How to Become a Concept Artist? 6 Steps Guide

Published: October 5, 2023

Concept art involves creating designs and illustrations to represent ideas or concepts for various media, such as video games, films, television, and animation. Concept artists are responsible for creating initial sketches, renderings, and designs that will ultimately be used as the foundation for final artwork or production.

Concept art is commonly used by 2D and 3D designers, game designers, and animation studios, who use it to develop and refine their ideas and turn them into finished products. The demand for concept artists has been steadily growing over the years, with the field expected to grow at a rate of 4% from 2019-2029.

The average salary for a concept artist is $85,000 per year, making it a lucrative career choice. Concept art plays an important role in the modern era, as it helps bring creative ideas to life and enhances the overall quality and visual appeal of various media. 

guide on how to become a concept artist

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced artist, this blog will provide a six-step guide to becoming a concept artist to give you the essential knowledge and skills required to succeed as a concept artist in today’s competitive job market.

Are you ready to bring your creative ideas to life and launch a career as a concept artist? Dive into our comprehensive and get started today!

6 Actionable Steps for Becoming a Concept Artist in 2023

Here are the steps which will help you to become a professional concept artist

  • Step# 1 Learn the Fundamentals of Concept Art
  • Step# 2 Get Certification in Concept Art
  • Step# 3 Building Your Portfolio
  • Step# 4 Finding Inspiration and Developing Your Style
  • Step# 5 Search for Job Opportunities and Career Paths
  • Step# 6 Staying Up-to-date

Step 1: Learn the Fundamentals of Concept Art

Concept art has evolved over the years, with the digital medium becoming a preferred platform for most artists. To become a concept artist, an aspiring artist must have a strong foundation in traditional art techniques such as drawing, painting, and design principles. This is important in creating visually compelling designs.

Understanding anatomy, perspective, color theory, and lighting is critical in creating realistic designs that communicate ideas and emotions effectively. Practicing regularly and seeking feedback from mentors or peers to improve skills and develop a unique style is important. 

Concept art often involves creating digital designs using Adobe Photoshop, ZBrush, or Autodesk Maya software. Digital tools allow artists to experiment with various designs and quickly make changes, resulting in a more streamlined workflow. 

They offer features such as layers, which allow artists to work on specific design elements, and masks, which enable them to create precise selections and edits. These tools also offer the advantage of working in a non-destructive manner, meaning that any changes made to a design can be undone.

Step 2: Get Certification in Concept Art 

There are several best concept art courses and bootcamps available for those seeking certification. These programs cover a wide range of topics, including digital painting, character design, creature design, environment design, and others. Experienced artists instruct them and provide valuable feedback and direction throughout the course.

Consider enrolling in a degree or diploma program at an art school or university to obtain certification in concept art. These programs offer comprehensive training in art and design principles and specific courses in concept art, such as 3D animation courses and graphic design courses.

Some top art schools and universities offering concept art programs include the Art Center College of Design in California and the School of Visual Arts in New York City. These programs provide a combination of traditional and digital art courses and access to industry-standard software and equipment.

Moreover, industry organizations such as the Concept Art Association also offer a certification program that assesses your skills and knowledge in various areas of concept art, such as character design and creature design. Obtaining certification from such organizations can make you stand out to potential employers.

Step 3: Building Your Portfolio

Being a concept artist, you should focus on creating a diverse range of concept art pieces that demonstrate your abilities in various areas, such as character design, environment design, and prop design. Your portfolio should also include digital and traditional art pieces, sketches, and roughs showing your thought process and imagination skills.

You can build your portfolio by working on personal projects, such as creating character designs or environmental scenes. You can also use the hands-on projects you worked on during your online concept art courses and bootcamps to add more pieces to your portfolio. Seeking feedback from mentors to improve your designs and refine your style is essential.

It’s important to curate it carefully to showcase your best work. Your portfolio should include your strongest pieces, and the layout and presentation should be clean and professional. You can showcase your portfolio online through websites such as ArtStation or Behance or through a physical portfolio that you can bring to interviews or meetings with potential clients.

Step 4: Finding Inspiration and Developing Your Style

Becoming a concept artist is finding inspiration from various sources, including movies, video games, and books. These can help you develop your unique style and improve your creativity. Inspiration can come from anywhere, and staying curious and open-minded to different genres and techniques is critical.

Studying the works of other artists and analyzing their techniques can also help you discover new approaches and ideas to incorporate into your work. In addition, following the social media accounts of established concept artists or attending industry events and conventions can help you stay up-to-date with the latest trends and techniques in the field.

Developing your style takes time and practice. As you continue to create new artwork and experiment with different techniques, you’ll begin to discover your unique style. Your style should be a reflection of your personality and interests, and it should be adaptable to different types of projects.

It’s also important to be versatile as a concept artist. While having a unique style is good, you may need to adapt to different project requirements and client needs. In addition, being able to work in different genres and styles can expand your opportunities as a concept artist and make you more marketable.

Step 5: Search for Job Opportunities and Career Paths

After building a solid portfolio, it’s time to search for job opportunities and explore various career paths in concept art. One way to begin is by utilizing job search platforms such as LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and Indeed, which offer a variety of listings for concept art positions across industries.

Some popular job boards for creative professionals include ArtStation, Creative Heads, and Behance. Another option is to explore placement programs offered by bootcamps. These programs provide students with access to job boards and career services, helping them to find employment opportunities that align with their skill sets and interests. 

Additionally, university job portals can be an excellent resource for graduates with art or design degrees. These portals often list positions related to concept art. Many universities have established connections with companies in the creative industry, which can provide graduates with access to unique job opportunities.

It’s important to remember that the concept art industry is highly competitive and may take some time to secure a job. However, remaining persistent and continuously improving one’s skills and portfolio can increase the likelihood of finding a desirable position.

Step 6: Staying Up-to-date

The world of concept art is constantly evolving, and it’s essential to keep learning and improving to remain competitive. One way to stay current is by attending industry events and conferences. These events offer an opportunity to network with other professionals, learn from experts in the field, and stay current with emerging technologies and industry trends.

Another method to stay current is by reading industry blogs and social media accounts. Many concept artists and industry professionals share their work and insights on platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and ArtStation. Following these accounts lets you stay informed about new techniques, software updates, and industry news.

Continuing education is also critical to staying up to date in concept art. This can include taking courses and workshops to learn or improve existing skills. Many online platforms and universities offer concept art courses covering digital painting, character design, and 3D modeling.

Finally, staying connected with other concept artists and industry professionals can also help you stay up to date. Joining online communities, attending meetups, and participating in forums can help you stay connected with others in the industry and learn from their experiences and insights.

What Does A Concept Artist Do? 

Concept artists create initial designs, illustrations, and sketches for various media, including video games, films, television, and animation. They work closely with 2D and 3D designers, game designers, and animation studios to develop and refine ideas and turn them into finished products.  

what concept artist duties and job

Concept artists use their artistic skills and creativity to bring their client’s visions to life, often working with digital tools and software to create detailed and visually stunning designs.

They are an essential part of the creative process, and their work can greatly influence a final product’s overall look and feel.

10 Major Duties and Responsibilities of Concept Artists

  1. Create concept art, including character designs, environment designs, prop designs, and storyboards, that effectively communicate the visual direction of a project.
  2. Collaborate with the creative team, including art directors, designers, and writers, to develop and refine visual concepts and ensure they align with the overall project vision.
  3. Use traditional and digital art techniques and software to create sketches, renderings, and illustrations that effectively convey the design concepts.
  4. Research and gather reference materials to inform and inspire design choices.
  5. Revise and refine concept art based on feedback from the team and clients, and iterate until the final design is approved.
  6. Create design documents and presentations that clearly communicate design concepts and specifications to other team members, such as animators and modelers.
  7. Keep up-to-date with industry trends and developments, and incorporate new techniques and technologies into your work.
  8. Collaborate with other artists and designers to ensure consistency in the visual style of a project.
  9. Meet project deadlines and manage time effectively to ensure all work is completed on time.
  10. Attend team meetings and provide regular updates on the status of design work.

10 Skills Required to Become a Concept Artist 

  1. Strong drawing and painting skills.
  2. Ability to create visually appealing compositions.
  3. Understanding of color theory and lighting.
  4. Proficiency in digital art software (e.g., Photoshop, Illustrator, Procreate)
  5. Knowledge of anatomy and perspective.
  6. Creativity and imagination.
  7. Ability to take direction and work collaboratively with a team.
  8. Strong communication skills to effectively present ideas and concepts.
  9. Time management and ability to work within tight deadlines.
  10. Adaptability to different styles and art directions.

How to Become a Concept Artist - FAQs

Is It Hard to Become a Concept Artist?

Yes, becoming a concept artist requires significant hard work, dedication, and artistic skill. Developing the necessary skills to succeed in this competitive field may take several years of training and practice.

Can Anyone Be a Concept Artist?

While anyone can pursue a career as a concept artist, it requires a strong passion for art, creativity, and a willingness to put in the necessary time and effort to develop the required skills. A background in art or design can be helpful, but it is only sometimes necessary. Several online courses and bootcamps are available to help you understand how to become a concept artist.

Are Concept Artists in Demand?

Concept artists are in high demand in the gaming, film, and animation industries, where they play a vital role in developing and refining ideas and turning them into finished products.
The demand for concept artists is expected to grow in the coming years, making it a potentially lucrative and rewarding career choice for those with the necessary skills and experience.

Conclusion

In conclusion, becoming a concept artist is a challenging yet rewarding journey that requires a strong commitment to learning and improving your skills. By following these six easy steps on how to become a concept artist, you can set yourself on the path toward a lucrative career.

Remember always to seek out new inspiration, practice your techniques, build your portfolio, and network with other professionals in the industry. By putting in the time and effort, you can turn your passion for art and creativity into a thriving career as a concept artist.

Whether you’re a seasoned artist looking to expand your skill set or a beginner just starting out, there’s never been a better time to pursue a profession in concept art. So, what are you waiting for? Take the first step today and start honing your craft.

Join online communities, attend workshops, and watch for job opportunities. With persistence and dedication, you can achieve your dream of becoming a concept artist and bring your unique vision to life in the world of entertainment and media. So, go ahead and unleash your creativity. We can’t wait to see what you’ll create!