The Dynamic Life of an Art Lead | Allcorrect Games

The Dynamic Life of an Art Lead

How does managing a construction site prepare you for leading a game art team? Yuri Kotov, Art Lead at Allcorrect, shares his unique journey and the skills that make the lives of game developers easier.

What Does an Art Lead do?

The role of an art lead can vary dramatically from company to company. At Allcorrect, Yuri is responsible for recruiting, developing, and evaluating artists, interacting with departments, assessing incoming tasks, and allocating resources. Here’s a closer look at these responsibilities.

Interacting with Artists and Departments
Yuri’s job involves constant communication with account managers, sales managers, and vendors to manage project information and requirements. He distributes tasks among artists and provides feedback as needed. A big part of his job is juggling communications and making sure the departments that rely on him can work smoothly in sync.

I have an architectural degree, and before coming to game art, I worked on a construction site. This gave me experience both in managing a team and in communicating with customers. It’s true that, on a construction site, you can use other expressions when communicating, and I have to say, it made communication a bit easier!

Yuri Kotov, Art Lead at Allcorrect

Recruitment and Staff Development
Recruitment is crucial for building a strong art team, while development ensures the team’s skills stay sharp. Yuri evaluates potential candidates and current team members, offering feedback and guidance. If he sees an artist interested in trying their hand at a new skill, he assigns new and challenging tasks to them. It might take more time and iterations, but it boosts their skills and increases productivity in the long run.

Yuri assesses candidates (either full-time or freelance) for the art department through portfolios or test assignments. Portfolios are matched with client references to make sure we have staff who can work in a similar style, while test assignments are used to evaluate technical skills (such as proportions, shadows, and highlights) and the ability to convey the right atmosphere in art.

Evaluating Incoming Tasks
For new client tasks, Yuri outlines specific project requirements, estimates timelines, decides which staff will need to be involved in the project, and how to structure the overall processes.

For all ongoing projects, we have a list of estimates—the resources spent by the artists. These are used to compile a knowledge base, from which we can estimate how much time will be required for a particular task. The larger and more diverse our projects are, the more we evaluate incoming tasks—including projects completely unfamiliar to the team.

Yuri Kotov, Art Lead at Allcorrect

Resource Allocation
For a service company, it is important to deliver high-quality work on time. To do that, Yuri has to understand how many artists with the necessary skillset are needed at a given time and plan this work accordingly.

Quality Assurance
Clients expect art from us that meets the requirements specified in the terms of reference, both from the artistic and technical point of view. Yuri assesses the quality of the finished work and, if necessary, sends revisions to the artists to get the desired result.

Skills an Art Lead Needs

Since an art lead has to address so many different tasks, they need a diverse skill set.

  • Soft Skills
  • An art lead spends so much of his or her time working with people, so he or she needs well-honed soft skills, such as communication, creative thinking, and time management. An art lead needs the ability to understand the moods of each team member, and the ability to manage both their own working time and the working time of their peers.

  • Art Skills
  • Of course, an art lead needs to possess strong artistic skills. An art lead must know the principles of image construction, have a clear understanding of how to improve art, and know how to give feedback in a constructive and effective way. While these skills can be self-taught and developed through observation, it’s much more effective for an art lead to develop them through a formal art education, which is exactly what Yuri did!

For as long as I can remember, I have always drawn. Other activities have varied, but drawing has always been present in my life. For an architect, it is important to be able to draw, so I was given a good base at university—although other skills were valued at the initial stages of my work life.

Yuri Kotov, Art Lead at Allcorrect
  • Management Skills
  • In the game industry, staff burnout is a very real threat. Even in the most wonderful team, people can develop this syndrome, which is even more prevalent in remote working environments. An art lead must know how to spot its early signs and deal with it, remembering that we are all human beings with limited capacity and other needs.

Non-work activities are an important tool that can help to push burnout away. One example is our book club, which periodically meets online to discuss a book—most often about game-making or drawing. This allows us to unwind, grow closer, and see each other as real people!

Second, it’s important for an art lead to recognize staff achievements and offer praise. It’s a small thing, but an art lead needs to pick up on the aspects that a person is good at and talk about that.

And the third tool for burnout prevention is task rotation. Of course, if a person is good at producing a particular kind of art, it’s great for them to do more of that. But sometimes it is important to give the artist a boost by offering a new kind of task. This allows them to look at their work in a new way, develop new skills and diversify their routine.

The first time I felt burned out was in 2018. I was sitting in my office, shifting documents (it was winter—a break from “field” construction work) and thought how bored I was with it all. That same day, I wrote my letter of resignation and started my journey in the art world.

Yuri Kotov, Art Lead at Allcorrect
  • Organizational Skills
  • And, of course, it is important to understand how to organize work from the technical side. An art lead needs to understand how project schedules are built, how to document their work so that they can always find the information they need, and be able to work with different task trackers. The client may insist on working with software that is convenient for them, and we, of course, have to meet those needs.

Challenges an Art Lead Faces

An art lead operates with a lot of information and has to juggle a lot of details in their head, and unlike product companies, an art lead in a game content studio like Allcorrect has to constantly switch between different tasks. In the morning, they may be engaged in a project creating realistic environments; at lunch, it might be casual sketches of fashionable outfits; and in the evening, they might study the anatomy of animated 3D monsters. It keeps an art lead energized but takes a serious cognitive toll.

An art lead has to communicate a lot with clients. And those clients may have a wide range of requirements: large studios often require us to work using their internal processes, while an indie developer might need help building a system of work. There are also times when a client voices requirements that are difficult or impossible. For example, the client might want to see a 3D render before discussing the game concept. When something like this happens, an art lead needs to be able to correctly convey their position so that we can work well together.

After leaving a construction company, I worked as a freelance artist, took specialized courses, and then got a job in a game studio. Literally 2 months after being hired as an artist, I took on the role of a leader—I had managerial experience, albeit in a completely different field, and the ability to organize work processes and reach agreements.

Yuri Kotov, Art Lead at Allcorrect

Equally challenging is the unpredictability of the work. On occasion, freelancers can miss deadlines or completely drop off the radar. Because of this, extra time is always built into every plan, and we also maintain a larger database of artists than we need—just in case of emergencies. A lot of these best practices have been developed in our wider company, which has been working with freelance linguists since 2006!

To overcome these kinds of difficulties, an art lead needs to keep a cool head and avoid panicking if something doesn’t go according to plan.

About Innovation, Creativity, and yes, AI.

How can we talk about our art department without addressing the looming specter of AI? Some predict that artificial intelligence will replace artists and that its use is unethical. However, we believe that various AI-based services are simply an additional tool on our belt. Ten years ago, it was considered unprofessional among artists to use photo-textures instead of drawing from scratch, or 3D blocks instead of thoroughly studying anatomy, but today there is nothing wrong with this. Times change, and we need to stay ahead of them!

True innovation is about team interaction. Allowing artists to develop their skills, building relationships within the team, and protecting employees from burnout all require truly creative solutions.


Allcorrect is a game content studio that helps game developers free their time from routine processes to focus on key tasks. Our expertise includes professional game localizations, creating juicy 2D and 3D graphics, localization testing, believable voice-overs, and narrative design.


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