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news • 19 April 2024

Guide to Finding the Right Concept Art Course

There are so many roles that a Concept Artist can do in the entertainment industries, from designing characters for games, animation and film, to creating thematic environments in experiential design for branded events, theme parks, interiors and even museums! A concept art course can equip you with the necessary skills and expertise needed to succeed in the competitive field of visual arts. 

Not sure where to begin? Here, we explore how to research reputable concept art courses, what to look for in terms of learning paths, and how to leverage your chosen course to craft cinematic beauty that helps you land your dream job. 

Who is a concept art course for? 

If you are passionate about visual storytelling, drawing and painting, concept art courses can take your visual art aspirations to the next level. Our BA (Hons) / MArt Concept Art and Experience Design degree is ideal for beginners looking to kickstart their artistic journey. Whether you're keen to explore character development or world building in games, the best concept art degree will teach you the skills, methodologies, and real-life scenarios you’ll need to be successful in the industry. Besides modules in digital drawing and design, students learn 3D modelling, sculpting, real-time game engines, supported with industry briefs and mentoring.  

Choosing the best concept art course for your needs 

Mastering concept art requires dedication, practise, and access to quality education and resources. So where does an aspiring artist start on their journey to pursuing their passion for visual storytelling? 

  • Identify your goals and interests 

Before diving into the endless array of concept art courses online, take time to think about your artistic interests and specialisms. Are you drawn to character design, environment art, or maybe experiential design for branded events? Knowing the areas you aspire to work in will help narrow down your search to find the concept art course that feels right for you. 

  • Research reputable schools 

When researching concept art courses, prioritise schools with a proven track record of excellence. Does the academy equip students with studio-ready skills? What industry connections does it have? And how strong are its alumni? For instance, our ‘Escapees’ as we call them have worked on everything from Stranger Things to The Batman to Assassin’s Creed. At Escape Studios, we are proud of the partnership with Epic Games and to be the first Unreal Engine Authorized Training Center in the UK and Unreal Engine Academic Partner. On top, we are also honoured to be a Houdini certified school and placed in the top 10 Creative Schools in the UK by The Rookies.

  • Check out the course modules 

Next, take a good look at the curriculum of the concept art course. Look for courses that cover a broad range of topics relevant to the concept art you’re interested in, including digital painting, 2D Fundamentals, 3D and paintovers, character design, thematic environment design and a range of industry-standard software tools.  

  • Find out about formats and flexibility 

You want to make sure the concept art degree you embark on is one you can fit into your lifestyle and learning style. Concept art courses are typically offered as full-time, part-time, online, and in-person options. If you're juggling other commitments or jobs, a part-time remote course might be best for you. Alternatively, if you thrive in a classroom setting, an in-person course may be more suitable. At Escape Studios, we offer: 

BA (Hons) / MArt Concept Art and Experience Design (full time)

MA Concept Art and Experience Design (full time) 

Concept Art (Evening – 10 weeks online) 

  • Prioritise real-world experience 

Theory is necessary, but a concept art course that allows you to connect with industry professionals, mentors, and fellow aspiring designers is worth its weight in gold. These connections can open doors to internships, job opportunities, and collaborations – but not every school offers this. At Escape Studios our concept art degrees have been developed in partnership with Atomhawk, ensuring modules are professionally tailored to prepare the next generation of game developers. And professional input from the likes of Creative Assembly and Improbable help to keep our courses current and relevant. 

Unlocking doors with a concept art course 

Embarking on a concept art course isn’t just about acquiring technical skills, it can help you nurture your own unique artistic voice – the one that can take you to the career of your dreams. At Escape Studios through hands-on projects, bespoke feedback from industry experts, and collaboration with other students you can trust you’ll leave studio ready. Our structured curriculum is designed by industry experts from cutting-edge studios, including DNEG, Atomhawk, and Framestore. Over 3 years (BA) / 4 years (MArt), these tutors will guide you through theory and provide industry feedback, but you will also be asked to organise your own study with guidance.  

All of this will prepare you for the reality of working in a concept art department: working to industry-standard briefs to help you experience real-life scenarios, just like in a professional studio. By the end of your concept art degree, you’ll have created your own artwork to use in a portfolio.  

Ready to take the leap? You’re in good company: our successful Escapees have gone on to work on Avengers: Endgame, No Time To Die, and Stranger Things to name just a few.