Meet Megan Carlsen, Jam City’s Associate 2D Art Director, in our latest Employee Spotlight. As a seven year veteran of the company, Megan is a pro at making Jam City’s narrative adventures come to life.
What drew you to Jam City?
I saw an intense opportunity to grow as an artist and learn from the talent that was already employed here. The people in every discipline of our studio are people that are energetic and passionate about what they are doing. Plus, the game art was so darn cute!
Describe your role on the team.
My specialty is in character design and marketing art. I also manage a team of artists who ensure that the assets we work on tell the story of our narrative as vividly as possible. I ensure that the art we create promotes an experience that delights players, supports the design of the game, and is an authentic experience to the IP we are working with.
What advice can you give young artists who want to enter the gaming industry?
Interpersonal skills are key if you want to be a part of game development. Learn to work as a team with others and be that person who others want to have on their team. I’ve seen amazingly talented artists struggle to find work because they have a toxic diva attitude. Being able to communicate your ideas both verbally and in writing can take you very far. Take pride in everything you do; whether it’s the project of your dreams or a simple icon that doesn’t excite you, you should always be able to stand by the quality you produce.
What do you find most rewarding about your role?
Different games have provided different rewarding experiences. When I worked on Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff, my favorite thing to do was to design celebrities in the Family Guy art style. It was so fun to have people like Snoop Dogg and Patrick Stewart comment on my artwork!
During my time designing for Futurama: Worlds of Tomorrow, I got to work with Rough Draft. David X. Cohen, Claudia Katz, and Pete Avanzino were amazing partners, and I learned a lot from them about crafting a world people love.
In the seven years you’ve worked for Jam City, how has the company evolved in terms of work culture and game development?
When I joined the company, it was very small and we were all so young! It’s amazing to see how we’ve honed our craft to become mature industry professionals. I’m inspired by how Jam City continues to focus on improving equality, inclusivity, and diversity. Within game development, I think that rather than reacting to popular trends, Jam City is establishing themselves as a company that sets them. The executives encourage us to innovate as well as think creatively about how entertainment will evolve.
What do you think makes Jam City stand out as a trailblazer in the gaming industry?
Jam City takes time to listen to their players. The player experience is so important to us and we take great efforts to make sure that players are excited to open up one of our games. If our community doesn’t enjoy a feature, we do what we can to iterate and improve it. Jam City also invests in their employee’s careers, giving us clear paths for growth so that we can accomplish our goals.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned while working at Jam City?
Everyone in every department should think of themselves as a Game Designer. Study Game Design principles regardless of what your role is, play new and old games, talk to others about games they like and didn’t like. When everyone feels like a game designer in their heart, they make decisions that support a unified vision that they are proud to be a part of.
What advice would you give other employees about how to succeed in their role?
Self care is important! Exercise, eat healthy food, laugh with friends, get some sunshine, be inspired by other works of art, and then come in focused and ready to kick ass. There are times to dig deep and crunch, but overall, the person who sharpens the axe will always cut down the tree faster than the one that chops and chops with a dull blade.