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How Can You Find Jobs At Blizzard if You're an Artist?

Jobs at Blizzard are notoriously difficult to find because Blizzard is one of the most respected companies in the industry. And when any company or product has millions of fans, there’s lots of people who want to work for them. So what can you do?

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This article is cross-posted from The Game Prodigy, a site for students and parents interested in careers in games. Visit today to download the free 29-page Complete Game Development Toolkit!

Jobs at Blizzard are notoriously difficult to find because Blizzard is one of the most respected companies in the games industry. World of Warcraft boasts over 10 millions subscribers that have at this point been playing for close to a decade, which might arguably make it the most popular game of all time in terms of hours. Starcraft is so popular that it’s practically a sport in some parts of Asia, with entire TV shows devoted to watching the top players duke it out. And Diablo is an enduring franchise that is in it’s third edition with millions of copies sold. Each of these franchises are huge mainstays in the industry, so popular that even people who want to have nothing to do with games have heard of them.

And when any company or product has millions of fans, there’s going to be lots of people who want to work for them. Landing jobs at Blizzard and coming up with the designs of the next WoW expansion pack characters and worlds is a dream job for many young aspiring artists. And why shouldn’t it be? Designing orcs and arcane magic spells to be played and enjoyed by people all over the world is enough to get anyone excited.

And so the question is: if your dream as an artist is to find jobs at Blizzard, what should you do? It’s fine to hold on to dreams, but you also need to have the knowledge to know how to achieve them and the willingness to work hard to get there. I have a student that I work with in my career advising sessions who would like to work for Blizzard one day, and so I’ll share here what I’ve shared with him.

One acknowledgement that I should make is that I have not worked at Blizzard personally. However I have worked at both EA and Zynga and know people who have worked at Blizzard, so this article should be a useful starting point for working at Blizzard or any other dream studio you may have.

The first thing to realize if you want to work for a company like Blizzard is that you have to be the absolute best. I’m not just saying kind of good. I’m not even saying so good that all your friends and family say you’re the best artists they know. I’m saying you need to be the best among the best in the industry. Take a look at some of the artwork at ConceptArt.org. That is the level of quality that you need to be at. It will take years and years to get to this level of skill, but that is the minimum bar. It’s going to take thousands and thousands of hours of just working on your art and drawing everything you can possibly think of. Don’t get discouraged, but realize that if you want to get this particular dream job, you need to be willing to put in the years and years of hard work. Keep pushing yourself and keep learning.

The next tip that I give to students is that you have to have a wide range of skills, much wider than you likely think you need. Many students who dream of finding jobs at Blizzard mistakenly spend all their time drawing Orcs and magical creatures If you look at their portfolio this is everything they have. This is far too focused and betrays a lack of true skill. While you want to be able to do amazing art that is in the world of the game you love, you also need to be able to draw anything that the company needs you to draw. So in the next few years if Blizzard releases some other entirely new concept, you need to be able to draw in that concept. Don’t pigeonhole yourself so much that you aren’t learning how to draw anything else. There are thousands of people out there who can draw great orcs. But there are far fewer people who can draw great orcs AND draw great horses, modern cities, tropical islands, colonial armies, and more. Go broad and deep, not just deep in such a narrow area.

Finally, if you really want to work at Blizzard, then in order to give yourself the best chance of success you should realize that you might not get to start there. Like I’ve mentioned, companies like Blizzard only hire the best, and typically the best are those who have had a few years of experience in the industry working on some big titles. You might have to start somewhere else and work your way in. Even if your dream is to one way work at Blizzard, then it may actually be much better for you to start off working at some no-name studio, then move to a company like EA, and then to jobs at Blizzard. While it does take time, it gives you a much higher chance of success. So be humble and learn, learn, learn!

If working at Blizzard is your dream, then you can absolutely make that dream come true. Just become so good that they can’t ignore you.

Best of luck!


This article is cross-posted from The Game Prodigy, a site for students and parents interested in careers in games. Visit today to download the free 29-page Complete Game Development Toolkit!

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