From The Rookie Awards to the Professional World: Insights from Emerging Artists

From The Rookie Awards to the Professional World: Insights from Emerging Artists

New3dge graduates Sara and Regin share their inspiring journey, from the Rookie Awards to launching their careers, while offering insights into their time at New3dge.

We love a great success story, and chatting with Sara Hermellin and Regin Wellander gives us all the feels! New3dge graduates Sara and Regin share their story of success, from entering the Rookie Awards to launching their careers. They also provide insights about their experiences at New3dge. If you are looking for inspiration to enter the Rookie Awards 2024 or are wanting to know what it's like to study at New3dge, this article is a must read.

Why did you enter The Rookie Awards and what were you hoping to achieve?

Sara: I graduated from my school this year so I was hoping to gain some visibility and hopefully catch the eye of a studio that would hire me as a junior! I also looked forward to the opportunity to connect with other artists at the same stage of their career.

Regin: I first learned about The Rookies during my final year of high school and ended up entering three times, with the last attempt being the most significant. For our graduation show at New3dge Concept Art, we created portfolios on the website, and our supervisor, Aurelien Fournier, distributed them to various studios and companies, even those without representatives at our grad-show. It was an opportunity for them to view our work. And, I must confess, I was also gunning for a Rookie position!

Concept Work from Regin's RA2023 Entry.

What advice do you have for other students looking to enter next year?

Sara: Plan ahead of time and don't forget to show your process whether it's by showing your exploration sketches or by adding text and context to your projects on your final presentation. Presenting  my whole portfolio well took me way longer than expected.

Regin: In my experience, it's essential to build a personal brand. I intentionally excluded some of my work from my portfolio because it didn't align with the image I wanted to present to recruiters and fellow artists. My aim was for viewers to think, "Wow, this person must have a unique taste in monsters and characters" – and they'd be correct.

Strive to leave a lasting impression. Make potential employers think of you when their dream project begins. But to do that, you must establish your own branding.

What would you tell others about pursuing a creative career?

Sara: I think it's a field that requires discipline as it's often quite competitive but it's also really fun; Try not to compare yourself with others or think that you don't have talent - I think low-confidence can be very detrimental to learning. There is this quote by Richard Schmidt that stuck with me ever after reading it that goes: "Talent, don't bother about whether or not you have it. Just assume that you do, and forget about it. Talent is a word we use after someone has become accomplished."

Artwork created by Sara for her RA2023 Entry.

Regin: Despite what I said about branding, don't shy away from exploring new genres and techniques. Sticking to the same bubble or using the same references can make your art blend in. If you're passionate about a subject, incorporate that knowledge into your art. It can be anything you love – even cooking! Show off your culinary knowledge in your designs. If, like me, you adore folklore, mythology, creatures, and animals, you have a rich source for creating fantasy creatures based on obscure history and real-life anatomy. The possibilities are limitless!

Tell us more about the skills you have developed during your studies and why you think they'll be useful on your journey?

Sara: I learned a ton about design in general, where to place details, shape language, etc - which was very new to me at the time. The curriculum at New3dge (mainly during the first year) is basically a sequence of small 1-2 weeks workshops taught each time by a different artist so you get to learn a lot of different point of views about what is concept art and it ultimately allows you to build your own point of view and process. I think having had this experience will be very useful along the way!

Regin: One of the strengths of New3dge Concept Art is the diverse range of subjects and courses we tackle. With each assignment and course, you learn a new workflow. This flexibility allows you to approach and solve new challenges creatively. You can mix and match techniques effectively.

Concept Work from Regin's RA2023 Entry.

What is the most valuable lesson learned at New3dge?

Sara: I learned to not get too attached to my ideas - which I think is really important in order to find better ideas. Often the first sketches when designing are quite generic and if you just allow yourself to put them aside and try more stuff, you'll often get way better results.

Regin: The importance of collaboration and camaraderie in the workplace is immeasurable. Waking up and eagerly anticipating interactions with your coworkers and classmates is something I can't stress enough.

What would you say to students looking to start there?

Sara: Definitely go for it ! It's a good school and my experience there has been amazing. It's very much a practice-oriented school and you should not expect to be guided every step of the way - sometimes it's just a matter of trying enough times; But in my experience, everybody is super motivated and nice to each other and I learned a ton from the teachers and the other students alike.

Tower 42, a New3dge group project.
Artwork created by Sara for her RA2023 Entry.

Regin: While most people have a general idea of what they'd like to master when they begin, be open to each class and assignment with equal enthusiasm. This approach allows you to absorb knowledge from different disciplines and may even change your attitude toward various subjects.

What opportunities have presented themselves to you after entering The Rookie Awards?

Sara: I have received some job offers via mails and connected with many other artists ! :)

I feel like the visibility brought by The Rookies really helped me push my portfolio forward and give me a chance to be noticed by more studios.

Regin: Despite the industry's challenges, I've been fortunate to receive numerous job offers from various studios and companies after my graduation. I'm currently working as a character and creature concept artist at Mood Visuals, which has been an incredible experience, thanks to the talented and passionate team.

How did you land your current position?

Sara: A few weeks after posting my portfolio on ArtStation, I got contacted by the studio I'm currently in. They really liked my profile and asked me if I was up for an interview to see if we could work together. The interview went really well and I saw them a second time at the graduation jury of my school. They offered me a position shortly after!

Artwork created by Sara for her RA2023 Entry.

Regin: A few months before my graduation, I received a LinkedIn message from Jesper Andersen, which led to a smooth hiring process with Mood Visuals. Our initial meeting at my graduation reinforced our connection, and everything fell into place.

What are your next steps?

Sara: I don't really know yet, I've reached my short-term goal which was to make a break into the industry so I think the next few months, as my new situation sets in, I will try to set myself new goals and ambitions to keep pushing forward. Also I would really like to keep growing and nurturing personal projects on the side as I know most of the work I do now professionally won't see the light of day until quite some time.

Regin: I intend to stay and grow at Mood Visuals, contributing to their fantastic community. In parallel, I'll continue working on personal projects similar in spirit to "Fafnesbane" and other IPs to share with all of you. Perhaps, I might even have the opportunity to turn some of these projects into art books in the future – an exciting possibility!

Concept Work from Regin's RA2023 Entry

Reach out to Sara and Regin if you have any questions or want to explore their amazing student artwork.