It has now been over 10 years since I first decided to join deviantART and little did I know then, this decision would end up forging my entire life and career.
I wish I remembered exactly how it all started, but I'm going to go with my best guess and say I heard about it from another student when I started college back when I had just turned 18. Up until then I had been using various art forums such as wcreplays.com, animex.com, sijun.com and cgsociety.org so the discovery of a portfolio website was a pretty cool thing.
I started posting on here and got moderate attention, I had been drawing for a long time at that point so my art was in a state where it was at least interesting to look at. If anything it was a fantastic place to get inspiration and look at art from amazingly talented artists.
It wasn't until I decided to color the line-art for the following piece that everything really started.
Initially not much happened, I got a a litle over a hundred favs on it which was already a bit above average for my deviations back then. What changed everything was when it won daily deviation, my first at the time. The traffic that followed was similar to winning the lottery for me. It was nothing like I ever saw before and I couldn't believe my eyes. Back then I was posting a few pieces a month but it's really after the Daily Deviation traffic that I decided I wouldn't let the momentum die off and started to post a new polished painting at least once a week. The amount of time I spent painting was ridiculous but it was fun and with every painting I was getting a bit more favorites than the previous; it made me want to keep going and see how far it could go.
I started to get commission requests and figured I might as well do that while still in school to make some money rather than work at a shitty job. The requests kept coming and I also took on comic book coloring jobs at the same time. For a student, I was making bank doing what I loved; this was perfect.
It only took a few weeks until I started to get interview requests from various unknown art sites and then bigger ones... and then really big ones.
A few months after that and tons of paintings later, I got contacted by ImagineFX
, what was at the time the ultimate goal for any artist. I did a workshop for them and to this day I still question the decision of the editor to hire me for that job considering the final result, but at the same time I couldn't be more grateful.
It was only shortly after the workshop that I was approached by an art director from A2M (now Behavior Interactive) in Montreal, a mostly portable-games studio who had just formed a small team to work on a next-gen game project.
Back then I was almost 20 and was still in school, but they offered me a part-time position where I would work 20 hours a week from home, and only come in to the office on Fridays to check in. This was a perfect fit for my student life and while completely unexpected, my video-game art career had just taken off, just like that.
This was my art test by the way, still no idea how this got me a job:
I worked part time like this for 6 months and then decided to drop out of school and work full time on the team. I was essentially going to school to get the job I already had. I came to realize that getting the piece of paper to prove I finished school meant absolutely nothing in this business and I was learning MUCH more by actually doing the job than studying at school.
That moment when I just walked out the school's main entrance, looked back and told myself I would never come back was to this day, one of the most exhilarating moments of my life.
I had just turned 20 and I was a full-time concept artist for a game company. I never expected to go in games initially since doing illustrations was going so well, but now I could do both full time so it kind of just happened and there I was, a game developer.
Fast forward 6 months and I was now both a concept artist but also transitioned to being a 3D character artist. My coworkers basically taught me everything a 3D artist needed to know since they knew I had an interest in it. I started to deliver decent game assets pretty quickly so they kept giving me 3D-related tasks. I could do both the things I liked the most so I was pretty happy. I had just bought a new house and when I was about to reach my 2 year mark working at A2M, I got an email that literally changed my life:
My name is XXXX and I am the Art Recruiter here at Blizzard Entertainment. I have stopped by your Deviantart page and would love to see if you would be open to exploring a role here at Blizzard Entertainment.
I couldn't believe my eyes.
All my life I had dreamed of one day working at Blizzard and there it was in my email inbox, an email ASKING ME if I would like to work there. I showed it to my buddies, "holy shit" and we just went to have a drink right there on the spot. We got back from lunch pretty late that day! The decision, while scary, was easy to make. I left everything behind and went for it.
Almost 6 years later here I am working at Blizzard and founder of another awesome art community over at cubebrush.com, living in California with my fiance, our young daughter, our dog and our soon-to-be-born son. I still can't believe all of that was thanks to a decision I made to start a portfolio 10 years ago here on DeviantART.
I couldn't be more thankful for everybody who made this journey with me throughout the years, to all of you who inspired me with your art, to all my fans who made all of that possible by sharing my paintings and showing continuous support all this time and finally, to DeviantART, who made me the artist I am today.
DeviantART provided me the racetrack, I built the car and you guys were the fuel to get me to the finish line.
I hope you guys found this interesting, this is the first time I've gone into such details about my life but I thought it was a perfect opportunity given it's DA's bday today. Love y'all, PCE!
Here is the first piece I did after moving to the US as a bonus to end this massive journal entry.