Creating concept art is a passion of mine. It’s all about creating a visual language that contains more than meets the eye. Within each design there are clues about the world, the people, the creatures and cultures that are connected to the design. It’s about taking an idea and digging deeper, to discover an entire world beyond the art.
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The goal with environment concept art is not just to paint a pretty vista—it’s to provide a window into the experience of the characters in that world. Every element should tell a story about the people who live there, what their lifestyle is, and the history of the landscape.
We also want to show exactly how our protagonist can navigate this environment and what they will encounter along the way. Every environment I conceptualize contains some sort of visual (or sometimes literal) pathway so the viewer can envision themselves moving through the piece.
It’s also essential to fully develop every asset that a character can expect to find in that space. Everything from trees to rocks and important landmarks should be carefully thought out and designed to match the rest of the scene.
The most important question I ask myself when designing something mechanical is this: how does it work? This isn’t something that comes right away, but rather an exploration that evolves with the development of the art itself. With every new detail, I have to ask myself how it will affect the function as well as the form.
It’s also essential to borrow from existing sources to create a concept that is grounded in reality. I strive to maintain a balance of roughly 80% realism and 20% of something extra to take it into a new dimension and give it a distinct character that you wouldn’t find in the everyday world.
Designing a creature is more than just painting claws and teeth. I draw from existing animal and human references while mixing and combining elements to create truly unique designs.
As with any other concept art process, I begin with multiple iterations of the same idea. In this case, the prompt was “alien predator”.
Sometimes a project will call for multiple variations of the same concept. For example, different types of the same species, different colorations with alternate features.
Creating compelling characters requires a thorough understanding of their background. For each character, I am building upon extensive briefs and research, everything from the historical roots of the culture, to a character’s demeanor, story arc, and relationships.