If you are new to “concept art” or production design this might be interesting for you.
Brace yourselves for some non-native english and more words than pictures.
Concept art is not illustration. Those top images on art platforms like artstation.com are in most cases beautifully rendered illustrations that got polished over days or even weeks.
Illustrations usually are rendered to perfection to be enjoyed by the final consumer, while you should prepare to throw away most concept art doodles you did when you are merely part of a production.
It’s about producing quick doodles and designs and refine those until you have a foundation for those beautifully polished illustrations, 3d models or costumes.
I struggled myself for a while producing a lot of doodles instead of following the 2nd or 3rd idea through and getting lost in rendering what’s actually an illustration. Which can be explained by me coming from illustration and the reluctance to “throw away” most of your approaches that a lot of artists show.
What really helps in enjoying this process is aleatorics.
You can avoid the risk of falling into usual approaches f.ex. to forms or silhouette by going crazy with random brushes or symmetry drawing apps/plugins and rather start to interpret random results. Or at least embrace a certain mount of randomness that might bring in new, fresh ideas.
On a train ride I did a bunch of doodles using an ipad and a stylus for
spacesuits / robots.
(Further down you’ll find a link to what I used in detail)
When you quickly, roughly doodle with a symmetry function, there’s a good amount of randomness involved
that might ideally lead you to cool ideas you haven’t expected. It also puts a lot of fun and adventure into painting/drawing because you just make shit up as you go. Like playing with legos when you were a kid and made do with the bricks you just happen to grab from the box.
That in itself was aleatorics that led you to crazy new ideas while following a basic plan.
For example building / designing a robot.
With a bit of practice you should be able to do dozens of these doodles on a longer (2 to 3 hour) trainride.
I made a selection of silhouettes and threw away a few that really didn’t work before I put them together.
Some ideas just happened by accident, for example the flying-insect-like droid thing with what might be sun collector wings like you see on satellites. Then my mind directly wandered off to images of NASA employing these things as sun powered repair droids. I’ll definitely follow that idea later.
Once you have a silhouette / basic design you like you might do a mid-level concept as a follow-up with some color and moody lighting. Note that this shouldn’t go too far timewise if you are doing concept art in a project. Always be prepared that somebody MIGHT kill the idea before it becomes a finished, polished asset for the final user. Be it because of design issues, technical limitations or marketing reasons.
I picked this silhouette for a next-level step…
…and put in some coloring and feel for the metallic, sci-fi material in around 40 minutes.
Later I added some lighting and some dust around it to put it into a very basic environment mood.
What did I use?
I used an Ipad Mini along with the Sensu Artist Brush (using the stylus tip), although I’d recommend the Maglus Stylus. I didn’t have that with me on that weekend but I like it more. The brush tip on the sensu is pretty unnecessary on an ipad that lacks the precision of professional drawing tablets.
is the symmetry drawing application for IOS that I used.
Its usability is a bit awkward but you’ll get used to it.
It’s cheap and very effective for symmetrical doodling.