How To Become A Game Artist

April 22, 2016

Batmobile from Arkham Asylum

Do you fancy yourself creating the virtual worlds where players explore and get lost in? The job of Game Artist is becoming more and more sought after, and it’s no surprise. You get to work with a team of designers to bring ideas to life, whether that be 3D or 2D. Maybe it’s all the same to you just as long as you can help create games for a living.

Below are a number of things you should make a list if you want to become a Game Artist. The more you can check off, the more likely you are to make it:

1. Actually Enjoy Drawing

To be a game artist you may be required to draw— a lot. While this may seem obvious, it’s not hard to find someone who enjoys drawing a sketch or two a week, or maybe even a quick drawing every day. But show us someone who almost always spends their free time drawing and I’ll show you a Game Artist ready to one day help make something great.

And while it’s possible to become a 3D modeler or art software expert without being good at drawing, having that skill does make you more versatile. Being able to draw your idea before spending time creating it in a 3D graphics program is a big plus. A game artist that can draw is usually more flexible and creative, which is what every studio wants in their team.

2. Learn The Software

Drawing skills are great but they’ll only get you so far in today’s gaming industry. Even a sketch artist makes use of different photo editing programs to sharpen up their work. If you see yourself as a 2D artist, the latest softwares like Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator should definitely be in your repertoire of skills.

Game artist at work

If you fancy yourself a 3D artist instead, there are a number of programs you should be familiar with. Autodesk Maya is one of the more popular 3D programs that is used used by big developers like Naughty Dog and Quantic Dream. 3DS Max is also a common one.

3. Know What You’re Good At

The term “game artist” is very general and unspecific. When you look at the credits of most games, you may not even see it used. Instead, you’ll see things like Character Animator, Character Artist, and Marketing Artist. Unless you’re a part of a small indie team, chances are you’ll be hired to work on a specific area of the game art design.

So the sooner you learn where your strength lies, the better. Are you good at sketching things just based off of words and ideas? Maybe the role of Concept Artist is for you. Someone who prefers working on the game world may find an interest in a career as an Environmental Artist or even Level Designer. Other common ones are User INterface Artist, FX Animator, and Art Director.

Click here to learn more about: The School of Game Design at the New York Film Academy.