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  1. #1
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    Jul 2017
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    Question Can I fit into the concept art industry? Some questions for professionals

    Hi there!

    I came here to seek answers for some questions that bother me for a while now.
    Being a concept art was my childhood dream. I wasn't really trying to achive that due to very little support from those around me, but now I've made up my mind ( very late doe )
    and I'd like to give it a shot. The problem is that I am unsure about my qualifications and some other things as well.

    I've came back to drawing some years ago and right now I came to the point where I can't imagine giving it up. Once more I am attracted to concept art and my childhood dream slowly becomes my actual goal.
    I know very little about the industry, though. That's why I have some questions for people who are concept artists or for people who know something about the job and industry itself.

    Is there a room for some stylization?
    I was never attracted to photorealism and I've never tried to achieve it. I am more into semi-realism. Can someone like me find a job as a concept artist?
    Most of the concept arts I've seen were heading towards photorealism. No outlines, no very bright colours. I know that there are games with stylized artstyle, but I feel like not aiming into pure realism can lead
    to being unemployed most of the times.

    Is it possible to pay my bills with it as a beginner?
    I don't dream about being rich. I'd like to do it because I have a passion for designing, but life is life and bills are bills. I need to pay them somehow and I need food to... you know... to keep on living.
    When I was a kid, people around me kept on telling me that I won't be making any money out of art. That's why I have given up my dreams back then. Like I said, I don't need fortune, because being able to make a living out of something I love is rewarding enough, but I am worried about the salary. Can beginner earn enough to at least pay the bills?

    Any architecture in the job?
    I am currently studying architecture. I dislike it though. I've choosen this kind of college, because that was the only safe option that involved drawing.
    Don't get me wrong, designing buildings and city planning is a cool thing and I'd love to make some fantasy/sc-fi buildings/cities concepts. 'Fantasy' is a key word here though.
    I know that most of the concept artists are creating characters. Can my architecture knowledge be useful? I don't exactly know how to express my thoughts with this one but
    I will try to close it in one sentence. Are industry's employers looking for separate artists to design buildings in their project? Is my college improving my chances of finding a job?
    I don't really want to be an architect ( unless I have to ), but I'd love to apply the abilities I've gained into my concept art career ( which doesn't even exist yet ).

    How does the job look like irl?
    I can imagine it, but I don't exactly know any concept artist personally. Do you have a job in an office? Or maybe you're all working in home like freelancers? How does your typical day at work look like?
    I am hungry for information and I'd love to hear all tiny (dirty!) details!

    What ability should I focus on?
    I know anatomy, I understand shading and while I am not the best one out there, I'm also no the beginner anymore. I got more than just the basics and now I need to master my skills.
    Is there something I should particularly pay attention to? What skills should I practice the hardest and what are the abilities that employers are appreciating the most?

    And finally:
    Is it even worth it?
    I am not a teenager anymore. I am at the college after all and I've thought that I have my goals set. I keep on hearing this 'calling' thought and I want to try. I want to chase the dream. I don't know if there is any hope for me at this point though. I don't have the infinite amount of time like I used to when I was a kid and I have max. 5 years to find something that is at least close to 'stablization'. Is it even worth trying at this point?

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  3. #2
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  4. #3
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    Apr 2015
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    Just to put a different thought in there, what makes you think you can just 'become' an architect if you 'have to' ? Architecture is a highly desirable and sought after career that requires many years of sustained effort to break in , just as with any art career. Competition is intense.

    It's not a good idea to just assume that because you get an architecture degree you'll be able to get into that industry as a fallback.

    Stylisation? of course.

    Beginner pay their bills? unlikely

    What ability should you focus on? Without wanting to sound snotty, if you have to ask, you're not going to be ready for quite a few years. You'll need a massive amount of acquired knowledge and ability from all sorts of places.

    Do employers need architecture? Of course. I once had a gig designing building concepts for a city simulation social game. But that better not be all you've got up your sleeve.
    If you want to put your architecture to use in service of concept art, make sure you learn to draw architectural concepts by hand, rather than just using autocad.

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  6. #4
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    Mar 2016
    Los Angeles
    Thanked 8 Times in 6 Posts
    Not a concept artist (yet), but imo there's definitely room for style. You don't need to achieve photorealism per se, but you need to learn how to draw and paint realistically before you can really start incorporating style and having your art be convincing. Teachers will tell you this over and over again, but at least for me, it didn't really register until very recently. It's like a slap in the face when you realize how much work you still have to do, how many things you have to learn, and how many years away you are from being realistically employable. These thoughts weigh heavily on me at times, but can also be very motivating, like some awesome challenge that I can't wait to take on.

    I think architecture could be useful in areas like environment art and game level design. I don't really know anything about architecture so you should do your own research on how you can put those skills to use. And just the drawing skills you develop (I''m making some broad assumptions) will be valuable in general.

    I've worked, and have accepted that I will probably have to continue to work outside of this field while learning and striving to become a professional. Unless you are doing an internship for school or something, this magical beginner-level job in concept art just doesn't exist. Trust me, I've searched and hoped but it's like chasing a pipe dream. Maybe if you are good at drawing, you can land some sort of art job, but I wouldn't really know.

    As for what you should focus on, I'm going to assume that you have anatomy and shading down as you've mentioned. You also say you have a good grasp on more than the basics, so I'm will also assume you are fine with perspective and making things look dimensional (if not, maybe work on those). If that's the case, maybe start thinking about things like composition, color, story, design, etc. This can help you stand out when you start applying for jobs.

    Whether or not this is all worth it is not something other people can decide for you imo. But as a college student you are still soooo young, and many older individuals such as myself are enviable of your position. Just know it's going to take a lot of hard work on your part. There are no shortcuts and trying to use the excuse of "but it's my style" will inevitably fail you. It could take years, maybe more than 5, and maybe you will still not be good enough (my deepest, darkest fear lol). But if you've made up your mind like you've said, then this should not deter you. I can totally relate to how you feel, so I wish you good luck!

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  8. #5
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    Jul 2017
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    Checkerknight, I've just realised how stupid I sounded. I tend to give a lot of unnecessary informations when I write, so I've tried to write briefly about this issue. I am aware of the fact that this is not a easy career. That's why I have a lot of doubts about trying to get into concept art right now. I belive that I may not be able to suceed in both of those things at the same time, that's one of the reasons I've asked those questions. Still, 'what makes me think I can become and architect if I have to' is a really good question to ask myself. You gave me a lot to think about, so thank you! With my 'I don't really like it but I have to do it' attitude I may not suceed even with a degree.

    Sunnyvisions, thank you a lot for this response. I know that I have to lern realistic painting anyway. That's what I was actually doing in past months. Transfering from semirealism to realism may not be as brutal as I expected it to, but it still hurts a bit. When it comes to my skills, I'm also down with composition and I have some knowledge about color ( still a lot to lern about it ). I am unsure about my design skill though! When I look at other artists' work I'm usually like "Damn! I wouldn't have thought about it". I don't know how exactly I can improve in this aspect, but I will try to look it up right away ^_^

    Thank you a lot for giving me something to think about and for answering my questions. I'm still unsure, but VERY motivated right now!
    Last edited by AigorWoz; July 17th, 2017 at 01:14 PM.

  9. #6
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    Sep 2009
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    Is there room for stylization
    yes, absolutely, but not bad stylization, so you could get work being an impressionist but if you only do a manga style chances of getting work become really limited. Employers want good color sense, good proportions, interesting and believable lighting, creative problem-solving. Look at Syd Mead or Craig Mullins or Iain McCaig no one is going to call them realists.

    Is it possible to pay my bills as a beginner
    The average beginning pay for an artist in the industry is 30k a year. Do you need to have a bunch stuff like games and cable tv subscriptions, are you supporting a family already? All of those things affect your ability to pay your bills. People who don't want to give up anything to be artists usually end up not being artists because they can't delay the rewards they will have.

    What Ability should I focus on

    As I said above focus on good lighting, interesting and believable color. For characters good gesture and a personality, and you better be able to do that in Zbrush as well as 2d.

    How does the job look like irl?
    Most concept jobs get broken up into pieces so artists can specialize, backgrounds/environments then characters/creatures and then vehicles/weapons. Level layouts are another aspect that can be very specialized. Being a concept artist is like any other job. You have bosses that most likely can't do what you do but will still tell you how they want you to do it. You will have very little autonomy to make your own decisions. The bigger the project the less control over what you do but you will get paid better than smaller firms. The smaller the project you still won't have control but it will be better than a big project but less money also.

    Is it even worth it?
    everyone has to decide that for themselves. I started my career at 30 professionally and didn't go full time until I was 35. I think one of the reasons I succeeded is because I was focused didn't marry or have children, didn't live extravagantly. I also didn't specialize too much and kept my quality consistent over all.
    Last edited by dpaint; July 17th, 2017 at 12:28 PM.

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