Concept art Discord

Riot Oliver Questions 1/24/18


Man of the hour - Oliver

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Hi- all
A quick intro before we get cookin' here:  I've been in the industry around 13 years formally and dabbled a bit before that.  I beat my head on a terrible portfolio and finally landed a small internship at Avalanche games in Utah. A small studio that Disney bought.  From working on a bunch of movie titles there, I then hopped over and did 5 years as a texture/ dungeon specialist on Diablo III then moved to Riot and Lead the maps team for League of Legends and shipped Summoner's Rift.  I Then took 2 years leading the art on our Merch team and now I work with Rob as a concept dude again!

anyway- I'm just a dude and am stoked you are all here. Ask away!


I draw every single day and I change my environment to let me do so, I got a phone I can draw on, an Ipad for drawing on the airplane ahha and moved my room all around to make art important!



I cant be online in 100 minutes but I'll leave my question so please someone tag me so that I can see the answer!
How are you currently learning art so that you get the most out of your efforts? How do you currently improve the most? Is it just studying or does it come through experience and feedback.
How does your daily routine look like?
Thank you, really cool that you take your time ;)

For me, it's always the same no matter where you are at in the industry or talent level. Make sure you are connecting with other people (as hard as it can be to get over your shyness or level of art) get tons of insights and steal / borrow good process

leveling up also means tons of personal practice

I draw every single day and I change my environment to let me do so, I got a phone I can draw on, an Ipad for drawing on the airplane ahha and moved my room all around to make art important!


how long should i study a art/fundamental book becouse many people what i know just read through a week and i think by myself i should stay meybe 4 or 6 month, what do you think about dat?

As far as how long to study a fundamentals book:

I think it depends on how long you want to internalize that content. I could use about another year of anatomy study if I really want to be stellar at character stuff, however there is a threshold

you want to be imaginative too

and don't stifle your creativity with only reality. I think it's good to start using those fundamentals as soon as you can , in combination with fantasy and imagination in order to stand out, have a voice and see what you can create

don't worry about what other people are doing  too much

what is the best way if you want to work on your volume in art?

If the lead artist want to explore more and the art director tells me something different to do ( follow the briefing ) what should i do about it if i want to satisfied both sides?


I'd love to learn more about the environment art for the Universe of LoL. Are they made by a separate team? And how are these locations designed?
They feel very unique and are most inspiring! (

environments at Riot in game are different from the universe content.  Maps and the in game team are mostly formal environment artists, however the universe crew are really deep thinkers and conceptors.  they are all amazing painters too - they start with culture and the evolution of cultures and visualize intricate details around how and where people live in different unique environments.  They make some 3D assets to compliment designs but don't do stuff for direct in-game applications. they inspire other teams to go create more content more consistently

**Grandpa Misha

How to get in to cinematic department for the LoL universe. What qualities needed , and what is the hiring process for that department.Thanks (-:

Basically described the qualities already, but for hiring, it's simply a matter of dedication to that type of deep thought.  Then the other tricky component is open slots and timing.  That's where being prepared and staying in communication with recruiters comes in handy


Here goes mine. Hopefully he scrolls back.
Hi, Oliver! It's a privelege to have your feedback & insight.
Please tell me:
- What would make an employer choose someone with less experience from another country/continent over the near-perfect local candidates?
- WHat kind of knowledge in 3d programs is expected from a concept artist? What 3d-related tasks is s/he entrusted with?
Thanks in advance.

I think bigger employers have much less problem with international hires. We don't mind some logistics to get you here if the talent level is there! same with Blizzard and other big boys

for concept no 3D is necessary, it's only a tool that will help you and can  really speed you up - even sketch up or simpler 3D can really compliment your work and or save you time


((i may or may not be in, so I do want to at least post this in case i'm not. Sorry for throwing it right after that announcement!!)) I saw they were an art lead, and I was wondering... How do you go about planning an art direction/ your peers will be able to follow through on? With so many artists on a single team, I'm curious how you direct everyone to follow through on a "game brand."

First you have to make sure your team feels like a team and are willing to be honest and also take some direction. hen after some team building it's a matter of foundations, - clear goals, clear assignments and feedback loops, as far as top level vision, I find that if that is created WITH the team and drawn from them, that it's much easier to get everyone in stride and excited to generate the final goal.  Sometimes though you simply have to set the style and provide tons of supportive documentation and help guide people answering lots of questions along the way

I think positive demeanor and patience go a long way to help a team either way. Artists (me too) can be sensitive - we pour our souls into this work hahah

**Ozan Pulat[NA]

am i have to be an art god to get relocation asistance from a company?

no, but it helps. like I mentioned bigger companies do this more and they tend to skim from the top!

**Tyier Godette

What is a good way to get work seen by riot employees such as yourself?

to get seen, it's all about portfolio quality and construction.   Show your process, make sacrifices to get good and BE SOCIAL about your art. learn to get lots of feedback and practice

also knowing people doesn't hurt, but if you know someone and you are not awesome, Riot seeing your work isn't going to help  right? heheh

first answer is more important


yeah, it will be well past midnight here on a week day so i hope noone minds me writing down a question
could you explain more of how the work pipeline in riot funtions?
what are the main work characteristics you look for in junior illustration artist?
I understand you have to know how the game works, understand it in order to create, but i recently read about riot eployees being critized for not actively playing those type of games, is it rly that much of necessity?


Whats the typical work environment within riot? What type of art education you recommend before applying to riot 2 yr/4yr , or self taught?

Next question, how much of the assets are free hand painted , or are assets usually 3d now?


Welcome! My question is: How do you recommend searching for studios/AD's that need freelancers?i

That's a tricky one, getting the gig is always a matter of word of mouth, looking on posts and forums and many times comes down to who ya know and who you can connect withs t Q&A Riot focused only? if so, sorry

**Jeff Vehrs [AD] [USA]

What kind of workflow they like to see in someone's portfolio? Where is that line of showing "too much" where it's showing too much vs. "too little?"

I think as far as work flow it depends on the company

@taylor Lemme do this one, then I'll go back and find the start haha

for work flow, I find the best thing to show is process. Show that you know what they are making. what that specific company does and how you get your work to that same point. anything from base concepts to refined stuff to in game translations.  show your ability to edit and hone down to better choices


That's great, I've been studying 3d art for about 5 years and I'm currently trying to land an internship in games or film. In your experience where should i be looking for internships and what are the do's and don'ts of applying and portfolio presentation.

**Mario Gil

How much time do you think it would take to make a portfolio from 0? (I mean with 0 pieces done, not my case but I just wanted to have an idea of the time I will spend in the future using this as reference)

wow - this question is good because the answer is really important - plz read 2 times!
It doesn't matter how long you spend on the portfolio as long as you hit the quality/style/ of the game  or the company being approached!   I can give some actual thoughts on time per piece etc. but that varies wildly depending on individual progress, endurance, dedication and talent

the HUGE thing here is to temper your desire to get stuff out quickly and just get hired. we all want that. we all wanna be validated for our years of work, but too many applications without the accompanying work can crush emotions harder than making yourself be patient and learn.

I gave myself one year to make a brand new portfolio for an internship and I did do it, but it took me quitting a real job, my wife supporting me, etc


Hi Olivee, my question is do you need a degree to become an art director I know concept artists can get in with a good portfolio but some people say art directors need degrees working  in film and games?

no - I know a few who are self taught - dedication and hard work are way more important!

(back to the portfolio question that was about 15-20 finished paintings and some solid figure drawings)

**Jacob Mobley

How closely do art directors at Riot observe and research and become part of gaming trends, cultural trends, etc?

**Adam Beardall

Any tips for getting your portfolio noticed by the big guys? You said you worked on Diablo 3 as a texture artist, how did that come about as you are a Concept artist?


What is the schedule of a regular workday like? What things do you do and for how long?


What was the hardest thing you had to do in Riot so far, and how did you solve it?


How much in % would you divide your portfolio?
% High polished pieces
% Props/Closeups/Variations
% Sketches

depends highly on the company, but for portfolio creation - Ringling college is consistently constructing strong one s-  not my only reference, but a strong school.  they always show early idea/thumbs, comps and more developed work, value and color studies, final renders then on to 3D stuff if the portfolio is a 3D one.

it's very important to include process.  percentage wise I'd guage that by how much content overall, you don't wanna overwhelm. I was told around 20 pages total in school, that's a general rule. so if you had 5 finals with a bunch of supporting process, in some cases thats enough. or you can show process on a few then stack it with more final stuff if you have it.  PRO TIP - bring a sketchbook or have a secret instagram or whatever where you have personal work.  PRO PRO tip - do personal work so you can show it when you are done chatting

If they ask

Hi Oliver, do you think its important to have an internship before finding a job?

I don't think you have to internship, but I do recommend it if you can
Got all my dumb questions and big mistakes out of the way at a smaller studio
was able to progress with realistic expectations while being paid less and not having the pressure to deliver at an industry triple AAA level


Does it make sence to self-teach as a generalist for concept art career if I'm interested in everything - environments, characters and props, and keyframe illustrations?


Star wars or star trek?

Star wars

Thank you for visiting us on Discord Oliver!  We know you are busy, and you have already answered more questions than we planned for!  We really appreciate your time.    Cheers everybody, see you at the next QnA.  -Rob