Game Art & Design

Learn the personal and team skills desired by the world's top gaming developers. You'll learn from instructors with deep experience in gaming, and they will push you to hone your skills and creativity. Make a fully realized working game level and gain incredibly valuable experience.

Check out our video of the newest student work from 2020-2021!

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Student Success

A Message from our Department Head

Wade Howie is a games & VFX industry pioneer with decades of experience at Industrial Light & Magic, Electronic Arts, and award-winning work in features, games, and commercials.

Watch this important message from Wade explaining how our classes are running in a blended delivery method for local students during the pandemic, and how students outside Vancouver can opt to take the entire program online.


Four of our senior students from class GAD35 collaborated on a Virtual Reality group project in their final term.

Production Team: Arturo Martinez (Mexico), Victoria Celis (Mexico), P.B. Giridharahn (India), & Anirudh Garg (India).

Meet Gasper Znoj: VFX Artist for Games

Since graduating, Gasper has worked on Plants vs. Zombies: Battle for Neighborville, Dauntless, and Age of Empires IV. Listen to his story here, and how VanArts helped him get his career started.


Term 1

The Game Art & Design program begins by teaching the fundamentals of traditional and digital art forms. Within traditional art, life drawing, anatomy, perspective, color theory and composition are the roots of observational skills applying to all forms of art. Simultaneously, we teach the core fundamentals of current digital art programs such as Maya, Zbrush and Photoshop. This combination of balanced instruction in both the traditional and digital art forms lays the foundation for your success as a well-rounded digital artist, including introductions to game engines and mobile gaming.

3D Fundamentals Analytical Figure Drawing 1 Art Foundation Game Engines 1 High Rez Modeling 1 Intro to Mobile Games Photoshop 1 Production History & Game Analysis

Term 2

With a foundation in traditional and digital art from Term 1, the focus in Term 2 turns to more advanced techniques and how they apply specifically to the video game industry. You will advance your 3D skills and apply them from concept development to modeling, through to a final professional art asset. Term 2 becomes a vital first run pass through the Game Art Pipeline, and also advances into concept development for mobile games.

In Term 2, you will also embark on a 6-week “comic book assignment” where you create a game level based on a popular comic character entirely on your own. This exercise helps you identify your strengths and weaknesses as a game artist, and prepares you for a group project in the upcoming Term 3.

Analytical Figure Drawing 2 Character Modeling 1 Concept Development for Mobile Games Digital Concept Art Environment Modeling 1 Game Engines 2 Hard Surface Modeling 1 High Rez Modeling 2

Term 3

Term 3 is focused on “combining disciplines” and “bringing it all together”. In this term you will learn more advanced techniques for pre-production and be introduced to the industry production-pipeline and work-flow concepts. Working in a studio-like environment, you begin the term by pitching your project idea for your final demo reel. Once approved, your project is moved through the production pipeline. Industry-style weeklies are introduced where your work is critiqued by the instructors, and constructive criticism is given to ensure quality and to keep you on schedule.

Students also work as a team in Term 3 to produce a fully-fledged video game demo in 8 weeks, and smaller teams can group up to pitch mobile and console game concepts.

Intro to Python Scripting Art Direction 1 & Concept Development Character Modeling 2 Digital Concept Art 2 Environment Modeling 2 Game Engines for VR Hard Surface Modeling 2 High Rez Modeling 3 Shading for Games 1 Texture Painting 1

Term 4

The final term is dedicated to the production of an industry-grade demo reel to show potential employers. Under the guidance of our industry-pro faculty, you will apply the knowledge and experience you have gained throughout the year. Post-production techniques such as compositing are introduced, while weeklies and tech support ensure the final quality of your reel, the most important asset and foundation for your entry into the industry. Visit us on YouTube to view samples of student demo reels.

Art Direction 2 Character Modeling 3 Environment Modeling 3 Game Art Weeklies Hard Surface Modeling 3 Post-Production Support Shading for Games 2 Texture Painting 2


Wade Howie

Head of Visual Effects and Head of Game Art & Design

Wade Howie

Head of Visual Effects and Head of Game Art & Design

A pioneering artist in digital visual effects, Wade Howie’s production career spanning 3 decades has included 12 years with George Lucas’ Industrial Light and Magic as VFX Supervisor/Director, Head of Modelling and Animation, & Creative Director for animated TV and commercials.  His other roles include Art Director for games at Electronic Arts, on-set Supervisor for various CG/live action hybrid productions, and journeyman FX and lighting artist for film & TV. His feature credits include Terminator 2, Hook, Star Trek VI, Jurassic Park, The Mask, Casper, The Wild, Watchmen, TRON:Legacy and The Thing. As well as training and mentoring new CG artists in industrial settings across Europe, US, Canada and Africa, Wade has worked as a college professor and consultant for new studios bringing CG artists online. Wade has also contributed at software development firms Alias Research Inc. (Maya) and Side Effects Software Inc. (Houdini), and has a background in traditional art and design as well as filmmaking. Wade has received many awards for the commercials he has supervised, Clio (Animation): Star Wars Pepsi (Marfalump), Clio (VFX): Dodge 1997 campaign, Animation Magazine Awards: Hefty GingerBread Man & Data Dancers, and Prix Pixel/INA, CGX: Pepsi Japan Pepsiman campaign. IMDB

Izmeth Siddeek


Izmeth Siddeek


Izmeth Siddeek has over a decade of professional experience in the film & video game industry as a Lead Character Artist, Visual Development Artist, and Modeler. He has worked on Fifa 2007 at Electronic Arts CanadaMass Effect 1 at Bioware, and most recently at Vancouver’s Capcom Games Studio on Dead Rising 2Dead Rising: Case Zero and The Bigs at 2k Sports. He is proficient in several software packages and has presented his work at the Game Developers’ Conference (GDC) in San Francisco. Izmeth has also worked on the films Superman Returns and Scooby Doo 2. IMdB Game Developers’ Conference

Kevin Shi


Kevin Shi


Kevin started his industry career at Blue Castle Games when he transitioned from freelance artist. Currently, Kevin is an Environment Modeler with Capcom Game Studio in Vancouver creating models, textures and lighting. He has had experience with games such as The Bigs 2, Dead Rising 2 and Dead Rising 2: Off the Record. He is also a past graduate of VanArts Game Art & Design program in 2008.

Lisa Griffiths


Lisa Griffiths


Lisa has 8 years of professional experience in a variety of creative roles including 3D Modeler, Sculptor, Texture Artist, Animator, 2D Concept Artist, Animator and Illustrator. After graduating from Digital and Classical Animation at Capilano University she worked as a freelance artist on children’s TV show pitches and educational games. She gained her first studio experience at Blue Castle Games where she learned the pipeline for realistic console games such as The Bigs 2 and MLB Manger, then transitioned onto the action adventure title Dead Rising 2 at Capcom. She later made the shift into mobile games where she worked on Sky Punks, a children’s title, at Fathom Interactive and a currently unannounced title at IGG. Lisa also has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a keen interest in human development. She is fascinated by the ways in which people overcome challenges and evolve as learners.

Martin Bastian

Instructor - Maya

Martin Bastian

Instructor - Maya

Martin Bastian has more than 15 years of professional experience in the animation industry. He has worked in various roles of production, from 3D Generalist and 3D Character Animator to Lighting & Composting Artist and CG Supervisor. Major companies he’s worked at in Vancouver include Mainframe Studios, Bardel Entertainment, Atomic Cartoons & Arcana Studios. He is currently working for some major animation shows in production.


Program Duration

12 Months

Next Start Dates

March 14, 2022 September 6, 2022 March 13, 2023 September 5, 2023

The Game Art & Design diploma program is a hybrid of traditional and digital art, right from foundation to specialization. Here you get to focus your craft in creating concept art and assets for the film, game and television industries, with an equal emphasis on art development for mobile gaming and 3D console games.

The instructors in our game design courses are industry leaders who will educate you on best practices. They will prepare you for work in 2D/3D environments, character modeling, lighting, texturing, interface design and concept development. Get valuable feedback from and make connections with guest speakers and industry VIPs.

PTIB Approved

This program has been approved by the Registrar of the Private Training Institutions Branch (PTIB) of the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training.

Degree Pathways

VanArts has articulation agreements in place with several well established universities/colleges in Canada, the USA, Australia, New Zealand and the UK. These degree pathways allow you to complete your bachelor’s degree in as little as one year after your studies at VanArts. This gives you the advantage of two credentials; a professional diploma and an undergraduate degree. These partnerships may not only save you money in tuition cost, but allows you to transition easily from VanArts to the partner institution while continuing your educational pathway in your chosen field of study. For international students, completing your BA degree in as little as two years of additional study with our local university partners provides you with the option to apply for a Canadian work permit, which may lead to permanent residency or Canadian citizenship. This list represents the pathways, universities and specific degrees available for graduates of Game Art & Design at VanArts:

Tuition Costs


$32,750.00 CAD


$38,750.00 CAD

Additional Information

Payment Schedule

10% deposit upon acceptance to hold your seat
40% six weeks prior to start date
50% by end of Term 1 (3 months into studies)

Supplies and Equipment
In addition to tuition, most programs have some costs related to supplies and equipment.

  • Pencils (2B – 6B, Blue Col-Erase) (Blue Pencils must not be “non-photo blue”!)
  • Art Erasers
  • Notebook for taking notes during lectures
  • 3-Ring Binder (for handouts and notes) (the best habit is to get several binders, each in a different color, one for each class)
  • 12-inch ruler (in inches and centimeters)
  • External Hard Drive (1TB minimum to back up files)
  • Wacom Tablet Intuos Pro 8×10
  • Pastel Canson Paper Pad (14 x 16)
  • Set of 12 soft pastels
  • Exacto Knife
  • 6 cool gray Tria markers (values: 2,4,6,8,10,black)
  • Pilot pens (01,03,05)
  • Brushes (size: 000,1,6)
  • Life Drawing supplies:
    • 1 Pad of plain newsprint (16 x 20 or larger)
    • 1 Sketchbook (for when it gets nice outside, not too small but easy to carry)
    • Pencils (graphite, conte, whatever suits your fancy)
    • Peel-off China marker
    • Staedtler mars graphic 3000 brush pen
    • Faber Castell duro gel .05 black ink pen
    • Stick charcoal and a charcoal pencil (*note: packs of stick charcoal go a long way, instead of buying 1 pack each, split the coast among 3 of you and that will last you fine)
    • 1 kneaded eraser
    • 1 sharpener or exacto knife
    • Sandpaper (optional- for sharpening)
    • An anatomy reference book (optional)

Estimated cost: $630* *These are estimates only and assume that no required supplies or equipment are currently owned.

Interested in Game Art & Design?

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