The Pros and Cons of Self learning - Game artist edition
Updated: Aug 24
Robin Eyre, the 3D artist at Iron Gate Studio, is not only a videogame-artist self-learner. He also has self-learned topics as diverse as car mechanics and archery.
Discipline: No one checks up if you are doing your homework or not, so you need lots of commitment and discipline to succeed in self-learning.
Free learning: There is no fixed program. You can paint, animate or 3D model, whatever you want, whenever you want. The sky's the limit.
Good habits: I relaxed my self-learning strict daily routine after getting my job at Iron Gate, but I haven't stopped it because now it is a habit and a part of me.
No feedback: You don't get a specific goal to work towards. There aren’t experts or teachers guiding or giving feedback. You can ask your friends, but they're probably not artists who can tell you what's right or wrong.
Lack of a network: I didn't have any contacts because I did it myself. People who studied in institutions had friends in the same boat to talk about the issues.
Tips for colleagues
Robin Eyre shares some advice for other autodidacts and tips he would give to young Robin.
Balance: Set a time to do it and be disciplined, but don't punish yourself when you can't. Find a balance: improve your skills and have fun. Playing video games or watching movies can also inspire you and make you better. But don't confuse it with having fun every night, you also need to improve and practice your skills.
Set a time: establish a specific time to do it and transform it into a habit. You can have fun, share with family, and do other things the rest of the day. But during these fixed hours, you must focus on self-learning.
References are crucial: you have to build up your visual library. Look at cool stuff and try to imitate and inspire yourself with it. Always use references. Don't assume that you know what a thing looks like; search for it on Google and use references.
Work harder on your portfolio: Choose a company you like, look at what they're doing, and try to make the same kind of art (animations, 3D, illustrations, etc.). Just make it look like they would have made it. If you can get to that point, you're in.
Always be improving. It’s easy to develop a big ego and think that you've mastered it. My mindset is that there is always room for improvement. If I always see myself as ‘bad’, I can only get better. It has been good work for this week, but it's still bad. Next week I’ll have to do it better.
Don't give up. Many times I felt like it wasn’t worth it. Why am I doing this for two hours every evening? This is not leading to anything, etc. It will always be difficult but persevere anyway.
The Pro’s recommendations
The 3D artist of Valheim, Robin Eyre, shared his favorite videogames with us:
Final Fantasy 7 (before the remake)
Dark Souls 3
Super Metroid (the retro version)