I am from Germany and just finished school. I’d like to become a concept artist at the film industry and I already asked several universities here in Germany which subject I should study to fulfil my dream, but none of them was able to help me.
Now I found this website and I really hope that somebody is able to give me some information because I’m going mad, thinking about the end of the application round next February.
Would Illustration or Animation be the best choice to study or generally Fine Arts or Visual Communication?
Or is there a course offered in the USA only for Concept Art or at least specialized for the artificial parts of filmmaking? I am asking, because there is no guarantee to be able to join the film industry only through studying illustration, right? Actually illustration concerns books in a more intensive way than films, doesn’t it?
You see, I have not the slightest idea of anything!
Please help me, if anyone has some facts about a career as a concept artist and how to become one of them.
Sorry, if the answers to my questions are posted on this website, I haven’t found them yet.
And sorry for my bad English!
its all who you know, not what you know. just learn as much as you can about storyboarding and keep learning and drawing to be the best. in the meantime, most importantly is your contacts. who do you know in the industry? most people would rather hire someone they know rather than a stranger. so make contacts make friends and learn practice practice practice.
Pixmaker, giving the "it's who you know" line to a pre-university student is a bit premature, along with being somewhat incorrect.
sisq - try the games industry link in my sig for info on the games industry jobs and education, and for more info on the "its who you know" sillyness. If you want sketchbook assignments, try the Concept Art 101 link. Illustration will be your best option as a course of study, because illustration is communication through images.
Your English is wonderful. Good luck!
I think you are awesome, and I wish you the best in your endeavors, but I am tired of repeating myself, I am very busy with my new baby, and I am no longer a regular participant here, so please do not contact me to ask for advice on your career or education. All of the advice that I have to offer can already be found in the following links. Thank you.
@pixmaker: Thanks for your answer! I think you are absolutly right and as soon as I am studying, I will start to collect as much connections to the film industry as possible!!
@seedling: Wow!!! Your threads are great! I have never been able to get so many questions answered during the last four years. Thanks a lot for your great help, you gave me already. I will address to you if there are still questions left as soon as I have managed to read everything!
@Krakel: Leider hab ich kein ICQ oder ähnliches. Schreib mir doch einfach an firstname.lastname@example.org, oder gibts hier auch Persönliche Nachrichten? (ich bin hier noch nicht sehr lange, wie du sicher gemerkt hast )
Es wäre toll, wenn du mir helfen könntest.
Ich würde wie gesagt gerne in der Filmindustrie arbeiten. Am liebsten das, was John Howe und Alan Lee bei Herr der Ringe gemacht haben, aber ich hätte auch nichts dagegen für Backgrounds oder Storyboards verantwortlich zu sein. Generell will ich für den künstlerischen Teil eines Films verantwortlich sein und dann den Oskar für Art Direction gewinnen.
Das "Wo" im geographischen Sinne ist mir eigentlich egal. Ob Japan, USA, UK oder sonst was. Hauptsache Konzeptdesign!!!
Last edited by sisqinanamook; December 6th, 2006 at 01:13 PM.
Max the Mutt Animation School in Toronto has an excellent traditional fine arts program as well as illustration and design courses directly rleated to becoming a concept artist. Too much to write...check the website, www.maxthemutt.com.
Feel free to contact us if you have questions at : email@example.com.
I made most of my connections in both gaming and film through comics. I have friends and associates who shifted to film after storyboarding or digiFX for advertising.
It's easier* to get into film with a well-developed skill set of drawing and narrative technique than any of the glamour positions (actor, director or writer). It's a great deal easier to get to Hollywood if you're in California, though.
*that easier depends on being very, very good. Since none of us are willing to settle for less than being very, very good, it's easier. If you only reach for mediocrity, you have to realise that every business already has their pick of mediocre artists and your being another one gives them no incentive to actually hire you.
We had a student who came to Max the Mutt before his 18th birthday. He was smart, good to work with, took direction well and had an insatiable appetite for anything to do with video games. At that time, we were a classical animation school based on Disney/Warner Bros guidelines with a strong drawing program, and the same first year program we now offer: traditional painting and drawing, perspective and structural drawing, design and composition. We also taught Flash and students worked on a Flash film project (our curriculum has expanded since then). The school was new and not well known. When this student graduated ( 3 years later) he was interviewed by EA and hired. He told us that the thing that impressed them was his traditional painting and drawing. He also had, of course, storyboard skills, animation skills, and knowledge of MAYA (which he'd learned in a summer course before he started with us). He'd also had cartooning and character design, which have always been part of our program.
He did very well at EA and felt that what gave him an edge was the fact that he had multiple skills. I'm willing to bet it was also his attitude, the pleasure he gets out of being part of a team. He is now a co-owner of his own company.
At the time EA's recruiter did call and interview me about him. the recruiter asked about his character and qualities, especially as a team player. I was able to vouch for his generosity and willingness to become part of our community and share his knowledge and skills. This student had no connections at EA, and at that time we weren't as well known as we now are.
My point is that you yourself are a large part of the equation: your skills, your professionalism, your ability to be a good team player, your ability to present yourself at an interview.
This is one person's story, but our graduates in general had no trouble getting jobs even when we were unknown .
I disagree that it's who you know. That may help, but companies aren't stupid. If they see outstanding work, they're interested. They need good people.
As far as your education is concerned, you need a variety of skills. I understand that Jason Manley attended several programs (without graduating) to put his skill base together. If you can't find what you need in one program in Germany, you might consider doing the same thing.
You need a combination of animation, illustration, traditional fine art painting and drawing and computer skills (especially photoshop and Maya).
Last edited by Maxine Schacker; March 28th, 2009 at 06:58 AM.
Practice much to become very good - work on your social skills as well. Since Concept Artists represent about 2 % of the industry you will have an incredible amount of competition, including, since we are now in a world economy, artists from other countries...
Hi everyone! I am currently a student enrolled at my community college seeking advice as to where to go from here. My dream is to be a concept artist. I want to be given a problem like we need a character who needs to look like this or that, and i use my skills and creativity to produce an image they are happy with. That is my career choice. I just need a little help from you guys in my journey to that point. I have great artistic ability and have a strong understanding of physics, and how things will react with one another. I am currently scrambling to get a portfolio together. I have just found the college of my dreams. MICA (Maryland Institute College of Art) Has an illustration course that involves character concept, fantasy art, tablet illustration, and some other really great programs i feel will help me greatly. My question is whether or not the school is worth its price tag of 30k a year. I am ready to jump in and give this everything i have. I just want to make sure this is the best place to go. I have around 80k saved up for my college tuition. But if i am better off saving my money and just taking some more art classes at my community college then i will. I would just like the experience of knowing i am at a top notch institution, learning with the best and hopefully getting what i paid for. I also believe the experience could be worth the price. I really want to get out of the house and start my life. I just recently discovered the school, and the deadline for my portfolio is april first. So im trying to make a lot of decisions really fast. I would like to have my career based on gaming. Character design, weapons, maps, those types of things. If there is any advice you can give me id appreciate it. You can message me on here or my email which is firstname.lastname@example.org. i look forward to hearing from all of you. thank you in advance.
There is no sure fire route to becoming a Concept Artist. People come from a variety of diverse backgrounds; some from traditional illustration, some from industrial design, others from comic books, some are self-taught. But one thing they all have in common is an unrelenting passion to achieve their goal. The Concept Artist role is the holy grail of positions in the Art Department of any production, and with schools now specializing in this I think it’s safe to say that there are many more people in the industry today than there are jobs. This is why have to be extremely passionate to make it your life long pursuit, and if you love it then you are on your way with a good start.
With competition being as stiff as it is, a solid understanding of the fundamentals and the discipline to keep learning is everything. No one in the industry is going to care how much money you spent on school, or necessarily if you have a degree or not. -It’s all going to come down to your portfolio.
In my experience I’ve seen extraordinarily talented people who have a natural God-given ability, but without discipline driven by the passion it takes to buckle down and do the hard work they unfortunately go no where. Someone with more perseverance than natural talent will be successful the industry, while the person with raw talent but lacks perseverance won’t. This means being disciplined to learn the classical art foundations: drawing and painting techniques, the rules of perspective, composition, anatomy, digital tools and so on. -And after your done with the list, continue building on these skills. Because there are no shortcuts, becoming great just means doing it over and over again until you nail it. But the good news is that you will get there, so don’t get discouraged by slow progress. As long as you are moving forward, you are moving in the right direction!
All this may sound daunting at first, but no one learned all this and reached the top overnight. Even leaders in the Concept Design industry started off with bad drawings, and even worse paintings. I know, I went to school with some of them! Once you do have a portfolio that is up to par, then you can start job hunting. There is a fallacy that says “who you know” is everything to getting into the industry. But actually that is not correct. “Who you know” is not enough. You may be able to get the attention of a hiring Art Director if you know somebody, but unless your portfolio catches their eye you’re pretty much on your way out the door. But, this is where all of your hard work and sleepless nights will pay off!
If you’re looking to get started today, then start drawing now -and continue every day. Any kind of head start you can give yourself the better. If you’re on a budget, any art school with a good reputation will teach you the basics that can be applied to Concept Art. These are VERY important as everything else you learn such as digital techniques will be built on them, so make an informed choice. What you do with the fundamentals is up to you. Of course you will have to learn Photoshop, and some 3D modeling as well. But the “flashy” advanced techniques of illustration can be learned for free these days. You can even go on YouTube and learn them from industry pros such as Feng Zhu. Although, if you can afford to remain in school do so. You will get focused attention and speed your learning.
Keeping a sketchbook, having a good online presence, and following your favorite artists are a great way to stay motivated and in the game. But as I said, all of the above are useless without an attitude of discipline and dogged tenacity to make it happen. -But not to worry, if you’re passionate about it all the rest will fall into line!