Game Art

Connect with Game Art


The IGDA Games Art Special Interest Group (IGDA Game Art SIG) recognises that visual art created for video games (be it concept art, character and environment design, animation, and any other visual discipline that contributes to an interactive artwork) brings important aesthetic and functional value to the gaming experience. The IGDA Game Art SIG’s aims are threefold:

  1. To strengthen our craft and aesthetic scope through analysis of techniques from gaming’s artistic heritage, which includes classical art (particularly painting, sculpture and architecture), theatre, traditional animation and cinematography
  2. Explore how fundamental artistic principles must be adapted to meet the functional demands of interactivity and player choice in the context of game design and game user experience
  3. Share tips, tricks and new technology relating to game art production

Our main approach to doing this is to facilitate community and information sharing among game art practitioners, game designers, consultants (specialists in traditional creative fields), and academia.

Admission into the group is limited to professional game developers, game art practitioners, and those in academia (professors & graduate students) in fields related to game art and/or game development. The IGDA Game Art SIG is part of the International Games Developer Association.


Game art is a sub-discipline within game development. It concerns the visual aspects of video games such as concept art, character design, environments and animation. The production of game art usually begins during pre-production but may be postponed until after a game prototype has been completed.



Game art created during early stages of development tend to focus on rough “sketches” of the characters, setting, objects, etc. to create a visual direction for the game’s setting. Sketches can also include quick 3D digital sculptures and technical art tests. Artists must constantly work with game designers and narrative designers to ensure that their artwork fits the functional needs of gameplay.

As game development progresses, the game art development pipeline will tend to become increasingly complex—involving a variety of disciplines and tools. For a high-end AAA game, a character development pipeline, for instance, will include steps such as: final concept complete, 3D model first-pass, animation rigging, animation first-pass, in-game test, and texturing. This will be followed by a continued cycle of in-game testing and iteration until a final design is reached, which can take over a year for lead characters. Depending on the scope and scale of the project, the art design of a game can involve anywhere from two people to upwards of 200 for the largest titles. Small projects tend to have a small number of artists that must be generalists—skilled in several types of art development. While larger projects will have a whole team of artists each specialised in a particular role.


There are several roles within game art. Each role plays an important part in creating the art for the video game. The smaller the project, the more generalist the game art roles. Larger projects will feature more specialists dealing with one particular aspect of the game art pipeline.

The video game artists must use the same design principles that any other kind of artists use. This adds to the aesthetic value of the art created for video games. The greater understanding of these techniques adds to games to make them have a unique experience.

Please note, the following role definitions have been sourced from Wikipedia’s article on Game Art Design and is therefore a work in progress.


Lead Artist/Art Director

The art director/lead artist are people who monitor the progression of the other artists to make sure that the art for the game is staying on track. The art director is there to ensure that all the art created works cohesively. They manage their team of artists and distribute projects. The art director often works with other departments in the game and are involved from the conception of the game until the game is finished.

Concept Artist

A concept artist works with the game designers, producing character and environment sketches, and storyboards that influence the look of the game. A concept artist’s job is to follow the art director’s vision. The produced art may be in traditional media, such as drawings or clay molds, or 2D software, such as Adobe Photoshop. Concept art produced in the beginning of the production serves as a guide for the rest of development. Concept art is used for demonstration to the art director, producers and stakeholders.

Storyboard Artist

Storyboard artists often work with the concept artists and designers of the game from conception. They develop the cinematics of the game. The storyboard artist creates an outline for the rest of the artists to follow. Sometimes this is passed on to other departments, like game writers and programmers, for a base of their work. The storyboards that are created breakdown scenes and how the camera will move.

2D/Texture Artist

A 2D/texture artist adds texture to the work that has been created by the 3D modellers. Often the 2D/texture artists are the same people as the 3D modellers. The texture artist gives depth to the art in a video game. The artists apply shading, gradients, and other classic art techniques through art development software. Sub-disciplines include: sprite artists, texture artists, map artists, and interface artists.

2D animator

Animator is responsible for bringing life to the characters, the environment, and anything that moves in a game. They use 2D programs to animate these components to make the game as real as possible.

3D Artist (Modeller)

The 3D modellers use digital software (Maya, Max, Blender, ZBrush) to create characters and environments. They create objects such as buildings, vehicles and general props. Any 3D component of a game is done by a 3D modeller.

Environment Artist

Environmental artists are 3D modellers who work specifically with the environment of a game. They also work with texturing and colours. They create the land that is featured in a video game. Environmental artists build the world, the layout, and the landscapes of the video game.

Lighting Artist

A lighting artist work on the light dynamics of a video game. Lighting artists adjust colours and brightness to add mood to the game. The lighting changes made in a video game depends on the type of game being created. The goal of the lighting artist is to create a mood that suits the scene and the game.


The animator is responsible for bringing life to the characters, the environment, and anything that moves in a game. They use 3D programs to animate these components to make the game as real as possible. The animators often work with technical artists who aid in making the characters able to move in a realistic way.



The role of the Steering Committee is to decide how the SIG should focus its energy and resources, and to help find and organise volunteers to take on initiatives that are important to the SIG. This may include community management, curating the libraries of Game Art resources, and general help to ensure the continued running of the SIG.



These are the current initiatives that the Game Art SIG is doing:

  • Defining the Game Art SIG’s short term (2019) and long-term roadmap
  • Promoting games as an art form
  • Social media channels (Facebook group, Twitter, Instagram, Twitch, YouTube)
  • Online workshops and events with special guests worldwide (streaming on Twitch, YouTube channel)



Current Chairs: Natasha Trygg (Chairperson), Chris Solarski (Co-Chairperson)

Current Members: Martina Hugentobler, Jenny Wiik, Oskari Tamminen, Toni Heinonen, Rebekka Muntola



The IGDA Game Art SIG is dedicated to providing a harassment-free experience for everyone, regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, age, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, ethnicity, religion (or lack thereof), or technology choices. We do not tolerate harassment in any form. IGDA Game Art SIG members violating these rules may be sanctioned or expelled from the SIG.

Harassment includes offensive verbal comments related to gender, gender identity and expression, age, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, ethnicity, religion, technology choices, sexual images in public spaces, deliberate intimidation, stalking, following, harassing photography or recording, sustained disruption of talks or other events, inappropriate physical contact, and unwelcome sexual attention.

People asked to stop any harassing behaviour are expected to comply immediately.

If someone engages in harassing behaviour, the steering committee may take any action they deem appropriate, including warning the offender or expulsion from the Game Art SIG

If you are being harassed, notice that someone else is being harassed, or have any other concerns, please contact a member of the Steering Committee immediately. The Steering Committee is listed here above. We expect participants to follow these rules in all IGDA Game Art SIG communications and events.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. Original source and credit.



These are the main rules for posting and participating in this group. Please read them before posting!

1. Be kind!

No rude or insulting words or content will be allowed in this group. Any disagreement can be settled without shaming others. This group is created to share our work and case study analyses (content created by third parties), discuss how we can all improve as professional artists and designers and create a supportive environment for those who wish to work in the game development industry as creative individuals.

2. Do not SPAM the group

This is a place where you can share your work, but please do not SPAM the group with your art, website, or social media page—this is not a self-promotion or job searching platform. This counts for the posts you submit, but also for the comments that you post in other people’s posts.

3. Credit other creators

If you want to post another individual’s or organisations work in this group, you must credit the individual or organisation with a link to their website or social media account so that others can find them and follow them there! If you want to post work that has been heavily influenced by someone else’s artwork, clearly credit them.

4. Do not violate Facebook rules (applicable for Facebook group)

If a post in this group violates Facebook rules and this gets reported to Facebook, this group could get deleted. So please follow Facebook community guidelines as follows:

  • No bullying, threats or harassing
  • No hate speech
  • No explicit sexual content
  • No graphic violence or gore

5. Limited nudity

As a diverse group, with members of various ages and from different cultures, nudity should be limited to anatomical studies and images with an educational purpose.

6. Respect the Admins and Moderators (Mods)

Do not harass the mods with questions about your pending post or deleted post—please be patient with pending post that wait approval. Members who address the mods in an aggressive or accusatory manner will be removed from the group.


  • Sharing your art and social media accounts, with the goal of connecting and sharing your story, can be highlighted with #artshare.
  • Questions, tips or requests for advice about digital art, can be highlighted with #question.
  • Discussions about art-related topics, can be highlighted with #discussion.
  • For a post asking for feedback or constructive criticism on your art, please use #feedback.
  • For asking and sharing tips with the group, use #tips.


  • Calling out other artists with harsh and insulting comments
  • Naming and shaming specific artists, employers, etc.
  • Self-promotion that tells users to buy your art/commissions or join your contest


If you want to post something that falls outside of listed categories, feel free to submit as long as it fits the intent of the group and does not break the rules.


  • Break the rules in any way
  • Ask questions that have been asked before
  • Raise discussion topics that have already been discussed recently
  • Are difficult to understand, or not written in English


Since we are a growing group the current moderators are also the lead team behind the Game Art SIG, so please have patience when awaiting a response with post approvals and answers. Thank you for your understanding!

Admins: Natasha Trygg, Chris Solarski

Editors: Jenny Wiik, Oskari Tamminen, Rebekka Muntola, Martina Hugentobler, Toni Heinonen




Natasha Trygg, Chair
Chris Solarski, Co-Chair


Use this form to contact the IGDA Game Art Special Interest Group.