Pavan Mankoo

Feature Film Development MA

Pavan always knew that the gaming industry was for him, and BCU was the perfect place to start that journey. After completing a BSc in Video Game Digital Art and an MA in Feature Film Development, Pavan has gone on to thrive in his chosen sector, now working as a Character Artist where he provides gaming studios with quality character models and game-ready environments. 

“Going to University was always my plan. After studying Fine Art at A-Level, I wanted to move into the gaming or filming industries, so university was the bridge towards that direction.

To me, BCU's Video Game Digital Art course was one of the best-looking courses around and after meeting the course director, Shaun Magher, I was sold on the course. I even stayed on for the postgraduate Feature Film Development MA course for the same reason.

I really enjoyed my time at university, and a lot of what I learned from my time at BCU, I apply in my job today. The level of teaching and practical application on both courses really helped me to develop my skill set in the field as well as building my character as a person.

During my time on the postgraduate course, I was given the opportunity to work alongside one of my lecturers on a live project that came up. It was a last-minute job that required another two artists, so my lecturer put myself and another artist from the course forward to help on it. This was my first time working in the field and working on a job of this capacity, so it was a really good learning experience. The job itself went well and I gained a lot of first-hand experience from it, which was invaluable.

Nowadays, I’m a Character Artist at an outsourcing studio called Airship Interactive. We primarily work in the gaming sector providing studios with AAA quality character models, game-ready hair and environments. I've only been with the company for a short time, but I really enjoy the work I do.

A typical day for me generally involves meetings and then a lot of character work. Whether that's through sculpting and modelling or breaking down a concept to understand how it's made. Being a character artist lets me spend most of my time visually problem solving and creating things to make clients happy.

I’ve also worked as a freelance artist, partially independently and partially under a company. I take on jobs involving modelling, previs and techvis, cinematic work and more. I've worked with quite a few studios across the UK, and a few worldwide. My experience in industry has been a really good one so far and I've enjoyed being able to work in the field I do.

I've picked up a lot of skills since my time at university, but the core ideas and fundamentals of the job, I can thank the course for. I don't think I'd be where I am today without the help of the lecturers and the course itself. Just being able to do what I do for a living and enjoy it is the reward in itself for me.

The entertainment industry can be a hard place to traverse. There are always ups and downs based on the current climate, and it can be quite a competitive place sometimes. It is very tricky but being able to keep moving forward and providing a unique service or skill set really does help.

If you're looking to start a career in games or film, BCU is a great place to start that journey. I've not seen another course like BCU’s out there that provides the same level of practical learning. Everything is hands on and there is a lot of support to cater for everyone's journey.

My advice for fellow BCU graduates starting out in their career would be to not be afraid to put yourself out there. It can be tricky starting out and finding somewhere straight out the gate, but putting yourself out there on places like ArtStation and continuing to push your work really does help. If you know what you want to do and where you want to go, then just keep working towards it.”