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xidis

concept art design

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Does anyone know of a good book, or some other way for me to begin learning the techniques involved with drawing concept art, and the many different ways to draw it. I''d like to know how to draw creatures (from humans to the whatever i think of) to inanimate objects, like cars and furniture. Any advice appreciated. Thanks.

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I'd lurk a little at the boards with conceptual artists.
One book or three tutorials won't cut it.

Most of the artists are obsessed!
They draw all the time, they draw a lot from life ... they know a lot of theory
...

Conceptart.org is a very good place.
Check out the sketchbooks (sub forum of SKETCHES & IDEAS), Andrew Jones' self portraits and "LIFE DRAWING, LEARNING, TECHNIQUES, & TUTORIALS"

Check out the profiles of the professionals there:
Forum Leaders
Most of them have websites with interesting/inspiring stuff.

Most artists have several books on anatomy, perspective, composition and so on.

Sijun is another good place.
Making speedpaintings is a good way to practice IMO.

Don't only draw digitally. Start with a pencil.
Then check out tutorials.
There is a list of tutorials at Sumaleth's Link Archive

---
If nothing works the way it should ... maybe you need a break!?
Get cracking and double-check the switch statements!!
Tolop|Andyart.de

[edited by - Clueless on May 18, 2004 7:03:13 PM]

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I looked at that conceptart.org the last time somebody mentioned it, and I really am not sure why it''s named that - it''s focus seemed to be on anatomy and photorealistic drawing and CGing technique, not on concept design at all.

I''m not a professional concept artist, but I''ve done concept art for a few game projects and other kings of projects now, and here''s my take on it:

Concept art is not about drawing style. It''s usually some sort of pencil or tablet sketch with color applied by pencils, markers, or CGing. Any standard method of producing art will work, and theoretically you should match your technique to the project''s requirements or only take on projects that match your style - for example, since I draw only anime style I don''t do projects where the designer wants realistic looking characters to be designed.

So if concept art isn''t about technique or media, what is it about? It''s about 1) Psychology/communication and 2) Gathering, dissecting and remixing ideas.

1) Psychology/communication - as a concept artist you often end up working with a designer who ''knows what he wants when he sees it'', has half a clue how being an artist really works, and will not give you all the info you need to do a sketch that will make him happy. A good third of the work involved in being a concept artist is getting the designer to answer simple questions and indicate his preferances until you can figure out what will make him happy. One approach to this is prepaing a portfolio with samples of specific things - I have one with about 40 clothing designs, another with about 40 faces, and 10 or so monsters, so I can just ask whoever I''m working for to look at the appropriate collection and indicate his favorites. A second approach is asking the designer to provide concept art from an existing game/anime/whatever and describe to you what is great about that example and what should be different. The third approach is simple ''list of options'' questions, like, "Do you want the X to look tattered, sad, mean, fluffy, sleek, cute, disdainful, etc.?"

2) Gathering, dissecting, and remixing ideas - this is the true artistic part of making concept art. As a concept artist I find it very helpful to think of things in parts and categories. For example, say I am hired to design a monster. There are only so many kinds of monster body shapes: snake, sphere, flat geometric shape (like a fish), peanut shape (like a horse), big front-small back (bison), and small front-big back (kangaroo). You pick a number of feet to stick on this body, and a type of foot(hoof, cloven hoof, paw, webbed foot, fish fin, shark fin, etc.) Then you do the same with the tail, horns/antennae, nose, ears, etc. until you have an animal. Try to make it look harmonious, not like a failed attempt at a Frankenstein''s monster.

So as a concept artist, what you should be doing is colleting a lot of reference images (I have two illustrated books of animals, a stack of vogue and elle magazines, and several folders on my harddrive with images of poses, men, women, faces, clothing, hands, different kinds of animals, architecture, etc. I love google image search!) You need to be able to look at these images and mentally dissect them to identify their different elements, then choose elements that you like to make a new combination of your own. You need to figure out which elements are particularly good for making your drawing have a particular attitude, because concept art is all about attitude - If you design a character I should be able to make a good guess at what that charcter''s personality is from their pose facial expression, color scheme, and clothing/hair/accessories.


Hope that was helpful! ^_^

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I don't get that ...

I'm totally with you when I read the conclusion.
But what about skills?

Quote:
"it's focus seemed to be on anatomy and photorealistic drawing and CGing technique, not on concept design at all."

Isn't anatomy the most important part of character design (a huge part of concept design)?
You are right when you say reference is important.
One can't use "it is anime, it doesn't need a realistic look" as an excuse for bad anatomy.
You need to use anatomy to show the attitude.
Gestures, expressions, exaggeration and so on.

Many people who want to join a team that works on a mod come to CA.org and ask the old question:
"I have those cool images in my head but I can't put them on paper! Do I suck?"

You pretty much said how it works.
But I don't get why learning anatomy and learning about the software of your choice is not important for conceptual art.

A great, somehow related thread (Alex Gering's question and fredflickstone's answer):
Bridgeman studies

I agree that it does depend on what you want to do later:
Something like that?
Or that?

And what about vehicle design? There's a lot about that at conceptart too.

---
If nothing works the way it should ... maybe you need a break!?
Get cracking and double-check the switch statements!!
Tolop|Andyart.de

[edited by - Clueless on May 19, 2004 3:33:01 AM]

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quote:
Original post by Clueless
I don''t get that ...

I''m totally with you when I read the conclusion.
But what about skills?

Quote:
"it''s focus seemed to be on anatomy and photorealistic drawing and CGing technique, not on concept design at all."

Isn''t anatomy the most important part of character design (a huge part of concept design)?



I didn''t mean that art skills aren''t important, I meant that while you have to have art skills to be any sort of artist, many techniques and photorealism in particular are largely irrelevant to concept art. IMHO concept art is not supposed to be finished art, it''s just supposed to be quick sketches that capture a concept and/or an attitude, while photorealism is by definition finished art. A concept artist is supposed to throw out lots of creative ideas, not spend hours coloring spots on a leopard and texture on brick walls. It''s inefficient and a waste of effort to finish an image if that image is not going to be used for a purpose that requires finishing.

And no I would say anatomy is definitely not the most important part of character design. Look at South Park - Anatomy? What anatomy? Yet they have great character designs. Anybody who''s seen more than a few southpark episodes will never forget Cartman, Kenny, Mister Hat, Mister Hankey, Satan... Think about what the word "concept" means. So your concept drawing of a character has great anatomy - that''s no gaurantee that the in-game art of that character will all have good anatomy, especially if there''s a 3-d modeller who has his own ideas of anatomy between you and the finished project. (That''s another argument against photorealistic concept art too - modellers find it easiest to work from lineart and let the texture mappers worry about the details.

The most important part of character design IMHO is that the character''s face, hair, clothes, and accessories come together to form a vibrant, memorable, interesting idea of a person.


quote:

I agree that it does depend on what you want to do later:
Something like that?
Or that?

And what about vehicle design? There''s a lot about that at conceptart too.



I already do the anime one of those (my samples page) ), and I''m not personally interested in doing things like the architecture one - the sketch of the same architecture a little lower in that thread is more functional for my purposes. (like this) But I''ll certainly admit I''m biased here - in my mind mind the archetypal form of illustration (which is really what computer game art is, pictures to tell a story) is the anime-style cartoon, maybe with colors. I like that more iconic style of art because details and realism can often interfere with communication - photorealistic art is too ''busy'' to be animated or to use as a background, and practically all in-game art is either animated or background.

Hope that didn''t seem too ranty, I''m just trying to express my astonishment and confusion that an online forum named after concept art doesn''t fit my ide of conept art at all.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
get your hands on any art books for films. conceptual art for fantasy/sci-fi stuff is the best. look at a lot of japanese concept art books (available online) as there are tons and tons more of books there on this subject than here in america. and it also depends on what type of concept art you are looking to do. backgrounds and environments, characters, props, or anything and everything. hope this helps a bit. ganbatte! (work hard!)

-carms

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Guest Anonymous Poster
"there are only so many kinds of monster body shapes"

Says who? I think it's just your imagination that limits the kind of look monsters can have. You seem to like anime, read the Berserk manga and expand your view on monsters :) I would say more like there are infinite kinds of shapes monsters can take.

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Making concept art requires a full spectrum of artistic skills...you have to know your anatomy, perspective, colour theory, light/shadow, etc, etc, etc... It's a very demanding field, with quick turnaround and high expectations. The job of a conceptual artist is to translate intangible ideas and fellings into presentable art that can be used for reference in the development of a finished product (i.e. games, films, products, etc...). In the gaming industry you're expected to be able to produce highly refined imaged in a very short period of time. Thing don't necessarily have to be "photo-realistic" but they should be rendered with full attention to proper artistic convention, such that the final image can communicate perfectly the ideas being expressed.

The ConceptArt forums are probably the best place you can go to learn the ropes, as it is a community built by professionals with the intent of helping other professionals and those who wish to be. It's a very competitive field, and having the presence of other high-end artists is a good way to set standards for your own work.

Any film and game art books you can find are great references for the types of work that concept artists do...there are some really great anime art books that you can find at comic and import stores, though they tend to be pricey. A lot of DVDs often have production art sections, so they're a great reference as well. Some artists, like Feng Zhu, actually produce their own DVDs, with discussion on techniques and methods, and collections of their art.

If you are interested in getting into concept art, I have one point of advice: Make sure you explore all areas of drawing, and don't focus solely on character design...it's a mistake many artists make. There are craploads of good character designers out there, and the number of jobs is incredibly limited. Most companies will never hire an artist solely for their character drawing skills, but will look for someone who's equally as good at rendering architechture, props, pattern design, etc.

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try the loomis's books. they are rather old: more than 50 years == copyright expired, like those books in the gutemberg project (correct me if i'm wrong and i will fix it), so i think that is not illegal to download them from ********, or you can find them at ****** for reference, with a lot of other material. this is a very known site, so, i still think it's not illegal. corrections are welcome, though.
i'm still learning, but i think they're very good and friendly.
oh, if you want to buy them, they are available at some sites, like ebay (i have bought some from a friend), and some are very cheap (like 10$ or something like that).


edit: sorry, i've just checked, and project gutemberg states 1923 as a good date to not being illegal, so...
but, these books are really cheap (or they were) and you can buy them for almost no money. hope it helps.


[Edited by - exepotes on June 18, 2004 3:22:44 AM]

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