An Atomhawk Q&A to celebrate the success of our Kickstarter!

Thank you to everyone who backed, supported and shouted about The Art of Atomhawk, Volume 3. Thanks to you all, we smashed through our target by £1,574!

Recently, we asked our Kickstarter backers and followers on social media if they had any questions for Atomhawk and we hope you find the answers from some of our team insightful and helpful.

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Because of all the information overload on social media and art-share websites, it's hard to stand out from the 'crowd'. What makes you want to double-check/linger on someone's art page when you're on your daily ArtStation scroll?

Standing out in the crowd is something all of us artists have had trouble facing at some point or another. What makes me stop and linger on someone’s work is the way they use shape language and value structures in a painting. Use lighting and values to draw the eye along shapes to make statements with your pieces that will catch a viewer’s eye.

Look at old masters like John Berkey and Frank Frazetta; shape language and shape design are an important skill to invest in as a concept artist and will make it easier to catch someone’s attention on first glance. – Damian Audino, Senior Concept Artist


I am currently a junior Concept Artist and wish to someday reach the Atomhawk quality benchmark, how does your internship program work, and is it paid? 

Our internships are offered to promising young artists, students and graduates looking to get their foot in the industry. The ultimate aim of the program is for the applicant to progress into a full-time Junior position at the end the internship. The program starts off by focusing on creating an Atomhawk-quality image with close guidance from the art team. The image is then revisited and reworked in a completely new way, the brief and process will be set by our team. Finally, shadowing tasks and further tailored training will test what you've learned and apply it to similar time constraints as our art team.

Applicants need to demonstrate a portfolio which shows experience in art fundamentals (light, form, composition, perspective, etc) and a sense of design thinking, storytelling and personality. Internships are granted on a case-by-case basis and are voluntary, with recoverable travels and expenses up to £500 per month. – Tim Wilson, Managing Director

Interested candidates please apply at jobs@atomhawk.com


What is the best way for artists to get noticed and get a foot in the industry?

An impressive portfolio will always be the best way to get a foot in the industry. We recommend updating your portfolio regularly and only including your best pieces. Look at the work that your favourite studios are producing and create a couple of images that would fit well with their style. ArtStation is the standard for portfolio websites these days and a great place to get involved with the art community.

Network is equally important to a good portfolio and try to do it as much as you can. If there are no art communities in your local area, we recommend getting involved in online competitions, Facebook Groups and feedback forums.

And of course, keep practicing! – Darren Yeomans, Art Manager


I’m interested in exploring UI art more. Where’s a good place for me to start to learn more about the medium?

If you want to learn more about UI art, I recommend looking around at UI artists online and seeing what kind of work catches your eye and gets you excited about the medium. There are tons of talented artists on ArtStation who do more than just illustration, and it’s where I like to browse for inspiration. Pinterest also has a fantastic range of content, as well as more dedicated sites like HUDS+GUIS.

For those who want to learn how to create UI art, I recommend looking up tutorials on YouTube, you’d be surprised how many amazing tutorials are on there for free! There are also a few paid courses on LearnSquared for UI that are designed to take you from a beginner to a professional. - Mike Howie, Senior Graphic Designer


How can I build my personal brand as an artist on social media?

Social media is a great way to get involved in the community and build a following and client base. It can be a slow start; building a following is an exponential process so don’t be discouraged if you don’t get thousands of followers right away. Here are some ways to get noticed on social media:

  • Have conversations: follow your favourite artists and post positive comments on their artwork, check the comments for other like-minded people to follow

  • Use trendy hashtags: using too many hashtags won’t really help your growth, but if you’re seeing a lot of buzz around certain hashtags (like the popular #PortfolioDay, #VisibleWomen or #DrawingWhileBlack) and they’re relevant to you and your work, get on that while it’s hot!

  • Post your work, even your sketches: it can be scary to post unfinished work, but it’s something people love to see! It also helps hype your finished image as you bring them along your journey of creating art

  • Share your process: one of the most powerful tools in our connected world is skill sharing. Tutorials are hugely popular and giving back to fellow artists is a good look

  • Be exemplary: social media favours informal speech, so don’t think about it too much and just be yourself, but remember to always be kind, especially to people who become your fans

It’s key to note that social media can harbour trolls and bad-mannered people. If you or your friends experience harassment, blocking and reporting is your friend. Most trolls are looking for a reaction, so try not to give in to what they want. If you don’t humour a troll with a reaction, they’ll go away. – Justine Colla, Marketing Manager


How hard is it to work with different styles for so many different projects?

Working with multiple different styles definitely presents a challenge and can occasionally lead to tonal whiplash is you are moving from something dark, realistic and gritty directly to something sweet and cartoony!

In my experience, being able to make that switch takes practice and does get easier with time. I find it helps to have slightly different workflows for each style and to always have the references of the style you need up at all times. – Drew Whitmore, Principal Concept Artist


Are all the artists at Atomhawk adept in at least one 3D program, or just illustrate in Photoshop? Is there any cross-over between 3D and 2D?

There are a handful of artists in our studio who don’t use any 3D software, but many of us know our way around Maya in some capacity. As we’re primarily a concept art studio, rarely will we need to produce a 3D artwork completely on its own. 

We often use 3D as a base for a piece of work to quickly map out block shapes and composition. Then we’ll paint on top of the 3D image and add detail, colour and pull the entire artwork together into a finished piece. - Morten Pedersen, Concept Artist


Where do you draw inspiration for your artworks? And how important is using reference?

As a character concept artist, my major inspiration comes from fashion design and movies. I think it’s important to get inspired by all different kinds of media like music, comic books, fine art in galleries and travel, whether is to a local park or on a hike overseas. Finding your own sources of interest and inspiration outside of video games makes every artist’s work unique and personal.

Although it can feel time consuming to put together, having a good reference board can save you a lot of time in the long run. I find that by spending ample time researching and analysing the subject and theme for each of my artworks, I also get to educate myself and enlarge my visual memory which helps me make the best possible work out of my ideas. – Vlada Hladkova, Senior Concept Artist


Does the process of creating concept art vary from video games to film work?

The process varies considerably depending on what the client wants! But for our average project a rough process is typically:

  • Briefing and referencing: An artist will get to grips with the requirements of the project and go over references provided and search out others if necessary.

  • Sketching: Typically most projects (though not all) will start with rough thumbnails to generate ideas for design or composition etc.

  • Sketching / Refining: We'll start to move forward with whichever elements from the thumbnails are working best. We may also implement 3D depending on requirements and the individual artist’s process.

  • Refining: With a solid direction we can start working up the design by refining it and adding detail etc.

  • Colour: We take the final design through to a finished colour piece.

- Charlie Bowater, Principal Concept Artist