How to Make A 2D Art For Games

2D game art is defined by presenting the environments, characters, and objects in just two dimensions – height and width.

Ronak Pipaliya

April 13, 2023

2D game art is a true art form. Why so? Because it is the result of the application of creative and imaginative ideas.

Can you imagine not considering a 2D video game to be art when it is practically movie with characters and a story? It also has colors, similar to a painting. Music can be found in many 2D games.

2D art games are truly an art form. As a result, people are drawn to 2D games. Essentially, 2D game art is a collection of various forms of art.

Today, 2D games are in high demand and appear on numerous top lists. As new projects and fantastic art styles emerge, 2D is slowly regaining its position in the gaming industry.

In this blog, we’ve featured what is 2D game art, various 2D game art styles, best 2D art software along with examples, and a step-by-step guide on how to make a 2D art.

1. What is 2D Game Art?

2D, or two-dimensional, art is typically connected with two-dimensional forms and things. We imply by two dimensions width and height.

Anything we sketch on paper is two-dimensional since only width and height exist. Artists employ color, line saturation, style, and imagination to add more traits and individuality to 2D works.

Unless the artist is intentionally attempting to imitate 3D perspectives in a drawing or painting, they are invariably 2D. Other types of 2D art include animation and, of course, video games.

Adding depth to a painting changes it from two-dimensional to three-dimensional art. The same applies to game development.

2. List Type of 2D Game Art

In the past, the graphic capabilities of software and hardware were so constrained that games had simplistic designs and a lack of detail.

As technology developed, designers were able to add more creativity and variety into their 2D work. It led to the variety of 2D game art we see in games today.

  • 2D Pixel Art

Pixel art is one of the most widely used game art techniques. Each pixel in a digital image is a square or basic shape that represents a minute portion of an item, character, or scene.

Typically, each item is composed of hundreds or thousands of pixels. Most people associate pixel art animation with early video games and the past, yet it is still popular.

Examples: Fez, To the Moon, Undertale, Owlboy

  • Vector Art

Vector art is an additional prevalent game art style. Artists generate vector imagery digitally using specialized applications. Images in this style are not divided into pixels.

Using mathematical methods, vector art production software stores data and colour information in lines, points, and polygons. Vector art files are lower in size and of superior quality when zooming in and out on images than pixel-based files.

Examples: Red Alarm, The Banner Saga, Ghost Trick

  • Cutout Art

Cutout art is primarily utilized in animation. This game's visual style resembles images cut from paper and translated into a new medium. Artists that create cutout art can either import a digital asset of a character created from actual paper cutout art or create it on a computer.

The cutout images do not alter, but their placements are altered to portray action and motion. State transitions are approximated by quickly substituting one cutaway for another.

Examples: Paper Mario, Sonic 4, Sega Heroes, Don’t Starve

  • Cel Shading Art

This is a relatively new game visual style with a significant impact on the game development community and dozens of successful examples.

Cel-shading is utilized by artists to make 3D models and objects appear 2D, flat, and paper-like.

Suppose that when you look at an object, it transforms into a 3D model. Finally, you place on paper how this 3D model appears from one perspective, with only a portion of the object visible, and eliminate the depth.

Examples: Ultimate Spider-Man, Mega Man Legends, Borderlands Series, Mega Man Legends, Pokémon X & Y

  • Monochromatic Art

There is no universally accepted definition of monochromatic art. However, we usually refer to an artwork as monochromatic when it has a limited color palette of one or two colors.

They do, however, use different shades and tints of selected colors to differentiate between different parts of an image. Black is the most commonly used color in monochromatic art.

Examples: Limbo, Badlands, Inside, Echochrome, Minit, One Upon Light

  • Flat Art

Objects, characters, and settings in flat-style games are all presented without volume or depth. The artists who create these games are not interested in realism or physics.

It means they have a great deal of artistic freedom in their work. Flat designs and models typically have distinct appearances and no shared characteristics, unless they borrow them from other game art styles.

Examples: Gravity Defied, Stick War, Flat Kingdom, Nidhogg

  • Doodle Art

Unlike other game art styles, doodle art is defined by the actual substance of the work as opposed to unique features that produce a distinct aesthetic.

Doodling is drawing something while your attention is diverted elsewhere. Doodle images typically have an odd, abstract, and warped composition.

Doodles are made up of a random assortment of characters and objects that appear together to fill the available space.

Examples: Doodle Jump, Toontown, Krusty Towers, Google Doodles

3. Top 4 2D Art Software

Now that you're familiar with the most popular 2D game art styles, you may be wondering where to make them. There is an abundance of design and concept art software available to assist you.

  • Pencil2D

Pencil2D is a free, open-source, and lightweight 2D animation software that runs on macOS, Windows, and Linux. Tutorials are available in a variety of languages, including English, Spanish, and Portuguese.

Pencil2D is a cutting-edge animation tool that is ideal for introducing beginners to the world of two-dimensional animation. Users can switch between raster and vector workflows and enjoy the minimalist design, which simplifies the animation creation process.

Because of its cross-platform compatibility and free download, anyone can begin using Pencil2D right away for a variety of purposes.

  • Synfig

Synfig Studio is an open-source 2D animation and vector software that uses sprites and digital interpolation to speed up the animation process.

As a result, it is ideal for an artist who works alone or with a small animation team. Although it is free, the main advantage of Synfig is the presence of 50+ layers of content for creating animations of any complexity.

Synfig Studio is an excellent platform for learning 2D animation for beginners, with two versions available for free download: stable and testing. You can learn about experimental functions that may be added to the stable version of Synfig later by using the testing version.

  • OpenToonz

OpenToonz is an open source and free version of Toonz that is a powerful tool for traditional 2D animation.

Because it allows designers to create incredible 2D animations this tool is multifunctional and comprehensive in its capabilities.

OpenToonz includes many useful tools for artists, such as bitmap tools, distortion and light effects, GTS scanning tools, a dynamic colour palette, and so on.

  • Sketch

Is there anyone in this room who has never heard of Sketch? Sketch, like Figma, is an indispensable tool for creating UI/UX prototypes of breathtaking 2D art.

You can use Sketch to create all of the interface elements for websites and mobile apps, such as text blocks, buttons, icons, graphics, and so on.

This software allows you to create an interactive prototype rather than just an interface sketch. Sketch could be very useful if you want to make your work life easier.

4. Easy Steps To Make a 2D Art For Games

Before beginning to create game art, the team can compile a guide that describes the pipeline and task sequence. This way, the artists are aware of the work's phasing and can ensure a quick and high-quality process.

So, how does game art get made? Check out the steps below to make 2D art for games.

Step1: Choose Game Style

The first step is to select a 2D art style. The client either comes to us with a preconceived concept and stylistics or completely trusts our vision.

In the latter case, our game designers control the processes. Based on this concept, the experts extract optimal game characteristics based on the game's genre and mechanics. When everything is in order, the team moves on to the visuals.

The client's and game designer's ideas on game style can sometimes clash. Hidden object games, for example, typically use realism art, whereas casual art is scarce in this genre. In this case, the game designer suggests other game genres to help the plot develop.

What game genres lend themselves best to 2D art? In general, 2D art works well in almost all game genres. Pixel art, puzzle games, visual novels, and platformers are examples of 2D games.

Other game genres, such as first-person shooters, are better suited to the creation of 3D art. Nonetheless, 2D art can be used by shooters.

Step2: Conceptualizing the Art

The first step in the search for an idea and the visualization of specific tasks is concept art. At this point, the Project Managers and Team Leads discuss all ideas and assign tasks to the 2D art team. Then 2D artists create various draughts.

Step3: Prepare a Rough Draft

Finding a composition, form, and initial silhouette are all part of the first stage of creating art. A mood board with references is extremely useful in this situation.

The goal is to quickly show all potential options in order to better understand which direction to go next. One of several thumbnails is chosen, refined, and developed into a sketch.

Step4: Compose a Detailed Sketch

The sketch stage emphasizes design and a certain level of detail. A sketch has two main characteristics: line and tone.

The first allows you to accurately visualize design ideas and materials, while the second aids in showing depth and lighting.

After successful sketching, assets are delivered to the client. Once approved, the concept is refined.

Step5: Decide Color Concept

Frequently, after a client has approved concept art, artists will create a color palette. Color theory is used to the ambiance and general color scheme.

Ideas can be black-and-white or colorful, depending on their function. In casual games, the concepts are frequently hand-drawn.

If the game genre is more complicated (such as RPG), the artist can create a concept using a photo collage, 3D pictures, and other advanced tools.

Step6: Finalize Character Design

It's time to unleash your creativity and design some original gaming characters. You can depict a person, an animal, a robot, or any other fictional life form you can think of.

Yet a game designer develops the lore first, before the artist begins to sketch a character. It is the responsibility of the game designer to provide details about the hero's realm, history, and various tasks.

Finding references to highlight the character's quirks and appropriate artifacts and qualities to depict their past are the next steps.

For instance, if the game's protagonist is a knight-errant, his clothing will be worn out from a long voyage and he might carry a travel sack loaded with food.

The drawing itself can now be worked on by the artist. They use linear drawing, collections of basic shapes, or matte painting to find the right form and silhouette for the character. It is decided whether and how the hero will move when developing a theme.

Artists apply various design techniques and select appropriate static or dynamic poses for the character based on this choice.

Step7: Determine Environment Design

For artists, environment design is a fantastic platform to showcase their talent and originality. In video games, a location is a huge area with a variety of items that interact with one another and are influenced by perspective and light.

  • The artist creates a general composition at the draught stage;
  • they add little details and tweak certain components during the sketching stage;
  • During the color concept stage, the artist establishes the overall color palette, the mood, and the lighting;
  • Rendering involves the artist fine-tuning different features and components, displaying the materials that the objects are composed of, capturing all light interactions, and adding extra effects such as highlighting a particular element that needs to catch the player's eye.

Ready To Create 2D Game Art With Vasundhara Infotech?

One of the most crucial components to a great game is game art. Players find 2D art to be entertaining and interesting, and it has emerged as a new branding approach.

You can approach making your own game art now that you are more informed about the lengthy history and development of 2D game art. Choose a game art style that appeals to you, whether it be cartoons or zombies.

As you can see, creating video game art is a multi-stage process that requires the expertise of many different professionals, including animators , developers, and testers.

Fortunately, you can outsource game art development to professionals so you don't have to look for, interview, and employ specialists for your in-house team.

Vasundhara Infotech is a reputable mobile game development company with experts in all facets of game production.

With the help of our incredibly talented and driven 2D art team, we offer a wide range of 2D art services to several clients and businesses. They are aware of the asset's special qualities and how they will affect the game as a whole.

To make your project stand out, we are prepared to design eye-catching figures, distinctive props, and beautiful worlds.

We also develop top-notch games with AR and VR technologies. If you’re unsure about VR development cost and how to make a VR game, get in touch with our VR expert team.

Check out our portfolio to know about our other successful game development projects.

Do you need additional evidence? Simply have a look at our testimonials to discover a few of the well-known companies that Vasundhara Infotech has assisted and which we now refer to as clients.

Please get in touch with us and discuss the optimal collaboration structure with us. Check out why choose us for game development services in the section below.

FAQ's For 2D Game Art

This form of game art uses simply height and width to create characters, objects, and the surrounding environment. Some well-known games, such as The Super Sonic and Badland, include 2D art, which remains a popular option for game design.

A two-dimensional structure only has two surfaces: length and width. Three surfaces make up a three-dimensional structure: length, breadth, and height. Due to their appearance, two-dimensional figures are also known as "plane" figures or "flat" figures. Three-dimensional figures are simply known as 3D figures.

2D games are simpler and easier to create by design, making them more affordable and accessible to indie developers.

Digital art is made up of 2D and 3D computer graphics. 2D computer graphics are created by combining two-dimensional standards such as text and digital images. It is used to convert traditional forms of art into digital art that can then be used in television and film industry ventures, as well as animation.

A 2D mobile game development cost can range from $ 5,000 to $ 20,000, but it can rise to $ 50,000 to $ 20,000 if the game has more features. A 3D game is more expensive than one with 2D graphics. The cost of such a game ranges between $ 20,000 and $ 250,000.


Ronak Pipaliya

Project Manager at Vasundhara Infotech, a leading software development company. His great planning and execution qualities led to several successful projects.


Have a project in mind? Drop a message to Bansi Pipaliya & start the discussion!

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Have a project in mind? Drop a message to Bansi Pipaliya & start the discussion!

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