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Author   Topic : "Concept Art INDUSTRY (I have some questions)?"
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Joined: 25 Mar 2012
Posts: 2
Location: USA

PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2012 10:54 am     Reply with quote
First off, I'm not sure this question is even appropriate for these forums. If it is not, please let me know.

Thanks for viewing my post. I know I might be a little long winded, but I have some concerns about the concept art industry that I would like to get some answer to.

Iím thinking about learning art so that I can get into the concept art business but Iíd like to know more about the industry before I make a large decision.
Iíve posted a few questions on some other forums out there and I was told that to learn the fundamentals of art and be good and or decent, one must invest TEN THOUSAND hours of drawing practice (ball park estimate from several professionals I talked to). Then after having some skill and the fundamentals down I can switch completely digital using adobe photoshop and a good tablet. They say that Iíll then have to invest several more years to get some extra skill down before Iíll be considered pro level. When I say invest some MORE YEARS Iím not talking about practicing ONE hour a day. Donít get me wrong. Iím talking about putting in TEN-TWLVE hour days FIVE DAYS A WEEK!
Anyways, whether it takes six years, eight years, or ten years to get to a professionals level, itís a very large sacrifice. Even though Iíve always been a creative and imaginative person I wouldnít be putting in that sort of sacrifice for FUN. Of course it would be fun, but this sort of sacrifice needs to have something else at the end of the tunnel for me, since Iím not getting any younger. I donít have years to spend without some sort of pay off at the end.
If you could link me to some good sites with reliable information about the concept art industry, that would probably be easiest and best, but if not I have several specific questions I would like some answers to. If you donít know the answers thatís fine, but donít give me your OPINION unless you say that itís YOUR opinion. Iím looking for facts of the industry, not hearsay.

Here are my questions:
What kind of demand does the concept art industry have today?
Any speculation on what the industry will look like in ten years?
Does the industry hire freelancers over the internet (meaning, as long as I have an internet connection and my tools, I could be in Madagascar or and still get work)?
What kind of rates does a professional in this industry receive?
Iíd really appreciate it if you could answer any of these questions or even just provide any input, tips, or warnings for me. (Again, if you arenít answering something as fact, please let me know in your statement.)
These are just some of my major questions. I may have more miner ones as I continue to investigate this possible career choice.

I appreciate you taking the time to view my post.

: )
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Joined: 04 Dec 2003
Posts: 437
Location: Helsinki, Finland

PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2012 10:18 am     Reply with quote
I have done some concept art for games and graphics demos, but I haven't worked as a full time concept artist so I'm afraid I can answer your questions.

I'm sure you already know the following site, but if you have some how missed it, you should check it out. Just use the search on that forum and you should find what you are looking for.

Cheers, Petri.J
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junior member

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Joined: 25 Mar 2012
Posts: 2
Location: USA

PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2012 1:35 pm     Reply with quote
Yeah I'm already signed up at the site.

Thanks though.
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Joined: 28 Feb 2012
Posts: 334
Location: Sweden

PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2012 6:54 am     Reply with quote
A lot of those questions have been talked about in older threads, I think the industry have changed a lot though. I heard about interns paying for their positions over at Cgsociety.
Not everyone can make it though, I invested those twelve hours a day for many many years.....

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Joined: 03 Nov 2003
Posts: 474
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2012 12:22 pm     Reply with quote
I'm not a professional in the industry, but I freelanced off and on and did research on the viability of a full(er)-time career in the field from 2006-2009. My response below is on the basis of that research as opposed to personal experience, so take it with as much salt as you feel necessary.

I've been where you are. The nature of the work (or rather, what you imagine the job to entail) tends to breed a certain level of devotion. It's a fantastic career if your skills, abilities, mental propensities and life circumstances align such that you are permitted to pursue it.

I'm not sure anyone can tell you where the industry will be in 10 years. As far as salary goes, the sky is the limit, and there's no floor. It's dependent on your talent, and more specifically, whether you cultivate that talent in a way that is consistently responsive to the needs of the market. Every professional who does this successfully does it a little bit differently, and on the basis of their own individual strengths. You will essentially end up as an entrepreneur, and will need to keep your finger on the pulse of the industry.

In my opinion as a long-time observer, the North American industry is in danger of maturing along a similar path as the larger CG industry. Much of the basic training can be obtain via online communities, and the fundamental competencies can be independently honed. Some might argue that, like the CG industry, the profession has been popularized to the point where the skill set itself has become the product to be sold, leading to an oversupply of cheap labour (at least at the low-intermediate skill levels). Similarly, the availability of low price foreign labour is, I think, capable of seriously impacting the North American illustration market. This is either good or bad for you, depending on where you live.

You need to really think about how you fit into that changing economic framework, how much debt you will incur in the learning process (whether or not you go to an art school, you will need to eat, a roof over your head and you should factor in certain other non-monetary life opportunity-costs) and whether you'll be able to pay it off when you're done.

I would read this start to finish:

The concept art industry may not be at that stage yet, but you can see it how it could end up there. There are differences between the two fields, but I think they are adequately analogous to warrant a comparative analysis in coming to your decision.

I don't say any of this to dissuade you; it may very well be that you are an exceptionally talented and hardworking individual, but you should know what you're up against. Market versatility will be central to your success, and whether you can sufficiently differentiate your service offering from competitors in your class.

You also need to take a hard look at what you want out of life. You shouldn't plan on getting rich, and for many, it's a constant struggle to remain afloat. I don't know how old you are, but it may be difficult to watch your friends go down more traditional career paths, buying homes and cars, going on vacations etc, while you "pursue your passion". Do you like having time off? Would you prefer to have coverage for you and your family in the event of a medical emergency? Do you want to get married and have 2.3 kids? This isn't just career planning, it's life planning, and based on your initial post, I think you recognize that. Even so, itís difficult to know exactly what all of that feels like in the abstract; the actual experience can be harsh.

Once again, I want to reiterate that the above is the opinion of a outsider. Others with more pertinent life experience on the subject are certainly free to disagree with me here... I welcome it actually, as I've maintained a personal interest in the area, and am very interested in hearing other opinions on the subject. I hope Iíve added something to the conversation, but Iíve also posted to try and stimulate more discussion. I know there are professionals who post on the site, and itíd be interesting to get a few different industry perspectives.

Best of luck with whatever you decide.
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Joined: 19 Apr 2002
Posts: 813
Location: Sweden

PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2012 4:53 am     Reply with quote
falldamage, well writen. Couldnt disagree more.

Lots of competition for sure. To handle techniques is not enough, one has to have good insight for what other companies want out from you in order to work for them.

Interesting that to survive "at miserable conditions" doesnt not apply only for artists, also for them who work for games, illustrations. I guess that painting, drawing is considered as "low status".

If you're aware of that and still prepared to enjoy the passion. Nothing can stop you from that. You live one time, get most ouf of that! Smile

No pain without gain!
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