Any Tips for an Aspiring Game Artist?

Discussion in 'I wanna be a Game Artist!' started by Mera'din, Oct 24, 2006.

  1. Mera'din

    Mera'din Lurker Not From Round Here

    Video games have always been big with me (and most people here I'm sure), and I've always enjoyed art, though I never had a proper outlet for it while I was growing up and any skill I could have developed in that time was squashed, but I've finally decided on a college and am going to start next year for a degree in Game Art and Design and was wondering, before I start, if I could get some tips and advice about the whole thing. Specifically:

    1.) Any suggestions for a good website or book to get back to the basics of drawing? I've become rusty with lack of inspiration and think I need to start all over again to build skill in the area.

    2.) Any areas I should really focus on before and after entering school? I know there are many fields to go into that are art related both 2d and 3d wise, but what would you guys say is a good focal point overall?

    3.) Is Game Artist a good final career choice overall, or would moving into Game Designer be more creatively beneficial in the end?

    Any opinions and feedback is greatly appreciated. I'm a little nervous about getting into the field, and I've read that Networking is key (which is something I've never been amazing at), but I picked up the book "Paid to Play" that came out recently, and this is one of the places it highly recommended to start looking into things, so here I am. Thank you for your time. ^_^
  2. Armitage Shanks

    Armitage Shanks Largo al factotum One Of Us

    There are plenty of web communities for art, 2D and 3D. CGChat, CGTalk, etc. Find one you like and become an active, participating member. You'll find a lot of people there that will mentally support and encourage you as well as teach you many cool tricks and techniques.

    The only real jobs for 2D are concept artist, GUI artist or anything in mobile games (though that is changing). To greatly enhance your chances of getting a job, regardless of what you want to do, learn 3D.

    Hmmm...this is the wrong place to ask; we're all embittered and cynical. :) You can definitely eke a living out of game art (or design); it won't make you rich or proud, but it's a living.
    Creative freedom depends greatly on the company you work for, but on the whole don't expect too much of it for a while.

    The industry is still surprisingly small, so networking sort of happens automatically when you get your first job. I'd say concentrate on your basic skills to net that first job, after which you'll have your foot in the door and you can start networking. Things will go a lot easier from then on. It's unlikely you'll get your first job through networking, but you most definitely will your second.

    And good luck!

  3. Mera'din

    Mera'din Lurker Not From Round Here

    lol. Obviously that book isn't lying when everyone says the jobs are more pain than pleasure a lot of the time. XD

    Thank you for your feedback though. I'll look into some other places as well, but I must admit that this place has already grown on me. The articles in particular are quite good. Especially the one you yourself wrote about what to expect if one were to want to work in Japan. I can honestly say the idea sounds much less fun than it used to, though I was expecting as much. ^^;
  4. Armitage Shanks

    Armitage Shanks Largo al factotum One Of Us

    The thing is, though, that TCE doesn't really do art crits or anything like that. Questions in the "insider only" art forum usually revolve around specific technical issues. If you're leaning you really need a community where people show off their work and processes; that is very useful and educational, and often inspiring.

    Oh, ignore me. I'm just a cynical old boot.

  5. Eric Chadwick

    Eric Chadwick One Of Them One Of Us

    1.) (good for drawing) , (good for game art).

    2.) Environment artists, interface artists, effects artists, and technical artists are all in shorter supply than character artists, so those fields are generally easier to get into (if you have the chops!). Everyone and their monkey wants to be a character artist. Don't go there unless you're drop-dead awesome first.

    3.) Creatively beneficial? Depends on how you define that. All aspects of game art can be, or maybe you're confusing creative with influential? Depends to a large degree on the team you're with.

    Also, this is good reading for anyone wanting to get in.
    How to Get Into and Survive the Gaming Industry
  6. GDave

    GDave Gamer One Of Us

    If you want to be a Games Artist, I'd personally steer clear of a course that offered both Design and Art. Unless the course is well known for producing top of the range artists it could be an epic fail.

    I've noticed though, that 'game' degrees are starting to have more and more value, you'll often find Graduate Positions available at companies and naturally, they're only available to grads, you've still gotta be better than the rest, but it lessens the full scope of competition.

    I'm not trying to come across as degrading here, I'm one of those Graduate Artists! Spend your time at college/university wisely. Don't just do what's expected, wave goodbye to a social life and really give it your all, that way you can bet you'll be one of the few who are plucked up and nested into the industry within weeks or months of completing the course.

    Also, take a gander at companies you'd like to work for, check out their titles and produce artwork catered for them, variation is nice but they need to know you can do what they do. I'm not saying you should produce fan art based on their works here though, impress them don't suck up to them!

    And last of all, Good luck... as even the greatest of artists need luck.
  7. pickassoreborn

    pickassoreborn Lurker Not From Round Here

    I think I got into the industry by accident and I'm sure that my vast quantity of qualifications were really not required - instead portfolio stuff is where it's at. I managed to get the job as UI Artist through my website, which not only showed them understanding in graphic design and function, but also contained other disciplines of artwork.

    I would be tempted to say that make sure you don't stay in education too long - that's one of my few regrets was being scared to let go and face the "real" world of work. Keep on being passionate about videogames - make a mental note of the games which inspire and excite you and use that as your focus.

    I think that in general, a good portfolio and a passion for the medium are great advantages to getting in the industry. Good luck!
  8. nobby

    nobby Troll One Of Us

    If you are interested in more of a character art slant rather than environment work, then the best piece of advice I can give you is to really know your anatomy. You'd be amazed at the number of people who can work to a reasonably high standard in zBrush/mudbox but let themselves down because they don't understand it.
  9. Mouseshadow

    Mouseshadow Mei and the Kittenbus. One Of Us

    Lighting. There's no portfolio that can't be improved two fold with good lighting. Even just adequate lighting is often a vast improvement.
  10. MAD_MAX007

    MAD_MAX007 Virtual Arms Dealer One Of Us

    Speak for yourself! I have personally done VERY well! It all depends on how ambitious you are about your career development...

    If you just stay at one company for 20 years you won't make as much. But if you work hard (and wisely) on your portfolio, you can pretty much pick for whom you will work for and on what project. Doing this will pack your portfolio full of kick-ass work, which will lead to a good reputation for you and lead to better and higher paying job offers. Again, its all up to you.

    Also, try and do a few gigs in the film VFX industry. This will pay off in spades back in the games industry (its all about perceptions).
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2009
  11. Jinglejingle

    Jinglejingle Not Fond of a Stiffani One Of Us

    I would advise to break in as an environment artist,its much easier. While you work and get experience as well as a title or two, work on your character art skills and when you are ready either try to move up in your company or get a job as a character artist in another. Experience is invaluable and character artist can be a tough position to break in as.
  12. FunkyMonkey

    FunkyMonkey Artist One Of Us

    Oh you need to speak to me - Either PM me or Email me on

    I've been a games artist for 27 years - I know most of the industry names and I can give you some really good advice about starting out and all that.
    I've also taught 3ds max too at uni.

    my MSN is

    Yes - its a shit job - in the same way that being an actor is - in a way - loads of crap to go through.

    Anyway - get in touch
  13. Mouseshadow

    Mouseshadow Mei and the Kittenbus. One Of Us

    You can't post your email address here, this is bot country!
  14. EVIL

    EVIL Lurker Not From Round Here

    Work your ass off! This isnt an industry for slackers, it isnt all fun and games.besides that, its luck. There are so many who are trying to do what you want to try and do, the compitition is really strong! so put yourself above the rest
  15. Ruptuk

    Ruptuk Lurker Not From Round Here

    I would say there are more artist jobs than design jobs and possibly slightly easier for an artist. Do you feel more creative with words or art? It is totally up to you what you decide.

    I agree with an above comment though, it is down to luck. Get a shit hot portfolio or mod then network.
  16. IFW

    IFW Procastibator One Of Us

    Top Tip : Learn to draw. Preferably inside one of those computer softwarey arty thingies.
  17. Highfive

    Highfive Gamer One Of Us

    It helps a little to know how to draw in perspective with vanishing points, too. It's more for environment concept art, where you may be required to draw over a 3D model screenshot to use it as a perspective guide. It only works up to a point and eventually, you'll have to guess the rest and the result can look a little warped.
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2010
  18. sponge

    sponge jaded old cunt One Of Us

    I will say learn to draw, too. Learn to draw. Paint. Sculpt. Learn how to convey something using the simplest possible means.

    Make sure your work is about fresh ideas and ways of looking at things rather than tricks using software tools. Anybody can learn to use software.
  19. mrelder

    mrelder Lurker Not From Round Here

    very much correct plus i am lazy typing the same thing! :)
    After that Create a KKickass portfolio and grab some awesome screenshots from UDK. All the best!