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DMU grad leads the way in the gaming industry

A Game Art graduate has received national recognition for finding her own artistic style and unleashing her creativity.

Anna Hollinrake – who is happiest when she is making things – has won two industry accolades less than four years after graduating from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU).


DMU graduate Anna Hollinrake is making a name for herself in the gaming industry

The visual development artist has been selected as a BAFTA Breakthrough Brit, which supports the next generation of British creative talent in film, games and television. Up to 20 talented newcomers have been selected by industry leaders to take part in a year-long mentoring and guidance programme.

The 26-year-old has also been named as a Rising Star for MCV, which promotes the UK video games industry through print and online publications. She was praised for her self-expression, as she focuses on her own artistic voice rather than what others expect.

Anna is passionate about her craft with an impressive list of credits to her name, although even she admits that things ‘have amped up considerably’ in the last few months.

She said: “I’m at that stage in my career that things have just started spiralling for me.

“I’ve always been pretty motivated but I never had any idea where things would go.

“Although I’m not sure I’ll ever get used to what’s been happening. It all feels surreal.”


Anna Hollinrake is pictured, third from the right, during her student days at DMU

Anna is also making a name for herself by travelling the country to give talks at industry events. She speaks about her creativity and the need for greater awareness of mental health in the pressurised industry.

She said: “There’s this image that working as an artist is quite isolating. Your work is quite personal and you do have to pay a lot of attention to what you are doing.

“But everything that is happening is showing me how this industry can be a collaborative effort.

“Being named as a Breakthrough Brit means I’m now in direct contact with people who run their own companies.

“I am being taught so much; I’m becoming more confident and learning how to make better decisions. I’m also getting help with developing my storyboarding skills, as well as expanding my visual language.”

Anna grew up in Folkestone, Kent, spending many hours in her bedroom playing games and drawing. She became interested in a digital arts career when she realised graphics were illustrated instead of appearing fully formed.

Anna was drawn to DMU as she admired how potential students “had to prove themselves” as they were selected based on their interviews and portfolios.

She said: “I went through every single Game Art course in the country, but I knew what I was looking for, I wanted to be challenged.

“At DMU you start with learning traditional art principles before building on them with the very latest techniques.”

Anna added: “I really liked the community feel at DMU. It was such a lovely place as there was so much communication between the different year groups.

“If you were ever struggling, you could talk to a third year on the course. Everyone lifted everyone else up, it was really inspirational.”


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Graduating with a Game Art BA (Hons) in 2014, Anna initially freelanced to build up her contacts within the industry.

She then worked as a trainee graduate artist at Paw Prints Games in Chester for nine months, before moving on to work as a 2D/3D Artist for Stainless Games in the Isle of Wight.

For 18 months, she worked at Climax Studios in Portsmouth and helped to create the artwork for the mobile VR game Lola and the Giant. Then in January this year, she started work as a Senior Artist at Dream Reality Interactive in London.

Anna’s work involves developing the visual style of projects through sketching, painting and 3D skills as she continues to ‘think outside the box’ and ‘push art to the limit through experimentation.’

Anna said: “I just really want to make games that help people and make them feel good.

“I want to create experiences involving art; I want people to have a response to my work.

“I want to put as much of myself as possible into projects.”

Posted on Thursday 5th April 2018

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