How to become a concept artist: Thomas' story

Meet Thomas, 21, from Gateshead. He designs characters and worlds for games and films. Part of our Bitesize world of work series.

I'm really fortunate to have turned my hobby into my career and I'm excited to come to work and see what projects I'm going to work on next.

  • Thomas did an Art foundation course at college, specialising in illustration, where he learned how to use a graphics tablet

  • He now works as a concept artist, designing the worlds that films and games are set in, designing the characters, their clothes, environments, the homes they live in and props that they use

  • When it comes to concept art, illustrative skill is important. Everyone needs to be able to draw. But it's also important to have good communication skills to help understand the client's needs

  • It wasn't an easy path for Thomas to get into his job as a concept artist. It's a very competitive field and you have to have a portfolio that stands out.

What to expect if you want to be a concept artist

A similar role to Thomas's is an illustrator.

  • Illustrator salary: £14,000 to £40,000 average per year
  • Illustrator working hours: 39 to 41 hours per week - you could work freelance/self-employed
  • Typical entry requirements: There are no set requirements, but many illustrators have a degree in Illustration or other arts-related subject like Graphic Design. Without a degree you can still be successful if you have artistic flair and a strong collection of work (portfolio).

This information is a guide (sources: LMI for All, National Careers Service)

For careers advice in all parts of the UK visit: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales

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