Carl Wiggins Battles Tradition While Searching for Success as a Game Designer
With the advancement of technology, many artists like Carl Wiggins are using their creativity to break into tech-based positions.
Carl Wiggins has acted on his bursts of creativity for as long as he can remember. He began with traditional drawings on paper using graphite or charcoal. He recently started transitioning towards digital art, focusing on realism and semi-realism.
"I love creating portraits of people [and realism] allows me to constantly learn about the human form."
Carl starts by brainstorming ideas on a mood board when creating an art piece. Once his thoughts are visually organized, and he forms a solid plan, he begins researching references. With references on hand and ideas composed, he begins sketching and creating a piece he can be proud of.
Occasionally, burnout and artist block "annoy" and interrupt his creative process. To release himself from creative block, he takes a stroll through the fresh air. If the piece is not specifically for work or on a deadline, he shifts gears to creating something for fun, like an art challenge or prompt.
"It's a lot easier to create content and beat the block when you don't have to think about it as much."
Carl finds inspiration by analyzing other artists' work. He enjoys learning from people like Marc Burnet, Ross Tran, Sam Yang, and TB Choi.
Their work always "inspires me to push myself and get out of my comfort zone in terms of creating new pieces of art."
Considering that Carl had always dabbled in art, first with doodles, then actively searching to learn and hone in on his techniques, it was a logical step for him to pursue an art-based career.
He expanded his artistic abilities with technology by becoming a game designer.
"With newer technology comes the ability to create art in ways we never thought possible. If I wanted to, I could sculpt a dragon inside of a virtual reality headset and get a physical 3D print of it at my local store, or I can tell an AI computer to create a fully rendered image of a character I want to make. It's literally insane what tech brings to the table. It's changed that game in a lot of ways."
Although the medium changed, the approach did not differ, but the art style did. His personal work steers toward realism with digital tools, while art for game design purposes steers towards Japanese manga style with pen and paper.
Unlike many young people in the workforce, Carl does not experience imposter syndrome. Of course, doubt creeps in during projects, but he is well versed in his specific skillset and understands which qualifications he meets.
"Confidence is the key that breaks imposter syndrome."
Despite his confidence, breaking into the game design business comes with internal and external obstacles. Internally, Carl feels his biggest obstacle is procrastination.
"I'm always thinking, 'where would I have been if I was consistent with my art studies or creating game prototypes?'"
Externally, an oversaturated market for artists and game designers forces people to improve their craft to attempt to stand out.
Due to his difficulty entering his desired field and needing financial stability, Carl sells his custom art on shirts and hoodies online. Inspired by other artists deterring from the ordinary 9-5 job, he thought he would take a stab at living off his art.
"I thought, 'who knows; maybe I can be like them and fully support myself while pursuing passions that I love.' Sadly, it's a lot harder than it looks, but the journey will be worth it."
As an artist with multiple potential revenue streams, Carl's primary goal is to reach financial stability. He believes financial stability will create the freedom to spend time working towards his passions.
"Like most of my peers, I didn't grow up with everything handed to me, so that dream is always on the top of my list. I also want to help others achieve the same goal and realize their potential. You can think of it as paying it forward."
Regardless of which avenue Carl is pursuing, he is constantly learning new techniques to improve his chances of a successful career. He strives to succeed by learning new skills he didn't know the day before.
"When I learned how to properly draw a face in three dimensions, I felt a lot closer to my overall goal of becoming a successful artist."
Continued education, constant content creation, and frequent networking are his most prominent pieces of advice for anyone aiming for a similar career path.
"Most of the time, employers are going to skip the resume and look straight at the type of work you're doing. If you're an artist, you need to dedicate time to learning the basics; composition, perspective, anatomy, and manipulating shapes in 3D are all essential skills you need to know and understand before applying to an actual studio/job. If you're a game designer, you should be making games. There's no quick and easy way but to just do it and put your work out there for people to see."
Carl follows his advice by working on a new 3D narrative adventure game, Project Cure, where players have to fight an enemy "far beyond [their] control."
"You come from a lineage of people with the ability to live forever, but now that same gift may be what leads them to extinction. It's up to you to save your people and fight the evil that threatens them and the natural world."
Whether through traditional work like a job in game design or his entrepreneurial pursuits, Carl ultimately wants to create art and games that his fans can enjoy.
Buy Carl Wiggins' clothing designs here.
Check out Carl Wiggins' art and games here.