For those of you who don’t know who Bungie is, let me give you a brief overview. Bungie is responsible for one of the biggest game franchises ever, Halo. Their history goes back much further than that though, they were also shipped a game called Oni and several other Mac gaming titles including Marathon and Myth. Adrian Majkrzak, one of our alumni, got a job there recently and agreed to an interview with us. So here goes…
Zombie: Hey Adrian, thanks for talking to us. Could you give me a quick summary of where you work and what your job is?
Adrian: I’m a Concept Artist at Bungie. My job is to provide visual designs for anything that’s asked of me, including characters, environments, vehicles, weapons and props.
Zombie: So what does a typical day look like for you?
Adrian: Being a night owl, my day usually starts with a big cup of coffee. After that I’ll look over my tasks for the day and talk to anyone involved in them (my lead, the art director, the game designer in charge of the aspect of the game I’m working on, and any 3d artists who are going to have to model my designs). Once I have a clear idea of where I’m heading, the majority of my day is spent in front of the computer, painting away in Photoshop. As a design progresses, I’ll usually ask my teammates for a critqiue, which is almost always invaluable and I end up with a stronger design for it. At the end of the day I fire off my work to everyone involved for a round of feedback. If everyone is happy with the design, then I submit it and move onto my next task. Rinse and repeat each morning.
Zombie: What is something that surprised you when you first started your job?
Adrian: Maybe not surprising, but the sheer talent of the people I’m surrounded with can be pretty intimidating. I like the challenge though and love being able to contribute in whatever way I can.
Zombie: Can you tell us about any of the projects you have worked on in the past?
Adrian: Prior to joining Bungie, I worked at CCP Games for about 3.5 years. There I worked on concepts for EVE Online, the EVE-related shooter DUST 514 and the World of Darkness MMO.
Zombie: What is one of the most rewarding parts of your job?
Adrian: Being able to work in a creative field and getting paid for doing what I love. Cliche, but true.
Zombie: Do you have any advice for students wanting to get into your field of work?
Adrian: Be prepared to put in a ton of work outside of class and your assignments, to supplement everything you’re learning. Unless you’re a prodigy, it’s going to require a lot of self-discipline, study and hours upon hours of practice to break into the field. Spend time on online art forums, not just lurking but actively participating and asking people for feedback. Contact professionals and ask them for a critique of your work (be courteous and most people will be receptive). Learn to not be precious with your artwork because ultimately it’s the client you’re designing for, not yourself?
Zombie: Are there any qualities that someone needs to be successful in your field?
Adrian: Passion for drawing and painting is number one. Make sure you love it, because there are million other things you could be doing if not! Learning self-discipline is another big one, both for preparing your portfolio to break in and once you’re working, because you’re going to be expected to deliver and there isn’t going to be someone constantly over your shoulder to make sure you’re getting your work done.
Zombie: Is there anything special that Cogswell did to help your prepare for your job?
Adrian: For my normal day-to-day, I have to thank Reid Winfrey and Thomas Applegate for giving me an excellent foundation in drawing, painting and sculpture to build upon. They helped me recognize that 2d art was my real passion and encouraged me to pursue it. My education in 3d software wasn’t wasted either, as I still use 3ds Max frequently to create quick block-ins for me to paint over. Having that knowledge has helped make my process much more efficient.
Thanks Adrian for you time and all the cool info you provided. And for everyone else, be sure to check back in for more alumni interviews. Take care everyone!