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In conversation with: graduate Lucy Zini, Environment Concept Artist

Lucy Zini is a 2021 Graduate of BA (Hons) Games Art and Design and has been working for Compulsion Games – an Xbox studio – as an Environment Concept Artist since September 2021. Lucy has also worked as a freelance environment concept artist for ScruffyDog Creative Group, and was recently a finalist in the 2021 Rookies awards and winner of the 2020 Women in Games Student portfolio awards.  In this interview, we discuss Lucy’s creative career working for an International games developer in Montréal, Canada, and her advice to students looking to pursue a career in Games Art and Design. 

Can you tell us about your role at Compulsion Games? What is a day in the life like?

Compulsion Games is located in Montreal (Canada), I work remotely for the company. The time difference from the UK is fairly drastic, so my days are a little unconventional. To complicate this a little more I have been travelling around Europe whilst working. 

A usual day for me would involve working with a brief to complete a concept, whilst giving regular updates to the Art Director on its progress for visibility and feedback. 

What have you learned about working in the games industry so far? 

I think Compulsion games is a little unconventional in a lot of ways, but I’ve been surprised and pleased by the amount of independence on projects, as well as the overall faith in my abilities to produce the concept art and envision sometimes a fairly important area/structure. 

“At the beginning, take your time exploring the different disciplines. Once you know what it is you want to do — commit to that.”

What inspires you creatively?

Really a lot, from traditional artists, to books, TV, Film, other games and concept art. I also like exploring and travelling to actual places to get real-life inspiration and references. I’m generally drawn towards kind of whimsical dark settings. 

What would be your dream game to work on?

Honestly, I was a huge fan of We Happy Few (Compulsions original game), so they were one of my top companies I wanted to work for. The current game I’m working on I’m really excited about and can’t think of something or somewhere I’d rather produce work for. 

Are there any skills that you have learnt at NUA that have stood you in good stead in your career?

Learning basic 3D as a concept artist has been a huge advantage, as well as knowledge of software such as Unreal engine

Looking back at your time at university and what you’ve learned so far, what advice would you give current students?

Really focus on doing what you enjoy. At the beginning, take your time exploring the different disciplines. Once you know what it is you want to do — commit to that. At the time it felt like a risk specialising in environment concepts and ignoring character concepts, but for me, it felt right. Doing something I enjoyed pushed me to want to make my work better. It shouldn’t feel like a chore.

Explore BA (Hons) Games Art and Design Explore BSc (Hons) Games Development

See more of Lucy’s work on her social channels:

Twitter: @lucyziniart

Artstation: Lucy Zini