#MEETIRONGALAXY – Anna Heart, UI Artist
At Iron Galaxy, our artists give life to the worlds we help create. We’re putting them to the question to share some details about our unique individuals and their personal experiences in making our games.
Today, we’re talking to Anna Heart, one of our Orlando teammates who works in Art. Anna started with us in November 2012 and has functioned in a variety of roles. Let’s learn about how Anna found her way into making games.
Iron Galaxy: Who are you and what would you say you do here at Iron Galaxy?
Anna Heart: Hello! I’m Anna Heart, UI Artist at Iron Galaxy Orlando. I totally read this question as if Bob from Office Space had asked it though. So, what I really want to say is, “Look! I deal with the dang art so the engineers don’t have to! I have people skills. I am good at dealing with people! Can’t you understand that?”
IG: The pleasure is all on this side of the table, Anna. What is the most challenging aspect of your job?
AH: The most challenging aspect must be taking those beautiful, performance expensive, pie in the sky artistic ideas and getting them to work in reality.
IG: What is the one skill you have learned that you use the most in your role?
AH: Work general to be specific, knocking out the easiest tasks first. It worked well for chores, those scantron tests, and big class projects.
IG: Great tip. What has been your proudest moment as a member of the Iron Galaxy team?
At a Combo Breaker tournament, I was chilling by myself, watching Killer Instinct Season 3 matches. I don’t think they meant to be rude, but these two guys asked what I was doing there. It was the first time I got to say “Oh! I’m a dev. I worked on this game!” It was a wild moment as Killer Instinct Gold was my favorite fighting game growing up. I cried when I found out my brother sold it to a cousin. Never thought in a million years that Eagle would finally be a playable character, and I’d get to work on his art!
IG: What a full circle moment! If you could give someone who wanted to follow in your career footsteps one piece of advice, what would it be?
AH: Just start now! There’s more free tools and educational resources than ever. If you can, find a team that you can collaborate with. I like Jake the Dog’s inspirational quote: “Dude, suckin’ at something is the first step to being sorta good at something.”
IG: What is the best thing about working at a gaming company?
AH: As Iron Galaxy is an entertainment company, I find we’re often trying to entertain each other. And as invaluable a service as entertainment is, no one is going to die if we didn’t make something fun.
IG: What is your favorite perk associated with your job?
AH: I love learning how the cheddar is made and peeking behind the curtain of the Wizard of Oz. Seeing hilarious software bugs that hopefully never go live is a plus too.
IG: What inspired you to work in UI Art?
AH: Well, five-year-old-me would be disappointed to learn that I didn’t go into paleontology, but I’ve always loved art, especially drawing characters. I didn’t think I had a knack for graphic design, but if you know Photoshop well enough, people will start asking you to make them logos, fliers, etc. Eventually, for me, that turned into making scoreboards and lower thirds for esports tournaments. I’ve found I have a way better brain for interfaces than character design.
IG: Diving deeper into interfaces, what would you say is your favorite part of UI development?
AH: I love the animation stage of UI development. It’s what really brings the interactive element to life. I still have a lot to learn about animation rules and styles, so it’s really fresh and exciting!
IG: You’ve remained faithful to IG for 9 years of your career. What keeps you around?
AH: I want to pay the bills by making art with my friends – so who knows, if IG will have me, I might stick around until I’m 100 years old. After I retire from games, I guess I’ll be the old lady that greets people at Disney or Universal.
IG: What has it been like working for both the Chicago and Orlando studio?
AH: I love both studios though they really are apples and oranges. Chicago is a rowdy extroverted bunch 364 days a year, so their holiday party feels pretty low-key in comparison. Meanwhile, Orlando’s holiday party turns into an absolute rager because they really store that energy all year.
IG: It’ll be interesting to see how culture shapes up at our new Nashville studio. Where are you from?
AH: I’m from “the boonies” of Appleton, Wisconsin, technically on the very outskirts of the town of Freedom. Sometimes I slip back into the Yooper accent for fun.
IG: You betcha! Aside from playing video games, what is a favorite hobby of yours?
AH: I love gardening and yardwork. It’s really beneficial for your mind and body to go daydream out in nature every day. Even just having a “pet” succulent at your desk is nice to have. I think I have more mowing thoughts than shower thoughts these days.
IG: What is something you have always wanted to create?
AH: I’ve always wanted to make a comic or adapt a novel into a comic book. I think I started about 20 times as a kid, including a web comic with a friend. It’s so difficult! I have so much respect for comic book artists. I have no idea how they do it.
IG: Let’s make this personal, now. If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life while working on your future comic, what would you choose?
AH: Pretty sure this is cheating, but the signature bento box from Cowfish.
IG: That’s not cheating. You’re just thinking inside the “box.” What is one place that you hope to see one day?
AH: Since I got to go to Tokyo and Florence, next on the list is Amsterdam.
IG: What is one genre of games that you think is underrated?
AH: Point and click adventure games - the original “escape room!” The genre combines puzzles and storytelling in a very approachable way.
IG: What is your favorite book or series?
AH: I am a huge Animorphs fan, so much so that it took until my 30s to finally read the Harry Potter series. If all you know about the series is the book cover memes, I highly recommend giving the first graphic novel adaptation a try.
IG: Funnily enough, Joe Palmer responded similarly just last month! What was the last concert you saw?
AH: The FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE Orchestra World Tour! The nice thing about wearing a mask in public is that if you start crying, no one can see your nose run.
IG: *Writes in notepad* What is the one song most likely to earn you a speeding ticket?
AH: The Offspring - Bad Habit.
IG: What movie have you seen the most times?
AH: I don’t rewatch stuff often, but I can absolutely play the 1995 Mortal Kombat movie whenever.
IG: What is the one superpower that you would like to have?
AH: Telekinesis! I’d love to fly and be super strong.
IG: Given a time machine, which historical period would you like to experience first-hand?
AH: I wouldn’t like living in an earlier time, but I would love to see a civilization we currently know little about. I’d go back a thousand years to see the Illinois empire of “Cahokia”.
IG: One last history question. Which historical figure would you want to show the modern world? What do you think they’d say?
AH: It would be so fun to take Jules Verne to Disney. I would hope he’d be inspired to write even more.
Fun responses, Anna! Thanks for the pop culture references and for sharing glimpses of your time here at IG. May more fans of your contributions get to admire your awesome work at more tournaments and conventions.
See yourself fitting in with our Art team? If you’re a straight shooter, we're currently hiring, in Chicago, Orlando, and Nashville, so you can choose your preferred vibe of holiday party. Check out our job listings and see if there's an opening for you.