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Concept Artist

What does a concept artist do?

Concept artists are responsible for creating the initial visual concepts such as characters, props, vehicles, and environments, based on a given script or creative brief. They establish the tone and style of the project, bringing an abstract idea to life. The concept art they create is used as a reference point throughout the project's development.

The primary job of a Concept Artist is to narrate stories through visuals by creating characters and worlds beyond the written word and giving them life. If you possess a knack for visualizing intangible ideas, a profession as a Concept Artist might be the perfect fit for you!

Concept artist job description

The Concept Artist plays a crucial role in the creation of animations, video games, cartoons, and other similar projects. They are responsible for producing the initial stylistic building blocks of the project by interpreting the design brief from the client or expanding on their own original idea. They achieve this by creating illustrations of the key characters and environments of the project. The preliminary artwork they produce is simple yet expressive as it serves as a starting point for further development and expansion during the rest of the project's development process.

Role and responsibilities of a concept artist in film and games:

  • Liaising with the producer, art director, game developer, etc regarding the brief for the project

  • Researching concept subjects, styles & genres 

  • Creating detailed key designs from a written brief

  • Presenting a series of drafts of the concepts for approval

  • Responding positively & proactively to feedback 

  • Drawing up specification sheets, establishing dimensions & details for others to follow

  • Working to a schedule

  • Using traditional & technological approaches to creating designs in either a 2D or 3D environment

  • Assisting in the creation of marketing materials and assets

  • Continuing to develop concepts & designs for the duration of the production process

Skills required to become a concept artist for film and games

Concept artists must possess a practical imagination to be able to bring the ideas of others to life. Interpreting a brief is the key skill for a concept artist, and what follows from this is constant development and refinement until the final design is approved.

Film and game companies may look for the following skills in a concept artist:

  • Strong drawing skills, with a specialization in concept design

  • Ability to draw in a variety of styles

  • Knowledge of anatomy and zoology, costuming, physical settings and history-related references 

  • Solid awareness of facial expression, pose, posture, gesture and movement

  • Able to draw from written briefs

  • High-level attention to detail

  • Solid understanding of visual language - texture, color, dimension, scale, perspective, shade, composition, depth of field, proportion, spatial awareness, etc

  • Good communication skills, ability to explain concepts and support artistic choices

  • Skilled in technical drawing

  • Excellent time management skills, ability to consistently meet deadlines

  • Team player, skilled at working independently

  • Knowledge of the animation and/or game development processes


What software and tools do concept artists use?

Concept Artists work with a selection or combination of the following software. Some artists prefer to sketch out initial drawings using paper, pens and/or pencils, however, all final artwork is delivered in digital format

Concept artists may need knowledge of a combination of the following software:

  • Paper & drawing tools

  • Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Acrobat

  • Corel Painter

  • Zbrush

  • Mudbox

  • CAD

  • Quixel

  • AutodeskSketchBook

  • Tablet & digital pen

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