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I'm a game programmer, and so yeah, you could call me creative, but I've only created code-generated visuals.

I want to get into Concept Art. Where are good places to start?

I am looking for both digital and on paper stuff (I can get Autodesk products like Sketchbook Pro for free).

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3 Answers

Software is not an important concern. The most important concern is: can you draw? Since you are "totally newb at visual art" I assume that means you are not good at drawing and need to start with that.

Realistically, if you are already a game programmer then stick to that and find a good artist to work with. There are always lots of artists looking for a programmer to work with, and it takes a lifetime to become a good artist.

EDIT: Just looked at your profile and noticed you are 15. So when you say "I'm a game programmer" you really mean "I've started learning about game programming but also want to learn about the art side" in which case I suggest you start practicing drawing stuff. Probably take an art class, although be wary of art teachers who don't really teach you any skills and merely encourage you to be creative. My comment about it taking a lifetime still applies, but you're young enough that at least it's a realistic goal.

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+1 for checking his profile (and for the good advice, too). –  Sean May 29 '11 at 21:09
    
yeah well i am 15, but i have been programming almost 24/7 for around 4 years now, mainly for fun, but also for companies here and there (i need a life). So yes, i am a programmer. –  Randomman159 May 31 '11 at 10:06
    
Thanks for the clarification but my answer already addresses that situation. –  jhocking May 31 '11 at 14:24
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As jhocking mentions, a good place to start would be to find your own style and adjust your technique. Some feedback is great at this stage, you can show your drawings to your friends and ask for their opinions, or share them online in places like DeviantArt or similar.

I also agree with the traditional first approach. You can go digital in a next step, but nothing will give you more experience than actually using pencil and paper. When you are ready and happy with your technique, you can start experimenting with Photoshop, Illustrator or similar, which will be absolutely necessary if you want to start working as a concept artist.

There is no typical career route to becoming one. Some may start their careers as Graphic Artists, Illustrators or Graphic Novelists; others have worked in Special or Visual Effects or in Animation, and make the transition to Concept Artist via storyboarding. There's no special training or qualifications needed either, art school can be terribly useful but it's not a must.

Some concept art key skills include:

  • Excellent illustration skills;

  • Effective communication skills;

  • Ability to visualise perspective and 3-dimensional space;

  • A keen interest in design, architecture and film;

  • Ability to visually interpret other people's ideas;

  • Ability to be flexible and to adapt to change when requested;

  • Ability to work as part of a team;

  • Knowledge of the requirements of the relevant Health and Safety legislation and procedures.

Some more info here.

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I think a good place to start would be art school.

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