CG Artist Rachel Denton shares her tips for breaking into the industry


Interview by Breanne Thomas

Hi Rachel! Can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you first got into computer graphics?

I am a fairly recent graduate of Falmouth University — a really picturesque place to study down in Cornwall, where I did my degree in Animation and Visual Effects. I’ve always been heading down the design route even since I was young, so I had a very fixed and determined idea that art would be my career as a child. This wasn’t without some uncertainty; I wasn’t sure whether I could really make a living in art so I looked for an avenue with a slightly more commercial angle. Originally, I had my heart set on illustration when I first heard more about design and the creative side of the entertainment industry. So, I researched further and found out about concept artists and character modellers, and from there, I really immersed myself in the digital design scene.

Then, after many job applications and working at a job a little outside of my intended path, I started working at Reach Robotics in Bristol, UK as a CG Artist. It is an amazing feeling to know I am finally working in a role and industry that I am so passionate about, combining both illustration and design.

What’s the most interesting or unexpected thing about working in computer graphics and why?

I think the unpredictable and exciting nature of CG art is the most interesting part. For example, working on MekaMon, my responsibilities can change each day. There are so many different areas of the game and styles to work on — it certainly never gets dull. Sometimes you need to be rigidly working to a specific style or criteria, but at other times, you have miles of creative freedom — even so far as designing brand new characters and exploring new styles. Seeing your own artwork and designs visualised in 3D and working in the game can also be very exciting!

If you could go back in time, what advice would you give to yourself at the start of your career?

One of the most important things I would go back and tell myself now is to absolutely have faith that you can make it in this industry. It will always be very competitive, but your portfolio is continuously improving and you are growing as an artist, so really it is only a matter of time before you find that employer with whom you just click.

There were times after graduating that I would feel incredibly demoralised and disappointed, mostly after yet another rejection after a job interview. Realistically, you’re going to have to send off a lot of job applications before you meet any amount of success — so many companies don’t even reply, let alone accept you to an interview. But that’s alright. Use the time you have to construct your portfolio, learn new skills, and get workplace experience working in slightly different fields — even if it’s not truly your dream job. Basically patience and perseverance will be your greatest assets!