Some of the most Iconic Gaming Artwork and Its Respective Artist

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Kyle Smith

Publish Date:

6 Jan 2021

Gaming is a medium that has many forms of art, ranging from music all the way through to acting. But in this article I want to take the term art in its literal form, and showing off some iconic pieces of Concept Art, whilst sharing interesting information about the artists who created them. Before we jump in, If you think we are missing a key artist that you are a fan of, be sure to share them with us on our social media pages and show us some of the spectacular art that they have created.

Yoji Shinkawa is the artist who brought to life the Metal Gear Solid series with his bold, action focused, dark toned concept art. Shinkawa has worked in the gaming world for most of his life, starting his art journey by working with infamous game director Hideo Kojima on his first title Policenauts in 1994. From here on, this dynamic duo were impossible to break up, with Shinkawa still working on Kojima’s titles today as his resident artist. Shinkawa has a very recognisable art style which is completely unique to him. As you can see in the image above, the key theme of his work is to use bold blocks of dark colour/ink to blotch out areas. These dark tones are then offset with a limited middle-tone colour pallet, and eventually an extremely vibrant counter colour, which in most cases is white. His art style is not to go for hyper realistic, but instead opts to follow a more ‘metal’ modern style, in which his inspiration from popular Manga’s and Comics is clearly seen. Shinkawa has worked in other medias, most notably designing and creating a Japanese poster for the hit Hollywood film Pacific Rim. Ironically when this image was released, it looked remarkably similar to the art that Shinkawa had created in another mech game he worked on called Zone of the Enders. Though, this never took away from the amazing visuals of the poster and helped the film go on to be as successful as it was.

Anthony MacBain is a Creative Director, Illustrator and Concept Artist, who is most notable for working with Rockstar to brand the hit game series Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption. Whilst MacBain doesn’t work directly for Rockstar, he has worked with the team since 2004 and is still working in branding Grand Theft Auto V today. MacBain’s art showcases how diverse he can be when looking through his portfolio. In games like Red Dead Redemption, he opts for a more realistic form of art, although does use some block dark techniques to give the image an almost comic appearance. However, in his work for games such as Bully, MacBain uses common cartoon drawing techniques to make characters seem flatter and more drawn out, with simplistic style. What’s most impressive though, is how no matter the style of his art, you can always tell that it is one of his pieces. With speculation around Grand Theft Auto 6 growing, it will be extremely likely that MacBain will be working on the new title with Rockstar. Although with the super-fast SSD’s of the next gen consoles, maybe we wont have as much time to see these beautiful pieces as art, as we have had in previous entries. Check out Anthony MacBain’s portfolio here:

I have been a fan of Yoshitaka Amano’s work since I was young, showing how long he’s been in the trade of Video Game Art. Starting his art career from just before 1967, Amano has easily the most experience and biggest portfolio of this list. He has produced his art work for a huge range of different mediums from Animation, Novels, Gallery Art, Games and even art books, giving him a huge range of different experiences in his lifetime. Yoshitaka Amano’s work only needs to be seen to understand why he has had such a huge and successful career with it. He uses very traditional Japanese styles of art, although instead of using these to paint huge rich environments, he creates animation style graphics, meld into beautiful gallery style pieces. Amano’s art is so unique that his work can un-mistakenly be identified in any gallery, or medium that you might find it. Amano famously has created all the characters and worlds that we love within the Final Fantasy universe with his art. Amano has worked practically worked on every single one of main-line final fantasy game in some way or another but led the art direction for arguably the most successful games in the series. Be sure to check out Yoshitaka Amano’s portfolio here:

Raf Grassetti is a young artist who has created work for a huge number of games (Mass Effect, Dragon Age, The Order 1886 & God of War), most frequently being the lead artist for the God of War series. Rafs art style is that of portraiture and hyper realism combined into one. He takes things that are not real and turns them into believable characters, realistic characters. Raf actually shows some of the research that he does for his artwork in his portfolio, and for his God of War concept art, he actually studied the human anatomy of how muscles move, to make his characters in the game feel alive, and real. Raf uses a lot of different mediums to create his images, ranging from 3D modelling, clay modelling and a bit of digital artwork, although 3d Modelling is Rafs design style of choice. Although Raf is currently working on God of War: Ragnarök and the prequel comic, his experience has not only been in game art. In fact, across his entire career he has worked on more than 70 project ranging from: Cinematic Production, Game Art, TV Projects, Printed Advertisement, Statue collection design and Toy design. Check out Rafs Portfolio here:

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