Video games & art

Paul Vera Broadbent is a SketchBook Pro artist & veteran of the video game industry with over 40 releases to his name.  Check out his work over on his Tumblr or follow him on Twitter. 

Even when I was young I knew I wanted to create work digitally. I played video games from the early 80’s, and the artwork in these games is what initially inspired me.

Around 1987, my father brought an Apple Mac SE home from work and showed me the built in art package Paul Vera-Broadbent called Super Paint. Using a mouse seemed quite natural to me and I started to create artwork. A few years later I got an Amiga. That's when I really began to create pixel art. I was drawing animated game sprites, backgrounds and designing my own games. Friends of my family knew a game developer and the in-house artist helped me in the early stages of my development, pushing me in the right direction. This mentorship gave me confidence that I was doing the right things and could eventually do this professionally even though I was only 15.

At this point I didn't see myself doing anything else as a career.

During my first year of 6th form when I was 17, our school required two weeks of work experience. My career counselors tried contacting some local games companies but with no success. I ended up being a teacher's assistant for basketball. In the first lesson, I explained to the teacher why I was there. He replied, “You should have talked to me because my brother-in-law owns a games company!”"Robotina" sketch by Paul Vera Broadbent. Check out his awesome use of the 'Perspective Guides' in SketchBook, available to Pro members

I was in the right place at the right time. He gave me their number, I called them up explaining my position and they asked me to come in for a week. I was excited to show them my work but I had no idea what they would think. I started to show the MD and eventually the whole office was looking through my work and they seemed very impressed. I worked there for a week and then they asked me to stay for another.

During that second week they asked me to keep in touch and they would have a job for me after I left school. They also asked that I return during the school holidays to gain experience. When I returned during the holidays they called me into another meeting - but this time they offered me a job! They asked if I would leave school and start as soon as possible. I couldn't believe it. I returned to school, arranged everything with the teachers to leave, finished my school work on the Friday before and started the next Monday as a professional artist. I released my first game when I was 18.

Paul adds lighting effects.

When I've worked in large companies there is always so much to do from hiring, working with junior artists, design meetings and creating artwork. The days are always different especially if you have more than one project on at the time. I've had the most enjoyment when I worked with smaller teams because you feel closer to the project. Many years ago I worked on the first 2 ‘Music’ (MTV Music Generator in the US) projects on PS1 which was amazing. It was something new and we won all kinds of awards and I met some amazing people. Working on really small teams is great too, but you soon learn that no artwork is produced unless you do it! 

The most suprising thing about working in video games is that you don`t get to play games all day! But seriously for me the best part of making games is the development. I always thought releasing games would be the best part but its the creation and teamwork is what I find the most rewarding.

 If you are starting out, I would suggest to create work as much as you can and try different styles. I try not to be precious about anything I do because if you can't take criticism you`ve got no chance of improving or working with other artists. I`ll be the first person to say if I`ve done something that doesn`t work.

It can be difficult to find a break in the industry but you can`t give up. The best thing is to be prepared, have a good portfolio and if you can, some kind of demo. There are all sorts of tutorials these days, so make use of them. When I was starting out, you learnt on the job and built your skills from game to game. Sometimes its good to specialize in one area but for me I think you have a better chance of finding work if you can adapt your skills to any project.

The final finished piece. 


How to draw a face tutorial by Loish

The SketchBook team was really lucky to be able to ask the amazing Loish to create a tutorial for us in SketchBook Pro.

full tutorial on DeviantArt

Can you find some inspiration for your Hero Challenge character? Download SketchBook today and participate!



March Hero Challenge: Stephen Silver



"This challenge is from my Character Design Shuffle iPhone App. Coming up with characters to draw can be challenging. It's important to have as much info about the character as possible. This allows for the ideas to flow and avoids too much pondering and shooting in the dark.

Unlock the Block!"

   - Stephen Silver


How do you participate in the Hero Challenge? Just follow these steps: 

Click to enlarge.

Download this, choose your character, and draw in SketchBook! 


Sign up for DeviantArt, if you're not already a member! All the fun is happening there.

Join the official Autodesk SketchBook group

Download the prompt and draw your mix & match character.  Select a species, outfit, and action from the provided list on the canvas. (left)
Use these attributes and draw an original character on the canvas.

Add your entry to the DeviantArt Autodesk SketchBook group!





At the end of March, Stephen will pick his favorite characters, and give feedback on why they met the challenge perfectly.

Download SketchBook today and get started! 

About the artist:

"I was born in London, England on August 30th 1972. Aspiring to be a professional artist my whole life and knowing drawing would be my vocation, I got my professional start in 1992 drawing caricatures at Sea World in San Diego. In 1993 I started my own illustration company called Silvertoons. In 1997 I was hired by Warner Bros. Television Animation as a character designer, and have been working in the animation industry ever since.

I have designed characters for Disney Television Animation, Sony Feature Animation and Nickelodeon Animation, designing characters for shows such as "Kim Possible", "Danny Phantom" Kevin Smith's "Clerks" the animated series, and many more.

I am the author and artist of 7 self-published books and apps on the art of sketching, character design, caricature and life drawing. In addition to working freelance and teaching at my live school, the Silver Drawing Academy, I also offer an online character design course at Schoolism for those who are unable to attend the live classes."



How to Draw Clothes by Lora Innes


In this tutorial, Paper Wings co-host Lora Innes demonstrates how to draw clothes believably with SketchBook Pro:

  • Drawing techniques for representing fabric of various age, weight and texture.
  • How to avoid putting in too many folds and when it’s appropriate to add more.
  • How to avoid unintentionally “soupy” or “lumpy” clothes.
  • How to age and distress the clothes your characters wear.
  • How light and shadow varies between different fabric types.
  • How to enhance your character designs by giving your characters a fashion sense all of their own.



Hero Challenge: Terryl Whitlatch Wrap Up



We had an amazing time with this Hero Challenge! Thank you so much to all of the participants. Your creatures were wild, beautiful, and completely unexpected.

Terryl's chosen her three favorites, and two runners up. With no further delay, here they are:


Favorite #1: mirroreyesserval


Beautiful drawing and unusual blend of serpent and  sloth--this is an exotic, attractive pet that would appeal to both reptile fans and those who adore furry mammals.   It's calm, serene attitude implies a gentle, loving pet.


Favorite #2: TruBlueArt


I love the playfulness of this marsupial-canine hybrid--it's happy cheerful expression combined with good anatomy makes this a winner, and probably a pet that one could win a frisbee match with!

Favorite #3: shambok


Wonderful character and expression--who could resist such a jolly creature and its pup!  Great technique as well as inventiveness. I love the fuzzy texture of the fur and the sly look in its eye. I wonder if it purrs!


Runner up: EricYoungArt

I really like the alternative thinking that went into the design of this creature--after all, plants are creatures too!  I'm thinking that this would also be an easy pet to care for as all it would need is good fresh water, a bit of sun, and a dash of miracle-Gro, and tender loving care from its owner! A perfect pet for the gardener - perhaps it even rids the garden of insect pests! Great personality in the face.  


Runner up: BAELUS-JAN   

This purple pet with its beady eyes, little legs, and rabbity ears is fiendishly funny, yet his fierce appearance belies both a gentle and brave personality.  He'd be a great pet to come home to at the end of a long day, and cuddle in one's lap.  Where can I buy one? 



Special thanks to our pals at Wacom for donating Intuos Pro Medium tablets for the favorites, and our friends at DeviantArt for memberships for all of the chosen artists. And of course - thanks to Terryl Whitlatch for serving as our inspiration!

Did your favorite pet make the cut? Take a look at the entries!

Want more challenges? Stay tuned: the next Hero Challenge is coming at you in March! We'll have all the deets right here on how to participate.


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