Concept Artist (Animation)

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What does a concept artist do?

Concept artists come up with ideas for the look of the animation. They draw the very first sketches. Their artwork is then used as a reference point for animatorsand background and character designers further down the line.

Concept artists are usually freelancers. They produce artwork to a brief from an animation studio and work with them to find a visual style that works. It’s important that they communicate well with the client to understand what they want. They will often have to go back and redo their designs several times before they find something the studio is happy with. Sometimes the first passes are quick and loose for a fast turnaround. Other times, they add more detail and quality. They use computer software as well as hand-drawing and painting to create their art.

Concept art is the earliest exploration of looks and ideas and is often used as part of a pitch to sell a project, film or series, before production is underway.

What’s a concept artist good at?

  • Drawing: have a very high level of skill at drawing, painting, or using computer software to create artwork, produce varied work, develop your own style
  • Creativity: produce innovative work, in the form of storyboards, graphic designs and paintings, that spark the director’s imagination
  • Communication: be able to take direction and use constructive feedback to make changes to your work
  • Knowledge of animation: have a strong and wide-ranging interest in animation and live-action film and TV, understand the medium for which you are producing artwork and the way in which your work will be used
  • Freelancing: find work opportunities for yourself and manage your finances, be self-motivated and work efficiently to deadlines

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