What Does A Character Artist Do (including Their Typical Day at Work)

Alyssa OmandacCareer, Overview

Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz

Character Artists

Character Artists use computer software to create 3D models of visual elements for video games and computer-generated content. Character Artists may create and draw characters, environments, weapons, vehicles, and other props that appear in the game.

Bachelor's degree
Interest Match

If you love drawing, working as a Character Artist may be a good career choice. Character Artists are the ones responsible for creating the visual elements in computer games, influencing the style and visual appeal of the project.

The Character Artist career path offers a creative outlet for those who enjoy the arts. However, it also requires a combination of artistic talent, self-motivation, and training. The Character Artist field is limited, creating more competition for available jobs.

Before embarking on this career path, learn more about the responsibilities, pros, and cons of working as a Character Artist.

What they do

Character Artists use computer software to create 3D models of visual elements for video games and computer-generated content. Character Artists may create and draw characters, environments, weapons, vehicles, and other props that appear in the game.

Design Characters and 3D Models for Video Games

The primary responsibility of a Character Artist is to design characters for video games and other digital content. Depending on the project, a Character Artist may be required to create the initial concepts for the characters or rely on concept art created by Concept Artists.

After creating or receiving the initial character concepts, the Character Artist begins rendering the character using computer software. While most people think of Character Artists creating 3D models, they may also need to create 2D characters.

The characters are often designed early in the development of a video game. The Character Artist may also collaborate with a variety of individuals while creating the characters.

For example, after creating digital characters, the Character Artist may show their work to the Project Lead or Lead Artist. After receiving feedback, Character Artists often make revisions and adjustments to the character.

Create and Design Environments and Props

While Character Artists specialize in the creation of characters, they may also need to design other elements for video games. On a smaller project, the Character Artist is more likely to take on additional responsibilities, such as designing environments, vehicles, and other props.

Create Thumbnail Images and Sketches of Character Concepts

Character Artists who are required to develop characters from scratch typically create thumbnail images and sketches to flesh out the designs of the characters.

The early concept art may include multiple variations of the same character. For example, the Character Artist may draw the character in various outfits and styles or with different props.

After finalizing the design with the Lead Artist, the Character Artist begins generating 2D images or 3D models of the characters. Other artists involved in the project use the 2D images or 3D models as reference for consistency.

Collaborate with the Lead Artist and Other Creators

The Character Artist typically works directly under the Lead Artist and may collaborate with a variety of artists and designers. Other artists involved in the design of the game include 3D Artists, Texture Artists, 3D animators, and Concept Artists.

Use Computer Software to Create 2D or 3D Characters

Most of the work completed by a Character Artist involves the use of computer software. They use various graphic design programs and 3D modeling software to generate characters and other video game assets. Some of the most used programs include Photoshop, Maya, and ZBrush.

Incorporate Anatomically Correct Features

Character Artists may design cartoonish or stylish characters with unique appearances. However, they also typically need to understand human anatomy.

Understanding the bones and muscles in the human body and how they work helps Character Artists design more realistic characters.

What is the job like


The Work Environment Can Be Fun and Creatively Rewarding

Many Character Artists enjoy the atmosphere of working with other creative individuals, as it helps them find inspiration and remain passionate about their work.

You May Use Your Experience to Find Work in Other Industries

Character Artists often work in a variety of industries to continue expanding their portfolios and experience. Along with video game development, Character Artists may work for animation studios or advertising agencies.

You May Work Flexible Hours

Character Artists do not always work set schedules and may be able to work remotely on certain projects. Some people may prefer this flexibility.

You Get to Share Your Creations with Others

After working on a video game or animated project, your character models may be seen by millions of people, which can bring greater job satisfaction.


You May Work Long Hours to Meet Deadlines

Character Artists are not often involved in the final stages of video game production but may still need to work long hours to meet deadlines during the early development stages.

You May Receive Negative Criticism

Some Character Artists are not good at handling negative feedback, which can add to the overall stress of the job.

Where they work

Video Game Industry
Software Development
Graphic Design

Character Artists typically work for video game developers and may work in the office or remotely from home. Due to the limited jobs in this field, many Character Artists work in related fields, such as Character Design for animation studios. Character Artists may also find work at software development companies. Graphic design firms may hire Character Artists to produce 3D models.

How to become one

Step 1: Learn How to Draw and Use Computer Software

Aspiring Character Artists should develop their artistic skills in high school.

Step 2: Earn a Bachelor’s Degree

While not strictly required, many Character Artists have Bachelor’s degrees. Common majors include Graphic Design, Fine Arts, Animation, or Computer Graphics.

Step 3: Develop a Portfolio

During and after college, create and maintain a portfolio of your work. Include your best creations on digital media, such as a USB drive.

Step 4: Look for Entry-Level Jobs in Related Fields

Character Artists rarely find work immediately after college. They typically need experience in related fields. Look for entry-level jobs as an Animator or Artist at animation studios, advertising agencies, or graphic design firms.

Step 5: Start Applying for Character Design Jobs

After gaining experience, start looking for open positions for Character Artists and Character Designers. You may also need to start with related jobs, such as a Texture Artist or 3D Artist.

Should you become one

Best personality type for this career

The Artist

People with this personality likes to work with designs and patterns. They prefer activities that require self-expression and prefer work that can be done without following a clear set of rules.

You can read more about these career personality types here.

Creativity is the most important personality trait for Character Artists, as they often need to create original characters and designs. Persistence is another useful trait, due to the challenges that Character Artists face trying to find work in their chosen field. Character Artists should also possess strong written and verbal communication skills, as they need to collaborate with other Artists and Video Game Developers.

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