Concept Artist Job Description
Concept artists visualize and create artwork in many different mediums, designing art in every phase of its production. Advertising companies, video game designers, animation studios, and businesses of all types that create images and graphics in a visual medium hire concept artists to work full-time shifts in a collaborative, team-oriented environment. Concept artists typically work daytime business hours in an art studio or office environment, and primarily report to the art director. Travel is not usually required for this job, as concept artists complete their tasks within the studio or office environment.
Concept Artist Duties and Responsibilities
Concept artists perform various day-to-day duties, depending on the type of artwork they’re creating, the visual medium they’re working with, and the size of the art team they collaborate with regularly. However, the core job tasks performed by concept artists are universally the same despite these varying factors.
Create Concept Images
Concept artists draw concept images for artwork appearing in various mediums, including video games, print ads, and online marketing campaigns.
Design Spec Sheets
Concept artists design spec sheets showing dimensions and calculations that can be used by other artists and animators.
Concept artists draw various types of artwork, such as architecture, furniture, environments, clothing, and characters. This may include drawing artwork that adheres to a certain style pattern or particular brand image.
Concept artists collaborate with other members of the art team to share ideas and criticisms on various pieces of concept art.
Design Presentation Packages
Concept artists design presentation packages showcasing pieces of concept art to share with the rest of the art team and/or the art director.
Concept Artist Skills and Qualifications
Concept artists are creative professionals who create artwork of all types, collaborating with other artists and designers to complete projects. Employers seek out concept artists who have the specific skills needed to succeed at this career:
- Artistic skills – concept artists use drawing, illustration, modeling, and animation skills to create art
- Computer skills – concept artists use various art software programs to create art
- Interpersonal skills – to work in a highly collaborative environment with other artists and designers
- Attention to detail – concept artists create art that is used in many different visual mediums
- Communication – concept artists use artwork to relay messages, evoke emotions, and convey concepts
Tools of the Trade
Concept artists regularly use the following tools:
- Sculpting tools (putty knives, clay, carving knives)
- Drawing tools (pencils, pens, paper)
- Computer drawing programs (Photoshop, CAD)
- Painting tools (easels, paint brushes, paints)
Concept Artist Education and Training
The majority of employers do not have strict educational requirements for concept artists, as they primarily search for creative candidates with artistic ability to fill this position. Some employers search for concept artists who have a bachelor’s degree in graphic design or another artistic discipline. However, many employers hire concept artists based on the strength of their portfolios.
Some training is provided to concept artists, a period that varies by employer in which newly-hired artists work closely with a senior member of the artistic team. After becoming familiar with the type of art and the various projects being created by the hiring company, concept artists assume their normal job tasks.
Concept Artist Salary and Outlook
The Bureau of Labor Statistics job data shows that graphic designers earned $48,700 median annual income, $23.41 hourly, in 2017. These professionals occupied more than 250,000 jobs in 2016, a number that is projected to grow by 4 percent through 2026. This growth rate is slower than the national average. Graphic designers create visual concepts of all types to be used in a consumer market, performing many of the same job tasks as concept artists. PayScale data shows that concept artists earn $55,276 median annual income.
Most employers offer comprehensive benefits to full-time concept artists. Health, dental, vision, and life insurance are commonly provided, along with paid vacation leave and sick days. Retirement planning options are typically offered as well. Some employers provide additional benefits to concept artists, such as profit-sharing bonuses and monetary bonuses for successful art campaigns that meet or exceed specific sales benchmarks.
Use these helpful resources to find jobs and learn the skills and strategies it takes to be a concept artist:
Concept Art – Visit this member-driven website for concept artists to look for jobs and connect with other artists through networking forums.
100 Things Every Artist Should Know: Tips, tricks & essential concepts – Master the fundamentals of creating art with the helpful tips in this broad-based book that answers the questions every artist has about artwork.
The National Association of Independent Artists – Find resources of all types for artists at this website, as well as a gallery full of inspirational art.
The Big Bad World of Concept Art for Video Games: How to Start Your Career as a Concept Artist – This book provides tips for concept artists who want to work in the video game industry, and in a broader way, provides tips for all concept artists who create artwork for any entertainment industry.
Concept Art World – Find news updates, training program information, books, and even an inspiration gallery for concept artists at this website.
Figure Drawing for Concept Artists – Use this book as a primer to figure drawing in concept art. Along with text, this book has illustrations done by a professional concept artist.
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