Laureen Lafave

Art Outsourcing Manager

So, first, could you introduce yourself?

Hi! My name is Laureen and I’m the Art Outsourcing Manager here at IllFonic.

How long have you worked here at IllFonic?

I’ve been working in the games Industry for nearly eighteen years, and I’ve been with IllFonic for the past two years.

How did you get into art and was it something you always wanted to do as a career?

I’ve always enjoyed making art, but up until my senior year of high school I had plans to be a zoologist and live my dream life of being a professional Cat Lady. That didn’t really work out, so I switched my focus to art and never looked back.

How did you become an “Art Outsourcing Manager”?

I really enjoy working with other artists and helping them grow their skills, so when the opportunity arose to move into a management position I jumped on it. Outsource management was just a part of that job, but I really enjoyed it and eventually moved into doing just that exclusively. I’ve gotten to meet and work with so many amazingly talented artists across the world, it’s a really fun job.

What kind of duties does an Art Outsourcing manager have?

We have an incredible art team here at IllFonic, but our games require more art than they can make on their own. I help fill in those gaps by finding artists to do that extra work, ensuring that our games are packed full of beautiful art.

Once we’ve chosen an artist for a new task, I’m their main contact to the rest of the studio. I provide them with information, reference assets and feedback to make sure the work they do for us fits seamlessly in with the rest of the game.

When they’ve finished creating an art asset I’m in charge of processing all of the files and setting them up in our engine so that they’re ready to be used in the game. Occasionally I’ll help out with making some art myself if I happen to have the spare time.

What are some of the challenges that you face as an Art Outsourcing Manager

It can be really hard to turn off work at the end of the day. Since we’re collaborating with people all over the world, there is always someone out there working on our games and it’s very tempting to want to be immediately available to them at all times. I have to remind myself that just because I can jump on a call at 2am to help an artist out, doesn’t mean I always should.

How do you use your art experience in your daily work?

Sometimes my experience is used very directly when I’m helping to create concepts or art content used in the game. Most of the time though, I’m using the knowledge I’ve gained over the years to provide artistic feedback on incoming assets or helping solve problems when something isn’t working correctly.

What’s an example of art in a video game that you really liked or inspired you?

I really love games that mimic traditional media or look like paintings; Child of Light, Ori and the Blind Forest, Banner Saga, etc.

Whenever I’ve been tasked with defining the art style for a project myself, I usually end up pulling a ton of references from Blizzard games, the work those guys do is very inspiring and I’ve learned a lot from it over the years.

What games do you like to play in your spare time?

I’m an unapologetic Nintendo fan girl, so most of my gaming happens on the Switch. I still spend a lot of time with Mario Kart, Splatoon, Pokemon, and Animal Crossing and I’m also a big fan of music driven games like Lumines and Just Shapes and Beats.

What are your hobbies?

I enjoy cross-stitching and needle felting when I need a break from staring at my computer. I think I’m the only person who stopped baking during the pandemic, but I used to make elaborate cakes just for fun.

I’m a giant nerd for the sport of figure skating, probably 90% of my free time is spent arguing about this dumb sport on the internet. Stream Olympic Seimei for good health 😉

How has working from home affected your work and do you prefer working from home?

In the “Before Times” my morning commute was typically between 2-3 hours, but now I just have to walk into my living room. I’m a pretty big fan of this whole work from home thing.

It honestly hasn’t affected my work all that much. A majority of the people I work with on a daily basis were already spread out across the globe, and IllFonic itself was set up so that the transition to WFH was incredibly smooth and painless. I get to hang out with my dog all day now, so I really can’t complain.