Teaching Effectiveness: Integration of Creative: Entertainment and Game

Periodic revision of course materials and integration of current creative activity research into subject matter of courses:


Preparing students for the game industry through industry production practices and in field research methods: I lead by example.

Entertainment Game:

  • Board Game Integration: Miner Madness Game
  • Console Game Integration: UnderBite Games and Super Dungeon Tactics - Painting Process Style Guide
  • Concept Art Integration : Underbite Games - 1st and Goal Concepts
  • 3D Integration: 3D Coat and Super Dungeon Tactics
  • 3D for Imaging and Concepts Integration: Super Dungeon Tactics

Board Game Integration : Miner Madness Game

KCAD students gathering feedback on Code Theory knowledge gained from playing Miner Madness with Museum School students during a STEAM event I organized.

Awarded: Best Student Created Game: Meaningful Play 2018, an international academic conference on meaningful game design held at Michigan State University.


click arrow to view student presentation

I formed a collaborative partnership with OST, then guided the Professional Studio students through the game development process using what I learned in my own studio in the Power Towers Game. The game is now available on GameCrafter.com and is being used in classrooms everywhere. OST will be donating games throughout the Grand Rapids Public School systems.

Console Game Integration: UnderBite Games and Super Dungeon Tactics

Super Dungeon Tactics – KCAD student, Joseph Jinn, doing a presentation on User Testing

Joseph interned with Underbite Game Studios and I helped him and their team create a user testing process.

2D art in a 3D environment - My students in Pro Studio created 2D assets and 3D concepts for the game.
SuperDungeonTactics Painting Method - Susan Bonner
Click to enlarge and play slideshowPainting Example used to show students how to paint in the specific game style for Underbite Games

Later several of my students were hired in as interns at Underbite and then have gone on to work in other Game Companies through the skills they developed first in course work and then in the internship. The partnership that DAD has with Underbite has proven to help students immensely. One student, Kevin White, has even gone on to work at a coveted position for World of Warcraft.

Rocktop Character Concepts by Gab Schwall

3D For Imaging and Concepts Integration:

I learned how to use 3D Coat – a painting application that can be done in 3D – I brought this to my classroom as a part of a project where we painted on 3D Character Models for the game Super Dungeon Tactics. Later my students have successfully prepped characters with 3D painting for games being released as interns and contract artists in the industry.

3D Coat Painting Tutorial by Susan Bonner

Sketching line on the 3D model in 3D coat where we can rotate and orbit the model as we paint on it. We are bringing together our technical and artistic abilities here. Drawing and Painting by Susan Bonner.

Final render in 3D Coat by Susan Bonner

Super Dungeon Tactics Character painted by KCAD student Jillian Warsco – who later interned and worked on contract to build more characters for the Underbite and Ninja Division Game.

In game characters painted with 3D Coat – for Super Dungeon Tactics – Released Fall 2016. Collaboration with Underbite Games, Including Cory Heald, Brian Olmstead and 7 KCAD interns and contract employees.

3D is now used as reference and as a concepting method in the DAD program.

We use Sketchup in:

  • Digital ImagingI and II
  • Concept Art
  • Pro Studio I and II

We use 3D Coat in:

  • Concept Art
  • 3D Came Art
  • ProStudio I and II

We use Miximo and Fuse in:

  • Digital Imaging I and II
  • Digital Character Drawing
  • Concept Art
  • 2D Character Design

I trained all of the Imaging Faculty (6) to use these tools. Our DAD students are now more connected to current methods in the entertainment industry through the use of 3D in their portfolio.

Student Work for Underbite Games - Concepts for Costume Design for a Character, under my leadership many students have successfully been connected to Underbite for internships or jobs and have gone on to other positions at game companies.

My studio work for Underbite Games - 1st and Goal Character Concepts

Partnership with Game Company in Course Work

Digital Media partnered with Underbite during the 2013-2014 year. They were a part of the Innovation Center at KCAD and have been active in mentoring students. I took on a freelance job with Underbite on Game Concept and Production Art - (1st & Goal). These connections have come full circle leading to paid internships for students, jobs for alum in the Concept Art and a full collaboration in Fall of 2014 and planned during the summer. My students have the option to create game art for use in an actual Underbite Game. I Art Directed that game design.

Character Design for 3D Games

detail of painting by Susan Bonner
12th Dimension Knights - Susan Bonner
Character Design for Game - Susan Bonner
Character Design for 3D Game Digital Painting Demo
click to scroll through presentation of demo

Demos used in Character Design projects in Course: Imaging for Game Animation and Film and Concept Art