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Vol. 2, Issue 2
November 18, 1999

Painting on Polygons:

Conceptual Art
Part 1

by Rick "Flatness" Grossenbacher



fter a busy summer it’s great to be back writing this column again. Since loonygames is starting its second volume I’ve been tossing around ideas of my own for making this column better. What I came up with is that I’d like to write it to better serve you, the reader. So, I thought it would be cool to have a little Question & Answer or Critique section at the end of every, or perhaps every-other installment of Painting on Polygons. So send me in a graphic you are working on or an art question you have and I’ll post an answer or short critique. Or if you have a general question about getting into an game-artist career or just what it is like behind the scenes (or whatever). Oh... if you do e-mail me a file, please limit file attachments to a meg or less in size. Thanks, and send all e-mails to [email protected].

Before I start, I’d like to get a few things out of the way for any new readers of Painting On Polygons. In the simplest terms, this column is designed to help artists learn some of the ropes of creating video game art. Since there are so many different interests and styles out there, I try to keep this column a broad as possible using several different programs. Occasionally, however, I will probably go into topics that aren’t video game related -- but are related in art -- and are things that I feel are important to note or in some way may connect to the video game industry. I certainly don’t know every answer to every art question, or the ins and outs of every single art program out there, but I do have a good deal of experience in this field and am always happy to help people become better artists.

With that said... on with the new tutorial!

Since this is sort of a new beginning to loonygames and my column, I decided to start at the beginning of virtually all game design dealing graphics: conceptual art. This is the most fundamental necessity that a good game needs at the early design stages. Period. I’ve never seen or heard of a game that didn’t use conceptual art to some degree -- weather be simple pencil sketches or a full-color drawing or even a high quality 3-D render. Personally, I’ve always loved looking at the conceptual art for games, and I think it is a great way to study how other artists capture images and the techniques they use to capture those images. For example, here are some pictures of mine that are simple examples of what a piece of concept art might look like for a game.

A dragon! Fairly simple and straightforward. (Click to enlarge)

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Credits: Illustration © 1999 Dan Zalkus. Painting on Polygons is © 1999 Rick Grossenbacher. All other content is © 1999 loonyboi productions. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited, you cartoonish villian, you.