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Meet Archer Ding of Concept artist

Today we’d like to introduce you to Archer Ding.

Archer, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I came to America, this strange land, with dream and excitement, but more uncertainty and worries back in 2010 when I was 19 years old. Painting, drawing and anything related to art has been part of my life since I was a kid.

I couldn’t really remember how many times I copied some of my manga books with just pencil and paper. But I haven’t thought about being a concept artist back then. Until I notice there is a group of people designing all kinds of amazing and interesting concept with their imagination and technique for film, game and all other industries related to the entertainment field. Then I entered the Art Center College of Design in the year 2012 majored in Entertainment Design. This was totally a new starting point for my life.

I was surrounded by all the young talents at the Art Center. I met some of my lifetime friends at school. We had all kinds of classes that landed us as professional concept artists later. With 4 and a half years of hardworking and endless improving, I graduated from one of the best design school in the world in 2016. Then I started my concept artist career first at Disney Interactive (Palo Alto) as an intern.

Time flies, 3 months of the internship was just like a blink. I learned a huge amount of things from my teammates and the whole studio. Some of the most precious professional experience kept me being motivated, inspired and innovative. These keep pushing me forward as a working professional.

I worked as a freelance concept artist after leaving Disney. I worked with all kinds of clients from LA, San Francisco bay area. I had opportunities to do interesting projects from game concepts, posters to album covers. I enjoy working with different people and listen to their needs. But after a while, I found I was still in deep love with the video game industry. So I joint Electronic Arts, Visceral Games studio in Redwood city as a concept artist.

I worked closely with world-class creative director Amy Hennig and Lucas films on the unannounced Star Wars AAA game project with the most talented concept team I have ever met. I learned a huge amount of things from my teammates and leads. Beside fully concentrated on creating concepts for the game I also had a great opportunity to talk and work with other teams within the project such as Level design, 3d, animation and environment artists.

I also worked closely with EA Shanghai and Vancouver team. I got the trust from my Art Director to give direct feedback to our EA Shanghai concept team and fully in charge the communication work with them for a few months. It was an unbelievable productive period of time in my life.

But unfortunately, EA shut down Visceral Game studio in November 2017. It was extremely hard and sad to say goodbye to the team and project. Then I joint another great studio at 2K Games Inc to continue my dream as a concept artist till now.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Overall time management is always something really important no matter who you work for. Big studio or individual clients they all have their different timelines and requests. So it is your responsibility to cooperate and communicate well with them.

If you are a concept artist working in a studio I think the biggest challenge is probably laid off. It really hurts your career plan and all kind of things. But it is actually quite common in the industry. Sometimes I still hard to believe that I have worked for 3 different studios in the first year and half of graduation.

Then if you work as a freelance concept artist I would say expanding your network and protecting yourself at the same time are the hardest things. You want more clients but you should make sure you take care of yourself and work for the “right” clients.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Concept artist story. Tell us more about the business.
I’m a very capable concept artist, and I enjoy creating environments, props, vehicles, and characters. I have a passion for storytelling, and I’m happy to work in 2D and 3D – whether ideating, sketching or rendering. I worked for some of the best well-known game studios such as Disney Interactive, Electronic Arts Visceral, 2K Games.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I have never felt that I am a lucky person. I would say my best luck in my career is meeting all kinds of brilliant people. All my teammates and leads I have worked with more or less gave me a huge amount of lifetime treasure. I would always be grateful for those encourage and inspired me through my life.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
E3 2018, Bethesda, Fallout76 stage activity

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