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  1. #1
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    Full time illustrator, looking to make a switch to concept art

    Hey all. I've been a freelance illustrator working in collectible card games, and other games for a few years.
    You can see my portfolio here: http://www.joewilson-illustration.com/

    I've worked with Sony and Blizzard on card game art, in addition to other smaller publishers, and I've been full time with freelance for a few years, so I feel like I have some experience under my belt.

    I've been thinking seriously for some time that I'd like to make a switch to concept art, and possibly find a full time position (or even freelance in this other direction). I was hoping I could get a few people working in the field willing to give me some guidance on tailoring my portfolio for this kind of work. I've thrown together a quick blog (not formatted or ready for AD eyes) to show the work I have on hand, and I'm working up more samples that I think are more specific to a concept artist position.

    http://joewilson-conceptart.blogspot.com/

    I'd love some extra feedback from pros in the field. Stuff like "more of X", "throw out Y", "do a few pages of Z". Maybe some links to "perfect" concept art portfolios. I'm open to any and all advice. Thanks!
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    Perhaps more examples within the thread rather than a link would generate more of a response.
    Last edited by J Wilson; February 29th, 2012 at 11:55 AM.
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    Character portraits were for various Piazo Publishing games and supplements. Most of the rest are personal studies and projects.
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    Weapon silhouettes
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    Hey Joe - good stuff. You have a solid sense of form and color and your ideas come across clearly. As an AD I would want to see more process work/exploration of particular concepts/subjects. Keep in mind that concept work is about exploring a broad range of ideas more than finished work. If I see you can do decent finished work on one or two pieces I don't need to see it on any others.

    As far as specifics...
    Environments are a bit weak - I would leave those out. Unless you really want to be doing environments, in which case they need more work.
    More full figure work as opposed to a lot of busts.
    Along with that maybe more costume examples/variations.

    Basically it feels like one idea=one illustration. Try to think of it more like one idea=10variations. Hope that helps - good luck!
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    Thanks JeffX99. You are spot on, as most of this is pulled directly from my illustration work to see what I had on hand to start a concept art portfolio. Unfortunately I haven't always saved much of my exploration stage stuff until recently (or it looks dated to me compared to my current skill level), so iteration work is where I'm focusing next.

    I'll probably pull the environment stuff out before I start seeking work with it. I'll focus on characters/creatures and weapons/armor first. Thanks for the help.
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    Glad to help man. The obvious solution is to set yourself up a couple of "briefs" to work from. Might make one somewhat comprehensive, like 5 races, their weapons, mounts, symbols. Another maybe more in depth exploration of a single character/creature with upgrades. Basically you want to think of the kind of work that you would be doing day to day and shoot for showing that ability. I've been assuming video game design for some reason...slightly different exploration for film or animation or toys.

    Edit: (should have been in first reply) You did a good job with the color variants on the fish-man thing. That showed you know how to explore color variations. An AD is going to want to that, but one example should be enough. They're more interested in seeing a bunch of interesting directions you took that character before deciding on that one.
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    Update with character design iteration.
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    This stuff looks solid...nice clean renderings. Two thoughts (and, FYI, I'm not a concept artist, so take it as you will):

    1. Stylistically, everything here feels very WoW/WoTC....you might want to consider doing at least some stuff that tries to escape from the existing hidebound genres (D&D, Starcraft, Disney, Japanese cuteness, etc.), if only to demonstrate to potential clients that you can think independently.

    2. The anatomy and proportions on the characters here feel, overall, serviceable-but-not-really-great. It might be worth it for you to make a push toward a more analytical approach to the human figure---work from photos, take some life-drawing classes--to help your work stand out from the pack.

    As always, just my two cents.
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    As you can tell i like your work and your knowledge J but what Giacomo is saying is true. You keep doing nice and polished works but you've never pushed yourself into this stuff. It's like you're setting a photographer studio to shot at your subjects. Years ago a professional painter said me this: Doing art is like doing love, when i was young i hate to get dirt with colors, mess up the canvas and do something i cannot totally control. When i've realized that this was the fun thing about art i've enjoyed much more doing love.

    This thing opened one of my 145 eyes at that time, hope you can understand what i'm talking about
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    Thanks Giacomo and Hitsu//San

    My work feels very WoW and WotC probably because that's the exact field I work in (I'm actually working on more WoW cards right now). My illustration portfolio was built for that kind of work, and this concept portfolio is partly built from existing work.

    I want this concept portfolio to meet the needs of a potential client, but it still needs to remain somewhat visually consistent with the rest of my work. That isn't to say I'm not open to evolving (and certainly to learning- I hope to always be learning), only that I don't think it's a good idea for me to have a radical departure in look, simply to have one.

    Still, even with that said, I know I've already established that I can do a somewhat "polished" look, so I was thinking that my next images should definitely show the looser, faster style I work in also.

    Thanks for both the interest and help guys
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    what made you tire of illustration and want to make the switch?

    btw seen ur stuff before, is nice!
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    Im not sure if you saw the latest feng zhu video.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3TVji...1&feature=plcp

    Feng explains the difference in illustration and concept art. And one thing I can spot in your work is the lack of perspective drawings.

    Feng explains that illustrators do more figures, protraits, landscapes, (soft stuff) and concept artists do environments, vehicles, (more angular, hard metal stuff)

    I suppose you need more angular metallic stuff in your portfolio. Cars, tanks, futuristic buildings etc..

    Good Luck!
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