Creative Chronicles: Art

Creative Chronicles: Art

September 11 2017 | Legacy Project

Creative Chronicles brings together key insights, information and statistics from the experts at Creative Assembly. We hope this will inspire students and those considering a career in game development.

This edition of Creative Chronicles focuses on Art.



Artists, whether Environment or 3D modellers, bring the game to life. The quality of the visuals is key to achieving the immersive, deep experiences that games offer.

In fact, art usually makes up around 40-50% of the resources and costs involved in creating a high-quality game. For AAA games development, the art team likely consists of over ten different disciplines, and within these disciplines there are more specialisms.

With such a high-demand for talented artists in the UK, it is increasingly important that the games industry works with educational establishments to raise awareness of the breadth of opportunities and skills required in game art.

Understanding Your Art

Currently there are almost 2 million people employed in the UK creative industries, over 76,000 of these are artists. Yet 14,000 fewer students took a UK creative art and design course in 2017 and there is a clear drop off between GCSE and degree level. There is also a skills gap between education and industry, highlighting a need to increase industry involvement in curriculum to ensure graduates are leaving education ‘industry-ready’.

Artists are highly sought after and this is particularly true in specialisms like UI art and Technical. Students are often not made aware of these opportunities and most leave the education system with the intention of pursuing a career in concept art. In fact, around 50% of the students we see at UK events present portfolios of concept art. This has led to strong competition for concept art positions and made other art disciplines increasingly difficult to recruit for.

We also regularly see a lack of understanding of the game art disciplines. It is important that artists understand the difference between these disciplines, focus their efforts early and define their style. For example, we often see students who say they are 'Character Artists' when they are in fact presenting a portfolio of character concepts.

In a portfolio, an artist should show a polished level of execution in their specialism alongside an understanding of the wider production line. Games are an interactive experience and an artist needs to present in a way that is understandable for 3D as well as 2D.

Art education in the UK
Creative Assembly art teams

Art at Creative Assembly

To address the UK art skills-gap, our experts share their knowledge at universities and schools through our Legacy Project, from masterclasses and workshops to in-depth curriculum advice. We want to see fundamental art and design skills built into the curriculum as this is the foundation of the creative industries which the UK is, and should remain a global market leader in.

At Creative Assembly, we need artists, not technicians. The software our artists use can be taught, but key fundamentals such as composition, colour theory and perspective form the basis of their talent. We look for artists who have an in-depth understanding of their specialism and a wider understanding of the game art workflow.

Our artists are masters of their own products, owning their art from beginning to end and overseeing the whole creative process. This offers more opportunities, more creative freedom and we believe, a better-quality outcome.

Our Lead Concept Artist, Sandra, talks about Art at Creative Assembly