When it comes to careers in the games industry, a concept artist is right there with a game designer in having a notably glamorous yet ambiguous position. It’s one of those dream jobs, like a movie director or novelist, that people associate with success, without thinking of the large amount of work that goes into it or what exactly that work entails. Not to mention that fame for an individual artist is never a guarantee, especially in an industry in which an entire group is responsible for the finished product.
Still, there are many students who dream of becoming a concept artist or character designer. While passion and enthusiasm are definitely key qualities, it is important to know that it takes time to hone the visual skills and experience necessary for the job. You will not always be drawing what you like or even what you are comfortable with drawing. My lesson for the day, then, is get out of your comfort zone! Hate drawing animals? Then draw only animals for a while. Like 3D but dislike traditional art? Get those brushes ready. Don’t like math? Well, I don’t either! It doesn’t have to become your favorite thing in the world, but who knows? You may find that it’s not so bad.
I used to cringe at the thought of working in 3D. It seemed overwhelming at first, but after weeks of nothing but 3D, I got to a point where I was comfortable with it. So comfortable, in fact, that when tasked with taking screenshots of my box-cluttered nightclub and painting over them, it felt strange for me to hold a pen. For those keeping score at home, this meant I had left game-design territory and entered the concept-art world.
Wish me luck.