An Artist’s Journey – Part 1, In the beginning (of your internship)

At Atomhawk, we’ve identified lots of brilliant juniors over the years and worked with them to build the skills, mindset and experience they need to grow as standout artists. Here, we’re giving you a taste of what it’s like to be a concept art intern at Atomhawk, as we nurture your talent and set you out on the journey to become an established concept artist.

The lines around what an internship entails have become blurred in recent years, with some unscrupulous creative organisations exploiting eager, young talent hoping for a foot in the door. The core purpose of an internship is to build a bridge between self-taught skills or tertiary education and professional industry work. The metamorphosis from enthusiastic young artist to industry-ready professional requires a mental shift that encompasses new ways of thinking about creativity, a new work discipline, and new processes. An internship should provide an environment in which you can develop all three.

So, what can you expect as an intern at Atomhawk? Our interns never contribute to active projects, and nor should they. However, you can expect to either assist artists on small tasks or to shadow, where you observe someone in their role to better understand how they do their job. As an Atomhawk intern, the first task you’ll be assigned is the ‘Awesome Image’ project. This involves writing your own brief to create any image you want to. This gives you an opportunity to share your personality, who you are as an artist, and your specific strengths, but also to push yourself. By writing your own brief, you can make sure your capabilities are both showcased and stretched. You’ll work closely with a more senior artist who will monitor your progress, providing feedback three or four times a day.

Méabh Deloughry, a former intern who now has a role as a Junior Concept Artist describes the experience of completing the ‘Awesome Image’ brief:

“The brief proved invaluable to me as I learnt how to work with constructive criticism, translating it into artwork amends. There is a work efficiency here that you pick up very quickly, which makes everyone gel, constantly strengthening teamwork skills, and making us all work like a well-oiled machine.”

The challenges at Atomhawk vary from project to project. Some require a lot of stylisation and some demand more realistic results, which is great for learning different ways to approach projects. Our artists need to be versatile and use the full extent of their skills, sometimes pivoting from one skillset to another in an instant.

Dennis van Kessel, a former Atomhawk intern who also now works with us as an Intermediate Concept Artist, says:

“Receiving constructive feedback was incredibly valuable to help improve my illustration and fundamental skills, for example, for colour iterations, and to improve my approach when going from greyscale to colour.”

We’ve had the privilege to invite many interns through our doors during ten plus years of Atomhawk, and have gone on to hire many in full-time roles. Sharing our collective knowledge with future concept artists and providing a space where potential can be fulfilled is central to who we are as a studio.

Part 2