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Becoming a Concept Artist: My Journey
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Becoming a Concept Artist: My Journey

María José García Marín
by emeiotta on 15 May 2024 for Rookie Awards 2024

This is a lifetime journey of a girl who's always had a pencil and papers between her hands. I will showcase my most recent artworks between 2022-2024, when I started my professional journey as a Concept Artist studying at Animum Creativity Advanced School.

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My name is Maria Jose Garcia Marin, I'm a Spanish illustrator and concept artist, and this is my latest journey in my adventure as an artist.

For as long as I can remember, I've been drawing everything I like, and it's always been my favourite pastime. But when I finished high school, I decided to turn my hobby into my profession and enrolled in University for a Degree in Fine Arts.

After that, I wanted to specialize more in the world of illustration and concept art to professionalize myself and be able to aspire to enter the industry. So I decided to enroll in the Concept Art for Characters master's program at Animum Creativity Advanced School.

It's been a tough but exciting journey. In this post, I'm going to show you my latest works, and hopefully, they'll lead me on the right path in The Rookies!

AMARA

Amara's project has been quite a rollercoaster of emotions. This is my first character project from scratch, and I was quite scared of everything it involved, but in the face of the small adversities of the process, I think the result has been quite satisfactory. I must thank my mentors Rafa Teruel and Anthony Lorente during this period for providing me with guidance and support when needed.

Truth be told, Amara's briefing was the one I chose. Besides the fact that a forest elf who is a hunter sounds really cool, it was a fairly open briefing that gave me the freedom to, among other things, give a Japanese approach to Amara's world setting. Here is the character sheet:

Designing props is not one of my strengths, and to be honest, it was one of the biggest conflicts I had during the process. I didn't want something that would overshadow Amara's design, but I wanted it to be distinctive and speak of her origins. Finally, I designed a Japanese longbow (daikyu) with engravings and bamboo ornaments, along with some Japanese kunai or daggers, all bearing the symbol of Amara's tribe as a hallmark.
Here are a few technical documents for you, such as the turnaround, expression sheet, some early concepts, and a style swap that I found fun to do, as realistic style isn't really my own style, but rather something more cartoonish and with which I feel more comfortable, actually.

LOGAN

This project is quite different from Amara's, as, besides being in a cartoon style, we received a briefing with a partner whose style we had to adapt to. The briefing referenced an illustration by Rui Zhang, to whom I want to give credit, to create their partner Logan. It was very fun to see how the project evolved and to create a character with a personality totally opposite to their partner's, since Logan is much more carefree, and I think that fits very well with the cartoon style.

Big thanks to my mentors for this period Gracia Artigas and Alfonso Blaas!

Creating props for this character was much more enjoyable, as with a realistic character, you have to think about a certain level of plausibility, but with a cartoon character, you can break the rules of physics (and chemistry, in Logan's case). Below, I'll present a variety of props with annotations:

Here are the final technical documents for the character. It was super fun to work on this project, especially the expression and action sheets, as I could play a lot with the expressiveness and plasticity of the character!

A Western Exploration

I had the incredible honor of having Almu Redondo as my tutor for this Vis Dev project, experimenting with composition and colors. Almu suggested that it would be interesting to have a green night, like in the paintings of the Golden Age of Illustration, as a green night was much less common and had a certain enigmatic aura. This was the result of the exploration, which concluded with two pieces depicting different times of day:

Cartoon Exploration

I want to conclude my submission with some visual explorations I was able to do in my last training module at Animum, focused on cartoon and stylized, which I really enjoyed doing, and I believe I could display certain versatility. Also, a visual exploration on the Russian folklore story of Baba Yaga that I was able to do during Almu Redondo's workshop in 2023 on Concept Art, Storytelling, and Styleframe.

Almu Redondo's Workshop

Thank you for taking your time to see my art progression during my Master Degree in Concept Art. It's been truly a journey of self exploration and enrichment from colleges and professionals of this industry I'm looking forward to start a new path in :)


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