Behind the Pixels: Exploring the Many Faces of Game Art Creation

What types of 2D game art styles are out there? What are the steps involved in creating character art for a 2D game? How to create special effects for 2D games?

Game art plays a fundamental role in creating immersive gaming experiences. It breathes life into every aspect of the game. The art shapes the appearance of characters, creates the world where the game happens, and tells the story through colorful visuals.

the many faces of game art creation

While captivating gameplay is essential, neglecting investment in game art can ruin the overall gaming experience. Boring game art will fail to capture players’ attention and also diminish the game’s potential to evoke emotions and engagement.

What types of 2D game art styles are out there?

2d game levels in different art styles

Which elements in a game demand dedicated art?


Memorable characters make you feel more connected and involved in the story, making the game experience more enjoyable. A well-crafted character with depth, relatable traits, and a unique personality becomes more than a digital asset. It’s like meeting someone interesting in a story and becoming friends with them. A relatable character can make the gaming experience feel personal and enjoyable. Players tend to form strong bonds with captivating characters, driving them to invest time and effort into the game. 

2d game art character art

What are the steps involved in creating character art for a 2D game?

The process may vary based on the specific requirements of the game, the team’s workflow, and the tools used for development. Collaboration between artists, game designers, and developers is crucial to creating a character that not only looks appealing but makes the game more fun for players.

Game Environment

Designing a 2D game environment involves creating various elements that collectively form the visual background for the game. The process may vary based on whether the game is tile-based or non-tile-based. The decision of whether a game will be tile-based or not depends on various factors related to the game’s design, mechanics, art style, and the specific goals you have for the project.
2d game art level design desert
Tile Based Games:
Non – Tile Based Games:
Tiles-based environments are commonly used in platformers, puzzle games, and certain RPGs. Those are suitable for grid-based movement and can create a nostalgic feeling. Using tiles for game levels can be more performance-efficient, especially for large levels. Creating environments without using titles allows for more organic, detailed, and dynamic-level designs. 

Obstacles and Props

The exact type of props and obstacles depend on the specific needs of the created game. Some obstacles are an integral part of the environment, such as barriers, rocks, buildings, bridges, stairs, etc. Others are external interactive objects like coins, power-ups, levers, or keys.

Interactive Objects:

2d game art collectible assets coins and gems

Destructible Elements:

2d game art destructible assets

Dynamic Elements:

2d game art dynamic assets


Many 2D games feature enemies as a central element of gameplay. Platformers, shooters, fighting games, survival games, strategy games, action-adventure games, and RPGs are a few of the many game types where enemies play a significant role.  
examples for creating 2d game enemies art
Before creating enemies’ art for the game, it is important to understand how enemies fit into the overall gameplay. Use visual cues in enemy designs to indicate their strengths, weaknesses, or special abilities. Consider contrast and visibility to ensure enemies are easily seen against different background elements.

Special Effects

Special effects in 2D games can add dynamism, immersion, and visual charm. When planned properly, visual effects can guide the player’s attention, communicate important events, and elevate the overall gaming experience.
2d game art special effect cartoon explosion

Examples of special effects in 2D games:

Visual effects in 2D games can be created in various styles, depending on the game’s aesthetic, theme, and desired impact. Exaggerated, vibrant, cartoony style with bold outlines and vibrant colors can deliver a comical vibe. Explosions with puffy clouds of smoke, stars, and swirls for magical effects are good examples of that. Glowing neon effects will give a game a futuristic touch. Pixelated art will give a retro fee. Realistic effects emulate natural phenomena, while minimalistic effects will give a more modern look.

Creating an effect art for a cartoon 2D game involves several steps:


Players interact with the game through UI elements. Intuitive controls and easily accessible information keep players immersed in the gameplay.
2d game art ui buttons

Assets Needed for UI in a 2D Game:

Designing the user interface for a 2D game is a comprehensive process that includes several key steps. It begins with defining the concept and visual style. Then comes the layout stage, which is all about planning the placement of UI elements for optimal user experience. The next step is creating the art for all the UI assets and selecting the right fonts.


The logo serves as a visual representation of the game. It provides players with a quick insight into the type of gaming experience they can expect. It can contribute to storytelling, community building, and the overall success and longevity of the game.
The game logo can feature a cartoon character, have an abstract shape, or be text-based. The chosen type and style should align with the game’s unique characteristics.


In the fast-paced world of 2D game art, new trends are changing the way games look and feel. Artists are bringing back pixel art with a modern twist, making games feel both nostalgic and fresh. The horizons of future 2D game art seem boundless, as artists are free to explore and try new things all the time.
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