In many of my posts I’ve mentioned the various roles that contribute to making a video game. You’ve read about software engineers, designers, project managers, and artists. When you think about that last role, that of artists, you probably are envisioning people who create art on the computer, using 3D modeling packages, Photoshop, or Flash. While you are right about that, in the digital world of video games, there are artists who still use traditional pencils, pastels, and paints to create art.
Concept artists can use traditional methods to create drawings, paintings, and sketches to help visual the various aspects of the game. Their work is invaluable at the initial stages of game development where the direction of the artistic vision is not fully known. A concept artist can provide a sketch of a wide overview of the gaming world or go into the fine details with a character design. Their work can help visualize the theme for a particular section of the world. Having all this art from the concept artist allows the world builders and character modelers to have a reference from which to work from.
On the skate franchise, I had the extreme pleasure of working with two of the most talented concept artists in the entire industry. Shaun and Tom are two of the coolest cats I’ve ever met. Being artists with roots in the traditional methods of creating art, they are both laid back and awesome to work with. Shaun was born and raised in Vancouver. He worked for 18 years at EA and has done art for just about every single non-sports game ever made in Vancouver for EA. He did a lot of the concepts for the various parts of the cities in the skate franchise. Shaun also worked on a lot of the various skateboard deck art to help promote the games. I have one of his decks as a gift for working on skate 3. Tom grew up in California and has worked in various industries ranging from industrial design, movie special effects, and finally video games. He worked for special effects house Digital Domain when James Cameron (the Avatar dude) was still a partner in the company. Tom also did a lot of concept art for the various set pieces within the skate franchise cities.
A post about art is pretty useless without seeing the art itself but lucky for us, both Shaun and Tom have online portfolios for us to look at. Shaun’s site is here and Tom’s is located here. Go look at some of their fantastic work.