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Concept Artist Jobs in the Game Art and Design Industry

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Viryabo has been a game-buff for over five decades. From snakes and ladders at a young age, chess as an adult, and now video and e-games.


What Is a Concept Artist?

Being a concept artist means you are in a highly rewarding and fulfilling profession. Concept art is not only an extremely creative career, but it is also an exciting one, and highly competitive.

Aside from the fact that requires heavy commitment, hard work, and perseverance, you must also have a clear understanding of what exactly is expected of you in the game art and design industry.

Creativity, Versatility, and Passion

Concept artist jobs involve being able to create visual art ideas for anything ranging from video games, designing characters, forms, structures, vehicles, and creatures, to movies, game design and production, digital entertainment, and various other creative assets.

One common factor amongst concept artists is that they are very passionate about the profession, are highly motivated, quite flexible, and extremely open-minded. They enjoy visualizing and creating art and are very committed to their jobs.

Concept artists are having a grand time this century. Their industry of visual representation is highly fascinating and because it is remarkably lucrative, the job opportunities open to them are numerous.

Find Your Niche

As a concept artist trying to build a career, there are various niches to choose from. Each of these niches covers different styles, techniques, and areas within the industry that also includes designing virtual worlds, animation, comics, and video game art and development processes.

The major goal a concept artist needs to achieve is the ability to, through illustrations, communicate a visual representation of an idea, design, or creative mood for use in any of the final commodities within the various niches.

The workload is always enjoyable, and the good income that comes with it makes it a dream occupation for creative art students and art and design enthusiasts desirous of joining the concept art train.

What is Required to Become a Concept Artist?

To be successful enough to attain a high-income level in this career, first, it is best to get an education in the field of game art and design. This you can do as an online student, or as a student on a physical campus. There are self-taught artists who aspire to become concept artists as well, but they have to be very artistic and imaginative to get good jobs.

And if you are looking for job opportunities in the game art and design industry, there are certain basic skills you must have so that you can have an edge over other job seekers. They are:

  • Good drawing skills and life-sketch abilities. Must be good in the art of imaginative composition.
  • Skills required of a professional illustrator of human character and animal forms.
  • Good observation skills of the environment and everything around you.
  • Good grasp of anatomy proportion and skeletal structures. These are always required in life drawings.

The Importance of Life Drawings Skills in Game Art and Design

Having life drawing skills in game art and design is essential. If you are a concept artist, you’ll understand why the rules of construction and posture are applied to your concepts all the time. For instance, in video game design, life drawings must come across perfectly in all creative works produced by a video game designer.

Additionally, designs of the environment for the games, including building structures, plants, water, landscapes, weather condition, speeding cars, or moving automobiles must be created to appear:

  • Real, natural, and alive
  • Believable
  • Captivating
  • Impressive

This is the area where having good observational skills comes to play when you seek concept artist jobs. Artists that have developed a “mastery of artistic techniques and skills” usually have the best job prospects.

Top 15 Concept Artist Jobs

As a concept artist, you’ll find that you are an essential part of a creative and production process, making you a valuable asset to companies in the industry. If you are software savvy, it is an added plus because you will be open to more opportunities in the industry because of the high demand for more detailed visuals, images and backgrounds. This demand continues to rise every year.

Having said that, there are still vast job opportunities for concept artists, and each can always carve out a niche for himself/herself in any of the following categories which can be described as the top concept artist jobs. They are, in no particular order:

1. Animation

The art of manipulating drawings or sketches to make them appear as if they are moving. Today, most animations are digitally produced with computer-generated imagery.

2. Comic Illustrators

This is a medium used to relay ideas by images that are mostly combined with text or other visual information. Cartoons, comic books, and similar forms of illustrations are the most common image-making means.

3. Visual and Special Effects Designers

They create special effects, animation, and other visual images using computers, video, film, video, computers, and other electronic tools and media, to use for products like computer games, movies, music videos, and advertising.

4. Illustrators

They are professionals who use their artistic skill, technical knowledge, and originality to come up with visual representations of different concepts. Illustrator works can be found in product labels, children's books, medical references, magazines, websites, and other print media.

5. Gaming Industry

The video game industry is the sector involved in the development, marketing, and monetization of video games and encompasses many job disciplines including multimedia art, animation, video game testing, and customer support agent in the gaming industry.

6. Integrated Advertising

This is a combination of media resources like television, radio, print media, search, and social media and how to leverage these resources to create a more memorable and complete experience for the end-consumers by developing brand recognition.

7. Game Art Design

This concept art niche is a subset of game development. It is the process of creating the artistic aspects for video games, a process that begins in the pre-production phase of creating a new video game.

8. 2D Concept Artists

A 2D concept artist is a graphic artist who works closely with art directors, story writers, and other members of a design team. The graphic artist's creations form the foundation for a movie’s or video game's overall design.

9. Graphic Designer

They create visual concepts manually or with the aid of computer software to communicate ideas that must inspire, inform, and captivate consumers enough, to make them buy a product. A graphic artist develops production designs for advertisers, brochures, journals, magazines, and corporate reports

10. 3D Character Artist

The character artist creates character assets for use in games and marketing materials.

11. Character Designer

A character artist creates the entire concept, style, and artwork of a character from the start. The process is quite complex but is also one of the most sought-after careers for aspiring concept artists.

12. Digital Artist

Digital art falls under the umbrella of media art and is an artistic work that uses digital technology as part of the design and presentation process. They have also been referred to as computer artists, and multimedia artists.

13. Digital Painter

Digital painting is an emerging art form in which old-style painting techniques like watercolour and oil paints are applied using digital tools by means of a computer. a tablet and stylus, and painting software. It basically means creating artwork digitally, on a computer.

14. Environment Concept Artist

This is a specialized artist that focuses on the construction of world assets for a video game or a movie and can build anything from structures, forms, and weather conditions, to natural terrain and environmental props.

15. Calligraphy

This is a form of visual art related to the design and execution of lettering with a broad tip instrument, brush, or other writing instruments. It involves the functional inscriptions and designs to fine-art where the letters may or may not be readable. It has been described as "the art of giving form to signs in an expressive, harmonious, and skillful manner."

Further Reading

Some Kids Make Money Online Testing New Video Games

Tips for Aspiring Concept Artists

  1. Draw constantly and persistently. This is necessary for success in the game art and design industry.
  2. Form a habit of doodling when you are not designing.
  3. Never copy the creative works of other concept artists. Only view their work for inspiration.
  4. Become 'blank paper friendly'. It’s easy for artists to start off any sketch.
  5. Become a critic of your own work. Concept artists must be comfortable about taking a hard look at their drawings to see what does not seem right.
  6. Change your weak areas whilst improving on portions that already work as illustrations.
  7. Focus on a planned layout and try to work out a captivating and impressive composition.

As a concept artist in the game art and design industry, follow these tips that will help you discover your own personal styles and touches. They will help you ensure that you develop the skills to produce creations that will make the unreal seem real, enjoyable and believable.

© 2009 viryabo

Your Views Are Welcome

viryabo (author) from Lagos, Nigeria. on February 07, 2012:

I know what you mean John. It's a tough world out there, but with PATIENCE and PERSEVERANCE, we are almost certain to attain our goals.

You will get a job and the experience you require, but the secret path to that is "never give up".

All the best in your endeavours John.


John Whittle on February 07, 2012:

Getting an education is the easy the part, getting the experience to get a job is for me the hard part. With no experience there’s no job, with no job there’s no experience.

monisa from India on October 06, 2011:

hey,i am monisa. I do sketching as a pass-time. I really like your hub. There are many good things you have said about and i would like to give it a try!Thanks, your information about graphics were really helpful.

Lisco on March 28, 2011:

This article is really useful, especially for those (like I) who don't know how to start in this career. Thanks for sharing it!

Philstar on January 04, 2011:

I agree with tony. You learn more relevant skills from Gnomon workshop instructional DVD's than most colleges curriculums on offer today. (in game design or conceptual game art taht is). Interestingly a Gaming Industry Seminar I attended recently the question was put towards a panel of some the bigwigs the gaming companies how do you select your people?

Everyone Company Director their unanimously chose people with innovative ideas or self-taught artists & programmers who have produced & distributed their own work over degree-qualified candidates. Work hard,learn you craft,think out side the square.

Tony on November 26, 2010:

Just because someone get a degree doesn't mean they're a better artist than anyone who doesn't. It's sad that companies will often overlook real talent in favor of a piece of paper. All that game design classes teach are how to copy what's already been successful, not break any new ground. Those schools are creative black holes and money pits.

Avery Neal on October 31, 2010:

I found this site very useful. My problem is finding a stable job in the industry.

James on October 21, 2010:

Hey, I'm working on a senior project and the occupation I signed for is being a concept artist. I'm supposed to find a community mentor and job shadow them and i was wondering if you can suggest a few.

viryabo (author) from Lagos, Nigeria. on October 07, 2010:

Hi James, I appreciate your visit and your nice comments.

Thank you.


jamestomerson from New York, USA on October 07, 2010:

Very informative article with a nice flow! Thanks for sharing this, Viryabo.



viryabo (author) from Lagos, Nigeria. on September 19, 2010:

Arts & Crafts Fair, thanks.

And thanks for visiting and finding time to leave a nice comment.


arts and craft fairs on September 19, 2010:

thank you for sharing. This is very interesting. I wanna do one. Hopefully, I can make it. Thank you for this info. This really helps.

viryabo (author) from Lagos, Nigeria. on March 16, 2010:

July '09 Ronnie.

viryabo (author) from Lagos, Nigeria. on October 27, 2009:

Hello Helen.

Thank you for your visit and your great suggestion. Will check out the site now. I'm sure many interested in learning game art design will find the info useful, so i will include the link in this hub.

Thanks and Cheers.

Helen on October 27, 2009:

Oops sorry for the double post :)

Helen on October 27, 2009:

If you want to do a course in games concept design try this one: its the first concept design degree in the country and it teachs modelling concept design and matte painting also vehicle and aviation concepts, I am loving every minute of the course :)

Helen on October 27, 2009:

If you want to do a course in games concept design try this one: its the first concept design degree in the country and it teachs modelling concept design and matte painting also vehicle and aviation concepts, I am loving every minute of the course :)