Concept Artist: Trying to find employment. Any suggestions? Critiques are welcome.

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  02 February 2014
Talking Concept Artist: Trying to find employment. Any suggestions? Critiques are welcome.

I have a master's degree in Fine Art and 3D animation. However, I've been struggling to find employment with my degree. It seems that many studios require 3 years experience. I have none. I figured starting from the bottom as a Concept Artist maybe would get my foot in the door. I've been looking for employment for 6 + years and beginning to lose hope. I feel I have the skills but I get discouraged. I've been told a lot of the biggest names in the movie industry as well as other digital art related jobs, developed industry experience by "who you know" versus "degrees and strong portfolios". I welcome feedback regarding my work and industry experienced advice.

Here are some examples of my work. My website:
  02 February 2014
I took a look at your portfolio.

The reason you haven't found a job as a concept artist is simply because you're not good enough yet. While you do show a certain level of passion and you have a body of work, which proves you are willing to do to work, the main problem plaguing your portfolio is that you lack a strong foundation as an artist. You are currently not proficient enough in the critical foundations across the board--from composition, perspective, lighting, forms, values, color theory, anatomy, figure, to technical proficiency such as line quality and brushwork, as well as advanced level of artistic sensibility such as a good sense of readability, aesthetic standards, and professional level of polish.

In terms of actual design, you do show promise, but the problem is, with today's intense competition, even if you are great at actual concept design, you will not be taken seriously until your visual art foundation is strong enough to do your designs justice. There used to be a time decades ago when concept artists who can design very well but can't draw/paint well can still get a job, but that is no longer true, since today's concept artists can all pretty much draw/paint at an advanced level on top of having excellent design skills.

The good thing is, you do have potential, and with the right training strategy, you can target your weaknesses and improve at an astounding pace, if you work smart instead of just work hard on your artistic development. There are some very specific types of training you must do in order to fill the gaps in your knowledge and address all of your weaknesses, and you have to be willing to do them if you want to reach the next phase of your artistic development.

BTW, I moved your thread out of the WIP area since your question if more appropriate for the Art Techniques & Theory forum.
  03 March 2014
From my understanding, there are too few concept art jobs and too many concept artists out there that are very good. So competition is going to kill you even if you were better, or much better. I actually wanted to get into concept art myself but after speaking with many artists in the industry I was told it would be much easier to start in 3D and work my way over to concept art later. So I'm going to start attending the Gnomon school here in a month to focus on 3D instead.

There seems to be much more 3D work now and its easier to get into than concept art.

But I do feel your pain.
  05 May 2014
Thanks very much for your feedback. All of your key points are very true. I mainly focused on delivering the design not so much Artistic qualities that express aesthetics. That is something I know I'm capable of just need to focus on expressing artistic aesthetics more than just quickly sketched designs without the "Beauty aspect". I never knew the industry paid attention to such qualities over simply an "Idea". I followed a few other tutorials from some well known Concept Artists and one key aspect I thought stood out. The art of a Concept Artist is to express the idea to Art Directors. The Art itself doesn't actually sell until post production. However, they want designs that express the idea but yet carries the aesthetic qualities of a fine art gallery worthy piece.
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