At its heart, Geek Bomb is fundamentally about celebrating, inspiring, and getting to know women in geek. Founded by our Boss Bomb Maude Garrett and featuring a Bomb Squad filled with diverse, talented, and totally badass ladies, Geek Bomb has a mindset much like Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Females are strong as hell. And it’s about time we start celebrating that again. So, we’ve decided to relaunch Women in Geek, our interview series that spotlights, shows off, and talks about the wonderful ladies who are leading the geek entertainment field.
Joining us this week is Alice Lawrence, a concept artist and digital matte painter whose creations are sure to leave you breathless. We had the chance to have a chat with Alice about how she began her career in art, how she hopes the industry will evolve moving forward, and the advice she’d give to those looking to forge their own path in her field.
Be sure to check out some of Alice’s incredible work at the end of this interview.
Geek Bomb: First off, when did you realize that you were, in essence, a geek? What geeky things are you up to now?
Alice Lawrence: The first I might have realized this was when all I wanted to do, as soon as I got home from school was play Pokemon on my GameBoy and watch shows like Sailor Moon and DragonBall Z. At that point, my love for Pokemon became so all-consuming that I even started dreaming about playing the games in my sleep.
As for my recent geek ventures, I am once again falling in love with Fallout 4 – to the extent that I just bought a vault suit onesie.
GB: Let’s get our foot in the door by asking how you got your foot in the door. What’s your industry origin story – how did you get started? What advice can you give to those looking to break into your industry?
AL: I was actually pretty fortunate to get to where I am now. After working for a few years as a matte painter in the VFX industry, the stress of working overtime was starting to get to me. I knew at that point, that I needed a change or I was soon to burn out. It was then that my current boss contacted me about a position as a concept artist for Ubisoft Montreal. I was ecstatic and took the job immediately and have not a single regret to date.
My advice would be to ignore those who discourage you by saying that it’s “too tough.” Cling to your mentors and those who inspire you, because they may very well become your support system. Moreover, it is important to network online; get an ArtStation and a Twitter account going and follow artists you love. Most importantly, of course, don’t stop drawing.
GB: What is the most difficult obstacle that you’ve had to overcome in your industry or maybe even still overcoming?
AL: I have always had difficulty believing in my skills. To this day, even now that I have landed my “dream job,” some days I’m just feeling more confident than others. I’m still learning new things about being a concept artist on a daily basis, which is a huge privilege for me because I love to learn. And so, slowly I’m becoming more confident in my abilities. I think this is just something I’ll feel better about the more I progress in the industry.
GB: Picture yourself at ten years old. What advice would you give her? What would she love to know about present-day you?
AL: Don’t. Stop. Drawing. Keep coming up with stories/characters, and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t turn your passion into a career, because its “hard work.” Especially do not let boys tell you that you can’t play a video game because you’re a girl. Also keep all your GameBoys, your PS1, Beanie Babies, and Pokemon cards.
Ten-year-old me would probably be surprised that she’s drawing digitally for a living.
GB: Who are your female role models and/or inspirations?
AL: First and foremost is my mom. She’s supported me since the first awfully botched anime drawings I would show her to anything I strive to do now. She is my rock and I’d be absolutely nowhere without her.
I also took an environment design class with Donglu Yu and I was just blown away by her confidence, techniques, and skills. She’s worked on many great game titles and has a crazy amazing color palette.
Other lady artists to name a few are Lois Van Baarle, Audra Auclair, [and]Jen Bartel.
GB: Who are some of your favourite fictional female characters of all time?
AL: 100 percent Usagi Tsukino/Sailor Moon. I really identify with her and have, ever since I was kid. She is loyal, silly, clumsy, loves video games and food — so, perfection. I also love Alana from Saga, who is the embodiment of sass, beauty and badassery. Akasha from Queen of the Damned is also dear to me, because it’s my best friend’s and my favourite movie. Of course, I can’t forget Aloy from Horizon Zero Dawn for being so powerful and strong-willed!
GB: How would you like to see this industry grow for not only women, but within the entertainment space?
AL: I know we are definitely out there, but I’d love to see more women in concept art. The video game industry is changing and is diverting from the male dominated industry that it used to be. So, I would absolutely love to see more female artists pursue a career in concept art.
GB: Where can people discover more about you? Socials/website/podcast or channel links.
Thanks again to the lovely Alice Lawrence for joining us to celebrate the magic of women in the nerd world!