"Is it too late?" - Start to learn concept art.
 
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    "Is it too late?" - Start to learn concept art.

    Hey guys, i'm new here and i wanted to ask you some questions about differents things (not too much ;-)),

    Since my 13 years old i had in mind that i wanted to pursuit something related to graphic design, but what I always really wanted is to become a concept artist.

    Unfortunately, i got in mind, my whole adolescence, that this job is for natural talented people and I kinda deleted the idea of become one and focused in graphic design... I know that sounds ridiculous, but what can we do..?

    Actually, i'm 19 almost 20 years old... i'm feeling old to start in this area. I'm realising that making logos and websites the rest of my life it wont be what i really want, even if it's ok...

    I've watched a lot of stuff about concept art to take off this idea of my head, just for example the Feng Zhu Design videos in his youtube channel, and what i see is that with hard (painful?) work and motivation, everybody can become a concept artist...

    My visual library is completely empty... doing something from my imagination is really hard for me, so i focused on realistic paintings (that you can find in my signature) but i want to change that. I guess I need to learn the fundamentals.

    So what do you think is the best way to start for me that did always copies of things ? What school would fit best, graphic design or industrial design? I know the way, but at the same time i'm completely lost... I need some help to continue the right way...

    Thank you very much!

    PS: Sorry for my basic english, it's not my native language and I'm still learning how to speak properly. Hopefully you can understand my message


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    OP, can I ask you a question? (besides this one)

    Why do you think it's too late to start? I'm curious as to why people always say this, so I'd like to hear your well thought out answer why you think it is too late?

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    Yeah sure you can

    Actually, I don't know... In a way I feel that there are thousand of people younger than me, and better, and well I don't mind how much i'll win in the future, but in this area, if you are not amazing, you don't get a job. Maybe that's the reason. So graphic design is easier in a way, the level is not that high...

    But that's why i'm here, to do what I really want and try to don't think too much about that...

    Last edited by Muze; February 25th, 2013 at 09:10 PM.
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    It's not too late, it's never too late.

    Start a sketchbook, show us your drawing skills, and show us you're serious. Then you'll get critique and feedback. All we can give you is some generic advice like go read some books from http://conceptart.org/forums/showthr...s-Reading-List
    and focus on the fundamentals http://conceptart.org/forums/showthr...53#post3163053
    Draw from life, draw everyday, draw as much as humanly possible.

    Last edited by Ryan Provenzano; February 25th, 2013 at 09:20 PM.
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    Taking a look at your DA in your signature, you already have good observational skills, and a good understanding of digital painting, values, etc. I'd say you are ahead of most 19 year olds. That being said, there is a lot that you are lacking as well, and just being ahead of most people at your current age means little. Even if there are thousands better than you right now, that won't stop you from getting a job in the future if you improve (plus there are lots of jobs in the field).

    If you want to start getting into concept art, I'd suggest focusing on construction and thinking in 3d as much as possible. Start painting out of your head, even if it is clumsy or bad at first. Do a mix of painting from reference (preferably less from photos and more from life) and painting from imagination. Also start studying design of things to build your visual library up. If you want to learn something, say armour, then do some research on it, what parts is it made of? Why? What materials? What type of fighting was it designed for? What time period? etc As you do your research copy out things to get it's visual language into your head. Then try to draw them from memory too.

    As for programs...definitely industrial design would be better than graphic design if you want to be a concept artist. Where do you live?

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    Nexuun: Thanks man, the topic got such an impressive list of books! I knew some of them, I've heard good reviews about the Loomis's books, I'll start from there. And yeah, draw a lot!

    Andrew Sonea: Thank you for your opinion, you're probably right, I'm thinking too much about the shapes and the values and not the forms and the way things are constructed. I need to build a designer and not a painter mind, kinda hard when you did the same thing your hole life... Anyway, i was asking between those two formations because I actually prefere graphic design over industrial design. I mean, industrial design is cool when you do entertainment industrial design, but has a lot of areas where you can work, like vehicles, electronic devices, etc.. and I don't really want to end up in this particular area - creating cellphones and washing machines is not really cool. I prefere graphic design over that.

    I live in Portugal. I went to College this year in "Design of Communication" but i didn't like the way the school was giving lessons so I'll change next year in a polytechnic school. I have the option between graphic and industrial design. I live in a country where education is not synonym of quality... thinking that i was born in Switzerland and had to move here make me sad, but I have to deal with it. :/

    Last edited by Muze; February 25th, 2013 at 10:06 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arshes Nei View Post
    OP, can I ask you a question? (besides this one)

    Why do you think it's too late to start? I'm curious as to why people always say this, so I'd like to hear your well thought out answer why you think it is too late?
    I used to think this a long time ago, too (Like 4 years ago getting out high school). It had been ingrained in my brain that only those who started REALLY young could make it to a professional quality / masterful level. I have no idea why, but I had been told several times you have to start super young or you'll never obtain the skill good enough to be recognized (yes, actual teachers told me this). Of course, now I think that's the dumbest thing I've ever heard because I know more about it. The unfortunate thing about art is that there isn't much good education for it and people see it as a mystical subject that only those with natural talent (and having started young) could do. It's shrouded in mystery and bad information that for some reason permeates the subject specifically (probably because of lack of good education in public school systems) that confuses the shit out of young people.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Deadlyhazard View Post
    I used to think this a long time ago, too (Like 4 years ago getting out high school). It had been ingrained in my brain that only those who started REALLY young could make it to a professional quality / masterful level. I have no idea why, but I had been told several times you have to start super young or you'll never obtain the skill good enough to be recognized (yes, actual teachers told me this). Of course, now I think that's the dumbest thing I've ever heard because I know more about it. The unfortunate thing about art is that there isn't much good education for it and people see it as a mystical subject that only those with natural talent (and having started young) could do. It's shrouded in mystery and bad information that for some reason permeates the subject specifically (probably because of lack of good education in public school systems) that confuses the shit out of young people.
    I have the exact same feeling... and when you grow up with that in mind, is like riding a bike, you can't forget that... So I'm fighting with my mind to think in a different way... I guess, like you, it's the dumbest thing someone can say, but when you are young you can't realize that

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    You are talking about college but you could also look for a different education. It doesn't have to be college or you could even do it self-taught, but it's harder.
    Look at this school:
    http://www.odd-school.com/pt/courses.../concept-art-1

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    Quote Originally Posted by pegasi View Post
    You are talking about college but you could also look for a different education. It doesn't have to be college or you could even do it self-taught, but it's harder.
    Look at this example:
    http://www.odd-school.com/pt/courses.../concept-art-1
    Looks pretty awesome! o_O And it's portuguese.. How did you find that?

    But it's extremely expensive, at least for a portuguese.

    Anyway, about self-taught, nowadays with internet it's possible with motivation, but like Feng Zhu said, the competion is really hard and there's way too many people beeing teached in schools that provides a high level of eficiency... and my parents wouldn't accept that. They think without a formation i can't find a job [retarded minds ]

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    Quote Originally Posted by pegasi View Post
    You are talking about college but you could also look for a different education. It doesn't have to be college or you could even do it self-taught, but it's harder.
    Look at this school:
    http://www.odd-school.com/pt/courses.../concept-art-1
    This is true too. Certain schools work for certain people, and some people don't do well in any school environment.

    Muze, for reference, I am the same age as you. Personally, I went to Sheridan College for illustration...it is generally considered to be the best illustration program in Canada and one of the best in North America (or so I have been told). I did most of first year there and found it was really useless and I wasn't learning, and it didn't look like the program would pick up at all, so I decided to drop out. Now I'm trying to learn the skills I need on my own; I'm working as a line cook right now to make some money while trying to learn paitning on my days off. It's a tough path, but others have succeeded at it. I'll let you know how it goes in 5 or 10 years

    Long story short, figure out what path will be best for you, and realize that this path may not align with what others do or what others expect you to do.

    EDIT: Saw your post above mine. You can try to talk with your parents and show your viewpoints, they might change their minds. Also, many schools offer scholarships for strong portfolios, so you can look into that, or look into any programs/groups/whatever that may provide financial support for you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pegasi View Post
    You are talking about college but you could also look for a different education. It doesn't have to be college or you could even do it self-taught, but it's harder.
    Look at this example:
    http://www.odd-school.com/pt/courses.../concept-art-1
    Looks pretty awesome! o_O And it's portuguese.. How did you find that?

    But it's extremely expensive, at least for a portuguese.

    Anyway, about self-taught, nowadays with internet it's possible with motivation, but like Feng Zhu said, the competion is really hard and there's way too many people beeing teached in schools that provides a high level of eficiency... and my parents wouldn't accept that. They think without a formation i can't find a job [retarded minds ]

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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Sonea View Post
    This is true too. Certain schools work for certain people, and some people don't do well in any school environment.

    Muze, for reference, I am the same age as you. Personally, I went to Sheridan College for illustration...it is generally considered to be the best illustration program in Canada and one of the best in North America (or so I have been told). I did most of first year there and found it was really useless and I wasn't learning, and it didn't look like the program would pick up at all, so I decided to drop out. Now I'm trying to learn the skills I need on my own; I'm working as a line cook right now to make some money while trying to learn paitning on my days off. It's a tough path, but others have succeeded at it. I'll let you know how it goes in 5 or 10 years

    Long story short, figure out what path will be best for you, and realize that this path may not align with what others do or what others expect you to do.

    EDIT: Saw your post above mine. You can try to talk with your parents and show your viewpoints, they might change their minds. Also, many schools offer scholarships for strong portfolios, so you can look into that, or look into any programs/groups/whatever that may provide financial support for you.
    Jesus christ i'm getting crazy with this forum, i lost the long post i wrote... damn problem!

    Anyway, i was saying that i was extremely impressed by your work for your age, you're insane and you make me want to practice so bad ! I guess it's good...

    It sounds like we are in the same situation, i went to the supposed best school of my country and i was very disappointed with what they teach... I'm used to be self-taught since my little age but I'm not sure I can learn this massive subject on my way...

    About my parents, i already talked with them, but it's a complicated subject. I'll try again soon!

    Anyway, thank you for your help!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Deadlyhazard View Post
    The unfortunate thing about art is that there isn't much good education for it and people see it as a mystical subject that only those with natural talent (and having started young) could do. It's shrouded in mystery and bad information that for some reason permeates the subject specifically (probably because of lack of good education in public school systems) that confuses the shit out of young people.
    I think people assume that drawing is some kind of magical thing because they don't really understand how it works, or how efficient our brains are. They THINK their imagination is vivid and clear, so they can't understand why they can't draw what they THINK is in their head. Then when they see a person with skill accomplish what they can't do, they don't understand where the difference actually lies, and assume that the skilled person is able to draw what they want because of something mystical that they must have been born with.

    When people say "I wish I had that talent/gift from god/whatever." They ASSUME that their imagination and ability to visualize are the exact same level as the skilled person, so the ability to put it on paper must be something you have to be born with. There's no other possibility from that standpoint.

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    I know people think Art is some magic thing, but if it was something you really like you'd still say "Whatever" and get into it

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arshes Nei View Post
    I know people think Art is some magic thing, but if it was something you really like you'd still say "Whatever" and get into it
    Yeah, they'd get into it and have fun. But very few, with the mindset of "I can't become a pro because I didn't start early enough", would take art seriously enough to pursue a career in it. Having been told that all their life -- they're going to believe it's true until someone in a position of power says it isn't. A more reasonably minded person would shoot for a generic job path for security just because of that. There will be another million threads titled similarly to this until better art education is more widespread.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Deadlyhazard View Post
    I used to think this a long time ago, too (Like 4 years ago getting out high school). It had been ingrained in my brain that only those who started REALLY young could make it to a professional quality / masterful level. I have no idea why, but I had been told several times you have to start super young or you'll never obtain the skill good enough to be recognized (yes, actual teachers told me this).
    To be fair one has to say that while this certainly doesn't hold true for art as a career (there are plenty of artists around here who disprove the point, having started relatively late in their life and nevertheless having reached high levels of proficiency) it is true for some pursuits. A prime example would be sports that require you to "peak" at a certain, young age because of the level of fitness required to be able to compete on a high level. Just look at the olympics. Plenty of very young athletes, some even teenagers. Starting to train late will- in those fields- cause you to peak in your skill level when you're far too old to be any kind of threat to a 17 year old athlete in prime physical form who has been training since early childhood. Older athletes usually have an advantage of experience that, depending on the discipline, can make up for the lower fitness- but only if they also started young.

    I think that's one of the main reasons why that myth of "starting too late" is out there. Art is a pursuit of the mind much more than one of the body. So, as I said, the above does not apply.

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    I don't really have much to add to the above, other than to emphasize that it's never too late for you to start to learn something.

    But whenever I feel I'm too old for this (even if for me it's currently just a hobby), I like to go through this thread on pretty much the same subject:
    http://conceptart.org/forums/showthr...-late-to-start

    It has lots of "old" people, doing what they love, one way or another, and going for it If they can, why can't you?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Muze View Post
    Looks pretty awesome! o_O And it's portuguese.. How did you find that?
    Well, being portuguese helps.

    Quote Originally Posted by Muze View Post
    But it's extremely expensive, at least for a portuguese.
    It's expensive, and one of the reasons is because it is a full time school, meaning you work there 5 days a week, 8 hours per day!

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    Thank you all for taking some time to reply this thread.

    pegasi: sounds logic, i didn't checked your country... :p anyway, thank you for showing me a cool school in this poor country we live.

    ebi: Why not ! I'll start working hard and i'll see if i can improve my knowledge about design.

    Benedikt: I agree with you. Art is more a mental work than a physical, and people has this tendency to compare sport with art. I don't think this way, i usually say to people that we are not athlets so the age doesn't really matter, but some people think the opposit. In Portugal, for a simple job (not art related), if you are 40, you're done... A few people will give you a job because they want young people (20-30max) - I don't know if people think the same way in this industry...

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    This thread was very useful for me as well. I totally understand how it is feeling too old. I'm 25, this is not that old, but there are a little of irrationality in this feeling. You don't HAVE to be young to learn something and be good at it. Like someone said, being young has its advantages, but so being older (for example, you know already what you really want, you had more experiences in life and you can always work harder and best). There are nothing to lose, the worse that can happens is we don't make it and end it up in a really boring job - but thats pretty much what is going to happen if we don't give it a try anyway. I'm going to give it a try and try my best from now on, hope you do the same. And if we don't make it, at least we'll know that we tried our best.

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    Why would it be too late? seriously man... too late to become a pro tennis player.. heck yea, don't even try... but this? As long as you can hold a pencil and attempt to draw... you're good to go.

    Last edited by The Jeso; March 2nd, 2013 at 04:20 AM.
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    Well, there are other matters. Im feeling too old too, and Im 22. Why do I think im too old?

    Cause my drawings suck and I need to work really hard and draw A LOT to improve. But... Im also studying Computer Science, Ive got a art time job as a programmer, I got friends I care about and have to work out to keep in at least some kind of shape... So when do I do those thousands of drawings?

    When I was 16 or 18, I had all the time in the world, and all I needed to start was a pencil... If I started then, Id be quite good by now. I had so much time that a month of work when I was 18 would probably bring as much progress as three months of work now. I am drawing as much as I can, but I dont see much improvement and see a LOT of mistakes. That can be demotivating, and I understand people feeling "too old for this". We know we could do this, but the question is, are willing to sacrifice enough for this to happen.

    Im not giving up yet, and Im trying to improve (will be asking for guidance on best and most effective methods to learn), but I can see why people have "Im too old" doubts

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    Quote Originally Posted by K.L. View Post
    But... Im also studying Computer Science, Ive got a art time job as a programmer, I got friends I care about and have to work out to keep in at least some kind of shape... So when do I do those thousands of drawings?
    Take an hour a day and draw. Those hours add up.

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    Its possible for anybody to do anything. Fat people could lose weight and get in shape. Alcoholics could stop drinking before they ruin their lives and hit bottom, bad people could become good. But most of the time it doesn't happen and it is rare for someone to change their life in any major way. That's why most people will never succeed as artists. It is harder than most types of jobs, takes a long time to learn and difficult to sustain, if you actually make it to the paid gigs level. I used to think it wasn't this way but watching people for years has proven me wrong. If you are unsure about becoming an artist, or you even have to ask someone else if its safe, or smart or okay to become one, then you probably will never make it. All the people I know that made it didn't ask or care what the odds were or anything else, they just practiced all the time until they made it.

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    Well, I personally dont aim for a job as an artist. I already have a job I enjoy, I have perspectives for good earnings... But everyone needs a hobby, to have the chance to be creative without worring about everything you have to worry about when its your job. So in a sense, Im the only one Im racing with - its just that Im dissatisfied with my progress, but Im not pursuing this to make a living off of it.

    When you want to be a professional concept artist, you have this drive to go there, to practice, to sacrifice other things. When you paint for ejoyment, and you experience little of it because your drawings suck, there is a limit to how much youre willing to practice and not see improvement. Some will make it, some wont, but I dont think that the "professional" attitude is better than amateurish. Us amateurs arent worse We just have different objectives.

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  36. #27
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    I actually started a lot older than you Muze. I went to school for graphic design and worked in the industry till 24. Then I switched to concept art and bought a bunch of books. I'm 26 now. You can't concern yourself with what other people are doing too much, it's just distracting. Are the people who got it right the first time going to go into college right for this field and come out earlier, better? Yes. But if this is what you want to do, why would you continue to do anything else.

    It is hard though, don't get me wrong.

    Also to what dpaint was saying, I completely, but respectfully disagree with him. Everyone's life is so different and affected by so many factors. Even though I was in graphic design in school, I've been drawing monsters since I was 4 years old. The interest was always there. Sometime's it takes longer for people to really grasp what they want to do. You're already in an art related/creative field. There's a lot you know that kids in the concept art track don't that will help you in the long run. Logos, portfolio website building, etc. Branding is probably the most important thing I learned as a graphic designer that translated over to illustration/concept art. I'm able to market myself a lot better than my peers and my presentation is professional.

    Last edited by Harkins; March 2nd, 2013 at 01:45 PM.
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  38. #28
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    if your like in your 50's or 60's and you just started to draw for the first time in your life and you want to be a pro concept artist or comic artist i'd say maybe you would be to old...people start to retire at that age lol.

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  39. #29
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    If you're lying on your deathbed thinking, I wish I'd gone for it. Then it's too late!

    "If you look back on last years work and you still like it: you are slipping."
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  40. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by creeptool View Post
    if your like in your 50's or 60's and you just started to draw for the first time in your life and you want to be a pro concept artist or comic artist i'd say maybe you would be to old...people start to retire at that age lol.
    Artists never retire.

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