Career Spotlight: Concept Artist

What does it mean to be a concept artist?

Concept artists are creators of the look and feel of a piece of media. They are responsible for designing everything including props, environments, and characters. The hard work of concept artists is used throughout the production of TV shows, movies, advertisements, graphic design, production design, graphic novels, product design, etc. Their work is an invaluable tool to designers, animators, VFX artists, directors, actors, and anyone involved in the creation of a piece of media.

What Skills Should a Concept Artist Have?

There are a variety of media that a concept artist can specialize in. Skills can vary depending on the field, but in general, here are some basic skills concept artists should have:

  • Strong drawing and painting skills

  • Great understanding of perspective and lighting

  • Understanding of visual language

  • Communication skills, visual and personal

  • Research skills and application

In addition, here are some software that concept artists should be familiar with:

  • Maya

  • Blender

  • Zbrush

  • Adobe Photoshop, After Effects

  • Mudbox

  • CAD

What Classes Should I Take at SCAD for Concept Art?

SCAD offers a wide variety of classes to explore and develop your skills for different kinds of concept art. Concept art is used in nearly all creative media projects, and thus there are tons of classes you can take to develop your skills.

Storytelling and concept development for animation - Major

  • ANIM 275 Core Principles of Animated Storytelling and Concept Development

  • ANIM 315 Story and Concept: Narrative Principles for Animation

  • ANIM 325 Story and Concept: Visual Design and World Building

  • ANIM 335 Story and Concept: Animation Character and Creature Design

  • ANIM 345 Story and Concept: Story-boarding and Staging

  • ANIM 365 Story and Concept: Seeding the Narrative

  • ANIM 385 Story and Concept: Concept Development for Animation

Production Design - Major

  • FILM 100 Digital Film Production: Story to Screen

  • PROD 103 Introduction to Entertainment Design

  • PROD 220 Illuminating the Narrative

  • PROD 221 Designing the Environment

  • PROD 222 Dressing the Persona

  • PROD 303 Interpreting the Script

  • PROD 313 Digital Rendering for Entertainment

  • SOEA 333 Professional Practice for Entertainment Arts

  • PROD 473 Production Design Senior Project

  • PROD 479 Undergraduate Internship

  • SOEA 560 Collaborative Experiences in the School of Entertainment Arts

*Concentrations in costume, lighting, set design, art direction, theme parks and attractions are available for this major.

Production Design - Minor

  • PROD 103 Introduction to Entertainment Design

  • PROD 220 Illuminating the Narrative

  • PROD 221 Designing the Environment

  • PROD 222 Dressing the Persona

  • PROD 303 Interpreting the Script

Concept development for animation and games - Minor

  • MOME 120 Concepts and Storyboards

  • ITGM 130 Digital Design Aesthetics

  • SEQA 311 Conceptual Illustration

  • ILLU 326 Atmospheric and Environmental Illustration

  • ILLU 384 Anatomy and Rendering for the Real and Imagined

  • ILLU 160 Illustrative Anatomy and Perspective

  • ILLU 218 Materials and Techniques

  • ILLU 225 Digital Illustration

  • ILLU 434 Concept Design for Animation and Games

Concept art for game design - Minor

  • ITGM 120 Introduction to Interactive Design and Game Development

  • ITGM 121 Introduction to Game Development

  • ITGM 236 Core Principles: Game Art

  • SEQA 311 Conceptual Illustration

  • ITGM 333 Digital Sculpting: Creatures and Characters

  • SEQA 411 Advanced Conceptual Illustration

Art Direction - concentration in Advertising and Branding Major

  • ADBR 312 Art Direction: Typography and Persuasive Design

  • ADBR 332 Art Direction: Advanced Visual Integration

  • ADBR 352 Art Direction: Branding Through Photography

  • ADBR 372 Art Direction: Brand Films and Social Content

  • ADBR 392 Art Direction: Stop Motion for Brand Content

Examples of Concept Art

Ralph McQuarrie Concept artist and Illustrator for Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, ET, Cocoon and more!

Concept art by Ralph McQuarrie for Star Wars.


Gilles Beloeil Principal Concept Artist at TiMi Studio.

Portfolio site:

Asgard design, focusing on the tree. Concept art by Gilles Beloeil for Assassin's Creed Valhalla.


Christopher Bradley Visual Concept artist, Creative Art Director, Immersive World Illustrator.

Portfolio site:

Rio Dark Ride Facade, Concept Art by Christopher Bradely.


Deanna Marsigliese Art Director, Illustrator, Character Designer at Pixar.

Portfolio Site:

Concept Art for Incredibles II (2018) by Denanna Marsigliese.


Resources and Further Reading

Check out Render Q’s Digital Media Starter Pack for Resources on Maya and Blender:

Join SCAD’s Concept Art Club!

Check out the Art books at SCAD’s Jen Library! Art books for movies are found on the second floor with call number NC.

Linkedin: What is Concept art by Patrick Ballestros

Concept Art World

Film Costume Collection

Rembert Montald - Artist at Riot Games Flip through Sketchbook

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