When you see different characters on screen you often wonder where the ideas, or ‘concepts’, for these characters first came from. We can answer that question for you, they're called concept artists.
A good definition for concept art is... "a form of illustration where the main goal is to convey a visual representation of a design, idea, and/or mood for use in films, video games, animation, or comic books before it is put into the final product. Concept art is also referred to as visual development and/or concept design."
So, to put it as simply as possible (although there is a lot more detail than this in reality), a concept artist will listen to a brief from a client, interpret what they have been told, and produce images which they think best encapsulates the original spoken or written idea. The client can then decide which one is best, or which aspects out of the different options are best to produce a visual. Voila, you get what you see on screen.
I always find concept artists work so fascinating because they produce visuals that I never would've thought could have come from a few small ideas. One concept artist that I am particularly fond of is Michael Kutsche, a German artist who is based in Los Angeles, California.
What makes Michael so interesting, in my opinion, is that he was self-taught; everything he learnt has developed from his own determination and passion for what he does, and he is now highly respected in both traditional and digital media.
According to his website, his work tends to be “an astoundingly lifelike depiction of parallel realities, populated by odd characters reminiscent of movies, comics but also Flemish Renaissance Painting.”
This hasn’t gone unnoticed, as he was appointed the character designer on Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland in 2008, John Carter of Mars, directed by Andrew Stanton and Thor, directed by Kenneth Branagh. Along with his more high profile work, he also develops his own projects, which include personal paintings for exhibitions and books.
If you would like to find out more about Michael Kutsche, or have a look at some of his work, you should visit his website.