Picture this: You're wandering through an enchanted forest, admiring the towering trees and magical creatures that surround you. You're on a quest to save your kingdom from an evil sorcerer, and every step of the journey has been visually captivating. But who's responsible for bringing this epic adventure to life? It's none other than the unsung heroes of the gaming world – concept artists!

Video game concept art is the backbone of every virtual experience, providing a solid foundation for developers to build upon. In this post, we'll explore the essential techniques and tools you need to know to create stunning video game concept art. From character designs to video game environment concept art, we'll show you how to bring your ideas to life and captivate your audience.

Video Game Concept Art

What Is Concept Art In Video Games

One of the most exciting aspects of video game concept art is the opportunity to tell a story and build a world from scratch. Creating a game's visual identity is much more than just designing pretty pictures; it involves weaving a rich tapestry of narrative, emotion, and atmosphere that will captivate players and keep them coming back for more.

For instance, envision a character whose appearance reflects their backstory, personality traits, and role within the game. A battle-hardened warrior may bear the scars of previous conflicts, while a cunning rogue might sport a mischievous smirk and a penchant for flashy attire. By infusing these elements into the concept art, artists can create memorable characters that resonate with players and add depth to the gaming experience.

Why Video Game Concept Art Matters 

Video game concept art plays a vital role in shaping a game's overall success. It is the first impression that publishers, investors, and other stakeholders will have of the game and can make or break its chances of securing funding and support. A truly compelling concept art portfolio can capture the imagination of potential backers, giving them a tantalizing glimpse into the game's visual style and creative direction.

Video Game Concept Art styles

Moreover, concept art serves as a critical communication tool for the game development team, ensuring that everyone is on the same page and working towards a unified vision. By providing a clear roadmap for designers, developers, and other team members, concept art helps streamline the development process and minimize costly misunderstandings or misinterpretations.

Main Types Of This Art

Concept art plays a critical role in the video game industry, but it's not limited to just games. It can be found in other industries such as film, animation, and advertising. Let's dive into the captivating realm of concept art and explore its various types and forms.

By Subject

When it comes to video games, concept art can be divided into several main categories: character design, environment design, prop design, and user interface design. Each type offers a unique perspective and contributes to the overall appeal of the game.

For instance, character design concept art reveals the visual and emotional aspects of the game's protagonist and supporting characters. Imagine being part of the team responsible for creating iconic characters like Mario, Lara Croft, or Master Chief, and witnessing their evolution from a simple sketch to a detailed rendering.

game concept art

Game environment design concept art transports us to the diverse and immersive worlds that make up the game's setting. From the lush landscapes of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild to the dystopian city of Rapture in BioShock, environment design plays a crucial role in captivating players and immersing them in the game's universe.

Environment design game concept art

Prop design concept art brings life to the weapons, tools, and items that players interact with throughout the game. Imagine designing the powerful energy sword from Halo or the quirky gadgets from Ratchet & Clank, and seeing them become an integral part of the gameplay experience.

User interface design concept art focuses on the game's menus, icons, and other on-screen elements that players use to navigate the game. A well-designed user interface not only enhances the player's experience but also showcases the game's visual style.

By Form

Concept art can also be categorized by form, which includes rough sketches, detailed drawings, and digital illustrations. Each form serves a specific purpose in the game development process, and together they help bring the game's vision to life.

Rough sketches are like the seeds of an idea, used in the early stages of game development to explore various concepts and designs. These initial sketches may not make it into the final game, but they play an essential role in sparking creativity and refining the game's visual direction.

Detailed drawings are the next step in the process, elaborating on the initial sketches to define the visual style of characters, environments, and other game elements. These drawings are like the blueprints for the game's visual language, providing a clear direction for artists and developers to follow.

Digital illustrations are the polished gems of concept art, showcasing high-quality renderings that can be used in promotional materials or to communicate the game's creative vision to stakeholders. These digital masterpieces often become iconic representations of the game, sometimes even gracing the cover of the game box or being featured as promotional posters.

Concept Art In Other Industries

Concept art's influence extends beyond the realm of video games and can be found in various other industries. In film, concept art is used to create storyboards, character designs, and environment designs to express the director's vision for the movie. Animation relies on concept art to develop the unique look and feel of its characters and worlds. In advertising, concept art is used to visualize product designs or marketing campaigns, helping to communicate a brand's message and identity.

So the next time you're immersed in a captivating video game, watching a stunning animated film, or admiring a creative advertisement, take a moment to appreciate the incredible world of concept art that lies beneath the surface. These creative masterminds have transformed ideas into visual masterpieces, shaping the way we experience entertainment and storytelling.

How To Draw Concept Art For Video Games 

Imagine stepping into the shoes of an artist, wielding the power to create entire worlds, characters, and experiences with just a few strokes of your pen or clicks of your mouse. This is the captivating essence of drawing concept art for video games, blending technical skill with unbridled creativity to breathe life into the visions of game developers and players alike.

As a concept artist, you embark on a journey filled with rough sketches, daring design explorations, and countless iterations. Along the way, you'll collaborate with the creative team, refining your artistry and incorporating valuable feedback to forge the perfect visual representation of the game's story and direction.

Whether you're a traditionalist wielding pencils, markers, and paint or a digital savant harnessing the power of software like Photoshop or Procreate, the process remains the same. You may even delve into the realm of 3D modeling to construct virtual prototypes of game objects and environments. In the end, you'll emerge with visually stunning and functional designs that accurately convey the game's vision and direction.

Game character concept art

What Does A Video Game Concept Artist Do 

As a video game concept artist, you hold the keys to the visual kingdom, responsible for crafting the designs of characters, environments, props, and other game elements. Working closely with the game's creative team, you'll help shape the game's artistic direction and aesthetic, leaving your unique mark on the gaming world.

Picture this: the creative team presents you with the task of designing a new character. You dive into brainstorming sessions, exploring countless appearances, clothing styles, and hairstyles. With each stroke, you breathe life into the character, developing a rich backstory and personality that will captivate players and immerse them in the game world.

But your artistic adventures don't stop there. You'll also create vivid environment designs, bringing forth the terrain, weather conditions, and architectural styles of the game world. From lush forests teeming with life to desolate wastelands haunted by darkness, your creations will serve as the backdrop for countless virtual journeys and epic battles.

Ultimately, your mission as a video game concept artist is to weave a tapestry of visually compelling and functional designs that elevate the player's gaming experience. With each new project, you'll harness the power of your imagination and artistic prowess to create unforgettable worlds and characters that will be cherished by gamers for generations to come.

How To Become A Video Game Concept Artist 

You're a skilled artist with a passion for video games, and you dream of combining your creative talents with your love for gaming. The perfect role for you? A video game concept artist. Now let's dive into the thrilling adventure of turning this dream into reality.

Get A Degree

Like any great quest, becoming a video game concept artist starts with acquiring the essential tools for success. In this case, a bachelor's degree in fine arts, graphic design, or illustration can serve as your trusty sword, providing you with the technical skills and artistic foundation needed to conquer the industry.

Picture yourself mastering the arts of drawing, painting, and digital media, while also delving into the realms of game design, 3D modeling, and animation. With this arsenal of knowledge, you'll be well-equipped to understand how your concept art fits into the grand scheme of game development.

Expand Your Skillset

As you venture further into the world of video game concept artistry, you'll need to hone your skills and adapt to various challenges. Practice different artistic techniques, experiment with new mediums, and gain experience by working on personal projects, competing in art competitions, and collaborating with fellow artists.

Imagine unlocking the power of 3D modeling software, like Maya or ZBrush, to create virtual prototypes of game objects and environments. Through collaboration with other artists, you'll also develop essential communication and teamwork abilities - crucial for thriving in the gaming industry's epic battles.

Create a Portfolio 

Now that you've acquired and honed your skills, it's time to showcase your artistic prowess through a powerful portfolio. This magical artifact should demonstrate your creativity, and ability to develop captivating visual designs and meet the demands of game development teams.

Envision a collection of stunning drawings, sketches, and digital illustrations, highlighting your mastery of character design, environment design, and prop creation. Add a touch of 3D modeling and animation to truly enchant potential employers. A well-crafted and visually impressive portfolio will be your key to unlocking the gates of the video game industry.


In the realm of video game artistry, allies can be your greatest asset. Networking is vital for connecting with fellow adventurers and discovering job opportunities. Attend industry events, like conferences, workshops, and job fairs, to rub elbows with professionals and learn about hidden job openings.

Join online communities and social media groups dedicated to video game art, sharing your work, and forging bonds with other artists. Reach out to recruiters and hiring managers, showcasing your portfolio as you inquire about potential job openings. Remember, a strong network can be your most powerful weapon in the competitive job market.

Search For Positions 

With a solid portfolio and a network of allies at your side, you're ready to embark on the final quest: finding a job as a video game concept artist. Platforms like LinkedIn, Indeed, and ArtStation will serve as your treasure maps, guiding you toward job openings in the field.

Keep your eyes peeled for positions with game development studios or outsourcing companies that provide artistic services to the gaming industry. Don't overlook freelance or contract work, as they can offer valuable opportunities to work on diverse projects and further enhance your portfolio.

Concept Artist Job Responsibilities 

In this highly competitive industry, concept artists must possess a unique blend of artistic skills, creativity, technical prowess, and effective communication abilities to make their mark. Professional studios that provide concept game art services always seek everything mentioned in this chapter, so you should make as much effort as possible to stand out.


The primary responsibility of a concept artist in video game development is to create visual designs and artwork that help bring the game to life. This includes designing characters, environments, props, and other game elements.

For example, a concept artist may be responsible for creating sketches and drawings that depict the appearance of characters and objects, as well as developing color palettes and lighting schemes that contribute to the overall visual style of the game. They may also work closely with other members of the game development team to ensure that their artwork meets the technical and creative requirements of the project.

concept art for video games


Concept artists are masters of innovation, charged with the responsibility of developing visually appealing and distinctive designs that breathe life into the game's world and characters. Picture this: you are tasked with designing a new alien species for a science fiction game, a challenge that demands thinking outside the box and pushing the boundaries of your imagination. This is where creativity truly shines, as you conjure up a captivating appearance and distinctive characteristics for your otherworldly creations.

Using art software 

As a concept artist, you must be well-versed in using digital art software like Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and 3D modeling tools such as Maya or ZBrush. Imagine sculpting a detailed character model in 3D software, only to render it in 2D format for seamless integration into the game's design. Your artistic talents must extend to digital painting software, where you'll create texture maps and color schemes that enhance the visual appeal of game objects and environments.


Behind every successful concept artist is a strong foundation in effective communication. Your ability to convey your ideas and designs with clarity and efficiency not only ensures that your artwork aligns with the game's overall aesthetic and storyline, but it also allows you to receive feedback and critique constructively. Think of yourself as a visual storyteller, presenting your concepts to game designers, art directors, and even producers and marketing executives, all while maintaining a collaborative and receptive mindset.

Knowledge of games 

What sets a truly exceptional concept artist apart from the rest is a deep understanding of the gaming industry. Being aware of the latest trends, innovations, and audience preferences allows you to craft designs that resonate with the target demographic. For instance, when working on a mobile game, you must be familiar with platform constraints such as smaller screen sizes and touch controls. Equally important is your grasp of the game's genre, style, and target audience, all of which contribute to creating artwork that is both engaging and relevant.

What Is A Concept Artist's Salary 

Picture this - you're a talented, passionate artist looking to make a living in the world of concept design. But how much can you expect to earn as a concept artist? Well, that's a masterpiece of a question! The answer, like any good artwork, is nuanced and depends on a few different factors such as experience, location, and the size of the company you work for.

According to Glassdoor, the average salary for a concept artist in the US is around $49 729 per year. But don't let that number paint the whole picture. Some seasoned artists at the top of their game can rake in a whopping $120,000 or more per year! Now that's a palette worth pursuing.

However, it's important to remember that these figures are merely broad strokes. Salaries can vary greatly depending on the specific company and industry. And let's not forget that many concept artists choose to go down the freelance route, setting their own rates and creating their own masterpiece of an income.

Advice For New Concept Artists

So how do you go from being a humble art squire to a full-fledged creative knight? Here are some tips to help you level up in the world of concept art:

  1. Build those skills like you're playing an RPG: Keep honing your craft, expanding your portfolio, and networking with fellow adventurers (aka industry professionals). The more powerful your art becomes, the more likely you'll land that dream gig.
  2. Stay informed like a wise old mage: Research industry trends, be open to learning new software and techniques, and always be ready to adapt to the ever-shifting landscape of concept art. Knowledge is power, after all!
  3. Embrace the journey like a brave hero: It can take time to land a coveted concept artist position, so be patient and persistent. Start with smaller projects or freelance work to gain experience and slay those metaphorical dragons standing between you and your goals.

Now that you're armed with this treasure trove of information, go forth and conquer the realm of concept art! Just remember to send us a postcard from the top of Mount Success (or at least tweet about it).

The Bottom Line

Every video game hero faces challenges and setbacks, but they keep pushing forward. Similarly, you might face rejection or criticism on your path to becoming a concept artist. But don't let that discourage you! Like any good video game character, you've got unlimited respawns.

Stay persistent in pursuit of your dream career, continue refining your skills, and never lose sight of the end goal: creating visual masterpieces that will captivate gamers around the world.

So, grab your art supplies and let your creativity run wild as you embark on your epic quest to become a concept artist in the exhilarating world of video games. The journey may be challenging, but the reward of seeing your creations come to life on screen is worth every battle fought.

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Frequently Asked Questions


What Is The Concept Art In Video Games? 

Concept art in video games refers to the creation of visual designs of the characters, environments, objects, and other elements that will be featured in the game. It serves as a blueprint for the game designers and developers, playing a crucial role in shaping the game's artistic direction and overall aesthetic.


Why Does Video Game Concept Art Matter? 

Video game concept art matters because it provides the visual foundation for the game's world and characters, helping to bring the game to life. It also plays a crucial role in the game development process, allowing developers to make important design decisions and ensure that the final product meets the desired vision.


How Can I Make Concept Art For Video Games? 

To make concept art for video games, you'll need to have a strong foundation in art and design, as well as knowledge of relevant software such as Photoshop and 3D modeling tools. It's important to understand the game's style, world, and characters, and to be able to communicate your ideas effectively to other members of the development team.