How do I Break into the Game Art Design Industry?

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  • Written By: Sonal Panse
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 13 February 2019
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A game art design career is an excellent choice for creative people looking for challenging and innovative work. Gaming is very popular worldwide and there is a growing market demand for new, more sophisticated games. This has led to thriving business for game companies and opened up a wide range of game art design careers.

Breaking into the game industry, though, can be tough. The numbers of highly talented applicants exceed the available jobs. To make headway amidst all the competition, a person must have excellent art and computer skills, solid educational qualifications, an impressive portfolio, and strong communication and networking skills. It also helps to have a healthy amount of patience, persistence and resilience.

Beginners should take the time to get informed about game art design industries. Learn about different game art careers and different game genres. Research different types of game companies and the kind of work they do. Visit game industry websites and follow blogs by game art design professionals. Keep abreast with industry happenings and attend industry events.

Learn the industry jargon and about the entire game making process. Read up on game design theories, core systems design, technical design and making prototypes. In addition, play plenty of games and study the game art design elements that make a game successful. If something doesn't work too well, think about how it could be redesigned. It is a good idea to volunteer your time for beta testing games.


Different industry disciplines like Animation, Character, Environment, UI Artist, Cinematic, FX or Concept require different skill sets. These can be acquired through various certificate or degree programs in game art design and game development. Some people prefer to take the traditional art college route as this may offer a more thorough grounding in drawing and design skills.

Game design professionals must be knowledgeable about anatomy, perspective, lighting, color theory, design fundamentals, story-telling and character development. They need to be proficient in drawing, sketching and storyboard rendering. A sound grasp of image manipulation, 3D, animation and multimedia tools is also essential. Programming knowledge is a plus for better planning the game art design.

Assemble a well-presented portfolio displaying only the best work. A portfolio can be an actual one with photographs, demo reels, CDs and DVDs, or a virtual one like a website or a blog. In any case, it should be tailored to the industry and discipline of interest. Being versatile is good, but most companies usually hire for a specific game art design position.

Check online job boards and company career web pages for job opportunities. Some companies offer internships, which are a good way of gaining experience and getting a foot in the door. Network with industry professionals; they are likely to know about job openings and they can also offer valuable tips and information about working in the industry.



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