I graduated from university in the UK in Sept 2017 with grand dreams of becoming an environment artist in the games industry. Unfortunately I had a long way to go before I was even close to industry standard, so I've spent the past 2 years working on my portfolio as best I can. In all that time I've had only two failed art tests and a handful of dead ends from recruiters. Not a single interview.
I would appreciate any criticism or tough love you can offer. I'd like to think my portfolio shows I have decent modelling and sculpting skills, that I can competently handle PBR workflows or traditional handpainted textures, that I'm comfortable with a game engine (UE4), and I understand the basics of lighting and building asset blueprints or materials. The most obvious thing I'm lacking is experience, but how can I get experience if I can't land a job? What else can I do? How do I improve?
Many of my peers from university have managed to get industry jobs, so I've been wondering if there's something beyond my portfolio that's letting me down, something I haven't considered? I'm 25 now, older than many graduates looking for entry level jobs, so is it my age that's the problem? Is it the fact I've been long term unemployed? Is it that I don't live near a major city where I can network? Is it my damn profile picture? Where am I going wrong??
To get a little personal, I have been really struggling to push myself forward recently. I am happier with the standard of my work now vs two years ago, but I think working on this long term investment for so many months with no results has badly affected my mental health, and I'm having trouble seeing any point in continuing to grind for no payoff. I'm starting to think I just don't have what it takes to "make it". Can anyone here help me figure out how to move forward or what to improve on?