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January 6, 2014 / KingsIsle Entertainment

Becoming a Concept Artist

From time to time, we get questions from you wonderful players about life at KingsIsle or information about the gaming industry in general.  We try our best to answer these questions, and last year we got the following question:

What does it take to be a concept artist for KingsIsle or in general? I really love to draw and illustrate and I’ve always beamed at the idea of being a concept artist at KingsIsle because while seeing the finished product is amazing, I would have never guessed that it’s in the concept artist’s hands to make the landscape, characters, etc!  I’d love to know how that comes around and to be a concept artist, do you need to know a thing or two about programming?

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We headed over to KingsIsle Concept Art Lead, Dave Greco, for his insight to this question.

I’m glad I can help answer such a great question! As a concept artist, we work with the writing and design team to help visualize the look of a world or characters before it goes into art production. It’s a super creative and collaborative position to be in.

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The first thing it takes to be a concept artist at KingsIsle Entertainment is a true passion for painting, a  drive to create artistically and like most trades, many years of practice.  A great place to start is getting into some type of art program throughout high school and then finding an accredited art school after graduation for further education. No programming knowledge required! It is definitely a bonus to have at least a base knowledge of current 3d packages though. That way you can either use them with your own work, or to be able to check out a modelers work to paint over.

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Since most concept artists paint digitally these days, one of the best things you can do is to acquire some type of digital drawing tool and dive into Photoshop or any other painting program. Play with color, brushes, and just paint till the sun comes up. One of the best practices you can do is to draw from life as much as possible. Take the time to draw everything you see walking around you, from your friends to people just sitting in a coffee shop. Practice makes perfect, and art is no different. Time and dedication to your craft will open up so many doors for you past graduation.

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I think at the core of becoming a professional artist is the desire to create new worlds and ideas through the use of a pencil or paintbrush. If you have a true passion for creating art, then the ability to become a concept artist down the road is very real. As far as the concept team here goes at KingsIsle, we look for the ability to paint and even more importantly, the ability to be creative. It’s an amazing career for any artist to strive for one that I am truly grateful to have.

Thanks for the information Dave!  We hope all you budding artists out there enjoy his advice.  Happy painting!

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181 Comments

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  1. Anonymous / Apr 5 2014 1:50 pm

    I dont realy lik the new pirate 10 it is really hard and not fun cause it has no magic you should make a wizard 101 part 2 with more magic cards and more features also you should think about making the game better by actually making the characters look real

    • Amanda SilverThorn / Apr 7 2014 7:54 pm

      Well, first of all, making the characters and graphics look more realistic would slow down the game extremely, being that the game supports multiplayer over a worldwide network. Adding higher-quality graphics would probably lead to Wizard101 being unable to support such a wide range of players.
      But, aside from that, making the game more realistic defeats the purpose of the original style in the first place. Fantasy isn’t supposed to realistic – if anything, it’s the exact opposite! The cartoony style is kid-friendly, and the variety of characters, from goofy, charming, or just downright creepy, makes Wizard101 what it was intended to be: a kid’s fantasy game.
      And for Pirate101, well…it’s pirates. Pirate101 is meant for the more “realistic” gamers, as pirates were real. While the game has some fantasy to it, the game was meant to be pirate-centered, not magic-centered.

      • rain4lingently / Jun 19 2014 7:02 pm

        I agreed with you Amanda Wizard101 greatness comes from its toonish graphics it give a feeling of fun and adventure. My only long term suggestion for KI might be to create a reverse system. What I mean by that is have another game based around the opposite to the light schools, meaning you can have a zero based character that starts in the shadow world (Shadowmage101 maybe) and works to stop the light as the light works to stop the shadow in Wizard101. Making it so both games can interact might be something worth looking at and create even more depth for those that like pvp and even pve, imagine running into a real life shadowmage while questing or wizard from wizard city.

  2. Nashella Smith / Apr 9 2014 4:53 pm

    I have a quick question for any of the concept artists for KingsIsle.
    In your opinion, if you cannot afford something like Photoshop or any other painting software, what would you recommend I use?
    Also, where would be a good base to start? Because I’ve thought a lot about becoming a concept artist one day.
    I’m sixteen now, looking into colleges and other things, and if, by some chance, I could become a concept artist for a company like KingIsle or any other place, I’d need a good foundation to start. Any ideas for one of your loyal players?

    • rain4lingently / Jun 19 2014 7:24 pm

      Hi Nashella, I am not with KI however saw your comment and would like to share these ideas with you. Yes money can play a huge role in access to great tools however a greater tool doesn’t make a greater artist, I suggest becoming exceptional within the free soft wares like paint, if you master that and can produce exceptional work of a photo shop like quality with that you are becoming an exceptional highly skilled artist, one that places like KI would love to have. So practice, practice, practice, search the web for tutorials on how to do things, you might be very surprise what you can achieve. I wish you all the best and remember, never give up, keep an open mind for there is always a way and you will get there, just keep going even when things seem hopeless just keep going, keep practicing, you will get there 🙂 .

  3. Anonymous / Apr 9 2014 8:55 pm

    love this game so much wizard 101

  4. pvp girl :D / Oct 14 2014 11:10 pm

    I love wizard101 and pirate101, and that really seems hard work for you guys.

  5. Chelsea / Feb 11 2015 1:00 pm

    How would I get a job at KI if i wanted to work for them in the future?

  6. Taylor / Apr 13 2015 10:08 am

    I want to work at KingIsle either being a concept artist, but i’m started high school yet. I love play P101 and W101. 🙂

  7. Anonymous / Aug 4 2015 10:48 pm

    COOL GAME! 3>

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