"This book supports my own 30-year crusade to demonstrate that games are an art form that undeniably rivals traditional arts. It gives detailed explanations of game art techniques and their importance, while also highlighting their dependence on artistic aspects of game design and programming.”
— John Romero, co-founder of id Software and CEO of Loot Drop, Inc.
"Solarski’s methodology here is to show us the artistic techniques that every artist should know, and then he transposes them to the realm of video games to show how they should be used to create a far more artful gaming experience ... if I were an artist planning to do video game work, I’d have a copy of this on my shelf."
— Marc Mason, Comics Waiting Room
Video games are not a revolution in art history, but an evolution. Whether the medium is paper or canvas—or a computer screen—the artist’s challenge is to make something without depth seem like a window into a living, breathing world. Video game art is no different.
Drawing Basics and Video Game Art is first to examine the connections between classical art and video games, enabling developers to create more expressive and varied emotional experiences in games. Artist game designer Chris Solarski gives readers a comprehensive introduction to basic and advanced drawing and design skills—light, value, color, anatomy, concept development—as well as detailed instruction for using these methods to design complex characters, worlds, and gameplay experiences. Artwork by the likes of Michelangelo, Titian, and Rubens are studied alongside AAA games like BioShock, Journey, the Mario series, and Portal 2, to demonstrate perpetual theories of depth, composition, movement, artistic anatomy, and expression.
Although Drawing Basics and Video Game Art is primarily a practical reference for artists and designers working in the video games industry, it’s equally accessible for those interested to learn about gaming’s future, and potential as an artistic medium.
Also available as an eBook
Table of Contents
Foreword by Tristan Donovan
Level 01/ Fundamentals
Basic Pencil Techniques
Basic Lighting and Values
Visual Measuring Tools
Level 02/ Advanced Drawing Concepts
Advanced Perspectives and Volumes
Advanced Lighting and Values
Level 03/ The Human Figure
Gravity and Movement
Level 04/ Anatomy
Six Stages for Rendering Anatomy
The Spine and Ribcage
The Shoulder Girdle
The Head and Neck
Level 05/ Elements of Design
Level 06/ Character Design
Good Studio Practice
Brainstorming and Character Concept
Mind-Map, Research, and Mood Board
Final Character Drawing and Model Sheet
Level 07/ Environment Design
Character-Centric Environment Design
Top-Down Environment Design
Level 08/ Color and Digital Tools
Adding Color with Digital Tools
Professional Portfolio and Getting Work
About Chris Solarski
CHRIS SOLARSKI received a BA in computer animation and began working as a 3D character and environment artist for Sony Computer Entertainment in London. Eventually, Solarski enrolled in art classes at the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts. During that time, he discovered the exciting connection between classical art techniques and video game design. He currently develops his own video games under Solarski Studio. He also works as creative director of the Swiss-based social gaming startup Gbanga, and lectures at SAE Institute in Zurich.