10.5. Artists


This stage is an edited excerpt from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics Career Outlook report for Video Game Development.

Artists breathe life into games. They design a game’s aesthetic, or visual style, and create all of its artwork, including environments, characters, and objects. Artists also may design the game’s manual, packaging, and promotional material.

Some artists use traditional methods, such as sculpting and freehand drawing, to illustrate their ideas. Preliminary artwork helps game designers visualize their ideas and serves as a guide for other artists to create computer art. Digital artists use modern tools that include 3D modeling, software created by the programmers, and motion-capture technology. Common roles include:


Educational requirements for video game artists vary, but most artists have attended art school. In addition to teaching art theory, these schools introduce artists to different art styles and methods. This background is important because all game artists must first master traditional art techniques and their basic principles—such as form, line, and color theory. They also need to understand modern artmaking tools, such as modeling and editing software.

But an artist’s most important asset is the portfolio, which showcases his or her experience and talent. And formal instruction improves the artist’s work, says Catanzaro: “Your education sharpens your skills and refines your portfolio.”


Optional: Here is some specific advice from artists at Hi-Rez Studios about how to get started: