Marina Ortega is a digital artist devoted to concept art and illustration for video games, films, board games, and books. She is currently living in Manchester, UK, working full time as a concept artist and as a freelance for several clients.
What is your background as an artist? What educational experience/background did you have coming into CGMA? Do you have professional experience?
I studied my Fine Arts degree in Madrid. I worked in some little gigs as a freelance while I was studying, but didn’t had a real chance until I consolidated my knowledge in CGMA, learning the process used in concept art and put order in the chaos I had in my mind. And of course, receiving useful feedback and advice. Now I am working full time as a concept artist at Pixelbomb Games, a videogame company based in Manchester, and as a freelance illustrator in Warhammer for Games Workshop, so I had to take a break from the classes, but I keep an eye on CGMA always.
Why did you decide to take CGMA classes?
Because I was lost. I studied 5 years, but I didn’t get all I wanted from there, I got a lot of things, but it was a general education in art and I had come to an impasse. I needed some advice and some help focused on this industry. And here I definitely found it, the help of the professionals working here, the flexibility to do it from your country and at your pace, and meeting other artist studying here and struggling with their assignments, coming from all different levels and countries. All of that has been invaluable and gave me the tools and the courage to break into the industry. So CGMA marked a turning point in my career.
What classes did you take and why did you choose them?
I did Fundamentals of Environment design with Rustam Hasanov, Introduction to Architecture Design with Alex Ruiz, Vehicle and Mech Design with Paul Christopher, and Character Illustration for Film with Bjorn Hurri. I am more interested in environments and props for now, but I chose them because I wanted to know the way of working on several things and different topics, how to solve different problems (environments, vehicles and characters). I didn’t attend to the fundamentals classes, despite they are always useful and we should be working on them forever, because I had studied an art degree before and I didn’t have time and money for all the classes, hehe. But definitely I would like to try more in the future.
How did taking classes help you refine your craft and help you along your artistic journey?
First of all it helped me to focus in a methodology, a structure. Also gave me the chance of see how my mates struggled with their assignments too, and I also learned with them. I could see real feedback based on my actual job, painted over it, and I could see the same corrections for my mates, so you can have real feedback, not only abstract advice.
What did you expect from the class?
Where to begin with my concepts, how to generate ideas, how to go from the general to the detail, and how to avoid fundamentals mistakes, to know where I was failing, where the mistakes are, and don’t keep practicing without a clear goal. I wanted to face the problems, not to practice blindly as I was doing before.
What was your first big gig and how did you get it?
Actually, I could say that they were two, very close one to another and are where I am currently. First I became a freelance illustrator for Games Workshop. And just after that I got hired by Pixelbomb Games to work in my full time job as a concept artist in Manchester. We are working in the upcoming game Beyond Flesh and Blood (soon!), and here is where the seeds I got from CGMA classes are growing on a daily basis.
Why would you recommend CGMA to another artist?
Definitely, at CGMA you can find students of every level, and any artist would take advantage of it at their own level. Basically because you will receive personalized feedback every week about your own assignments. It is more like a tutored practice in the subject you choose. So you can improve your fundamentals but also polish your skills.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Only a reminder, to every artist out there, being at any point of their careers. Artist tend to be dramatic. Just don’t give up. Having blocks, hesitating, even having thought about giving up the full art stuff, it is normal, and it happens to every artist. You need to believe in yourself, and don´t give up just because you would like to be better, others are better, "look at the art gods posting their amazing work, how could I get any chance?" Etc. The way to improve, is to search for the solutions, not to compare yourself only in a bad way or stay blocked because you are afraid to fail. Do your best always to improve with each new concept, and try your chances. Nobody is gonna hire you or believe in you as an artist if you don´t do it first. You will never be the best, and negativity only will lead you to be worse. Keep working and enjoying this always.
We would like to thank Marina for sitting down with us and sharing her CGMA experience. To see more of Marina's artwork you can visit her website at www.darkrobin.com or her Facebook page at www.facebook.com/marinaortega.dr