are there actually books that teaches concept art?
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    are there actually books that teaches concept art?

    one that actually talks about actual theories and styles behind it. goes in depth on doing sci fi or fantasy? i never came across a professional written book like that.

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    Concept art is a relatively new field as far as art history goes, and it's kind of too broad for anyone to encapsulate it all in one book ( not to mention the fact that something like the video game medium is always changing rapidly all the time ). So no I don't believe I've come across a book like what you're mentioning. Your best bet is to collect loads of "Art of... " books, from a wide range of media. The Pixar, Dreamworks and Disney books are pretty gold as far as dissecting style. There's also plenty of game art books which is pretty much a tome of information (God of War, Mass Effect, Darksiders 2, Uncharted 2, and on and on and on). Those in themselves will give you plenty to study from but you will have to apply yourself and figure things out a little bit.

    In addition to art of books you might also want to read up on the history of certain genres, like you mentioned sci-fi. Go back and look at where it all came from. Use a bit of critical reasoning and researching and you'll find that the info is all around you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Medelo View Post
    Concept art is a relatively new field as far as art history goes, and it's kind of too broad for anyone to encapsulate it all in one book ( not to mention the fact that something like the video game medium is always changing rapidly all the time ). So no I don't believe I've come across a book like what you're mentioning. Your best bet is to collect loads of "Art of... " books, from a wide range of media. The Pixar, Dreamworks and Disney books are pretty gold as far as dissecting style. There's also plenty of game art books which is pretty much a tome of information (God of War, Mass Effect, Darksiders 2, Uncharted 2, and on and on and on). Those in themselves will give you plenty to study from but you will have to apply yourself and figure things out a little bit.

    In addition to art of books you might also want to read up on the history of certain genres, like you mentioned sci-fi. Go back and look at where it all came from. Use a bit of critical reasoning and researching and you'll find that the info is all around you.
    This has confused me for a while. I don't understand how concept art is a specific field - isn't it just narrative illustration for a specific purpose for games, TV, or film? I mean, you still have to understand composition, design, value, color, draftsmanship, and even storytelling - none of which are new. Style isn't new either.

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    Hi Alice, I meant that concept art can be specific to its different industries Designing for a film versus a game versus animation can be quite different, although like you said they share the core elements of composition, design, value, color, and so on. Also, specifically, concept art as is produced and used for their respective mediums has not been done before this time period of history. An illustration for a storybook is a different thing than designing a world for a game -- they each have to be tailored to how the information is to be accessed. For instance, in a game much of the narrative does not need to be 'told', or even be structured in the traditional linear dramatic arc. Much of a game's narrative can simply be experienced (good example would be the design of the game Dark Souls).

    Further differences might include things like: in a film, or animation, viewers typically only have a few seconds to 'read' the image, whereas in a game world the player is in control and can stop to look around at things in the world. Thus the designs must account for that.

    I guess you could say that concept art is the specific application of such artistic fundamentals that you mentioned for a certain medium.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Medelo View Post
    Hi Alice, I meant that concept art can be specific to its different industries Designing for a film versus a game versus animation can be quite different, although like you said they share the core elements of composition, design, value, color, and so on. Also, specifically, concept art as is produced and used for their respective mediums has not been done before this time period of history. An illustration for a storybook is a different thing than designing a world for a game -- they each have to be tailored to how the information is to be accessed. For instance, in a game much of the narrative does not need to be 'told', or even be structured in the traditional linear dramatic arc. Much of a game's narrative can simply be experienced (good example would be the design of the game Dark Souls).

    Further differences might include things like: in a film, or animation, viewers typically only have a few seconds to 'read' the image, whereas in a game world the player is in control and can stop to look around at things in the world. Thus the designs must account for that.

    I guess you could say that concept art is the specific application of such artistic fundamentals that you mentioned for a certain medium.
    I'm still not following. For one, concept artists (or vis dev) aren't responsible for the final shot selection in animation - that's either the storyboard artist (tv) or the layout dept. (feature, usually.) In live action film, it's the director of photography. Perhaps I'm confusing the idea that concept art and game design are seperate jobs?

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    Even if the vis dev artist isn't responsible for the final shots, the designs must still be selected for things like readability, character, and emphasis, which to my knowledge (though correct me if I'm wrong!) is a specific 'modern concept art' concern. There are elements of character design in 19th century academic art and in the golden age of illustration, to be sure, but not to the level of, say, Mike in Monsters inc, who is basically a ball with two sticks. To me coagulating all these different design decisions together in a practical and pleasing end design (character, prop, environment, whichever) is a unique specialty that's called concept art and which I feel is a modern phenomenon, even though it stems from what artists have been doing throughout history.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Medelo View Post
    Even if the vis dev artist isn't responsible for the final shots, the designs must still be selected for things like readability, character, and emphasis, which to my knowledge (though correct me if I'm wrong!) is a specific 'modern concept art' concern. There are elements of character design in 19th century academic art and in the golden age of illustration, to be sure, but not to the level of, say, Mike in Monsters inc, who is basically a ball with two sticks. To me coagulating all these different design decisions together in a practical and pleasing end design (character, prop, environment, whichever) is a unique specialty that's called concept art and which I feel is a modern phenomenon, even though it stems from what artists have been doing throughout history.
    I guess I just don't think it's that unique. :/ The application is modern, sure. The skill itself? not so much. Even storyboarding which only exists in modern film, is still applying the same principles - just over an additional dimension of complexity. (time.)

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    Ah, I totally agree that the skill itself is not anything new, at all. I guess I said that it was modern only because PeteJ mentioned books specifically about concept art, and not style, or composition, or value/tonal design. I suspect it might just be semantics here. Again this is entirely my own view, and I'm glad that the discussion made me think about application vs. the constituent skills needed.

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    I always understood that concept art is applying art fundamentals to design - rather than to create an "illustration". Concept art is focused on how to create a certain designs or make certain ideas work visually. This is different from illustration because if you're trying a sell and illustration you're selling the physical painting you've created, whilst if you're selling concept art you're selling the idea behind those illustrations you've created. But concept art and illustration is executed by pretty much the same art fundamentals and both fields do overlap in a lot of places. At least that's how I think about it....

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    You wouldn't want a book on concept art any more than a book on how to paint flowers or water or things that are white. The idea that it is completely different is erroneous. Its not. Da Vinci was a concept artist, he visualized things that didn't exist. Most narrative artists have done that since representational painting began. I think your idea of what concept art is doesn't jibe with the realities of the actual job. Production art has a greater impact on what things actually look like in a film or game or product line than the concepts do. Go to any car show and look at concept cars and then look at the production car.

    Concept work is just pie in the sky art with no budget or other production constraints, there is no great idea from the concept artist for the actual product. That is why people want the job, it is less limiting than production, even though 90% of what is done never makes it into the product or is seen by anyone outside the team. What passes for concept art today is fake marketing created after production and is illustration based on the finished product more than concept. It is a way to squeeze more money from the product and grow the brand. Don't confuse that with real pre-production art.

    Last edited by dpaint; October 22nd, 2012 at 09:33 AM.
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    I'm just glad that people are actually -wanting- to read books. (Even if its just that mystical specific all-in-one volume.)

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    Well if you want to see concepts going into an "idea/production" You might like the Skillful Huntsman - http://amzn.com/0972667644

    I found it useful as a way to get you to think of ways to generate projects like doing art for a story. This was done when these guys were students - they definitely work in the industry now. Mike Yamada had worked on Kung Fu Panda 2 to give you an idea.

    The other books I know of

    http://amzn.com/1933492392
    http://amzn.com/1933492236


    However, as dpaint said, a lot of concept art is not meant to be seen and is polished up for "bonus material" for blu ray and other kinds of marketing.

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    All the concept artist job listings I've ever seen look for people who are good illustrators, period. People who can draw and convey an idea. I've never seen any that look for specific "concept art" skills... (And a lot of them seem to prefer a portfolio with a significant amount of observational drawings/paintings rather than a lot of fantasy/sci-fi images... at least from what I've seen.)

    Production art may be a different animal, depending on what it is. That can get into fairly specific skills (storyboarding, animating, creating textures for 3D properties, etc.) and you probably won't find one book that covers ALL of it. You'd need to decide what exactly you want to learn and search for information on that.

    However, your typical "The Art of..." books can at least give a general idea of what kind of work goes on behind the scenes. Plus they're fun and inspirational. (And there's a gazillion of them. Try searching for "the art of" whatever movies or games you're interested in, you'll probably find some books full of eye-candy.)

    If you're looking for technical ideas and tips, you might be better off searching for books on general illustration... Or look up artists you like, some of them have step-by-step books or tutorials. If you want the real nitty-gritty everything-you-really-need-to-know info, welp, that would be basic drawing and painting foundations. We have a whole list of books on that.

    Last edited by QueenGwenevere; October 22nd, 2012 at 10:04 AM.
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    perhaps one should realise that concepting is deadline driven..just like any other commercial artform ..you will have brief.. and a deadline

    you don't need books on conceptart if you have ..cgsociety ..cghub ..conceptart and other remarkable sites ..if i had the amount of information ..on refs and styles working in my younger days..

    i wouldn't be such a wreck now..

    and would not need to move out of my house to make room for books!

    best wishes..

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    I've almost got enough books to build my own house with.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Star Eater View Post
    I've almost got enough books to build my own house with.
    You can never have too many art books

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    Quote Originally Posted by dpaint View Post
    You can never have too many art books
    They do help to insulate the house and cut down on heating bills.

    *** Sketchbook * Landscapes * Portfolio * Store***

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    Quote Originally Posted by dpaint View Post
    You can never have too many art books
    Until you have to move...


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    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell View Post
    Until you have to move...
    *sadface*

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    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell View Post
    Until you have to move...
    I think Sar Eater has a solution for you...

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    It's great, when you're on the bog there will always be something to read.
    Just don't take from the bottom of the wall...

    But yeah, moving books. A real conundrum.
    "Oh here's a big box, its perfect for this shelf of books to be packed into. Look dear, I wrote 'books' on this box with a magic marker
    It is a wonderful moving day today."

    *picks up box*

    *rectum prolapses*


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    Quote Originally Posted by PeteJ View Post
    one that actually talks about actual theories and styles behind it. goes in depth on doing sci fi or fantasy? i never came across a professional written book like that.
    if you look on amazom you will finde books about concept art that shows and talks about cancept art for inspiration and art tips..and i know i seen at barnes and nobles a book about fantasy the name of it is 100 tips about fantasy art somthing like that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell View Post
    Until you have to move...
    I had to move over a 1000 art books and magazines from CA to VA. Needless to say the woman was not happy about it. I did give away a couple of hundred in a gesture of detente to keep the bitching down to a couple of weeks. The best part was I gave my old wood bookcases away and I got some new custom ones with glass doors for my current studio.

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    This has confused me for a while. I don't understand how concept art is a specific field - isn't it just narrative illustration for a specific purpose for games, TV, or film? I mean, you still have to understand composition, design, value, color, draftsmanship, and even storytelling - none of which are new. Style isn't new either.
    When people ask for books about concept art, as a field and as a style, I picture them wanting to see behind the scenes into artists such as Doug Chiang, Feng Zhu, Khang Le, Craig Mullins, etc.
    And I think they are relatively accurate in thinking that these types of artists have common strands that connect their styles.

    Sometimes young artists need bite-size bits in order to digest the style they are going for. So simply asking for "Books on concept art" shouldn't really be "confusing" to a more experienced artist. Just think of what it was like when you were 15-16 years old. You didn't know shit about anything and you probably sought out similar bite-sized pieces of information about art styles that you liked as well.

    In which case, suggesting that someone should simply buy tons of art books is the best advice in the thread.
    As I always say, you shouldn't TRY to look like a specific style. Look at tons of artists that you like, digest it all, and spit out your own work. I think it's much better to see subtle influences in a person's art rather than saying "Wow, your art looks exactly like such-and-such".

    That's not a very good compliment, imo. Who'd want that?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell View Post
    Until you have to move...
    Pish posh. You just tell your friends that it's exercise boot camp. I'm sure we all lost dozens of pounds moving my book collection 8 times.

    The trick is to buy everyone drinks afterwards so that their memories of the entire day are fuzzy. They wake up, everything hurts, and then you blame it on the tequila.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dusty View Post
    When people ask for books about concept art, as a field and as a style, I picture them wanting to see behind the scenes into artists such as Doug Chiang, Feng Zhu, Khang Le, Craig Mullins, etc.
    And I think they are relatively accurate in thinking that these types of artists have common strands that connect their styles.

    Sometimes young artists need bite-size bits in order to digest the style they are going for. So simply asking for "Books on concept art" shouldn't really be "confusing" to a more experienced artist.
    Ouch. (To be fair, concept-art isn't my field - so in that respect I am inexperienced!) Anyway, the OP wasn't asking for books on concept art - (Which yeah, I totally get that!) he asked for books that teach concept art. That's why I was a little confused.

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    "Narrative illustration form a specific purpose".

    That's specific. Concept artists fill that need.

    Doctors heal you, Artists immortalize you.

    "Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach" - bullshit.

    The usual staples for anatomy:
    George Bridgman
    Joseph Sheppard
    Andrew Loomis
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    I think the answer is yes and no. I was really surprised to skim this thread and find no one has mentioned James Gurney yet. Although Gurney is an illustrator, his books (Imaginative Realism and Color & Light) are all about the design of fantasy creatures and fantastic worlds and how to make them look awesome, and they also happen to be some of the best books about art and illustration available. If there is such a thing as the concept artist's bible(s), I'd say they would be first on the list. They discuss a lot of things specific to concept artists in the fantasy and sci-fi genres. There are other good books in this vein worth getting too, but Gurney's are the best.

    While it is possible to find books discussing the finer points of design for specific media (animation, games, etc) this is kind of something you would have a chapter or two about in material about that media, but not a whole book, since there just isn't enough of those kind of specifics to fill a book with. For example, you will find information about concept art for animation in books about animation (Preston Blair's and Richard Willliams' well-known books both have sections on this). If you want to know about environmental backgrounds and composition for animation a good book to pick up is "Dream Worlds" by Don Hahn, or some of the "Art of" books about the animation production of Disney, Pixar and DreamWorks mentioned above. If you want to know about design specific to games you have to buy books about game design and 3D modelling (the modelling books generally go through character design for games prior to the part about modelling, including all the specifics required for that media).

    Everything you want to know about is out there, there just isn't enough information super-specific to each type of concept art to fill a whole book with it, which is why you either need to buy a general book which spans all the media (like Gurney's) or to buy a book on the specific media (an animation book to learn about animation design, and so on). Or even better, both. That's not a bad thing - if you want to design for animation you also need to know ABOUT animation, so you need to read everything in the book anyway!

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    I picture Concept Art ranging between narrative illustration and slapping down ideas in a sketchbook based on a theme or story. I remember something about George Lucas giving vague instructions for Darth Maul in the form of "something from a nightmare", "really evil guy". My guess (because I'm a noob) is that is the essence of the job, taking a rough description by a writer or something and using artistic skills and vision to bring it to an actual design that can be refined and worked into the production.

    A book about this would be pretty useful. The folks at Crimson Daggers had something interesting going on called "Bloodsports". The group came up with assignments for people to do the concept art/illustration for. It was pretty cool.

    Action Figure Packaging - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fq_qu_AQkm4
    Designing a video game cover - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZtVVF2o_BHs

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    I didn't think it was possible to be called an artist when you have nothing to say. It's like being a writer who publishes individual words as books and expects to be praised for it.
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