A Step-by-Step Guide to Make Character Concept Art

Character Concept Art

Character Concept Art is an often overlooked but crucial phase in content creation, analogous to planning an architectural blueprint before construction. In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the intricacies of character concept art, distinguishing it from concept design. Unveiling the nuances of crafting game character concept art, exploring its various types, and elucidating the realm of high-quality character concept art services, this step-by-step journey is a curated resource for those seeking to master the art of bringing characters to life.


Concept art and character design are different processes and stages of visual content production. Many people confuse them, considering them synonyms. Let’s finally clear things up.

What is character concept art?

Character concept art is the visual representation of an idea, serving as the initial step in bringing a project to life. A crucial precursor to various art endeavors such as comics, games, cartoons, and promotions, concept art involves the creation of a model sheet document. This document serves as a testing ground to define the appearance, gestures, facial expressions, and other elements of characters, objects, and settings.

In the realm of video games, character concept art plays a pivotal role in visualizing both primary and secondary characters. Artists often sketch characters in diverse poses and expressions, digitally translating ideas into tangible concepts. Notably, the term “concept art” was first coined by Walt Disney Animation Studios in the 1930s.

Character Concept Art

What is character design?

Character design is the meticulous process of crafting the final version of a character intended for use in a project. Unlike concept art, which is a mere sketch representing an idea, character design produces a detailed and refined image suitable for integration into media files. Professionals often employ specialized software for both 2D character design, such as Adobe Illustrator, and 3D character modeling, using tools like ZBrush and 3Ds Max.

The creation of 2D characters involves the use of digital pens and related tools for drawing, culminating in coloring and 2D rendering. Conversely, 3D character modeling demands distinct skills, methodologies, and tools. Game character designers frequently utilize polygonal modeling, crafting a polygonal mesh using polygons to define the character’s form. The final stages of character design encompass texturing, 3D rendering, and animation, providing a comprehensive and polished representation of the envisioned character.

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Creating character concept art involves a systematic process comprising five key stages, from initial research to the final rendering. The goal is to craft characters with captivating appearances that resonate with the target audience. Let’s delve into each step:

Step 1: Research and References

Begin by gathering information and inspiration. Understand the project’s theme, style, and overall vision. References can be direct, incorporating elements from existing characters, or indirect, drawing upon general impressions and knowledge gained through thorough research.

Step 2: Draw a Character Outline

Translate the envisioned character into a visual representation. Start with a simple silhouette and then add contours for anatomy and topological features. Experiment with various poses, facial expressions, and gestures.

Character Concept Art

Step 3: Add Core Details

Define the character’s unique features, such as scars, hairstyles, accessories, clothing, skin ornaments, costumes, or magical abilities, depending on the character’s nature.

Step 3: Coloring

Select a color scheme for the character, including primary colors for skin, clothes, eyes, and hair. Utilize classic or digital tools to paint the character, enhancing attractiveness and natural appearance.

Step 4: Shading and Rendering

Apply shading to create depth and realism. Develop a range of darkness to give the character a three-dimensional quality. Complete the process by drawing final versions of the character, including various expressions, and render the background for a harmonious composition.

Following these steps ensures a systematic and creative approach to character concept art, resulting in visually appealing and impactful designs.


Depending on the purpose, style, and genre of the future project, you can choose different approaches and styles. Here, we decided to share some examples of the most popular character concept art types.

Fantasy character concept art

Fantasy character concept art ventures into realms of imagination with iconic figures like Avatar, the Witcher, dragons, and werewolves captivating global audiences. These characters are beloved for their uniqueness, originality, and engaging qualities. Fantasy character concepts often incorporate vibrant and ornate skins, featuring animalistic elements in appearance and magical effects or tools. This genre allows artists to unleash their creativity, producing characters that transport audiences into fantastical worlds filled with extraordinary beings and enchanting narratives.

Human concept art

Human concept art holds immense appeal, as people enjoy engaging with and embodying human characters in various forms of entertainment. Through artistic styles and distinctive attributes, artists can transform characters significantly. The spectrum of male character concept art is vast, ranging from a charming boy to a formidable warrior, a cunning criminal, or a wise elder. Similarly, female character concepts can represent diverse roles, portraying a rebellious girl, a nurturing mother, an adept horsewoman, or a seasoned elderly figure. The versatility of human concept art allows for the creation of characters that resonate with a wide audience across different narratives and genres.

Cartoon character concept art

Designing cartoon character concept art is an enjoyable and inspiring process, with well-known figures like Mickey Mouse, SpongeBob, and Minions captivating both children and adults. Whether in 3D or 2D, character concepts for children are typically vibrant, cute, and geared towards fostering a positive mood. In contrast, characters for adult audiences may feature softer colors and a more realistic style, catering to diverse preferences and age groups.

Animal character concept art

When crafting animal character concept art, whether resembling real animals like Simba in The Lion King or anthropomorphized beings like BoJack Horseman, capturing the character’s personality is crucial. Develop diverse facial expressions to convey emotions, including anger, joy, surprise, and fear. Consider distinctive features that distinguish your creation from ordinary animals, adding depth and uniqueness to your animal-based character.

Comic book character concept art

Comic book character concept art extends beyond traditional superheroes like Spider-Man and Batman. It involves a distinct drawing style focused on archetypes such as the outlaw, hero, magician, explorer, or sage. This unique approach to character creation defines the captivating world of comic books.


Crafting professional concept art is pivotal in captivating your target audience, demanding exceptional drawing skills, creativity, mastery of professional tools, and extensive experience. Opting for a skilled character concept artist or a reputable company is key to ensuring a high-quality end product.

With over a decade of experience, Nesso stands as a leading 2D/3D content production company, boasting a successful track record of 150+ projects. Our comprehensive services span 2D art, 3D modeling, rendering, animation, and diverse concept art designs:

  • Character Concept Art: Bringing vibrant and captivating characters to life.
  • Environment Concept Art: Crafting harmonious landscapes for various plots and genres.
  • Vehicle, Weapon, and Asset Design: Adding depth to your digital world.
  • Game Level Design: Delivering enthralling gaming experiences.

For a reliable technical partner, reach out to us, and we’ll gladly guide you through the specifics of your project.