For CSULB art majors, the process of beginning a career post-graduation can often be daunting, having to balance time between creating a portfolio and managing a professional network.
Emily Miller, a fourth-year major in Pre-Production/Animation, describes the experience of creating her art portfolio as a “time crunch.”
“When you’re applying to a company, you have to fit that portfolio for that [company.]” Miller said. “So for gaming, you want to do concept art. If you know Blizzard makes art like this, you gotta make your art [like] that. Same with the Pixar and Dreamworks styles.”
This process, however, is incredibly time-consuming, as artists can spend hours on individual art pieces.
“I think something that a lot of people don’t know about artists is the hours that get put into one piece,” Miller said. “Each piece I’d say, at a minimum, is eight hours, and up to, you know, 40 hours.”
In Miller’s experience, this dedication also must be paired with networking skills, “grit and a lot of effort and a lot of patience.”
“They hire maybe three or four [candidates],” Miller said. “And if you know someone, you’ll probably have [a] better chance than just the online app. It’s very much networking, patience, and putting yourself out there.”
Although many companies are now closing their applications for summer internships, there are still opportunities for students to continue in the arts outside of initial work.
Sophia Struna, a fourth-year Illustration/Animation major, described the possibility of not finding an internship or job directly after school as an opportunity to pursue other artistic avenues and “make [her] portfolio more professional.”
“Besides being hired as an animator, I feel like there’s a lot of jobs out there for artistic people when you look,” Struna said. “I could try being a tattoo artist.”
It is this passion and love for the arts that Struna believes is also important to further develop the artist’s portfolio.
“I’m almost certain it’s as important to consume art as it is to produce art,” Struna said. “What really helps me continue to develop my own style or storylines is to make mental notes when I see something I really like about someone else’s work.”
While maintaining this passion for the arts is important in finding success, according to some students, it is also just as important to focus on your mental health.
Gabe Dimagiba, a fourth-year majoring in Animation, cautions others in his position to be kind to themselves.
Digmagiba explains how he feels that a lot of seniors including himself are setting their expectations too high and focusing on making their craft perfect in order to get a job. He feels doing that you will lose sight of being in the moment.
“You have a whole lifetime of creating art ahead of you; do what you can do but don’t spend time beating yourself up because you didn’t meet a deadline, or didn’t do a thing a certain way,” Dimagiba said.
Dimagiba explains the importance of that mindset during the application process, explaining that the industry is “highly impacted and competitive.”
“It can be incredibly difficult to land your dream position straight out of college,” Dimagiba said. “Be open to applying to different jobs, whether that be positions that are always in need of assistance, smaller studios, or even art jobs that don’t necessarily deal with animation.”