Video Game Illustrator: Duties, Requirements and Outlook

Sep 11, 2019

Video game illustrators are the ones who create the many landscapes, objects and characters that inhabit the video games we play. Their job is to take sketches and design ideas and translate them into something displayed on a computer. The career can be pursued through the relatively new bachelor programs in game illustration but many also receive degrees in animation and game design.

Essential Information

Video game illustrators design the many landscapes and objects in video games. The demand for illustrators is expected to increase in the near future; however, competition for these positions is expected to grow as well. A bachelor's degree in computer illustration, game design or animation is needed, along with work experience.

Required Education Bachelor's degree
Other Requirements Previous work experience or completion of an internship program, developed portfolio
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* 4% for all multimedia artists and animators
Median Salary (2018)* $72,520 for all multimedia artists and animators

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Video Game Illustrator Duties

Video game illustrators are responsible for creating the many settings, characters and items in video games. The process begins with the creator or designer of the game deciding on a basic outline of what the game will be like. The illustrator will then draw up sketches and run them by the designer to check that the visuals match the ideas. Game illustrators are responsible for taking the basic sketch and design idea and making it come to life on the computer. They use computer programming and animation programs to create characters, items, landscapes and special effects of games.


Video game illustrators must be qualified in two fairly distinct skills, computer programming and art. The illustrators must be able to draw up designs based on a general idea, and then translate their creative designs from paper to computer.

A relatively new degree program that is the most relevant option for potential game illustrator is a bachelor's of art in game design. These programs can be found online and at many large universities, and will teach potential illustrators drawing, tone, texturing, coloring and composition techniques, as well as computer sciences and programming.

To find a job as a video game illustrator frequently requires an applicant to have previous work experience or an internship in a related field. In addition to showing work experience, applicants for an illustration job need to have a portfolio showcasing the best of their work.

In addition to a college degree and work experience, video game illustrators need to have a good eye for color, perspective and shadowing. They need to be savvy with computers, well acquainted with animation programs and good at following guidelines while creating unique designs. The constantly changing field of video game technology makes it important that illustrators stay current in all new technological advances that will change the way video games are made, such as 3D abilities or gaming without controllers.

Career Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts the employment of multimedia artists and animators, including video game illustrators, to grow at the average rate of 4% between 2018 and 2028; however, some growth may be hindered by outsourcing ( The increase in new technologies and consumer's ever-increasing demand for more realistic graphics makes it necessary for video game makers to employ more illustrators. Along with a rise in the demand for illustrators comes a steep jump in the supply of artists who desire to illustrate games, so competition is expected.

Video game illustrators typically need a bachelor's degree in major related to illustration or game design. They're expected to have previous experience and portfolios showcasing their work in order to enter the ever growing job market of game creation. The career outlook is bright for artists and animators in multimedia, and it's expected to have faster than average projections due to increased demand of services.

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