Concept Art Learning Essentials

[Draft] Very early draft that I'll keep refining over time.

I'm often asked about good sources for learning concept art, so here's a minimalistic list of resources I often recommend because they played a vital role in my understanding of image making. Each of this resources worth every penny and hour I've been invested in.

Old Masters

Right, this is such a huge subject that it's almost ridiculous to try to make a list. Anything you can learn about the old masters is gold. But here's a list of 3 movements or periods I comeback often to:

  • The Hudson River School painters
  • The Orientalist painters
  • The mid XIXth to early XXth Russian painters

James Gurney

  • Color and Light for the realistic painter
  • Imaginative Realism

Scott Robertson

  • How to Draw
  • How to Render

The Gnomon Workshop

  • Online subscription to the library

Schoolism

  • Nathan Fowkes twin courses on composition and color and light

Ian Roberts

  • Mastering Composition

Greg Albert

  • The simple secret to better painting

3 Photoshop Sketching Brushes

Sketching in 2D has been for a long time a really difficult thing to me.

The more I developed 3D skills, the more it seems obvious to sketch in zbrush, keyshot and photoshop. Except that sketching in 2D is excessively fun and pleasant and I was a bit frustrated not to be creative that way.

Every brush packs I was trying around was supposed to be fantastic, but I couldn't figure the proper way to use the tools the same way the author did and as a result I couldn't get creative with them. They were just fine for paint-over and detailing, but not that much for ideation.

Until I started to design my own brushes! For a month or so, I worked everyday for a couple hours at designing brushes in batch, trying to understand what kind of behaviors I liked and mastering slowly the subtleties of the Adobe Photoshop brush engine.

As I was experimenting with my new brushes, I was finding myself feeling more creative with the 2D medium, up to the point where random doodles turned, without really thinking about it, into sketches. Sketching this way relieves a lot of creative pressure and is really refreshing.

This pack contains 3 free brushes I particularly like for their ability to be used at large and medium sizes. They have that nice unpredictability and yet they generate complex and interesting textures and edges that spark my imagination.

What's your experience with designing brushes? Is it a practice you find important to your own creative process? Do you manage to be creative with brushes designed by others? 

Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.