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How to Become a Concept Artist for Video Games

By The Arty Teacher - November 6, 1989

What is a Concept Artist for Video Games?

A concept artist for video games visualizes and designs characters, environments, and objects, creating the initial visual concepts that guide the development of the game’s aesthetics and world.

What Skills does a Concept Artist for Video Games need?

To become a concept artist for video games, you’ll need to be imaginative, have excellent drawing skills, and a passion for creating characters, environments, and cool ideas that bring video game worlds to life. It’s like being the mastermind behind the game’s look and feel.

What Qualification Does a Concept Artist for Video Games Need?

BA bachelor’s degree in game art, video art, fine arts, illustration, graphic design, or a related field provides a strong foundation. Courses or specialised programs focusing on concept art, digital illustration, and visual storytelling are advantageous. Mastery of digital art software like Photoshop, Illustrator, or specialized software such as Procreate or Clip Studio Paint is crucial. Additionally, a strong portfolio demonstrating a diverse range of artistic styles, character designs, environments, and storytelling abilities is highly valued.

Students aspiring to become concept artists for video games can take several steps while still in school to develop skills and build a foundation for their future career:

Building a CV

If you are aspiring to become a concept artist for video games, you can take some of the steps below while still in school to develop skills and build a foundation for this career:

  1. Art and Design Courses: Opt for art! Enroll in art classes where you can develop your drawing, illustration and/or digital design skills to build a strong artistic skill set.
  2. Digital Art Software Mastery: Familiarise yourself with digital art tools and software like Photoshop, Illustrator, Procreate, or Clip Studio Paint through tutorials or self-guided learning.
  3. Create a Diverse Portfolio: Develop a portfolio showcasing different art pieces, including character designs, environments, props, and mood boards to display versatility and creativity.
  4. Participate in Competitions: Enter art contests, especially those related to concept art or video game design, to challenge skills and gain recognition.
  5. Join Art Clubs or Workshops: Join art clubs, attend workshops, or seek mentorship opportunities to collaborate with peers, learn new techniques, and receive feedback.
  6. Personal Projects: Undertake personal concept art projects inspired by video games, movies, or books to evidence your passion for this career.
  7. Study Art and Game Design: Learn about art history, storytelling, and game design principles to understand how visual concepts contribute to the gaming experience.
  8. Networking and Exposure: Attend industry events, join online communities, and connect with professionals or artists in the gaming industry to gain insights and build connections.
  9. Seek Internships or Shadowing: Explore internships or shadowing experiences at game studios or with concept artists to gain firsthand knowledge of the industry.
  10. Continuous Learning: Stay updated on emerging trends, technologies, and advancements in concept art through online resources, forums, or industry publications.

By engaging in these activities, you can develop essential skills, build a robust portfolio, gain industry insights, and demonstrate your passion and commitment to becoming a concept artist for video games.

Further Reading

How To Become A Video Game Concept Artist

Learn more about Art Careers.

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The Arty Teacher

Sarah Crowther is The Arty Teacher. She is a high school art teacher in the North West of England. She strives to share her enthusiasm for art by providing art teachers around the globe with high-quality resources and by sharing her expertise through this blog.

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