Intern Role Profile - Character Artist

Name: Zakia Abdulah

Role: Character artist

Department: Character art (art/content)

Location: Rare, Twycross

Background Information

Hi, I’m Zakia, a current character artist intern at the quirky yet charming games studio Rare, located in Twycross. I'm working as part of the content team on a triple A game.
Previously, I had just finished my 2nd year of 'Games Art' at the University of Hertfordshire and was looking for internships. Microsoft's stood out in particular because of its well structured internship scheme, including the ability to apply to multiple studios. Furthermore, I have always been a fan of Rare’s games so it feels humbling yet surreal to be working a long side the people who have created some of my childhood favourites.

My Application Process

So you've got your portfolio ready and you’re all geared up to apply, but wait, there’s a few steps to go though first!

The first step is the online application process which involves answering various questions alongside a CV submission. Take your time with these and answer them to the best of your ability. Try to keep your CV concise and straight to the point - experiences, work, skills and so on…

In addition to this, submit a link to your portfolio. Your portfolio forms a big part of getting into a games studio, so make sure it demonstrates your specialist area clearly e.g.; characters, environments, concept art, animation, rigging. Portfolios can differ depending on the area of specialism, however as a rule of thumb, 3-4 strong pieces with breakdowns is enough. Keep in mind that during the assessment centre, you will have to go though it with your interviewer!

It helps to look at portfolios of people working in the field you would like to work in. To start off with, here’s mine:

Now for the interview stages. These stages involve video, Skype and an assessment centre. The recorded and Skype interviews can be quite daunting, but take your time and do things at your own pace.

And now for the final stage: the assessment centre. This was the part of the application process I enjoyed the most as it’s more about them introducing the studio to you. My initial nerves turned into excitement as it's not every day you get to visit a games studio let alone one as rare as... Rare.

Keep in mind what drives you, how you will contribute to Microsoft through your experiences - both challenging and rewarding.

My Role

As a character artist, I work as part of the character team on anything in relation to the character, from creating benchmark assets to publishing art. Working in the creative industry, no two weeks are the same, sometimes you may work on a project for a few months while other times it may last a few days. Though it might be challenging at times to reach a certain quality or time constraints, this role allowed me to really grow my technical and artistic abilities as well as my confidence and soft skills. You really do learn on the job.

My experience of the company so far

Rare is a very creative and buzzing environment, with new and interesting things happening in each department. The atmosphere is informal, polite and quirky, encouraging people to be themselves. That being said, there are times when things can get busier, especially within the job role but I’ve always been encouraged to produce quality over quantity.

My #1 Top Tip for making the most of your internship

Doing things to stand out helps but ultimately everything comes down to your portfolio and drive. Keep in mind what motivates and inspires you and use this as fuel to keep pushing yourself during the internship and rainy days. Stay hungry for knowledge but try not to be hard on yourself. Keep taking on board criticism and challenge yourself reasonably.

Become comfortable with being uncomfortable and enjoy it while it lasts.

Eager to read more?