We’re catching up with members of DigiPen’s 2013 graduating class to find out where they’re headed.
Kevin French graduated as the 2013 class speaker for the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Digital Art and Animation program. He interned at Detonator Games during his senior year and recently began working as a user interface artist at Glu Mobile in Kirkland.
How did you get your job at Glu Mobile?
My start at Glu Mobile was due to the Career Fair at DigiPen, but more than that, I had been interning at a smaller company called Detonator Games in Redmond.
I had started with Detonator to help them with some small projects but then fell into doing some user interface art. And it wasn’t initially something that I thought I wanted to do, but not long after doing it for them I started to really love it. They really allowed me to grow as an artist and encouraged me to come up with my own ideas, and it was through their mentoring that I was able to put together a presentation at the Career Fair. When Glu Mobile came by I was able to show them some of the work that I had done.
What do you like about doing user interface art?
When I started DigiPen I wanted to be an illustrator. I would often let my imagination get the best of me and come up with grandiose ideas to put into a painting, when really it’s much better to have a simple idea and get it down to its core elements. Doing user interface really pushed me to simplify the way I thought about things, to be almost like a graphic designer. And initially that was pretty difficult. It totally switched the way my brain worked, but I found that I was able to be pretty strong at it because of my illustrative background and Detonator’s willingness to mentor me through the process.
One of the important things I’ve learned — not only in illustration but also with user interface — is composition. You want it to be as organized and as clear as possible but without being bland and boring. You have to learn ways of presenting the material that seems kind of drab but in a way that’s exciting.
What are some other things about your DigiPen education that helped you?
For digital painting, Peter Moehrle’s class was one of the more important classes I took at DigiPen. Alecia Rossano was a mentor to me in life drawing. When you go in as an artist and you’re a student, you think you know how to draw. And really you have to break it back down and rebuild. It’s a little bit like a boot camp, I suppose, and Alecia was able to retrain me in the way that I was drawing. I think made me a better artist overall.
What’s it like working at Glu Mobile, and what are you most excited about?
So far it’s great. I work with a great team.
When I went back to school, the reason I went to DigiPen was because I wanted to work in a studio where they have posters on the wall and they have the free vending machines and the pool table and all the cool tech stuff that you get when you work at a game studio. You work with fun people that really push you artistically. And I feel like Glu is providing me with all of those aspects. It’s definitely what I wanted when I set out to go to DigiPen.
My goal has always been to be a lead on a team. I mean the employment achievement has been unlocked, so now I’m on to the next one, which is to eventually come up with my own ideas and pass those along to other people I’m working with.