Monica Bauer got hired as a Prop Artist at Valve!

In The Beginning...

Monica Bauer once worked as a licensed clinical cytotechnologist. Her day job had absolutely nothing to do with art or games. 

But in her spare time, she frequently found herself doodling on sticky notes. It didn’t take her long to realize she didn’t want to spend the rest of her life doing clinical cytogenetics.   

Monica Bauer headshot 3 1

The Call To Adventure

Luckily, her workplace was located right across the street from Blizzard in Irvine, CA. 

Every day she would see game developers strolling around the block and brainstorming ideas. Monica really wanted to get into that world but didn’t know how. 

The Journey Begins

So she started learning the basics from whatever sources she could find on YouTube and elsewhere. It was a great way to dip her toes into the pipeline. She then joined a small team out of Europe as an intern. 

There she learnt how to properly map UVs and got started with the Substance programs. It was a good start, but every visit to Artstation made her feel she was still far behind the pack. 

She started looking at traditional schools. But they mostly had full degree programs that required her to be present in a classroom, never mind the exorbitant cost of tuition.  

Scene from Spooky House by Environment Artist Monica Bauer
Photo of digital art called Spooky House

Meeting The Mentor

Game Art Institute was exactly what she needed from a program: intense, hard work done at a fast pace. 

The motto “break things fast, break things early” was held true in her program. And to have a titan within the industry as her mentor felt like icing on the cake.     

Monica started to network and talk to other artists. GAI’s regular list of talks with guest artists made it very easy for her to reach out and contact them.  One of the first artists she spoke to helped Monica on one of her projects for GAI.  

She also made sure to attend the local IGDA meetups. This was a very difficult thing for her to do, given her introverted nature, but it wound up paying off.  She ended up with an offer at HTC Vive as a 3D Generalist Intern. She also kept increasing her social media and kept updating her Artstation portfolio.  

Ultimately, a friend linked to her a tweet from a Valve recruiter that was looking for some additional help on one of their games. The next thing she knew, she was sitting down with the lead artist on DotA Underlords!  


“In summary, GAI forced me to develop a work ethic and by giving me the opportunity to talk to a variety of people within the industry, GAI also gave me access to connections I have never thought possible. In fact, I still regularly stay in touch with my GAI mentor a year after being his student.  While I’d like to say that many of my connections are the results of being incredibly lucky, I’d also like to think that it is important to set yourself into the position to be lucky. What I mean is that by taking initiative, you have a better chance of making lasting connections with others you admire.” -Monica Bauer
Headshot of Environment Artist Bootcamp student, Monica Bauer

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