10 Practical Tips for Improving Your Concept Art Skills
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 9 min read


  1. Study and analyze classic art
  2. Practice drawing everyday
  3. Experiment with different mediums
  4. Learn the principles of design
  5. Observe from life
  6. Use reference images
  7. Challenge yourself with new projects
  8. Join art communities and network
  9. Develop your own style
  10. Seek feedback and critiques

Looking to improve your concept art skills? You've come to the right place! This blog will guide you through 10 practical tips to help you get better at concept art. Whether you're a beginner or have some experience under your belt, there's always room to learn and grow. Let's dive in!

Study and analyze classic art

Perhaps you've heard of the saying, "To break the rules, you must first understand them." This idea is especially true in the world of art. One of the best ways to get better at concept art is to study and analyze classic art.

Why classic art, you ask? Classic art provides a treasure trove of artistic insights that can help you understand composition, color theory, and the use of light and shadow — all crucial elements in concept art. Plus, it's like a conversation with artists from the past, learning from their techniques and ways of seeing the world.

Here's how you can start:

  • Visit art museums: Nothing beats seeing classic art up close. Pay attention to how artists use color, shadows, and lines to bring their work to life.
  • Read art history books: Books like "The Story of Art" by E.H. Gombrich can give you a broad understanding of art evolution over centuries.
  • Analyze art: Don't just look at a piece of art — analyze it. Observe how the artist uses space, how the colors interact, and how the composition guides your eyes.

By studying classic art, you are not just appreciating the beauty of these works — you're also building a solid foundation for your concept art. So, let's get better at concept art by learning from the masters!

Practice drawing everyday

Just like any other skill, practice makes perfect in art. To get better at concept art, you need to make drawing a daily habit. You wouldn't expect to play a musical instrument like a pro without daily practice, would you? The same principle applies to art.

Here are some tips to make daily drawing a breeze:

  • Set aside time: It can be as little as 15 minutes a day. The key is consistency, not the amount of time.
  • Carry a sketchbook: Having a sketchbook with you at all times allows you to draw whenever inspiration strikes.
  • Draw from observation: Try drawing things around you. It will help you understand how things look in real life, improving your ability to depict them in your concept art.
  • Use drawing prompts: If you're stuck for ideas, a drawing prompt can spark your creativity. Websites like "SketchDaily" provide a new prompt every day.

Remember, nobody was born an artist. Every great artist you admire started by making basic sketches. Over time, their skills improved through daily practice. So, grab your pen and start sketching!

Experiment with different mediums

Think of art mediums as tools in your toolbox. Each one has its unique characteristics, and the more you understand about each, the broader your concept art skills become. Experimenting with different mediums is not only fun but it's also a practical way of getting better at concept art.

Here are some mediums you might consider:

  • Pencil and Paper: It's simple, cheap, and accessible. It's perfect for quick sketches and detailed drawings.
  • Pen and Ink: These can lend your art a bold, distinctive style. It's great for emphasizing contrast and details.
  • Watercolor: Watercolors are fantastic for creating soft, fluid effects. They're excellent for capturing mood and atmosphere.
  • Digital: Digital art tools like Photoshop or Procreate offer limitless possibilities. They're perfect for creating detailed, complex concept art pieces.

Don't worry about mastering all of these right out of the gate. The goal is to explore and play around. You'll find that different mediums can bring out different aspects of your creativity. So, roll up your sleeves and start creating!

Learn the principles of design

The principles of design are like a compass in the wilderness of creativity. They guide you, helping your concept art to be not only visually appealing but also meaningful and effective. Getting better at concept art often means diving deeper into these principles.

So, what are these principles? Let's take a look:

  • Balance: This principle refers to the distribution of visual weight in your artwork. Is one side of your piece heavier than the other? Balance doesn't always mean symmetry—it's about creating a sense of stability.
  • Proportion: Proportion is about the relationship of size, quantity, or degree between different parts of your artwork. It brings a sense of realism and harmony to your pieces.
  • Emphasis: Emphasis guides the viewer's eye to the most important part of your artwork. It's like the headline in a news article—it draws attention.
  • Movement: This principle guides the viewer's eye throughout the artwork. It creates a visual narrative, a path that the eye follows from one point to another.

These principles might sound a bit abstract at first, but they become second nature with practice. Start by applying one principle at a time in your art. Gradually, you'll start to see their power in bringing your concepts to life.

Observe from Life

Ever notice how some of the most compelling concept art feels grounded in reality, even when it's purely fantasy? That's because great artists pull inspiration directly from the world around them. Getting better at concept art can be as simple as taking a walk in the park or people-watching at a café.

Observation helps you understand the basics—how light interacts with objects, how different materials reflect or absorb light, how people move, and how emotions are expressed non-verbally. It's like gathering raw data for your creative endeavors. But how can you effectively observe from life? Here are some tips:

  • Carry a sketchbook: You never know when inspiration might strike. Having a sketchbook handy means you can capture real-world details whenever you come across them.
  • Focus on the details: Pay attention to the small things—the way shadows fall on a building, the wrinkles on an old man's face, the rust on a metal gate. These details can add depth and realism to your art.
  • Observe movement: Movement brings your art to life. Watch how people walk, how birds fly, how leaves flutter in the wind. Try to capture these movements in your sketches.

Remember, observation isn't just about looking—it's about seeing. So take the time to really see what's around you, and let it inspire your concept art.

Use Reference Images

Getting better at concept art isn't just about refining your drawing skills—it's also about knowing how to use tools and resources to your advantage. Reference images, for example, can be game-changers in your journey to improve your concept art. Ever tried to draw a horse without looking at one? It's not easy, right?

Reference images provide a visual guide for the elements you want to include in your work. They can help you get the proportions right, understand complex textures, or learn how light and shadow work on different surfaces. Here's how you can use them effectively:

  • Have a collection: Start building a library of reference images. These can be photos you've taken, images you've found in books, or digital images saved on your computer or tablet. Organize them by categories for easy access.
  • Use them as guides, not rules: Reference images are there to guide you, not to confine your creativity. It's okay to deviate from them or combine multiple references to create something unique.
  • Study them: Don't just look at your reference images—study them. Try to understand why you're drawn to them, what elements stand out, and how you can incorporate those elements into your own work.

Reference images are like the training wheels on a bike—they help you maintain balance as you learn. Eventually, you'll be confident enough to create amazing art without them. But until then, they're a great tool for getting better at concept art.

Challenge Yourself with New Projects

Here's a truth about getting better at concept art: If you're always in your comfort zone, you're not growing. New projects are like new adventures—they push your boundaries, make you see things from different perspectives, and often lead to surprising discoveries about your own abilities.

Think about it: When's the last time you tried to draw something completely different? Or used a medium you've never used before? If it's been a while, it might be time to shake things up.

  • Try different genres: If you usually draw fantasy art, why not try a science fiction piece? Or if you're into character design, how about trying your hand at creating a detailed environment? You'll learn new techniques and expand your creative vocabulary.
  • Participate in art challenges: Art challenges, like the Inktober or Draw This In Your Style, are not just fun—they're also a great way to push your skills. Plus, they're a great way to connect with other artists and get your work seen.
  • Set personal art goals: Setting goals can be a powerful motivator. Maybe you want to master a particular drawing technique or create a series of concept art pieces. Having a specific goal to aim for can help keep your practice focused and exciting.

Remember, every new project is a chance to learn something new. So don't be afraid of making mistakes—that's where the real growth happens. Keep challenging yourself, and you'll keep getting better at concept art.

Join Art Communities and Network

Art, including concept art, is not created in a vacuum. It thrives on the exchange of ideas, techniques, and constructive critique. This is where joining art communities and networking come into play.

Believe it or not, there are countless others on the same journey—getting better at concept art. Connecting with these like-minded individuals can be a game-changer. It opens up avenues for sharing work, receiving feedback, and even collaborating on projects.

  • Join online art forums: Forums like ConceptArt.org or DeviantArt have a wealth of resources and a vibrant community of artists who are eager to share their knowledge.
  • Participate in local art events: Attend local art exhibitions, workshops, or seminars. These events provide an opportunity to meet local artists in person and learn from their experiences.
  • Engage on social media: Platforms like Instagram and Twitter are not just for selfies and food pics. Many artists share their work, process, and even tips on these platforms. Following your favorite artists can be a source of inspiration and learning.

Remember, networking is not just about taking; it's also about giving. Share your own insights, provide feedback to others, and be an active participant. It's this give and take that makes art communities thrive and helps you in getting better at concept art.

Develop Your Own Style

As you continue upgrading your skills in concept art, you'll notice a natural progression. You'll start to develop your own style. This is a crucial part of getting better at concept art. Having a unique style makes your work stand out and gives it a distinct voice.

But how do you go about developing your style? Here are a few tips:

  • Embrace your influences: It's okay to be inspired by other artists. In fact, it's an important part of the process. The trick is to take those influences and make something new out of them. Use their techniques as a springboard for your own unique creations.
  • Experiment: Don't be afraid to try new things. Experiment with different mediums, color palettes, and techniques. You never know what might spark a new direction in your work.
  • Trust your instincts: Sometimes, your gut knows best. If a certain style feels right to you, go with it. Your personal style should be a reflection of you.

Remember, developing a style isn't something that happens overnight. It's a journey. But as you continue to learn and grow, you'll find that your style evolves with you. And that's what getting better at concept art is all about: continuous learning and growth.

Seek Feedback and Critiques

One of the best ways to improve your concept art skills is to embrace feedback and critiques. Yes, it can sting a bit—especially when you've poured hours into a piece and are proud of what you've accomplished. But constructive criticism is a powerful tool for growth and a vital part of getting better at concept art.

Here are a few pointers to help you seek and handle feedback effectively:

  • Ask for it: Don't wait for people to offer feedback. Proactively seek it out. Ask your peers, teachers, or members of online art communities to review your work and provide their insights.
  • Be specific: When asking for feedback, try to be specific about what you're looking for. Do you want input on your color choices? Your composition? Your use of light and shadow? The more specific you are, the more useful the feedback will be.
  • Listen with an open mind: When you receive feedback, resist the urge to defend your work. Instead, listen carefully and consider each point. Remember, the goal is not to justify your choices, but to learn and improve.

Feedback can be a gamechanger in your journey to getting better at concept art. It provides fresh perspectives, reveals blind spots, and pushes your skills to new heights. So, seek it out and use it to your advantage.

If you enjoyed these practical tips for improving your concept art skills and want to take your art even further, don't miss the workshop 'Taking Your Concept Art To The Next Level' by Lily Stock. This workshop will provide you with valuable insights and techniques to help you enhance your concept art and make it truly stand out.