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Reading through concept art forums, Ive met an opinion, that one of the most important things for a concept artist is to have a vast visual library. Out of the context of that opinion I take that this is about a "library" in your head, not on your hard drive.

I would like to know what is a visual library, why is it so important and how to work on it.

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up vote 12 down vote accepted

What is it

A "visual library" would be a collection of photos, painting, graphics, patterns, artwork and colors that could be kept in your head, in print, or digitally.

Working on it

You can work on it by viewing and studying as many photos, graphics, patterns, artwork and colors as you are able. And I mean, really study them.

Think about why someone took the time and effort to create that piece, why others may like it or hate it, what emotions do you feel when you look at it, ask other what they feel, why do you feel that way, what changes would you make to it, would your changes make it "better" or "worse", and anything else you can think of.

As a photographer I spend some time everyday looking at other peoples photography and read what people have to say about them. I try to take the time to really think about what makes each photo appealing or appalling.

Why is it Important

It is important to have a strong visual library so you can know what parts to steal and what to avoid. So you can recognize what makes something "good" versus "bad", and to develop your own sense of taste.

I think it is necessary to developing a sense of who you are as an artist and who you want to be.

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It was not unusual for an artist to have a photocopier on hand to make use of the library for quick sketch-ups and conceptual dummies before fully committing the time to a (hand-)rendered item. – horatio Mar 5 '13 at 17:37
I've also seen references to "Identity Kit" – Stan Sep 6 '13 at 20:16

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