Who is a concept artist and what skills are required for the profession?

The profession of a concept artist is considered auxiliary in many entertainment areas, but without it the content would not look as interesting and original as it does with it.

What a concept artist does

Concept art artist is a modern illustrator in the truest sense of the word. He draws various objects, ranging from trash cans to characters. Most often, the specialist works in game development, film industry, comics, animation.

The artist’s drawings are needed so that an object is created on their basis. For example, a video game has a main character. They have already invented a character for him, prescribed a script, identified some visual features.

But all this is only in the text or in the head. And here the concept artist turns on, who embodies the idea by drawing one or more art.

Based on these drawings, other developers create a 3D model, and in the end it turns out that the final version in the game is exactly what it should be.

Theoretically, you can do without a concept artist, explaining everything to 3D illustrators and model creators, but, firstly, it will take much longer, and secondly, the result (in most cases) will not be
meet expectations.

Most often, a concept artist works in two-dimensional space (2D). Some projects require 3D knowledge, but usually this is a different specialty which you can find out about here: https://kevurugames.com/hire-3d-artists/ .

Most of the drawings are created on graphic tablets or regular tablets. Less often, it is required to draw in a classical way on paper, but nevertheless, this is a mandatory skill for this specialist.

It is very rare for concepts to end up in the final version, but in this case, they are no longer concepts. Let’s go back to the level example.

For example, an illustrator brilliantly depicted a landscape that a developer recreated in a game. This drawing can be used in the game itself as a picture in the office or inserted into a suitable video. Sometimes even separate books with art for a specific project are published.

Let’s dive a little deeper into the work of a concept artist before moving on to other aspects. In addition to obvious qualities like the ability to draw, fantasy, imagination, adherence to a technical assignment (it will always be, but in some, there is room for self-expression), the profession requires knowledge from other areas.

So, the character artist must understand anatomy, otherwise, he will not be able to portray a person or an animal realistically.

As for technical specifications, in some cases, the artist will be explained everything thoroughly, from color to shadow, but there will also be customers who will give only basic recommendations, relying on the experience and portfolio of the specialist. This is where you can bring your ideas, style, and vision of objects.

Responsibilities and requirements

Due to the fact that the profession of a concept artist can only be expressed in drawing art, the general requirements for vacancies and orders are similar.

The difference is only in the direction of the concept and in the requirements for the project itself. For example, this is a concept of a character or location for a game or movie. Common requirements and responsibilities:
• proficiency in Photoshop at a professional level;
• a good level of understanding of the basics of design (a sense of form, proportions, color, composition);
• the ability to work in a given style;
• drawing concepts, props, locations, characters, and effects;
• understanding composition, framing, and styling;
• understanding of light, color, rhythm when building a frame; the ability to draw by hand in different styles.
Some customers and employers require knowledge of programs like Adobe After Effects and 3DS Max to work with 3D graphics and animation. Typically, these are the responsibilities of the senior concept artist.


Since the visual arts itself is a rather complex area, we recommend that only those who have at least basic drawing skills go to concept artists. Otherwise, the basics will take a lot of time, and then you still need to study the profession itself.