John Steels


I am an Experienced Art Lead and Art Director with over 17 years experience of producing AAA titles to exacting standards within tight deadlines.
I have 15 published titles under my belt two of which have sold over 1 million copies with Playstation Home having over 23 million registered Users.
My skills as a concept and character artist have earned me two BAFTA nominations and a Eurogamer award for 2002’s Startopia and I have recently provided Character design and Final art for a number of high profile brands for corporate clients including PepsiCo and GlaxoSmithKline.
As well as my practical art skills, I bring to the table a level headed no nonsense approach to art management, with great interpersonal skills and a proven track record of team motivation. I have managed both internal and outsourced teams, defining briefs, scheduling resources and providing feedback, assessment and appraisals.

Work History to Date

Waterfront Entertainment (April 2012 – Present)
Lead Creative Artist/Art Director Games: Go5 Digital Trading Cards
Working as Lead Creative my role is pan-discipline,requiring mentoring of junior artists, hands on asset creation, team management, design input as well as specification for audio, animation and dialog. The role is also client facing with an emphasis on refining the aesthetic in line with the brand holders requirements and the needs of the target demographic.

Freelance (September 2010 – April 2012)
Lead Artist/Art Director Games: Alert! Safety Boom! Get The Flock Out, Number Circus, Velocity
Worked on several projects Including the award winning PSN mini game “Velocity” for Futurlab. My Role required me to define art styles, provide management, concept art, mentor junior artists, provide some technical support and create benchmark assets. I also produced 2 iOS games in collaboration with woojijuice and provided conceptual art and logo design for a number of Branding agencies.

Curve Studios (September 2009 – September 2010)
Lead Artist/Art Director Games: Buzztm: The Ultimate Music Quiz
My Primary role was as Art Lead on Buzz: The Ultimate Music Quiz for PSP. My Role was to assess the existing games and attempt to move the franchise forward. I chose to move away from the “game show” aesthetic and focus on the music aspect, casting Buzz more in the role of DJ and styling the game in the slick lines of a personal Music Player. I also evaluated middleware, recommended tool choices, managed the art team and defined the tool needs. On top of this I was of course hands on in the creation of assets as well.

AtomFire Productions (August 2008 – September 2009)
I was Director/Owner of Atomfire Productions Ltd a Videogame and media agency. We created virtual worlds, web games, provided product branding and illustrations for print, and worked on Hand-held titles for Console and iPhone. Working closely with a children’s Branding Agency we specced styles, defined characters and conducted market research and focus testing to arrive at the optimum design.

Pulled Pin (June 2008 – August 2008)
Art Director
My responsibilities included conceptual design and art direction, the hiring and management of the team and evaluation of engines and software. Unfortunately due to loss of Private funding the company was closed down.

Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (Jan2004-June2008)
Lead Artist Games: EyeToy – Play 2, Fired-Up, Getaway - Gangs of London, Playstation Home
I was senior artist on Play2, Fired Up and Gangs of London. I also headed up the Character Team on "Playstation Home" the 3D Community Networking Space for PS3. I provided Management, Concept work, assets, semi-technical support and asset management. I was instrumental in the design of the characters, the customisation system, tool-set and pipeline and wrote documentation on the processes and systems. I also managed outsourced resources and provided guidance and feedback to third-party developers.

Computer Artworks (Nov 2002-Nov 2003)
Senior/Lead Artist
I set the visual style provided concept work and created many of the character meshes for “Sound of thunder”, “Thing 2” and “Alone in the dark”. Also as a core member of “New Projects” I created Concepts and meshes for several demos and game concept documents with styles as diverse as Survival Horror, Anime styled RPG and Sci-fi Epic.

Muckyfoot Productions Ltd. (Sept1998-Nov2002)
Senior/Lead Artist Games: Urban Chaos, Startopia, Blade 2
I created concept work and character assets for Urban chaos. I was Responsible for character and environment designs and the modelling and texturing of all characters in Startopia. I also contributed to game concept and level design and storyboarded the Intro sequence.
I was lead character artist on Blade 2 designing the full roster of characters and managing the character team. I also provided some environmental assets and storyboards for the cut scenes.
I also produced concepts and models for Marvel comics “Punisher” and concept work for Bulletproof monk.

Bullfrog Productions Ltd. / EA (Jun1998-Sept1998)
Senior Artist Games: Dungeon Keeper 2
I was tasked with converting “Dungeon Keeper2” on the P.C. to the PS1. Due to hardware restrictions this involved extensive re-designing of characters and environments to more suit the resolution and memory limitations of the target platform. I also contributed to character design for the PC version.

Argonaut Software Ltd. (Jan1997-Jun1998)
Artist/Lead Artist Games: Buck Bumble
As lead artist I created the visual style for the critically acclaimed “Buck Bumble” on the N64 designing the characters and environments and modelling the majority of the insect horde. I also worked on concept sketches for the supernatural action game “Cult”

Scavenger (Sept1995-Nov1996)
I worked as concept and in game artist on “Vapour” a powerboat racing game and provided concept work for “Tarantula” and “Chicago”

I am a keen Archer and re-enactor and throughout the summer I can be found at Arundel Castle loosing volleys of arrows at the nearest Armoured Knight. I am, of course an avid Gamer, particularly fond of RPG’s, First Person Shooters and Third Person Action Games.
My Favourite Games of all time are, in no particular order, Final Fantasy 7, Deus Ex, Uncharted: Drakes Fortune , Shadow of the Colossus and Zelda: Ocarina of time . All these games are compelling and beautiful and each one changed the way I thought about games.
I like real ale, epic movies and Progressive Sludge and Doom Metal.