Creating games with no art ability. How'd you do it ?

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  • I am horrible at art but am continuing to try my best to to create a consistent nice looking art style despite having no talent nor experience.

    Which is important since the visuals are the first place people look at to gauge whether they are interested in your game or not.

    Since I am terrible at it, I stick with very low resolution (320x240px) and small sprite size (32px) which allow me to modify how every single pixel look.

    What I also learn is that a consistent art style and good color palette helps a lot in hiding my inability to draw well.

    Hope that helps you.

  • Alternatively just use 3d :p

    Im not artistic at all... but working in 3d masks that sometimes :p

  • I'm pretty bad with art too, but I keep practicing. Bit by bit, I'm getting better at it!

    A big problem for me, as a programmer, is having patience to draw more complex sprite sheets. I normally don't have too much patience for it

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  • As Macklemore said in 10,000 hours:

    [quote:nznukp9k]The greats weren't great because at birth they could paint

    The greats were great cause they paint a lot

    I used to think I was terrible at art, too - but it's just a matter of time spent doing it. Different people just have different levels of initial talent and interest. For me art comes really slowly, but I enjoy it. When I don't feel i have the time I usually just prototype with free art, or occasionally with assets I buy from different places around the internet.

  • I simply just started trying it. I felt like you in the beginning. I started with stick figures and then started reading tuts on simple designs. Still not the best but I have upgraded far from stick figures. Ink scape is a good tool it's free and YouTube has some good tuts to follow and there are other tools you can use.

    I also use Spriter for my animations.

    You just have to get on it and learn. Once you're not afraid to break it.... YOU'LL MAKE IT!

    Good Luck

  • First thing I would recommend is embracing your limitations. You can't make pixels look appealing? Fine. Don't design your game around having to impress your audience with eyecandy. As you got coding skills, I would try and put a lot of emphasis on game mechanics, and try to find clever ways to communicate this to the player without having to make it look fancy (remember simplicity can look appealing).

    Always approach a game project from the angle of how you can utilize your skillsets the best way possible (and that also works around your weaknesses). Skills that's not necessarily directly related to gaming also apply. Can you write, dance, punch a brick, eat extremely hot food, seduce women like a champ etc.? I bet it's possible to to use your skillsets as a starting point to create great game concepts that doesn't rely on graphics.

    As art is my speciality, I'm basing my game a lot around impressive visuals, but i can't write. That's why there's no text what so ever in my game.

    I'm not a super good coder either, that's why I stick to very simplistic gameplay mechanics that doesn't rely on any low level programming skills etc. As I'm very concious about my limitation, and I base every design decision on how they compliment my strengths (simplistic game mechanics and visuals). I'm convinced this will turn out to a good game in the end.

    However in your case, I would still recommend looking up basic color theory. Just basic things like blue and orange go well together, different shades of grey on a black and white canvas can work, golden ratio etc. will do wonders for your game's presentation.

    Hope this was helpful.

  • This is what I love about game development - I don't think I've found anything else tests so many skills at once, from logical problem-solving and organisation (viz; if you're doing a big project and you don't keep everything tidy, you're gonna have a bad time) to graphic design, interface design, sound design, art, writing, pacing and just a sense for what makes a game work and what needs to change.

    Of course not all these skills are necessary in every project, and you don't have to be great at all of them, but - especially if you're working solo - you've got to be willing to at least give them all a try at some point. It's a great way to try your hand at a whole bunch of different disciplines, and learn a ton of stuff while you're doing it.

  • In learning new things the rule of thumb is that u first understand u are not bad at it, just undeveloped.

    Your previous attempt should in fact be seen as the foundation for a better creation.

    Slapping yourself in the face by saying "look how bad i am at this" does not (make) sense.

    And sense is exactly what u need to develop.

    Judge your work, but do not send yourself to jail for it.

    Do however inspire yourself by looking at others, feel their passion/love it/understand it/fail at it.

    Then after that, become marvelous yourself.

    And remember.

    Interesting people are a gift to interested people.

  • hmm, I don't know how you can exactly be 'bad' at art. Maybe drawing doesn't come naturally to you, but surely you can use basic shapes to methodically create some good images. That doesn't require natural ability, just half a brain.

  • I am absolutely a horrendous artist in any way when I started. To this day I still stand by the fact that I'm abysmal. However just take everything in steps and keep hammering away.

    Since your doing video game art I suggest this.

    1. Start with Vectors(Inkscape is free). Keep you game to simple shapes.

    2. Once all done the basic shapes go over them again. add curves by bending the sides. Add highlight shapes to give them some character. bend them. You can make a game with just shapes. Just know your not going to be making an indepth high artistic game with a some fantasy steam punk feel.

    3. Move on too button icons. Still using vectors

    4. Make a game composed of 2 colours. B/W is standard. Use Spriter to animate. Since it's only 2 colorus you only need to make the silhouette of objects and highlights. You can still use vectors.

    5. Once you feel like you would like a little more art embelishment. Then get you self either PhotoShop or MangaStudio(if you have a budget). Don't feel the need to rush to master pieces. Don't compare your self. Don't draw new art. Take a picture of what you want. Drop it into the a low level layer. do a sketch on top re-define your version of the pose or whatever you need. Then ink it with lines that you can curve in PS/MS.

    This is my progress. And while I still consider myself a poor artist. That's what I did.

    A friend told me once. That as long as your work is persistent. Then your visual creations will work together.

  • Hello people,

    I'll share with you the truth about game art and game design.

    They are different things, working together to bring to the user your game adventure, but, this is the only thing in a game asked by an user?

    A sadly true is a yes for the most part of games, with pre-defined engines or play-abilities, while only prototypes and contest games will run into the very small percentage of successful games where the game art and game design was not so important.

    Also, don't mistake a bad quality art-set with classical art-sets.

    Plus, making pixel art is one of the hardest ways of learning how to make pixel arts, but thats the deal, if you want, you will need to work on it and not vector arts.



  • solado, I feel your pain and I have to disagree with some of the other commentators. No matter how good I practice, I am not going to be as good an artist as some - just as I expect others will not be as good at coding, and so on. One-person game creation is challenging on so many fronts, a team with complementary skills allows each to play to their strengths.

    I do agree on one point, if you can recognise what looks good, then if you are patient enough you can create basic images, or construct them from things that you see online. At the moment I'm use placeholders that I've found online. they can't be used in the real-game as I know there will be license issues, in some cases I use a power-point generated image that I copy over. (powerpoint.. surprisingly useful).

    if I get to the point of wanting to distribute the game, I'm going to have to replace all the art with something consistent and I think in that scenario I will have to pay someone... but at that stage i'll know whether it's worth it or not.. so my recommendation... placeholders first, build the game, and at the end do the art.. it de-risks the process.

    for the artists out there, I've seen a lot post beautiful designs but lacking functionality.. they're playing to their strengths, you play to yours.


  • My first attempt at drawing was basically stick figures...

    This was the first character I drew, it's pretty bad:


    This was later:


    Still improving as I go.

    But I would prefer to do western style cartoon rather than japanese style manga.. but I learnt to drew manga style so its kinda too late now!

  • Same issue here!

    I think the best choice, if you're solo in the project, is get some references and draw above them. I did that with some sprites and just loved the game that i made.

  • I suck at art so I figured pixel art was a good place to start. Picked up Aseprite( and have been practicing by duplicating pixel art I find online.

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