What does a concept artist do? Career Advice 2021

Most people don’t have a clue what a concept artist does.

The world of concepts is a sexy and exciting one, but the ambiguities in this field make it hard for people to get their hands on the knowledge.

 What if this was no longer the case? What if there were an all-inclusive guide that helped people not only understand what a concept artist does but also how to get into the profession themselves? That’s precisely that article will tell you more about how to become a concept artist, what skills are needed to succeed as a concept artist?

What is a Concept Artist?

Concept artists are visual thinkers who create the look and feel of imaginary worlds. If you’re interested in making your own stories come to life, then concept art might be for you. It’s really cool, but we’ll let the pros explain it better than we can. 

What is a Concept Artist?

Here’s what they have to say about their work: 

“Concept art is like a bridge between design and illustration… I’m not just creating an image; I’m trying to tell a story.” – Daniel Warren (concept artist)

“I think that my job as a concept artist is to make sure that everybody understands what this world looks like, what kind of rules it has, and how the magic works.” – Ryan Yee (concept artist) 

“When working on characters or creatures I try and create something new and exciting while at the same time keeping true to classic fantasy tropes.” – Matt Rhodes (concept artist) 

What does a concept artist do?

A concept artist is someone who creates visuals for video games or movies. They create images, sketches of characters, settings, and props that help 3D artists, filmmakers, and game developers visualize their story before it’s created. This helps them to accurately plan out everything from how many creatures they need to design (and which ones) to whether the setting needs an epic city or a small village.

Concept art is used as visual reference material by all members of the production team, including writers, directors, and actors. It can be used in any medium – books, comics, film, or even TV shows like Game of Thrones. The idea behind this job role is that you’ll be able to come up with creative ideas for new worlds or stories using your own imagination! You don’t have to know much about filmmaking but you will need some artistic skills so if you’re interested in being involved in creating these visuals, you need some skills in illustration, art software, and creativity.

What does a concept artist do?
What does a concept artist do?

How do I become a concept artist?

I do think it’s important to have some kind of formal education. The best thing that I did was to go to an art school that focused on concept design because it really taught me how to think about concepts more. It took some of the basic ideas that I had and gave them a much more professional foundation.

And one of the most important skills to succeed as a concept artist is to be very observant. A lot of times people will see something that they think looks cool, and will just use that in their artwork without understanding what makes it work. 

How do I become a concept artist?
How do I become a concept artist?

To be a good concept artist you need to have a good eye for observation. You must also be able to think critically about concepts and ideas that you see in the real world, or even just in your head.

From there I think that you need to understand human anatomy and our perception of it. You don’t necessarily need to be a great draftsman, but you do need to have a good eye for proportions and a sense of how things move. Even if your concept is unrealistic, you should still be able to portray it in a way that is realistic.

The last thing that I think is important is to really understand your medium. You need to have a solid foundation in color, shapes, and composition. These are the building blocks of what makes good design great.

What skills are needed to succeed as a concept artist?

Here are some skills that concept artists need to know:

  • The ability to perceive art

Concept artists are in charge of a game’s style and appearance. They’re the ones who come up with the ideas for the locations, adversaries, and player characters. Their sketches are used to help 3D artists, producers, programmers, and publishers understand how the game will appear, based on a brief from the producer.

The concept artist’s drawings are an essential aspect of the game’s development because they serve as the foundation for all artwork and are an important part of the marketing strategy.

  • Imagination, Creativity & Attention to detail

Understanding a written brief, composition of the artwork, and picture how a character will appear. They will use their excellent hand-drawing skills, and ability to draw in a manner that corresponds to genre forms such as fantasy, science fiction, or cartooning. So, they are good at art and design, creativity, and imagination.

  • Art software proficiency: use a variety of programs to create 2D and 3D graphics, and keep up with the latest technologies and techniques. 
  • Collaboration: collaborate with other artists and team members, and share your vision with designers and game developers.
  • Understanding of games: know how to play, be aware of the market, and grasp how art will be perceived as a player
  • Knowledge of anatomy and architecture: Having a good understanding of all these things will help you in any career, graphic design included. 


Where Do Concept Artists Work?

Concept artists can work in many different advertising and art agencies.

Concept artists typically have experience in other areas of the art department in gaming companies, animation studios, film and video production companies, graphic design firms. 

Some other companies have a junior concept artist role including print magazines, web design firms, interior design or decorating firms, and even architecture firms.

What type of environments do concept artists work in?

Concept artists might operate as freelancers or as part of a design team on a permanent basis. They work in fast-paced but convivial environments that stimulate team bonding and collaboration while achieving stringent deadlines as creative professionals.

What materials do concept artists use?

One of the most important materials a concept artist needs is a sketchbook. The sketchbook will be used to take notes, draw sketches, and do preliminary work on sketches. There are some other materials that they might need as well, such as pens and marker pens, color pencils, paper for making thumbnails, or quick sketches.

Concept artists also use a wide variety of reference material. This will depend on the project they are working on and what the story requires them to create visuals for. Some common examples of reference material include photos, videos footage, 3D models, architectural plans, or city maps.

So, let’s say you found yourself here because you want to become a concept artist for games or movies or anything of the like. What is it about concept art that makes you want to try it? Either way, if you’re here, you are interested in becoming a concept artist, hopefully, this article’s guide will help you know how to become a good concept artist. If you have a question, let’s tell us. 


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