Character Concept: A Comprehensive Guideline [3 Examples]

3d models for printing

Have you ever come across well-polished art that is exquisitely detailed? It all started from just a character concept. So what is character concept art; what do character concept artists do and why is it important? 

In this article, Nesso certified concept artist will help you answer all the questions above.

What is Character Concept Art?

We often tend to focus on the modeling and rendering stage when creating animations but overlook one of the most key phases: concept art.

To put it simply, concept art creates an idea that aims to portray the visual sense of the project and acts as a source of inspiration for illustrators and animators across the whole creative process, forming the foundation for your animation design

character concept
A character concept helps visually depict a concept without adding too many details

So the scope of work of a concept artist is creating illustrations and concept art that, in sketching form on paper, reflect the client’s brief. In other words, they provide a framework for other designers to proceed while working on an art production project.

Since a character concept is the earliest form of artwork, it should be specific but rather simple. Most of the time, 1-2 designs are all it takes to aid in visualizing the initial concept. 

However, the animation team had to be adaptable and aware of their client’s preferences if they want to develop a character concept that is on the right track.

When the sketches are complete, the team determines whether the concept has the potential to be animated and whether it is consistent with the client’s vision. 

Character Concept vs Character Design: are they the same?

The process of developing a character into the final form that may be used in a project is known as character design. Character design is a meticulously finished image that is prepared for introduction in a media file, as opposed to concept art, which is a drawing that conveys an idea. Typically, character designers create 2D characters using software like Adobe Illustrator and 3D characters using tools like ZBrush and 3Ds Max.

Here is a concept art of one of our 3D projects:

character concept

While the character design is much more delicate and fine-tuned with perfect lighting, texture, etc. as shown:

Viking Female Warrior 3D Printed Figurine
After the character concept above was approved by our client, we started working on modeling and rendering it

Creating 2D characters generally requires using a digital pen and other sketching tools, followed by coloring and 2D rendering. When it comes to 3D character modeling, there are particular techniques, approaches, and equipment needed as well.

For instance, many game character designers employ polygonal modeling techniques, which involve using polys (polygonal shapes) to generate a polygonal mesh that will eventually take the form of a character. To complete a character design, design artists also utilize texturing, 3D rendering, and animation.

Why is the character concept important?

Clients usually require viewing numerous versions of a piece of art instead of settling on the only version you give them.

Because adjusting a detailed artwork or starting from scratch might take a significant amount of time, building a character concept help artists quickly sketch a wide range of layouts without spending too much time going into great details.

So by showing your clients multiple sketches for them to choose from, you can stimulate their imagination and help them pick the ones to their liking. 

Some character concept examples

Now that you have a better understanding of concept art and why it is so important, let’s take a look at some stunning character concepts Nesso perfectly executed!

  • 3D Printed Viking Warrior Concept Art

To refine our 3D printed Viking Warrior Concept Art, Nesso character concept artists took inspiration from many movies like “Viking: The Series,” “The Northman,” “Troy,” and “The Witcher” (game and series).


character concept
Here is our final character concept art for the 3D-printed Viking Warrior project

Discover more about our 3D-printed Viking Warrior Concept Art here

  • Viking Female Warrior Concept Art

In this project, a client requested us to create a Viking woman concept that was both muscular and feminine. And after spending 2 days gathering ideas and looking for reference materials, and 3 days building the character, here’s what it looks like:

character concept
Viking Female Warrior character concept, executed by Nesso concept artists

Discover more about our Viking Female Warrior Concept Art here

  • 3D Printed Black Panther Concept Art

On the 3D Printed Black Panther concept art, we’ve decided to fully unleash our team’s creative limits by creating something unconventional.

We twisted the original story in The Winter Soldierfurther, what if the misunderstanding had never been resolved and the winner would have been Black Panther?

character concept
After 2 days of work, we came up with a complete character concept art for the Black Panther project

Discover more about our 3D Printed Black Panther Concept Art here

Where to outsource your character concept projects?

Creating high-quality character concept art is essential to attracting your desired audience. But creating concept art that “hits all the right notes” requires advanced drawing skills, vivid imagination, mastery of professional software/tools, and hands-on experience. 

Therefore, if you want to ensure your final output is of superb quality, consider outsourcing your character concept projects with a renowned agency like Nesso.


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