advice for game designers and artists

Dear readers,

I’m a designer and teacher with 10+ years of experience in making games and other media, freelancing and teaching, and as a project lead. Also, I’m self taught and know the value of advice.

Do you have a question about any subject I cover here on the site? Game design, concept art, education, gender, race or something else? Or is there something you think I should check out? Use the comment section for this page to ask your question.

It may end up being the basis for an article or find it’s way into the advice podcast.

Check out previous answers [here].

18 Comments

  1. Hello admin,

    How should you go about making a portfolio? I hear so much on this-that when it comes to making a portfolio for getting into a game studio as a concept artist that I am confused on what to do. One of the things I hear that I am not sure of is to “give yourself a project” for your portfolio because it stops you from blindly drawing random things. I can see that, but……….. how does one go about making their own project? I need help……

  2. Hey, I’ve got what I hope isn’t too odd of a question for you. I’m getting ready to do a senior project soon, and I’m trying to find out some stuff about how concept art and character designs are presented in a professional environment. That is to say, internally, to other people working on the project. My project is aiming to be a sort of design suite for a hypothetical video game, mostly focusing on character designs, and I need to be able to present my work in a professional way that is in line with how it would be presented in the real world.

    Hope to hear a response soon, and thanks in advance,
    -Gaston Love

  3. Hey!!

    I am Ananthu, an 18 year old just out of school who wants to become a game artist… yes Artist.
    I am taking BFA (in game art) from a renowned college in India. I am Good at art but i wuld say i am just average. I am currently enjoying the brief interval between school and college and i would like to make it productive. please tell me ways that i could use in order to polish my skills so that i could hold my ground in this field. The starting year i will b taught basics but i am kinda insecure on my own skills and i want to be a little more ‘capable’. I would appreciate any help, even if its just a random reply.
    Looking forward to hear from you and Thank you.

  4. Hello,

    I love and have great interest in game design and film concept art. Is there any recommendations of lists of things to learn or master? Or places to study? What should a portfolio consists of?

    Thank you and warm regards
    Phoebe

  5. Hello! I’m going to start looking for colleges soon, but I’m having a hard time; you see, I’m extremely poor, and although I can get grants and scholarships, college tuition is still so expensive that I’m afraid I won’t be able to pay for it all (that, plus food, insurance, clothes, etc.)

    That being said, art is my passion. Art and video games have been the two things that are the most prominent in my life, and I am aspiring to become a concept artist. I was wondering if I needed to have a college degree for such job? Or would a portfolio be enough?

  6. Hey there!

    Currently, I’m at the point where my standard drawing skills are fairly decent, but I want to explore into coloration and such. I would like to ask how important say, a drawing tablet is or art software for producing concept art. If you suggest I find myself a drawing tablet do you have suggestions on what? Or will simple painting be sufficient?

  7. This has probably already been asked but for Game Design (such as coding ad so on) what computer languages should I learn? I am an engineering student but my real passion to create a video game and I want to learn of to code myself.

    What route should I take? What should I learn first?

    Thank you.

  8. Hello

    Pretty much all of the advice i’ve seen for budding artists in this industry assume that you live in either the US or a developed western nation or at the very least a country where there is a decent scope for this kind of work.

    But what if you live in a country where this sort of stuff is pretty much non-existent? I understand that free-lance would be the obvious choice but do studios look at where you are from before hiring you? What if one wants to work full time for a studio? How superlative would your portfolio have to be for them to consider you over a local applicant?

    Would foreign companies consider hiring you knowing that you’ll have to get a visa, work permit etc? Or would they ignore you due to the fact that you live in some backwater on the other side of the globe?

    Thank you

  9. Hello, I’ve just stumbled upon this website after needing to reassure myself that I can somehow make it in the game industry. Anyways, I’ve seen that you cover what a concept artist is, and how to create a portfolio to become one but there’s a huge discrepancy between what kind of quality you need in either. Of course in both cases it has to be your best but it sort of seems like what you say is “promotional work” in the case of WORKING as a concept artist is actually the kind of thing that you would put into your portfolio. I’m saying this because it doesn’t seem like you would put your jumble of exploration sketches in your portfolio. So if concept art is mostly exploration and then execution are people that are hiring concept artists looking for exploration or execution? I hope I’m making sense but I’m so confused about what to do.

  10. Hello!

    I’m a staff writer and editor for the entertainment news website Entertainment Buddha. I’ve been writing articles for them for about 8 months now. I was curious if there’s any specific direction or advice you may have to help me transition this into a game writer position? Quest design, dialogue writing, marketing copywriting or promotion, really anything in the writing realm interests me, but my dream is to be writing for/about video games.

    I had been considering developing a Fallout 4 mod to house all my creative energy as a resume piece, but the creative and artistic aspects make far more sense to me than the programming side.

  11. Hi there, I’m new on this site, and I kinda love your blogs/topics discussion.
    PS: I’m not a native speaker so, I’m sorry in advance if you see some errors

    Education:
    I was wondering: I’m pretty sure you know schools like FZD that they’re mainly focused on concept design but I would like to know if there are some schools like that focused only on illustration or if it’s good idea to start a career as a concept designer and then in the future (if time and money gives the chance of course) to start working even as illustrator with your skills you made in the past.

    I mean everything is possible I guess but for a younger artist who wants REALLY to improve his drawings and then even be good at concept design and illustration? is there a option or something like that? Especially because I would prefer a teacher do guide me in the right direction of what i’m trying to do…

  12. I have a question concerning the balance of practicality & ethics/morals. I’m half of a small tabletop roleplay design studio & am coming to the point in my first major project where it’s time to consider having some illustrations made. Because we’re just getting started we don’t have a huge budget to throw around, and many sites/sources suggest trying to find art students and recent graduates to take advantage of lower wages. This seems vaguely exploitative to me – do you have any views/advice?

  13. Hey,

    I have an idea for a video game and I’ve done a few polls for it, which received amazing responses so I need to take the next step into this project. Currently I am an engineering student but my real passion is the video game industry, I also love self-teaching as I see it more effective so here are my questions:

    How can I get started with drawing artwork for characters/creatures/etc. for conceptual design? And where can I learn?

    Please email me and I will respond asap.

    Best Regards.

  14. Greetings,

    I’d like to know how to design a 2D character for a poin’n’click adventure and animate it. What techniques and what software would you use? What would be the best resolution for common devies?

    Kind regards

    -Johannes W.-

  15. Hello,

    I am Anna, working for Webdesigndegreecenter.org. We posted an infographic “Designing Women”, which I think is quite relevant to the theme of your blog. I’ll really appreciate if you could take a moment to check this: http://www.webdesigndegreecenter.org/designing-women/.

    If you like this infographic, I hope you’ll share it with your readers. Thank you so much for your time.

    Best Wishes,
    Anna Mininkova

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