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  • From Intern to Artist: How Diane Stevenson Broke Into the Game Industry

    - Jill Duffy

  • A line drawing piece from Diane Stevenson's portfolio, an atypical work for a video game artist, but one that showed her talent and ability to polish.Diane Stevenson: Hard workin'!

    I went to an internship fair with my portfolio at Parsons School of Design. I was looking around, and Large Animal had a table there, so I decided to head over since I was really into video games. I wanted to see what my chances were to get a job there.

    They interviewed me at the fair very loosely. It was very quick. They took a look at my portfolio; it was actually just Wade Tinney [one of the founders of Large Animal Games, and also a Parsons alumnus], my boss. The art director wasn't there that day. Wade took a look at my portfolio and liked my stuff. I was very enthusiastic. I was telling him that I love video games and I don't have much of a video game developing background but I'm willing to learn. And I was able to catch his attention, so he called me in for another interview.

    Stevenson's portfolio contained atypical artwork
    for a video game artist, but her attention to
    detail made up the difference.


    GCG: Then you came in and you interviewed here at the office. What do you think they like about you and your portfolio?

    DS: I'd say the thing they liked about my portfolio is that everything was very detailed. I had attention to detail in finishing things. All my work was finished and polished.

    GCG: You mentioned to me earlier that your portfolio didn't have game-related work, that it had a lot of line drawing and illustration.

    DS: Most of my background was more like comics and editorial illustration. They saw that, but they also saw that my stuff could translate to video games. I was asked if I thought I could do it, and I said, "Yes!"

    GCG: Was it all 2D work?

    DS: It was all 2D work, yeah. A lot of it was line art, black and white, with screen tone. It was mostly really detailed artwork, though.

    GCG: What was the interview like when you came in?

    DS: I was really nervous. It was good though, pretty laid back. They asked me a few questions. They were interested in the fact that I liked video games, so we talked about that for a little while. Also, they asked just how I saw my work translating into video games.

    I honestly didn't see my work translating into video games (laughs)! But I was so excited about working in this field that I was just like, "Yeah! Of course I can do it!"

    I have a lot of character designs and not a whole lot of informational design work, which is actually pretty big in video game development. I figured I'd just work and figure it out.

    GCG: What was it like to work as an intern here?

    DS: Large Animal is a really awesome company. They didn't make me do usual intern jobs like make copies or get coffee. Most of it was actually doing real artwork on video games. I found myself learning a lot about the industry in those two months that I was interning here.

    GCG: Did you have a mentor or one or two people you worked with closely?

    DS: I did. My art director was definitely my mentor, Brad MacDonald. He was an excellent teacher. He taught me a whole lot. We worked closely together on a game called Snapshot Adventures: Secret of Bird Island.

    I was still pretty timid and nervous about working here, but also very excited. I had a lot of questions for him all the time and he was always very willing to answer them, so I was really grateful for that.

    GCG: Tell us about your educational background.


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