Career Profile: Concept Artist
What is Concept Art?
Your passion for sketching and drawing may lead to a career path you might not realize exists. Concept art is a term applied in many different industries. Generally, it refers to the conceptual stage of production where drawings and sketches or any other form of visual representation is created to express design choices and flesh out ideas. It’s used most frequently in fashion, video games, movies, animation and graphic novels. Depending on your interests, there is a lot room for stylistic expression and individuality.
What is a Concept Artist?
A concept artist is responsible for creating illustrations of characters, objects and settings that don’t exist using the initial parameters and ideas set by the writers and other members of the creative team. The level of involvement required of the concept artist may vary depending on the project. That said, these artists are typically an integral part of creating the preliminary artwork and are oftentimes required to work with the next level workers that use the preliminary artwork to model the end product. These workers include graphic designers, animators or builders.
Tools You’ll Need
Concept artists have been known to use a variety of tools for their artwork. Some prefer using traditional drawing materials like pencils, sketch books, charcoals and acrylic and oil paints, while others favour a strictly digitized approach. Most will combine the two approaches. The recent development of software and technology, namely graphic design programs, colour blending features and hardware like graphic tablets, have led to an increase in digitized content.
What Kind of Content will you Produce?
The majority of concept artists find work in the film and video game industries, with the content created typically staying within the science fiction and fantasy themes. Naturally, there is room for a wide spectrum of artistic styles, from photorealistic to highly stylized work that more closely resembles cartoon animations.
Who Can Become a Concept Artist?
Concept artists come from a variety of backgrounds including the fine arts, graphic design, special effects design, architecture and more. There are many paths to becoming a conceptual artist making a degree like studio art a much more viable option for employment than it has been in the past.