The Best 11 Concept Art Schools & Colleges

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With the entertainment industry growing beyond its borders, concept artists are needed for their graphic and artist intelligence and concept art is becoming a career choice as technology takes over the world of film, movies, and games.

However, one is posed to ask why the arts? The answer is obvious; look around you, everything is a character thought of, sculpted and brought to life by an artist – a concept artist.

If you can conceptualize it, why not become a concept artist and make good money from it but there are processes to becoming a qualified and certified concept artist.

In this article, we will try to answer all question about the best schools and colleges to pursue your artistic dreams, the what, why, how, where, and when.

Frequently asked questions about choosing a concept art school

As with everything in life, knowledge is power especially in the world of arts; many people can draw and bring an idea to life through spectacular imagery.

However, if you decide to pursue a career as a concept artist, here are some questions you need to ask in choosing the right school.

  • Can I learn concept art from a state university?
  • What percentage of graduate students are currently employed or doing their thing with the knowledge acquired?
  • Is the school accredited and for how long?
  • What art courses and skill are taught in school?
  • What is the duration of a course and is there any internship course during the course of study?
  • Is there any financial assistance available or payment schedules for potential students?
  • Do you need a concept art certificate to get a good job in the industry?
  • What percentages of the students live within the vicinity of the school? Or how many students come from the community around?
  • What is the tuition fee for the school? Are there any other sub charges after the tuition fee is paid?
  • How are the teachers paid? Who are the teachers and how is the relationship between teacher and students?
  • Will I be given a course structure or outline of the class?

With the following questions, we are sure others will pop up as you discuss further with the direction of academics at the school.

Advantages of school education vs. self – taught

  • First of all, school-taught gives you an advantage anywhere –especially when looking for a job. Students that go through the school are more focused and experienced in the rules of engagement as they have also interacted with the industry at one point
  • Students interact with professional and well-experienced teachers allowing them to be more conversant with the term of the course than with self-taught
  • You learn better techniques and gain a whole box of knowledge in the school, directly from experienced teachers, than self-taught who learn everything from the internet with few interactions with a real teacher.
  • You develop better communication skills and make friends than a self-taught artist who works in isolation
  • Most art schools are always away from your residential community, so this is a way to meet and understand different places and culture which can add to your creative talents.

Now that you know, let’s get started with the best concept art schools and colleges across the globe.

Academy of Arts University

  • Location: San Francisco, USA, California
  • Course description: School of Game Development
  • Fees: $26, 147 full-time student fees for the academic years/$400 per course per semester
  • Duration: one year fall of 2019 to summer 2020

Don’t scratch your head at the thought of spending a huge amount on games; the gaming industry is worth over 100 billion dollars and with different techniques and concept introduced daily, the Academy of Arts University is one place you are certain of the best.

The Academy gives a full course curriculum to the student which includes a well-rounded education of the arts and special emphasis in game design, lighting, modeling, rigging, concept art, and animation.

Students are given access to the best tools, foundation, and techniques to present their ideas with enough time to develop and pursue a special or unique line of game design and creativity.

Courses are offered online and on campus. The tuition fees do not include accommodation and student loan facilities are available for students that qualify for it.

The school has a spot for beginners and pro who wish to pursue their skills and talents in the world of game illustration.

In addition to other students work display of the platform, the Academy of Arts University is an accredited school with superb teachers, professors, and educators that understand the current market, and tutor the students accordingly.

Remember that all fees paid are not refundable, transferable or deferred.

FZD School of Design

  • Location: Singapore
  • Course: Diploma course
  • Fees: local students- 35,000 SGD and 42,000 SGD for International student.
  • Duration: one year

FZD School of Design in Singapore is one of the most intense art schools for people who really want to go into the arts to change their lives and thoughts forever.

Their programs are so detailed and intense that the school currently boasts of over 90 percent of their alumni working in the entertainment design industries across the globe.

Although they have a school setting, FZD also offers basic online courses for people that love concept art. The course outline starts from the fundamental to a more intense program.

During the course of 365 days and three terms, students learn about discovering the importance of fundamentals which includes perspective, lighting anatomy visual communication and understand the 3d object in space.

In term two, they learn about expanding visual library which includes extract design languages through historical research, culture and nature of the world; ability to generate new ideas from our realities.

In term three, they study and combine what has been learned in the past two terms in developing story driven portfolios as they prepare for the design market outside the premises.

Other fees are equipment fees 4,587.43 SGD, course material 250 SGD and administrative fee. For more information check their site.

Art Center College of Design

  • Location: Pasadena, California
  • Course: Entertainment Design Course
  • Fees: undergrad tuition fee per term $22,466; grad tuition fee per term $23, 724 and a universal access charge of 330 dollars each term
  • Duration: Fall 2019 – summer 2020

ArtCenter, Pasadena is an art school that lets your imagination run wild as you find and establish yourself in the world of entertainment designer.

The school offers the regular program of four years but the entertainment course students have a year to complete the course in creative disciplines from professional and renowned, passionate designers.

The entertainment design students are credible to bring animated stories to life through abstract art, animation, and designs.

The entertainment design course at the ArtCenter offers student three sectionsconcepts which focus on developing the creative skills and the ability of the student as required in the entertainment industry for concept designers.

The animation or character animation, where the students learn the act of imbibing character into animation, storyboarding,  modeling, 3d, and 2d images and visual lighting.

The game design teaches students how to create and portray game characters including prototype models and production.

In the concept art course, the student learns how to draw, sculpt, paint, illustrate, and render designs that fit into the entertainment world.

The ArtCenter boast of alumni working in the various filed including animation, video game production, film, television, and design.

ArtCenter is a hardcore design school of the entertainment industry and students associated with this school are highly regarded and accepted in their various field sue to the immerse knowledge taught by high-class teachers in the school.

3dense Media School

  • Location: Singapore
  • Course: Concept Design Illustration
  • Fees: tuition – local 10,058 SGD, international – 39,590 SGD. Total payable fees are 34, 411 for Singapore citizens, 13, 439 for Singapore citizen after skill future subsidy and 41, 448 for an international student – all currency payable in Singaporean dollars
  • Duration: one-year full-time diploma course

If you truly want to learn from the masters of animation character illustration or have the dream of one day debuting your own animation movies action character, then 3dense is the art school for you.

The one-year diploma course will take you through rigorous training of concept artist, digital illustration in the art of video game character designing and entertainment industry.

Known for their works and artistic illustration for Marvel comics, start wars and more, 3dense is one art school with the most esteemed student and alumni in the world.

With the guidance and tutorship of some of the best illustrators in the world ( like Artgem and some of the Imaginary Friends Studio artists), and a three-term curriculum that deals mainly of concept digital illustration and design, no wonder 87.5 percent of their students are gainfully employed in the best industries globally as the best.

In the first term, students focus on the development of artistic fundamental including sketching, painting, storyboarding, 3d modeling and Photoshop.

In term two, students are taught more advanced techniques including rendering, functional techniques for movies and Games, and a cross between 2d and 3d conceptual world.

In term three, they focus on character and creature design including how to use advanced painting techniques to bring their illustrations to life.

Each student is catered according to their style and creativity so that they can develop their own path as a digital artist unique to them alone.

Concept Design Academy

•    Location: Pasadena, California

•    Course: Concept Design

•    Fees: ranges from 700 to 1100 dollars

•    Duration: 10 week’s course with no breaks

Although not accredited, Concept Design Academy is committed to giving talented and skillful artists a place where they can learn the basics to pursue their dreams in concept drawings and designs.

The school focuses heavily on concept foundation including drawing, visual understanding, intermediate designs and 3d digital skills of the modern entertainment industry.

Courses include all aspect of drawing – animal, human, portrait, anatomical and landscape drawing with perspective, lighting, automobile design, creature design and so much more.

Due to their lack of accreditation, the program is just to help artist have a portfolio or design one that will assist them either in looking for a job or going to further their education as professionals.

Students can contact the school directly for more details and you will definitely enjoy a fine time here as the class is fewer giving you time to develop your skills and talents in concept designing.

Los Angeles Academy of Figurative Art

  • Location: Los Angeles
  • Course: BFA Entertainment Arts Degree
  • Fees: 33,200 dollars
  • Duration: 4 semesters per year

In the entertainment city of the world, if you can’t find an art college that will expand on your skills, then you have not started yet.

The LAAFA has lots of course that will take the dreams of a student to the next level as it combines artistic draftsmanship, creative imagination, storytelling, and excellent animation works.

These can apply in movies, films, video games, graphic novel and comic characters illustration in an intense foundation program where the basic are taught by professional instructors and educators through formal and practical means.

Students can apply for financial assistance only if they meet the requirements of the academy. With their goal of creating an artist in every student, LAAFA graduates find jobs as a concept artist, illustrator, storyboard artist, animation, design layout artist, game developer, matte painter, and art director, environmental and character designer.

Syn Studio

  • Location: Montreal, Canada
  • Course: Concept Art and Illustration
  • Fees: 4,982.5 CAD per term – total fee for 6 terms 29, 995 CAD
  • Duration: 18 months – 6 terms

If the cost is making to decide against going to art school, then you might want to take your dreams all the way to Montreal for an affordable price.

Don’t take the price for a disadvantage as Syn Studio is one of the best concept art schools on the world with extraordinaire illustrators and teachers to bring the artist in you with a bang.

As concept and illustration art students, the students are subjected to immerse training in sketching, anatomy, and character and creature design with real-life scenarios to develop the skills needed in the entertainment industry

The students partake in field trips, social events, art demos and have one on one time with the masters of the industry who will help them build a portfolio that can stand anywhere on the planet.

Syn studio is a friendly atmosphere with an artsy feel where the studio can truly express and bring out their inner artist sides. However, to ensure that everyone is carried along in a program, we have the one on one coaching as mentioned above to cater to individual students.

Furthermore, in preparing the students for the outside world, the school offers support and opportunities for them after the program. Some of Syn Studio are part of large companies like cartoon network and Gameloft.

CDW Studio

  • Location: Adelaide, Australia
  • Course: Visual effect and entertainment design
  • Fees 800 dollars per subject but varies according to the course and program
  • Duration: 3 years

Don’t bother taking the long flight to any art school as we have one down under that serve excellently well with other top-ranking art schools in the world.

The CDW Studio work in partnership with Flinders University offers a 3-year full-time BA in creative arts particularly visual effects and entertainment design.

The degrees are taught by some of the best instructors, practical sessions, live demos and one-on-one with the industry finest to give out students the best.

Among the different courses are the 2d concept, game art, animation pathway, 3d, and VFX.

CDW Studio offers a 3-year program consisting of an introduction to the creative arts, digital fundamentals, and others.

CDW Studio provides an intensive learning environment with a friendly and cozy artistic atmosphere that caters and encourages the students to be the best in their fields.

So if you are will to make a career in visual effect and entertainment design, hop on the next flight to Australia and get the best experience ever.

CG spectrum

  • Location: Online
  • Course: Concept arts for games and film
  • Fees: 2895 dollars for a small class and 3795 dollars for one-on-one classes
  • Duration: 6 – 12 months program

For busy people that love to improve their artistic skills and capabilities as a concept artist in games and film, then you are in luck as this online program will develop your skills immensely.

With the help of renowned mentors like Jake Collinge, Krzysztof Luzny, Brandon Reimchen, and Brian Huang you are sure of getting the best online tutoring on concept art.

This might not be a college or even linked to one, but the caliber of mentors and students that have passed through them into the world of arts make it a viable option for people who want to learn but lack the funds.

Depending on the program of choice, students can either belong to a small class of 5 where you get all the attention and focus on your art or pay for a person class for full time with any of the mentors at a costlier price.

CG Spectrum offers a diploma program in game designing, 3D animation, modeling, concept art and VFX which is a choice for each student. Students can choose the one they want and choose the appropriate mentor to help them with it.

Although not accredited by any school board, it is a good program you can easily slot into your schedule to achieve a lot after it is over.

Brainstorm School

  • Location: Burbank, California
  • Course: Concept of art design and illustrations
  • Duration:  a year program – 3 terms of 10 weeks each

As a Rookie award winner of the best illustrator 2018, Brainstorm academy is more than just an art school.

Everyone wants a career in the entertainment industry and why not – with billions of dollars passing through the markets, there is always room for a new design, face and most importantly a different style.

Brainstorm is a school for concept art, design, and illustration focusing on the newest happenings in the entertainment industry and providing their students with the best mentorship.

With an intensive and tremendous learning experience in a supportive and friendly environment, it offers a full-time course to beginners and professional in concept art foundation, digital painting, and designs.

In addition, students will also learn the foundation of art which focuses on sketching, drawing, painting, develop a good sense to see, analyze, interpreted and create an image.

We also take into cognizance the capacity of each student hence have customized programs and expectations to ensure the students achieve what and why they enrolled in our program.

Some of their students are gainfully employed with Apple, Scribble Pad studio, Sony studio and many more.

Gnomon School

  • Location: Hollywood California
  • Course: Foundation in Art and Design
  • Fees: a quarterly fee of 2500 dollars and a non-refundable enrollment fee of 25 dollars
  • Duration: One Year

In this course, the student gets a one-year preparatory class in the fundamental aspect of the arts and design to become a well rounded and creative artist in digital production.

They provide an intense groundwork for every student using the latest technique and medium to build the right portfolio for each student.

The one year course is divided into four parts each covering various aspects to build a better artist.

The course outline for the first term is life drawing, Photoshop for digital production, drawing fundamental and drawing in 3d which are basic art course to building a good artist.

For the second term, drawing fundamentals 2, digital painting, and character design and character sculpture – this teaches the student designing in 3d and how to add life to animate images

The third term consists of animal drawing, digital painting 2, color theory and light and prop and weapon design.

The fourth term is creative design, environmental design, gesture drawings, and vehicle and mechanical drawing.

If you can think, visualize, analyze and dream, join one of the best concept art schools and let your dream be money as the entertainment industry continues to evolve exponentially.

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