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#MeetIronGalaxy: Alex Voyles, Character Artist

02/9/2021   •   Written By Tom Carbone

At Iron Galaxy, we take enormous pride in the talented people that help us make games. This recurring series on interviews is a chance for us to introduce them to you and let them tell their story. Pull up a chair and get acquainted.

Today, we’re talking to Alex Voyles, who creates art that brings characters to life.

IRON GALAXY: Who are you and what would you say you do here at Iron Galaxy?

ALEX VOYLES: My name is Alex Voyles and I’m a Character Artist on a brand new game that we're creating at Iron Galaxy. I model and texture characters in 3D programs like ZBrush and Maya. I also work with other disciplines like Concept Art and Tech Art to create characters that have cool and appealing designs while also making sure they look good in engine and in the context of the game.

IG: What is the most challenging aspect of your job?

AV: Art is challenging because it’s so subjective. Sometimes, when you work on an asset for long enough, you become blind to it and you forget that not everyone might see the same design you do. It’s important for me to get lots of different perspectives and feedback on what I’m working on to continue to improve and grow.

IG: What is the one skill you learned growing up that you use the most in your role?

AV: Studying and creating appealing character designs. Growing up, I watched so many Disney and Pokémon cartoons and drew characters all the time.

IG: What has been your proudest moment as a member of the Iron Galaxy team?

AV: Being that this is my first job in the games industry, in the beginning, it was hard for me to know when I should voice my ideas or whether I would be taken seriously if I did. Working at Iron Galaxy for the past two years has dispelled those doubts. Even as a junior artist, I’ve not only been encouraged to share my ideas, but have been given the time and resources to develop and integrate them. I’m proud to have that creative support and recognition from the awesome people here at IG.

A close second is the trauma some of us shared after eating a chicken wing covered in Da’ Bomb hot sauce during the Iron Galaxy Hot Ones event.

IG: We're glad that you made a full recovery. What career advice would you give to someone who wanted to follow in your footsteps?

AV: Discover what discipline or style you are passionate about. Find other artists who inspire you and study their work. Be creative and work towards developing your own style.

IG: What is the best thing about making games for a living?

AV: Creating something together with awesome people.

IG: It's awesome to have you onboard as one of them. What is your favorite perk associated with your job?

AV: Getting the inside scoop of unannounced games. It’s exciting to see the development of so many games that I’m a fan of personally.

IG: There are a lot of gamers who might want to follow in your footsteps. What education did you earn that led to your role in this industry?

AV: I attended Michigan State University’s game development program in 2017 and learned a ton about 3D art, animation, and the video game pipeline. During my senior year, Iron Galaxy was one of the industry partners on our capstone projects. When I graduated in 2019, IG offered internships to our class. I was fortunate enough to be accepted and eventually become a full-time artist here.

IG: That's an awesome journey. Where did it start? What is your hometown?

AV: I’m from Farmington Hills, Michigan. I have a lot of family who live near Chicago, so I still feel at home here.

IG: Speaking of home, we're all spending a lot of time there right now. What is your favorite pro-tip for working from home?

AV: Take breaks to go outside, pet your animals, and keep your fridge stocked with Dr. Pepper.

IG: Now that we're delving into personal preferences, aside from playing video games, what is a favorite hobby of yours?

AV: Last year, I started playing Dungeon & Dragons with some IG folk and have had a blast so far. My character is a ghost rat with a New York accent and a gun named Mr. Ghostfingers.

IG: If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would you choose?

AV: Pasta. Doesn’t matter what kind. Any combination of cheese, meat and noodles and my Italian side is happy.

IG: What is one place that you hope to see one day?

AV: I’d love to go to Japan at some point. Everything about the culture there is so interesting.

IG: What is the one song most likely to earn you a speeding ticket?

AV: “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen

IG: If you could pick a song to play every time you entered the room, what would it be?

AV: The Seinfeld theme and an accompanying laugh track to make everyone think they were trapped in a sitcom for a brief moment.

IG: What game have you spent the most time playing?

AV: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Every inch of that game is beautiful and fun to explore.

IG: Name a scene from a movie that makes you cry every time…

AV: The beginning of Up was scientific formulated to be the saddest scene ever. The score alone makes me want to lie down on the floor and sob.

IG: What has been your favorite series binge?

AV: Community. I binged it for the nth time at the beginning of quarantine. Even though the later seasons aren’t great, I think it’s still the funniest and most creative sitcom of all time.

IG: What is the one superpower that you would like to have?

AV: Fast travel to places I’ve been before like an open world game. Real life has too much backtracking.

IG: Given a time machine, which historical period would you like to experience first-hand?

AV: I’d travel to the Cretaceous period, right before the dinosaurs went extinct and watch that play out. And maybe smuggle back a Velociraptor. For science…

IG: What fictional universe would you choose over our own? What if there was no coming back?

AV: Pokémon, without question. How could you not want to live in the same universe as Pikachu?

Thanks for giving us a look into your world, Alex.

If doing work like this in a place like ours sounds cool, we're looking to hire more artists right now, along with other people from other disciplines. Check out our job listings to see if you can imagine yourself on our team, making amazing things with awesome people - and testing your threshold for pain in our next Hot Ones challenge.