ziegler

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Are you feeling nervous before starting your new Junior Artist job? Unsure what joining the field is like? In this ArtStation Learning course, you’ll learn all about your first few days and weeks as a Junior Artist. Instructor Patrick Ziegler covers relocation and moving to a new place, your first days in the studio, making new friends, and helpful mindsets to keep you on track.

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A grayscale photo of Patrick Patrick Ziegler is a 3D Junior Environment Artist working at Dambuster Studios in Nottingham, UK. He is originally from Switzerland where he taught himself the necessary skills to acquire a job in the games industry. Patrick focuses on environment art and has a great passion for teaching and helping others reach their goals.


Behind the course:

Your First Week as a Junior Artist is for people who want to gain insight on how your first few days and weeks can be as a new artist. Personally, before I actually joined a game studio, I didn’t know what would be expected of me and how I would deal with certain challenges. Since I come from a country where there basically aren’t any well-known game studios, I can also really relate to people who might be hesitant to make that jump to a new country or city to work at a studio. This is why I made the course; to give as many insights as possible so people can prepare themselves and maybe take some stress away.

It may seem daunting before you’re at the studio. Once you’re there you will realize that everything works out. Sometimes we might have an idea of how something could be, but we only really understand when we experience it. It is a challenge, but it is very rewarding. So much I can say! In the course I share my experiences of settling into a completely new place, explain what your first day in the studio might look like, and I also provide some tips and tricks that helped me take some pressure off my shoulders (hopefully it will help you do the same!)

A vintage convenience store is bathed in amber light

Most memorable learning experience:

I couldn’t say one experience – it happens very gradually and slowly. When I joined Dambuster, I struggled with a lot of things and had to learn a lot. Thanks to my great coworkers, I got to learn rather quickly and became way more comfortable as time went on. The main thing I want you to take away from this experience is – take your time.

You might struggle in the beginning or you might even feel like an imposter. It will go away, trust me. It won’t happen in a week, but rather over several. After six months you will look back and think, “Wow, I really grew and learned a lot!” I suggest trusting in yourself and the learning process, and that you are becoming a great asset to the team faster than you might think.

A close up of cold ice and rocks

Difference between building your portfolio and working at a studio?

The main difference between building your portfolio and working at a game studio is that at a game studio, you are working on a project that will be shipped to a consumer (hopefully more than one). One can quickly get carried away with focusing too much on small details that really aren’t that important to gameplay because the player might never see them, or there are other things that need to be taken care of first. When you’re working on your portfolio, you polish everything as much as you can, every detail (and you should). But you don’t have to worry about gameplay or budget because you are in complete control of what gets shown to the world.

I encourage students to always think about the bigger picture and realize that you are a game developer and not only an artist. Art is fun, beautiful, and very rewarding, and that passion should come through in your portfolio. But never forget that you will be working for a game studio that creates a product, so show that side of you in an interview as well!

The profile of an old machine gun on a black background

1 piece of advice:

Invest in yourself. Really think about where your time goes and how you spend it. Now, I am completely self-taught, so someone that goes to school might have a different view on this. For me, I wanted to get a job in the game industry quickly. Therefore, I spent most of my time working and learning as much as I could while taking time off occasionally to rest, which is important!

Also, be wise where you spend your money during this time. Maybe instead of taking an expensive holiday trip this year, spend it on a course or a mentorship. Do the trip next year. The more you can invest in your education and yourself, the better you’ll get and the quicker you’ll find a job! It may take hard work, but it will pay off in the long run.

I really hope my course will be helpful to you and if you have any questions, you can always reach out to me on ArtStation or on Instagram. Good luck!

ArtStation Learning courses are included in all ArtStation premium subscriptions. Find out more >

See Patrick’s ArtStation portfolio here.


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ArtStation Community Manager