How to Thrive Professionally as an Aspiring Game Artist | Peet Cooper | Funsmith Fireside Chats #9

Funsmith Fireside Chats Episode #9

Guest: Peet Cooper

As a 20+ year video game art veteran, Peet Cooper has had the privilege of working with some great IPs including Star Wars, Call of Duty, Diablo 3, World of Warcraft, 007, League of Legends and more.

He has worked on every sub-discipline under the umbrella of “game art” which includes, but not limited to concept art, animation, illustration, level design, 2D/3D environment art & character art, art direction, and game art leadership.

In addition to starting his own game studio, Peet’s current primary focus is helping people become stronger artists, game devs, and collaborators by providing education and mentorship.

Listen to The Full Episode


#9: Peet Cooper: How to Thrive as a Junior Video Game Artist Professionally

Podcast Platforms:

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gds podcast listen overcast min

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Referenced Links & Resources

Connect with Peet Cooper:


Connect with Alex:


Connect with Ari:

Instagram | TikTok

Mentioned Resources:

Gamers for Good (Peet’s non-profit charity)

Creature Cauldron (Peet’s indie studio)


Riot Games

Free Game Design Learning Resource:

What Does a Video Game Artist Do?

What is Video Game Mechanics (Beginner’s Guide)

How to Become a Video Game Designer

How to Write Game Design Document with Examples

Game Design Portfolio, with Examples (Guide)

Audio Episode Chapters (with Timestamp)

4:19 – What is Gamers for Good

7:15 – Transitioning from Maker to Manager, when starting your own studio

16:29 – Speed of execution is key in game dev

19:40 – Shipping LoL Ruined King Howling Abyss Aram map update within a weekend

24:05 – Thunderdome, Riot’s successful team cultural practice

29:06 – Build a playable demo of a mini game within 48 hours without pre-production

32:36 – Take risks to stand up for the ideas you believe in.

35:49 – Balancing family as a career-driven game developer

43:51 – Generalist vs Specialist, which one is right?

45:26 – Practical advice for aspiring game artist

48:05 – Should you worry about legal repercussions of game IP

51:57 – Why fan art is one of the best ways to get into the industry

54:03 – Importance of doing mainstream fan art

56:11 – Why being “Unique” is self-sabotaging for Jr. game artist

1:00:13 – How to cultivate amazing collaboration with game designers & artists

1:06:36 – What’s the point of a game designer’s job

More Guest Quotes From This Episode

“I recommend specializing. I do a lot of portfolio reviews, talk to a lot of students, and do mentoring. A piece of advice I would have for artists is make sure you are working from the best assets, modeling work or the best concept art you can find. There’s this weird perception that you have to make your own art, and that’s horrible and dangerous.” — Peet Cooper

“Do the job that you want. If you work at a big studio, you’re going to be handed a concept, a great model, or a game design. You’re going to be working within their constraints. Don’t try to do all the things, just do the job you want.” — Peet Cooper

“Everyone I’ve ever talked to is not only fine with people using their concepts to make things from, but also honored. They think it’s very cool, they’re humbled by it. That’s wonderful as long as you give credits. If anyone uses anybody’s stuff for portfolio work, it’s not an issue.” — Peet Cooper

“Nowadays, fan art is actually one of the best things you can possibly do, simply because if you’re showing that you like someone’s artwork, that means you know you’re into it, you’re passionate about it, and the likelihood that they see your art is way higher.” — Peet Cooper

“If your game or art fits into halo, or mass effect, or destiny, it’s going to fit into thousand other people who are trying to copy that. You instantly become infinitely more hireable, so keep things super mainstream.”  — Peet Cooper

“In the real world of production, what we need is someone who fits in the game we’re making. If you want a job fitting in and just making really high quality stuff, is how you can become part of a team.” — Peet Cooper

“One of my favorite parts of making games is the fun challenges of cross-disciplinary teamwork. We all need each other to make great stuff, so one thing I have found over many years of failing and learning how to do this is understanding what everyone’s motivations are. Because when you start talking to people, think about people as people, and what are the things that you are passionate about or what motivates you. What are you trying to achieve?”— Peet Cooper

“Make sure as a designer, you don’t just give artists tasks because they’re just going to, then just do the work exactly what you want, and it’s going to likely be bare minimum. If you make sure you’re asking them what it is that they care about what they do, what they can bring to the table, or like what they really like on the project, getting that investment from people is going to make people just want to work with you so much more.” — Peet Cooper

“A designer’s job isn’t to come up with all the ideas. It’s to gather the ideas from the team and parse them into something that is great, and that general idea has always really resonated with me.” — Jake Stones

“An art director’s job isn’t to dictate what art is, it’s to gather the strengths of the team, and coalesce into something wonderful.” — Peet Cooper

“Make sure you’re working with people and the more you collaborate, the better time you’re gonna have throughout your whole career.” — Pete Cooper

If you have any questions or thoughts for Peet, please share in the comments below.