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What Is Illustration and Conceptual Illustration Definition, Discover Differences

23.08.2021
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Concept Art and Illustration

There are so many artistic positions in the entertainment industry that it is sometimes difficult to know what sets them apart. Concept artist, illustrator, character, environment, or world artist … the list is endless. In our studio, artists are divided into two categories: concept art vs illustration. Their paintings may look the same, so what really separates an illustrator from a concept artist?

  • Concept art is a relatively new trend in drawing, which has now become widespread thanks to Internet technologies. The concept art style is intended for the artist to form an idea of ​​some kind of creation and its embodiment on a sheet of paper, whether it be an illustration of a future mechanism, house, film, game, and much more. Its main difference from drawings is the neglect of details and precise calculations since its main goal is to convey the essence of what was planned.

Concept art in some way originated from sketches, or Sketch, which at first glance did not acquire such popularity, but at the same time, sketches are one of the stages of concept art, so they should not be underestimated. Again, it’s about the details, Sketch is usually a small two-tone drawing, and concept art is a fairly elaborate illustration, with a lot of detail, a wide range of colors, and deep shadows.

The importance of types of concept art is due to its significant influence on all areas of our life, from home to public transport. Most of the items with which we interact have their own design developed by a concept designer, it is with a sketch that the production of cars, laptops, TVs, even taps in the bathroom begins. Of course, a sketch is far from everything, but concept art is important because it forms the idea that is taken into development, the better the idea, the more successful the product will be.

Concept art is used in the early stages of a product’s development, it should accurately convey the idea of ​​the designer, but it may not be accurate in terms of characteristics or calculations. Concept art can neglect background elements but must convey contours, colors, and shape, in order to implement the conceived item in production.

What Is Illustration?

What Is Illustration?
  • We can say that illustration is a type of image with a holistic composition. The background in such work is not an abstract addition to the character, it participates in the disclosure of the idea. All elements of the framework on the perception of art illustration, on the composition, on the focus of attention. In concepts, the character is in most cases static: he stands in a stable posture, does not express strong emotions, the background behind him is neutral. We can say that he works as a model to show the design. Even if we add abstract shapes and stripes to the background, they still should not distract the viewer. Light in concepts is mainly used to read form, as in beauty photography.

In illustration definition in art, working on a holistic composition, the artist uses light, color, and other things not to sell the design, but to set a certain atmosphere and sequence for reading the plot. The streak of light on the face, the accent of color, the arrangement of objects – all together work as a small visual story. Similar techniques are used in artistic photography.

This is not to say that the difference between visual development vs concept art is in how detailed the character/object is drawn, or precisely in a complex plot. There are illustrations with practically no plot, or no rendering at all, made only with a line, there are also those in which the background plays only an auxiliary (decorative) role.

  • The illustration begins when the background actively interacts with the characters (or object) at all levels: lighting, composition, plot, etc. The ultimate point is when it is impossible to separate the object or character from the image since it will not be clear what is happening.

It is worth noting that the lion’s share of the concept art that exists now, in fact, has nothing to do with it. There is such a definition as promo art, and there are significant differences. Promo art got its name from the fact that it is very often used as an advertisement for a product, for example, a video game. The difference between concept illustrators and concept art lies in the detailing of the illustration, for a promo it is important to sell a product, to attract as much attention to it as possible, therefore it is brought to the ideal, removing unnecessary elements that were used by the artist when drawing, these can be outlines or photographs of real objects. However, this does not diminish the artist’s merits, but nevertheless, this is no longer concept art, but rather a finished illustration or an electronic painting.

Another popular area for sketches is relatively simple sketches in which, on the contrary, there are many additional, guiding paths. Sketches are usually drawn with one or two pencils, while concept art uses significantly more colors. There is no such confusion as with promo art, perhaps because the publishers of video games did not impose their point of view on us regarding sketches, passing one off after another.

On the Internet, you can find articles where artists articulate everything that they have accumulated in relation to the publishers of video games, who publish promo art under the guise of conceptual illustration, as a result of which ordinary Internet visitors experience substitution of concepts and real concept art fades in the shadows. This is the hottest topic for discussions with a concept designer, and you can find confirmation of this on the forums and in various articles. It is interesting that novice artists are often jarred by this distorted concept, which is why they may even give up this craft.

There is another type of concept that does not apply to drawings, but still performs all the same ideological function, this is a 3D concept. This kind of concept appeared thanks to the development of 3D modeling and software for it. There are concept designers who are not very good at drawing on canvas paper but can make a good 3D model digitally. This kind of 3D design can serve the same function as hand-drawn concept art, although some artists may not like it. But again, the detailed model that the artist will lay out cannot be called a concept, since this is a finished product.

Illustrator vs Concept Artist

Concept Artist

The profession of a concept artist implies drawing a large number of developments, but only a few will be selected, the rest will remain ideas. This is the dirty work of this specialty, to spend energy on a dozen sketches to choose only one, but this is probably how the ideal is achieved, as a result of multiple revisions and improvements. This has something in common with web design, you can make ten different site options, but only one will turn out to be really good. Sometimes it happens that the best option turns out to be one of the first options, and all subsequent work was in vain. Considering all the factors in this paragraph, it is important for an artist to have some resilience to stress in their work.

Concept art has gained widespread popularity and popularity, primarily thanks to the marketers of video game publishers, who distribute promo art across the network and magazines. Before the advent of the Internet in the public domain, we could see in printed versions of video game magazines next to screenshots of 3D character models or promo art, under the guise of concept art.

This problem excites the minds of designers, as their work loses its value in the eyes of some people who do not fully understand this topic. However, this situation has a positive side, which is very often overlooked, it is thanks to marketers that illustration art definition gained its popularity, it is thanks to them that a lot of people learned about this type of creativity and recognized it. Now concept art is actively developing, and the quality is constantly growing, and this is partly the merit of the major video game publishers who launched this creative direction into the masses.
So you learned all about the conceptual illustration definition, thanks to our article, which we prepared for you with the team. We hope our information was useful to you.

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