Character Artist J Hill on Creating Your Dream Job in Film and Games

1 minute read


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In this week’s interview, J Hill, Lead Character Artist at Turtle Rock Studios, joins Maxine to chat about the success of his eponymous YouTube channel, how he got started as a character artist, using YouTube as a creative outlet and a form of accountability, and why encouraging other people to pursue their passions is so important to him.

Plus, J shares some practical wisdom about job interviews, what sets applicants apart, and what he looks for when he’s in the hiring seat. J also answers listener questions about time management, render engines, and more!

Episode Breakdown

00:00 Intro
01:39 J’s background and 3D modeling
09:25 How to go "off the beaten path" to make a living
12:03 How J got started on YouTube and creating personal work
17:54 Impostor syndrome and authenticity on J’s YouTube account
22:24 Creating room for and embracing failure
24:10 J’s first job in the industry
31:01 How J landed his second job as a character artist through a forum post and
35:32 Expanding your net and staying open-minded with job applications
40:47 Working for a studio vs. making personal work 
47:32 Personal projects as a way to show your passion
49:29 Advice for people getting into the industry
57:40 Doing work that speaks to you  
1:03:03 Listener questions: time management, environment art, why J choose
character art, Render Engines, ZBrush
1:13:40 Where to find J

About J Hill

J is a professional 3D character artist in the entertainment industry with almost 15 years of experience. Currently based in Southern California, J works as a Lead Character Artist at the indie game development studio Turtle Rock Studios, known for popular games Back 4 Blood, Evolve, and Left 4 Dead. J also runs a popular YouTube channel where he helps artists pursue their interests in digital art, including 3D character art, ZBrush sculpting, 3D modeling, game art, and rendering. 


Holly character model created for Back 4 Blood. J created the high-poly 3D model and textures.

Timelapse of J creating a 3D model self-portrait


Bloodhound character 3d model by J for Respawn Entertainment's Apex Legends (based on the concept model by Joel Emslie). 

To learn more about J, visit his website and ArtStation, and follow him on Instagram and YouTube.

Additional resources about this career:

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Meet the hosts

Meet the hosts of the CG Spectrum Podcast!

MAXINE SCHNEPF: From Producing to HR, Maxine's worked on 40+ blockbuster films at studios like Mr X, Deluxe Animation and Technicolor VFX. Now as CG Spectrum's Career Development Manager, Maxine helps students get industry-ready. Her credits include: Blade Runner 2049, War for the Planet of the Apes, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Doctor Strange, Star Trek Beyond and three Star Wars films.