Thursday, 17 October 2013

Concept art vs illustration

Curiosity did get the better of me this week and I took a little wonder into the queens building were illustration lives to see exactly what they do there, more on the outcome of that later in this blog.

I have been doing some research of late on concept art and illustration. A lot of people who hope to become concept artists go and study illustration. I was curious to find out exactly how the two differ.

Concept art VS Illustration

I think it would be fair to say that most people have a warped view of exactly what concept art is.

When I say concept art what is the first thing you think of? epic images with awesome composition and lighting. Hang on a minute that's not concept art... there is nothing epic or final about concept art.
At least the way I see it there shouldn't be.

When we think of concept art in this way we are probably thinking of video game promo art.

Artwork that has been made to promote lets say a video game is very final just like illustration

because the two have a similar function.

So what is the difference between concept art and illustration?

In lamens terms....

An illustration is final, concept art is part of a process.

The answer in metaphorical terms.....

Concept art is the plain Jane who is getting ready for a night on the town, doing her hair and makeup , deciding what to wear...etc...etc

Illustration is the sexy woman who steps into the nightclub turning heads.

As with the plain Jane the final audience is never going to see the woman getting ready they will only see the outcome of the process involved whilst getting ready.

The final audience is never going to see a piece of concept art. They are only going to see the result of the communication between the concept artist and the development team. The final outcome. The game. The difference between Concept art and illustration is in intent. What's it for? and more importantly who is it for?

The audience.
The audience for a piece of concept art will be the development team that will use it as an aid to finalise there ideas leading to a final outcome or your boss that will tell you what needs changing.

The audience for an illustration, will see the final outcome.

Does concept art need to look attractive? No it's just a concept.

Does illustration need to look attractive? Yes

What do employers want?

During my research I have read that some employers don't even know what concept art is.

Its a good thing to think about that if it is the case that some employers are not even sure about what concept art is then surely as an artist you should be prepared to do more give that little bit extra isn't that what they like to see?

Who does the video game promo art? or the art they want to show off? I'd say from talking to actual concept artists that it is probably the concept artist.

So is it better to be a jack of all trades or a master of one? A master of many? that would be ideal.

So illustrator or concept artist? I'd say both.

Final words

I think this post was only the tip of the iceberg as far as the subject is concerned. I will investigate further. Honestly Id rather be the sexy woman than the plain Jane.

Links and references

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