Tips for a Concept Artist in Training: Part2


The first part of this article discussed specifics of a concept artist’s work. However, if you would like to master this profession and enter the game industry, follow the steps described in Part 2 of the article. 

Note: The photos in this part of the article show concept artists at work.

Where Should You Begin?

First, to become a concept artist, you need patience and diligence. Second, remember that you shouldn’t compare your progress to that of other artists, because you have no idea how much time and effort they invested to achieve their present skill level. Judge your achievements only in relation to your own past achievements. Compare your new drawings to those you created three, six, or more months ago. You will see your progress, and it can inspire you to continue working.

During your training, try to follow these three principles:

  • Concentrate on one thing only.
  • Set deadlines for yourself.
  • Practice daily.

Concept Artist – creating the story characters


Techniques include:

  • Line drawing
  • Tonal drawing
  • Painting
  • Photobashing (collaging photos in Photoshop with further processing)
  • 3-D modeling with further processing in Photoshop
  • Sculpture
  • All techniques that are a combination of the ones in this list

If you are a novice artist, the first things you should focus on are perspective and proportion. Add Scott Robertson’s YouTube channel to your favorites and follow his step-by-step lessons on perspective. Consider purchasing his books as well.

Understanding perspective and being able to draw it are basic skills and should not be ignored. Start by working with simple forms (for example, architecture). After you have mastered the key principles of perspective, move on to tonal drawing—black and white images. Only after you have studied perspective and light can you start working with colors. I am emphasizing this point, because many novice artists simply ignore perspective, composition, and light because they want to paint everything in color.

Concept Artist  - putting the final touches to the creations


Tasks can be broken down into several types, such as the following:

  • Locations: architecture (exteriors and interiors) and environment (complex compositions that include scenery, flora, and architecture)
  • Characters (people, creatures, and animals)
  • Machinery (vehicles, robots, weapons, and tools)
  • Keyframes and storyboards
  • Various interfaces (infographics)

Start with simple geometric shapes—for example, architecture or weapons. Then move on to studying anatomy.

Concept Artist - every line and every shadow count


All types of tasks can be performed in different styles, such as realism and stylization (which includes a huge number of subtypes).

The most efficient method is to concentrate on one style and work on it for some time (for example, three months). It’s better to start with realism and move progressively toward stylization.

Concept Artist – music is an important tool for any artist


First of all, I recommend that you read about composition and dynamics in Framed Ink: Drawing and Composition for Visual Storytellers, by Marcos Mateu-Mestre. The author explains how creative artists think and what they make the viewer focus on. From the very beginning, you must understand the rules of frame composition and emphasis. Only then is it time for perspective. Framed Perspective Vol. 1: Technical Perspective and Visual Storytelling by the same author can help you with that.

Next, move on to James Gurney’s Color and Light: A Guide for the Realist Painter.

Once again, as you are learning, you are forbidden to criticize your own work and make statements like "I’m a worthless artist. I can’t do anything. So many artists draw better than I do." You should also avoid comparing your work with that of others. You can compare your work only with the work you did at earlier stages of your professional development. In this way, you can track your own progress.

You can look to other artists’ work for inspiration and reference. 

I hope you found this article useful. Thank you for reading it.