My name is Riley, I'm 23 and live in Canada. Where I live, there are not any good schools that offer courses on digital art. I'm an indie game developer, and I've been working on creating several of my own games. The trouble is, my budget for concept art is just not there, and I need to visualize some of my ideas without paying $200-$400 for a finished concept art.
So here is my main question. Can I teach myself to be good at creating concept art? I've collected a lot of online resources and tutorials, and signed up on psd tuts+. I've started to learn about drawing perspective in photoshop as well as lighting and shadows. My entire family is full of great artists, but I've never really been good at drawing. I figure creating digital art in photoshop is quite different from drawing on paper, and I might be able to get skilled at it. But I don't know for sure. One thing I do know, is that it seems quite difficult to draw accurately with a mouse. Which is why I'm considering getting a Wacom Bamboo Create tablet. That is however a $200 investment and I am not sure if I'll be able to teach myself to create professional concept art. Do you think that buying the tablet would help me learn and improve my digital art?
Or, do I need to take some type of online courses, or go back to college?
I realize you can't give me a definitive answer, but I'd like to get some feedback and opinions. Also, if anyone has any suggestions on what tutorials, courses I should be looking at, or what tablet I should consider, please let me know. Any help is greatly appreciated.
I just see a lot of 'digital, digital, digital' in your post. With a brief mention of paper and pencil.
I think before you worry about improving digital, you should show us what you are capable of
rendering on a basic level first. You say you have never been much good at drawing. Has that
not changed? If so, you are trying to run before you can walk.
its not. and yes you might be (aswell as you might be, considering traditional tools).I figure creating digital art in photoshop is quite different from drawing on paper, and I might be able to get skilled at it.
you dont need to do anything, but what suits your needs. if you can get the information you need to do it, watching videos, fine. or reading articles/postings/blogs/books, through experimentation, attending courses, whatever.... and any combination of those.
especially for production art thats later handed on to the 3d guy, your concepts dont need to be well drawn or beautiful, but they need to communicate design and be designed well. the important question is if you can design stuff thats appreciated by your target group, or not, and if you do, how well you communicate that to your modeller. learning design is a lifetime thing so its only a matter if youre good enough to get going what youre aiming for, or not.
Can you show us an example of the quality of concept art you want to create?
Also, tablet won't make you any better at art. Just like how a fancy tool won't make you better, either. A lot of artists have started out and were "never really any good at drawing", that includes myself. You just have to work at it, have guidance, discipline(willing to do things you don't want to do, which are necessary for improvement), and direction. Tutorials to look at? The tutorials on this forum. Let me show you around(pretty useful sections here) then:
Break bad behaviors, learn the right way to do things, look for critique, and work hard. Look at the Sketchbooks to see how artists practice in order to improve, or what studies they do to learn. Observe the forum and discover the mantra conceptart.org has for improvement, and what kind of books the members recommend to read. Some people take longer for their improvements, some are faster. But nevertheless, do concept art because you like drawing and enjoy the challenge. But you won't know if you like drawing or like the challenge until you start. And it's been said before it's more important to start than it is to have a perfectly thought out "start." Be ready to invest a lot of time, at least a thousand hours in(that is not an accurate number, btw). If you were to work a job at $15 an hour, you would make $15,000 dollars in that time. It is a pure investment of time, so spend your time wisely.
I think it's a bit silly/overkill to think you need to do some kind of major concept art work for a self-published indie game. I mean, how high-end are the graphics going to be? How intense and deep is your art task list? Worry about making a good game...not how pretty a bunch of sketches are.
The artwork is also for promotional purposes, so I am not going to display some mediocre sketch.
"Can I teach myself to be good at creating concept art?"
Yes. Absolutely. Can you do it faster than you can earn $200-400? Almost certainly not. If you think you'll enjoy spending the next 5 years learning to draw, I totally recommend it because hey, I like it and it's fun. If you want good concept art soon, you can get a few hundred dollars through odd jobs much faster than you can learn to draw.
 vineris beat me to it :/
Last edited by sone_one; November 5th, 2012 at 07:05 PM.
Yep, Canada is BIG. It's possible to live hundreds of miles away from ANYTHING.
@PortGalaxy: If you don't have art skills yourself, and can't afford to hire someone who does have art skills, maybe you should focus on making games that are not heavily dependent on art? Many fun and addictive games have been made with minimal art. (Hey, Tetris is still a classic...) And if things take off and you start to have more of a budget, then you can hire artists and make more art-intensive types of games.
Or if you really need promo art, develop games that require only minimal in-game art, and spend your art budget on promo art.
And no, if you're starting with minimal art skills, you won't learn to create professional-looking art in less than, say, at least four years. (Four very intensive and probably expensive years.) And no, all the fancy digital equipment in the world won't help. If you can't draw well with a pencil, you can't draw well with a tablet either.
Last edited by QueenGwenevere; November 5th, 2012 at 09:38 PM.