Step-by-Step Tutorial: How to Make 2D Game Characters from Scratch

Step-by-Step Tutorial: How to Make 2D Game

Creating 2D game characters is one of the most important stages. Many projects are associated exclusively with their characters, and only then with the game play. When it comes to the art part, we have to think about two things: on the one hand, there are artistic vision and stylistic requirements, on the other hand, there are also production issues to consider.

The tutorial is written for those who tend to create 2D characters. This primarily applies to people involved in game development – designers, artists, publishers, etc. Further – just to everyone who wants to gain insight into the topic. 

5 Crucial Steps to Create 2D Characters

Get a quick introduction to solid traditional design concepts and how they can be implemented into your own project. It is supposed to save you time and become a good 2D character maker. 

If you look at the game art 2D at Kevuru Games, you can see how much work remains to be done to come up with the final artwork. So, let’s divide the whole process into the following stages:

1. Search for the Best Idea Everywhere

On the Internet, in movies, in advertisements, in the park – good ideas are everywhere. Just notice them! While some artists seek inspiration in this way, others try to keep up with the trends and preferences of their target audience. References to memes, popular images, and favorite characters all play an important role in ultimate success. In-depth study of trends, artistic views and detailed market analysis help create a well-balanced illustration. Also, reference materials can come in handy for a better understanding of anatomy, textures, and other important details.

2. Sketch a 2D Character on Several Concepts

When you know what you’re going to create, move on to a detailed visual description of the character with the necessary characteristics. This is very important in order to get a relevant image. At this stage, the first draft sketches are created. As a rule, it is better to have 3-6 different ideas within one concept. Sketches are usually done in the b/w format to determine the approximate form, silhouette, and other key elements of design. 

After intensive work on creating 2D character sketches, the final image is selected based on feedback from other experienced professionals and their comments. For this reason, it is important to work as a team to have professional reviews of each piece of art from different perspectives. 

3. Refine the Final Concept

After agreeing on a single concept that meets the requirements of the project, the last changes are made. For example, they can relate to shape change. By keeping your initial ideas as sketches with simple shapes, you can generate many ideas without getting distracted by prematurely working out the details. All objects have a shape, and different shapes subconsciously create a different impression. As a rule, spiky shapes contain a hint of evil, while sinuous and rounded ones convey good nature. You can make your stylistic choices and thus influence the player’s experience.

4. Add as Many Details as Possible

These details cover many aspects of 2D character design – color, lighting and shading, texturing, etc. Just keep in mind that each of these details has a big impact on the atmosphere of your illustration. When working with in-game graphics, try to associate colors with specific features of the 2D character, the environment in which they are found. Think a set of colors for superheroes, but use, for example, other shades of those colors for enemies. Different textures may be required – glazed, matte, or simply unruffled – to make 2D characters look complete. The clothes of medieval characters shouldn’t reflect light like plastic, and space armor shouldn’t feel soft to the touch.

At, you can find many ready-made 2D characters to see the details that can be included to fully complete the illustration and be ready to integrate into successful projects.

5. Polish Each Separate Layer in Photoshop

All key parts are created on separate layers based on a logical hierarchy of overlapping objects from bottom to top. Legs are the lower layers, then parts of the body, elements of the face, clothes. The upper layers are hands as they can overlap the body during an animation. Don’t forget to name them according to the content. This makes it easier to export and search for any specific character element. 

The finished art is saved in .psd format and delivered to further stages – animation. PSD preparation takes a special place in the finishing touches of 2D characters. This is the preparation of the file taking into account the customer’s requirements and technical constraints So, check the size of the picture, color depth, remove unnecessary layers, name everything correctly.

Final Thoughts About Creating 2D Game Characters

What to do now that all the secrets of 2D character designs are laid out? Go ahead! When one character has been made according to all the basics of design, it will already be easier to make a pack of similar ones. Start trying! 


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