As I have told you, I am working as an artist for our team, creating both 2D and 3D art. When entering this project I wanted to develop as an artist. Last year I was with the group creating a game called SAGE for GGA. At that time, my role was that of a producer and there for I did not have as much time as I would have liked to draw and develop artistically. Since I have not decided in which field I would like to work with in the future I wanted to try out to work as an art "grunt".
As I am most focused on 2D art at the moment, all though I have created quite a few 3D models for the project, I will try to form a list of what skills are useful when one should work as a 2D artist for a game company. This will hopefully give a clearer view to me as an artist what I need to focus and practice on to become a great 2D artist. I will focus mainly on concepts and textures as this is what I have been working with.
To be a great 2D artist especially when you are making concepts, I do believe one of the most important skills you can have is creativity and imagination. You can have awesome drawing skills and make the most beautiful images, but it does not matter that much if you don't have any imagination. If you can't create something of your own or use your imagination to create someone else's vision, I do believe you will have a hard time as an artist for a game company.
Another important skill for all members of a game designing team is to have social skills. If you have a hard time talking to your co-workers and agree on development choices, you will have a hard time creating a great game. One thing that can really mess up a project is bad team work, were not everyone are moving towards the same goal. I think you should always think of the different aspects of the game, even if you are just making concepts or textures. What makes a great game, is when everyone is working together, communicating often so that everything works together. Always think about every aspect of the prop you are creating.
Of course, one essential skill is that you can draw. Of course this require you to practise, practise and practise some more. You can never be too good at anything, and you can always learn new techniques and skills. It takes determination and passion to be a really great artist.
There are a lot of skills one need to become a great artist, and I can go on forever, but one that I think is extra important, not only for artists but for developers in general, is to be able to kill your darlings. If you can't deny them you will not develop as fast. I do believe it is good to have some skills that you always can bring with you, some things you do good and like to do, but if you want to learn new things and develop and are willing to adapt and change your style, you are more likely to get a job or be great at something else. One thing that is really boring is to see the same art and games over and over again.
PHEEEW! Now that was covered!
So to finish up, what tips and tricks do I use to learn and develop as an artist?
I want to start by saying that I have learnt a lot during this project, and I can easily say that nearly all of them has been done while making mistakes.
It takes a lot of time and the text will be quite extensive if I should describe all the best practices one may use when creating art for a game, but I think I can squeeze in a few.
As a rule of thumb, I think it is, as I mentioned earlier, very important to think of the other team mates when creating your art, weather it be 2D or 3D. For example: always scribble down the measurements of the things you are making concepts of, so that the person making the 3D art does not end up with a house smaller than a bush for example.
When you are creating 3D art, always remember to erase all irrelevant polygons without destroying the models silhouette, always create an as understandable UV-map as possible making it easier for the one making the textures and make sure that your model does not have any n-gons (polygons with more than 4 faces).
A good thing is to write down lists of standard actions you should do before sending your work forward to the next worker in line. If something is wrong and that is discovered much later in the project, it will be very costly, both in time and resources.
PHEEEW once again! That was a long post, I hope both you and I have learnt something, and before I go, I just want to say that if I come up with any more great practices whilst working, I will try to update it to you!
Thank you for reading :)