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How To Get a Job As a Concept Artist or Illustrator

Stuck in a boring office job or finishing up art school and don't know what's next? I'm here to help set you on a path to success with your Art Career!

Nik Hagialas Illustration

I have been a professional concept artist and illustrator for the past decade, and have worked for numerous clients including Disney, Fantasy Flight Games, and Dungeons & Dragons. I've worked on any type of gig you can imagine, including video games, films, and card art. Below I will share with you the 5 things you need to do to prepare and start getting paid work as an artist.

If you want to dive right into the more technical side and accelerate your artistic growth, network, and income I also offer a course called Launch Your Art Career, where I go more into securing work, growing your social media following, and creating your own products or side hustles!

Either way, let's begin!

Me in my office busy at work!

Photo of Nik Hagialas

1) Learn Your Fundamentals, and Improve Your Skills

This may sound obvious, but the first step to getting work as a professional concept artist or illustrator is to begin by honing your skills. When I was in college, I found myself stuck with trying to figure out how to get over my plateau. 2 things really helped -- Studies and feedback from other artists (preferably ones who have experience already!).

Studies are a great way to begin understanding WHY things work the way they do. I'd suggest trying your best to do a study a day, and varying up what you're studying. For example, if you're looking to be more of a character artist, one day focus on anatomy, and then the next day on armor design. You want to make sure you are covering ALL of your fundamentals with studies, and not getting caught up too deeply with one. I am more of a fan of trying to level up equally between form, color, perspective etc. This is going to give you the best edge towards having consistent work!

The next thing to do is to find other more experienced artists online, or at events, and just pick their brain! A great way to learn is by having a second set of eyes look at your pieces, and having them critique your work. Because you've been staring at a piece for so long, many times you'll find that someone will see something you've totally missed! With a more experienced artist, you may get feedback about a new technique or fundamental that you've never thought to implement before.

--As a side note, when asking for critique, it's always helpful to be specific about what you'd like feedback for, and also to thank them for their time!