Adopt a con­cept art ap­proach

Ex­plains how con­cept art tech­niques can be ap­plied to a stand­alone il­lus­tra­tion, for great-look­ing art­work

ImagineFX: Sci-fi & Fantasy Art magazine - - Workshops -

y for­mal train­ing was in il­lus­tra­tion, but I’d al­ready spent a decade as a kid scour­ing books like the Art of Star Wars se­ries and var­i­ous other ‘movie magic’ pub­li­ca­tions, which be­came my in­for­mal in­tro­duc­tion to con­cept art. For me, the two skills have al­ways been in­te­grated and equally ap­peal­ing. Af­ter many years of work­ing with com­pa­nies like EA, Sony and Mi­crosoft,

Mcon­cept art and vis­ual de­vel­op­ment tech­niques have be­come part of my in­stinc­tive way to think about and tackle any de­sign task. For me, the process is the best way to be­come im­mersed into the world of the pro­ject. It’s how I find it eas­i­est to get my head around all of its com­plex­i­ties and de­tails. It’s also the be­gin­ning of idea for­mu­la­tion and im­agery that will even­tu­ally fol­low through to the fin­ished prod­uct.

I’m cur­rently il­lus­trat­ing a se­ries of books called Se­crets of Bearhaven, for Scholas­tic Press, where I’ve used a con­cept art ap­proach to vi­su­alise the world and char­ac­ters of the story in or­der to cre­ate cov­ers and in­te­rior art. Scholas­tic’s re­sponse to my skills as a con­cept artist has been re­fresh­ingly en­cour­ag­ing and a wholly col­lab­o­ra­tive ex­pe­ri­ence, which spot­lights the grow­ing trans­fer­able skills be­tween these two do­mains.

1 Sketch stud­ies to build con­fi­dence

Of­ten projects are un­der tough time con­straints. It’s tempt­ing to dive straight in and make stuff up as you go, but if pos­si­ble, do prepara­tory sketches first. You’ll be amazed how much use­ful in­for­ma­tion be­comes ap­par­ent through ob­ser­va­tion and sketch­ing. For Bearhaven I be­came fa­mil­iar with bear anatomy, and the ar­chi­tec­ture and gad­gets of the world.

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