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Hi people of ConceptArt.org
I am a year 12 A level student and I'm looking at going into concept art. I'm currently doing Art, Maths, Physics and Chemistry and I want to drop Chemistry for year 13, carry on with Art, Maths and Physics, then do Art (possibly combined with maths) at University.
However my mum is continually complaining that I should instead drop art and go into some other field so I can get more money because she is convinced that if I become a concept artist I will have trouble even paying for somewhere to live and will have trouble affording food, clothes etc. and definitely won't be able to afford in anything else like games, music, festivals etc.
So I was hoping some of you who already work as a concept artist (ideally in the UK) would be able to provide an insight into what the standard of living is as a concept artist.
Thanks in advance.
Concept Artist Salaries, this was done in 2007 though.
Thanks, although if anyone can provide some insight from personal experience that would be greatly appreciated, so I can get an idea of how sufficient such amounts of money are for living costs and extra stuff.
It depends on what manner of employment you are after. If you work for a games company for example, you are more than likely going to be on salary, which would be (to some degree) negotiable when you apply. As for standard of living, that would also depend on how you want to live your life, spend your money, and where you live. Freelancers, tend to earn slightly more but often live in a state of uncertainty as to where their next job will be coming from. In the UK my experience is there are less freelance concept artists working at games companies because of dealing with IPs. They want you in-house, which is fair enough.
There are limited positions for concept artists, something you have to bare in mind. Nearly all concept artists I know double up with something else, whether it's modelling, animation, storyboarding or whatever. But to be honest those are skills which would be valuable to anyone thinking of CA as a career anyway.
Concept artists (and in fact many kinds of artists) can make very very nice livings, no different than anyone else. Your mom in many ways show the sort of narrow minded assumptions that all artists are the "starving artist" variety. Really really not true. There are good jobs for talented artists.
However, in many ways it's probably more difficult than many professions, requiring a LOT of personal time spent developing your skills, and then needing to compete with a LOT of other very talented artists. Concept art may not even be a full time position in a lot of places. Instead they may have their other artists work on concept art as needed. If you work hard and have a knack for it, you can probably make a living at art. A lot of people however give up before they reach that level, or decide they are content leaving art as a past time. Only you can determine if you have the desire strong enough to follow through.
If I was doing a mixed art/maths degree, would that be a useful contribution towards doubling up with something like modelling, I assume the maths part would show that you are a good learner, therefore could quickly pick up how to use the modelling tools (although I have done some messing in Softimage XSI before)
As for living related stuff, I live in the UK of course, and I'm not the type who spends stupid amounts of money on clothes and stuff, I generally prefer to save my money for buying games, upgrading the PC occasionally, CDs, sometimes music festivals/gigs. So is it likely that if I were living like that I would be able to get by ok?
(Oh, and I would be happy living in a decent sized flat, I definitely wouldn't be bothered about getting a house for a long time)
And I would be happy working in-house.
Thanks again , my mum is now a little less pessimistic about it now I've got some info about the average wage in the industry.
EDIT: Since year 10 I have always been one of the top in my art classes, and my art teacher at secondary school had recommended that I look into becoming an illustrator (which I believe has many similarities with CA) so I think I have talent (although strangely I was truly terrible at art until I was about 13 or 14, when it just 'clicked'). Although I think I should put more work into developing my skills more, because at the moment I find I don't practice much other than what I need to do for my Art A-level . I have a habit of spending more time playing games than designing and drawing stuff to do with them, normally when I get back from school I can't concentrate well so I just play games because it's easier to do. Although I have joined a mod development team for a game as a concept artist which should give me a boost in the amount of work I do, and I've started doing some random pieces now I have a Wacom Digital art is so much easier to do when you don't have much time . But I am certain that I want to continue with (concept) art, I just need to make the time to get more practice in.
I'll start posting my stuff here once I have enough that I'm happy with. But I should be revising now, and being a member on so many forums probably doesn't help with my time management XD
Last edited by RB2610; May 30th, 2009 at 12:58 PM.
I'd keep art for A2 for sure. If anything just to keep you sane!
I know its accepted wisdom that you drop a subject after AS - but I was in a similar position to you, and in the end I kept on with 4 at A2. It was more work, but I passed all 4 (inc 2 'A' grades). It is possible if you put your mind to it.
Uni-wise, the problem is that there are X-thousand arts grads a year and only the top few walk into a job. As such I'd wary of combined courses - or any course that spreads you too thin. It's a cool idea "being able to show" such and such, but it won't beat the bloke who actually did X for 3 years and has an incredible portfolio. You could be much better off focusing on X and experimenting with the software etc.
Illustration is a good bet - a good illo course will have an anatomy module and a more commercial approach as compared to something like fine art. Illustration has exactly the same job situation as any other creative course, but that's why you work every day, do the extra evening life drawing and be one of those top few.
Have you considered an art and design foundation course? 1 year. LEA pays. Fun stuff.
Worst case scenario - if it all goes tits up: become a banker
Think - every course at every uni has 50-100 graduates every year. I can't find the exact numbers with Google atm, but yes.
It is a bit skewed because a percentage of them are crap and a percentage of them never had any intention of getting an art job. But that still leaves a huge number of decent graduates looking for work.
I don't know much about the CA side of things - I'm a modelmaker, but employers will definitely be able to pick and choose. I've heard illustration is tough to get in to - all the fun stuff is. Sculptors for example - there are some incredibly talented hard working sculptors out there - but there are loads for not much work - where I'm working atm, their CVs go straight in the folder with the crazies. It's a bit soul destroying sometimes
However - the statistics are skewed. If you pay attention. get some contacts, work every day and push yourself - you will walk all over the "I was in bed till 4pm today" crowd.
It is doable.
Yeah, I might look at those foundation courses, someone I know was looking at doing one to decide whether to do maths or art, she's not interested in games though
I guess the quality of education does count. However, those who actually get into those good art schools must pretty good and motivated already.