But let's start with the basics.
What a Concept Artist does?
A concept artist is that creative guy/gal whose job is to design various game elements. And making so while sticking to the brief. (Usually, someone with the "Director" part attached to their job names, like an Art Director or a Creative Director, is calling the shots here. )
So when a studio needs to th
ink of a monster that will fit the game setting or set up a specific mood for a perfect game environment - they're coming to the concept artist.
Be warned that there's a difference between Illustrators and Concept Artists.
(If you're curious about it and would like to know more about how to become a concept artist for video games, and do you need an art school to become one, check out our article: To degree or not to degree
What is Environment Concept Art?
Environment Concept Art focuses on setting a game that you're working on in a specific place. All landscapes, structures, elements should be carefully designed to build the mood of the game.
The Concept Artist's job is to imagine these places and draw them so other game developers (like Environment Artists) would know what they should aim for as a final piece. These images need to make them convincing enough, whether it's a busy city street or an alien planet.
Environment concept artists need to cover the art fundamentals.
Especially ace the perspective in art. If anything happens to be off, the slightest mistake in this area can ruin the look and feel of your work if you don't do that. (No pressure).
These types of artists are the masters in guiding the viewer's eye throughout the picture. Enviro guys are often using a trick in which they're putting a silhouette of a person, creature, or animal to add more perspective and build up a scale.
And due to the pressure of finishing a piece fast - many artists are using 3D software to put the scene asap. It's also common to use scraps of photographs that are overpainted in the following steps.
What is Character Concept Art?
Art by Magdalena Radziej
Character Artists' job is to... well, design game characters and creatures. But wait, there's a catch - the goal is to create lifelike characters that embody specific personalities and traits.
Anatomical features, different clothing, color variants. Character Designers do it all. And that means a lot of drawing, my dear.
Character artists need to master human and animal anatomy. Yep, most creatures' designs are based on actual animals that we're all familiar with. It's easier for players to believe even in the most alien creature if it has traits of a living animal that we all know.
The truth is that majority of your designs will be rejected. And that's an entirely normal process. So you can't attach yourself too much to the art you've created.
What is Weapon and Asset Design?
Art by Garreth Jackson
Now this one is tricky. Weapon designers need to understand how the items they want to design would work in real life.
So part of their job is basically research of industrial designs.
You probably noticed that most concept art types aim to create a convincing design. Weapon and asset design is no different. However, what you need to consider is that the weapon you're designing should be used by a specific character.
Weapon designers are no strangers to 3D software.
What is Vehicle Design?
Art by Maciej Janaszek
This is kinda similar to the previous concept art type.
Vehicle designers need to understand the tools and processes used in traditional vehicle production (cars, aircrafts, ships, you name it).
These machines need to sell the fantasy that they could actually work in real life.
Vehicle designers need to pair up this knowledge with the bling of creativity. Cause in this field of work, the usual won't cut.
What is Prop Design?
Art by Hue Teo
Dragon sculptures in a fantasy game, ornamented flasks filled with glowy potions. Of course, someone has to take care of that as well.
These items are filling the game environment with life. And gives an extra flavor to it.
Everyday objects will be your inspiration. Then infuse them with your creative mind. Mingle with different art periods to find a style that matches the setting you need to design your items for.
You gotta be able to draw these objects from different angles.
Have your personal sketchbook close to you and draw as often as you can. (But, I guess this advice is universal for all concept artist's types that I mentioned in this text).
It's a bit much, isn't it? But you can sigh in relief cause - to be a successful concept artist, you don't need to take care of all of it. That's why at the beginning of this text, I mentioned that you need to specialize.
Just pick one or two specialties. Then, choose one of the styles of concept art, practice and master the hell out of it.
And who knows? Maybe in the future, we'll be able to offer you the best concept art job. ;)
Share your favorite concept artists you're looking upon in the comments or on our socials.
(Oh, and let us know if you have any specific topics you would like us to cover).
Art in the cover belongs to Feng Zhu. It's damn good as the rest of his stuff. Check out his school