How to Outsource Game Art: Your Comprehensive Guide by RocketBrush Studio

October 30, 2023

You can't have a video game without good graphics and expect it to do well.

"Good graphics" is contextual: for a Final Fantasy XVI, good graphics meant hyper-realistic 3D art. For The Unliving, good graphics meant 2D Pixel Art and illustrations. Different aesthetics, but both have something in common: they fit the game, and players love them.

Final Fantasy XVI
Final Fantasy XVI
The Unliving
The Unliving

Good game art is crucial not only because it makes the experience more enjoyable and immersive but also because it's the very first impression the player gets from the game. Before understanding its innovative mechanics, getting a glimpse of its rich plot, or even hearing a catchy melody, the visuals have already made it through their eyes. And a split-second after that, the player is already making a value judgment: is this game worth my time and money?

And not only players. This also includes publishers looking for the next game to invest in. As soon as they see the first frames of your game trailer, they're already using your game art to answer the question: is this game worth investing in? And if the art isn't good enough, the answers aren't likely to be positive.

Unless you're a talented artist working on a small project, you'll likely have to find artists to create a good game. And finding the right ones can mean the difference between making something memorable (and profitable) and a forgettable game that's hard to look at. 

Let's take a look at your options.

Advantages of Game Art Outsourcing

When it comes to getting artists involved in your game, you can do three things: hire in-house employees, use freelancers, or outsource it to a game art outsourcing studio. Each has pros and cons, but outsourcing studios usually offer the best balance. Here's why:

  1. Scaling production: Outsourcing studios have several artists who can jump into your project at your request. For example, here at RocketBrush Studio, we have over 100 employees. This makes it incredibly easy to adapt to sudden increases in production. Do you need to increase the working speed massively because of a sudden deadline? No problem; you'll have all the artists you need at your disposal within a week.
  2. Team Flexibility: It's not only about size. If needed, an outsourcing studio can change its team composition on request. Have you changed your mind, and now you do want to add those hyper-realistic 2D illustrations for the loading screen? You'll get the specialists you need in a flash.
  3. Financial Efficiency: Outsourcing is more cost-effective than full-time employees. You don't have to worry about vacations, sick leaves, legal support, layoffs, etc. Making a game has enough headaches, and there is no need to add more to the equation.
  4. No need for recruitment: Finding good talent is tricky because you need to consider many things. Their ability to get the job done. Their adherence to deadlines. Soft skills. Imagine you have to find the right fit not only once but many times. Now imagine this, but with a looming deadline. Not good.

But when you get an art outsourcing studio onboard, things are different. You do have to find them, but only once. Once you get them in, they'll take care of getting the talent you need to work for you. Human resources is a job and career on its own, and it's probably not how you should spend your time.

TreasureLand game trailer by RocketBrush Studio
TreasureLand game trailer by RocketBrush Studio

Now, when it comes to finding the right outsourcing studio, there are a few things to consider if you want to make the most out of it. Let's delve into it. 

How to Outsource Game Art Properly

"Are they trustworthy? Isn't it risky? Will they meet my expectations?"

It's understandable to be unsure about choosing an outsourcing studio. There are many out there, and not all will be a good fit for you. So you have to go through the process of finding one that fits your needs and establishing an effective collaboration with them. Here's the best way to do it.

1. Identify what you need

The first and most important step. Before looking for an outsourcing partner, you must know what you need. Are you making a 3D game? 2D? Realistic? Stylized? It may not seem important in the early stages of a game, but deciding on an aesthetic can completely change the game's final result.

When you reach out to a game art outsourcing studio, you need to have an idea of what you're looking for. Note that you don't need to know all the details — after all, you're not the art specialist, and they can help figure those out. But you need an approximate idea of the direction you want to take with your game. 

3D environment design and art in UE5 by RocketBrush Studio
3D environment design and art in UE5 by RocketBrush Studio

2. Research and compare

Once you know what you need, it's the moment to search and compare art outsourcing studios. 

Ask other developers that you know have outsourced their art and get to know about their experience with them. If you don't know any, Google is your friend.

When you find a potential one, look at their online portfolio. Check the kind of games they have worked on and see if any are similar to the vision you have for your game. Not that they must have something that looks like what you want, but their having worked on something similar is a reassurance that they can get this type of work done. 

Regardless of the types of games they've worked on, look at how professional the final results look. Look up those games and see how gameplay footage looks like. 

Read their client testimonials. The more they have, the better, and they can give you an insight into what's in store for you. What are their past clients especially happy about? Do they mention if they met their expectations? Can you read any possible negative side in between the lines?

Jewels of the Wild West, game art by RocketBrush Studio
Jewels of the Wild West, game art by RocketBrush Studio

The website itself can also tell you about a studio. Is it clear? Is it tidy? Are there any typos? A messy website can reflect a messy studio, and you want to avoid getting one involved in your project (unless you enjoy chaos). On the contrary, a polished and neat-looking website is a sign of an orderly studio. Not only that — does it look good? After all, they're artists and should have a good eye for aesthetics.

You can also check their socials. But remember that more followers don't necessarily mean they're a better studio — it mostly means they're putting resources into social media. Some successful artists and studios may have a more modest social media presence, which allows them to concentrate on honing their craft and delivering quality game art.

At this point, you may have one or more possible candidates. But don't make a final choice yet. 

The last step is getting in contact, and if they're a good fit, get things up and running. 

3. Make contact

When you get in contact, game art outsourcing studios will give you an estimation of the cost. But to do so, they'll likely ask you for a project brief describing your project and what you need (like this one). Be as transparent as you can — it's the key to a great working relationship.

It's not always needed, but if you agree with it, It's also likely that they'll arrange a call so that they can learn better what you need. This is also an opportunity for you to get to know how they work — if they didn't specify it on their website, ask about it. Get to know what you can expect from them, and what they expect from you.

The Unliving game art by RocketBrush Studio
The Unliving game art by RocketBrush Studio

Until you're convinced you've found the perfect fit, have conversations with various studios, if time allows. Then, you can make a more informed decision and choose the best option for your situation. 


Getting an outsourcing studio onboard not only means less work for the developer but also an efficient way to make the game look as good as possible. All its benefits make finding and hiring them worthwhile, especially with studios with experience.

Low poly 3D art by RocketBrush Studio‍
Low poly 3D art by RocketBrush Studio

If you're looking for one, you can consider us, RocketBrush Studio. We've worked on 150+ projects for 100+ customers, including Paradox Interactive, G5 Entertainment, SuperCell, AppLovin, Belka Games, Romero Games, and over a hundred more (see their testimonials here!). We take an individual approach to each client, and we're experienced in working on projects of any complexity.

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