Which university for illustration/concept art/game art

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Stephanie Nayoan
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#1
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#1
Hello. I aspire to work in concept art or visual development and am currently applying to some UK universities. I'm kinda torn between illustration and game art courses. The illustration courses in the UK seem to be aimed toward editorial/feature illustration, while the game art courses seem to be more 3D-focused. Some universities also offer a concept art course but I'm not that sure yet. It's hard to find a page which compiles the student works (which is an important deciding factor for me), so if you know some, please drop them down here.

I came from a country South East Asia and the international fee + living cost is just too much, so I will only attend if I get this external scholarship I'm applying too. If I don't get it, I'll take a diploma in South East Asia. Most of the unis give conditional offers to international students as acceptance, because we need to submit a deposit for commitment and student visa. Anyway here are my choices:

1. Teesside University - concept art (conditional offer)
2. Leeds Arts University - comic & concept art (conditional offer)
3. Falmouth university - illustration (currently waiting for interview)

And here are some other alternatives but I'm not sure whether I'd apply to them or not. I'm not applying via UCAS but the direct forms for international students in their website so I can apply separately.

1. University of Hertfordshire - illustration
2. Falmouth University - game art
3. De Montfort University - game art

If you want to check my works, I've put it up on my portfolio website https://stephanienayoan.carrd.co/

Thanks a lot!
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Teesside University
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#2
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#2
(Original post by Stephanie Nayoan)
Hello. I aspire to work in concept art or visual development and am currently applying to some UK universities. I'm kinda torn between illustration and game art courses. The illustration courses in the UK seem to be aimed toward editorial/feature illustration, while the game art courses seem to be more 3D-focused. Some universities also offer a concept art course but I'm not that sure yet. It's hard to find a page which compiles the student works (which is an important deciding factor for me), so if you know some, please drop them down here.

I came from a country South East Asia and the international fee + living cost is just too much, so I will only attend if I get this external scholarship I'm applying too. If I don't get it, I'll take a diploma in South East Asia. Most of the unis give conditional offers to international students as acceptance, because we need to submit a deposit for commitment and student visa. Anyway here are my choices:

1. Teesside University - concept art (conditional offer)
2. Leeds Arts University - comic & concept art (conditional offer)
3. Falmouth university - illustration (currently waiting for interview)

And here are some other alternatives but I'm not sure whether I'd apply to them or not. I'm not applying via UCAS but the direct forms for international students in their website so I can apply separately.

1. University of Hertfordshire - illustration
2. Falmouth University - game art
3. De Montfort University - game art

If you want to check my works, I've put it up on my portfolio website https://stephanienayoan.carrd.co/

Thanks a lot!
Hi! It's so great to hear we're one of your choices. Teesside is a great place to study Concept Art as our tutors have loads of industry experience in film, animation, comics and games. This ranges from AAA to Indie. Some of them also attend great events such as New York Comic Con and bring that experience back with them to the classroom.

We also have close links with industry, such as Aardman, Dreamworks and Ubisoft, which get involved with our teaching, but we also have loads of free guest lectures and portfolio reviews on campus for you to attend. We also have weekly life drawing sessions for everyone at every ability to build up your skills.

We have four dedicated Cintiq labs with full Adobe suites, some of which have 24 hour access.

At the end of third year, we also have ExpoTees, our annual industry-led exposition of graduate work, showcasing animation, visual effects, concept art, immersive and games - demonstrating creativity, imagination and industry-standard skills. We invite employers from all over the world to view your work and many people make great contacts, and some even get employed. Not to mention this runs on the same week as Animex, our international festival of games and animation, with speakers from all over the world from huge names such as Disney, Pixar, ILM, Blue Sky Studios just to name a few. These guys will also be popping in to view your final year work!

Last but not least, Middlesbrough, where Teesside University is situated, is currently receiving a lot of investment from the government to become England's 'Digital City' so this is a great place for you to begin your career!

Let us know if there's anything we can help with, hopefully see you soon!
Last edited by Teesside University; 2 years ago
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Stephanie Nayoan
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#3
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#3
(Original post by Teesside University)
Hi! It's so great to hear we're one of your choices. Teesside is a great place to study Concept Art as our tutors have loads of industry experience in film, animation, comics and games. This ranges from AAA to Indie. Some of them also attend great events such as New York Comic Con and bring that experience back with them to the classroom.

We also have close links with industry, such as Aardman, Dreamworks and Ubisoft, which get involved with our teaching, but we also have loads of free guest lectures and portfolio reviews on campus for you to attend. We also have weekly life drawing sessions for everyone at every ability to build up your skills.

We have four dedicated Cintiq labs with full Adobe suites, some of which have 24 hour access.

At the end of third year, we also have ExpoTees, our annual industry-led exposition of graduate work, showcasing animation, visual effects, concept art, immersive and games - demonstrating creativity, imagination and industry-standard skills. We invite employers from all over the world to view your work and many people make great contacts, and some even get employed. Not to mention this runs on the same week as Animex, our international festival of games and animation, with speakers from all over the world from huge names such as Disney, Pixar, ILM, Blue Sky Studios just to name a few. These guys will also be popping in to view your final year work!

Last but not least, Middlesbrough, where Teesside University is situated, is currently receiving a lot of investment from the government to become England's 'Digital City' so this is a great place for you to begin your career!

Let us know if there's anything we can help with, hopefully see you soon!
Hello. I'm glad you reached out, that sounds very promising. Do you have a page which shows student/alumni works in the concept art course?
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Vexper
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#4
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#4
(Original post by Stephanie Nayoan)
Hello. I'm glad you reached out, that sounds very promising. Do you have a page which shows student/alumni works in the concept art course?
Teesside is decent and it's quite a cheap place to live. Make sure you do the year in industry for your 3rd year or at least a summer internship or I'd say it's not worth studying for future prospects. I know folks who did illustration/game art - only the ones that did the interships ever got anywhere in the industry, at least immediately and not after years of struggle...
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Teesside University
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#5
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#5
(Original post by Stephanie Nayoan)
Hello. I'm glad you reached out, that sounds very promising. Do you have a page which shows student/alumni works in the concept art course?
There are some examples here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sHw-...el=TeessideUni

You can hear from our students here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fyf9mbKIvZ8
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7JLM...el=TeessideUni

Let us know if you'd like to know anything else
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insidedesigner
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#6
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There's a massive student interest in concept art and understandably, some Unis have created courses to satisfy that demand. Lots of the "concept art" i see in applicant portfolios is actually just badly drawn manga.

However, most Unis take the approach that it's too narrow a specialism to warrant being a degree course. There are so few jobs for concept artists, that (in my opinion) it's better to teach students how to do a variety of illustration skills and styles, then let them carry on with concept art as a hobby in their spare time, which may (hopefully) lead on to a career in that field at some point. You might be able to bring it in to some of your Uni projects too.

I know two professional concept artists, one of them studied fine art, the other architecture. Both of them can draw anything you want instantly without looking at source material, they just have fantastic vivid imaginations. Those are skills which you can't really teach. You're already a doing work as good as lots of graduate concept art students, so i'd encourage you to spread your wings and try something new. You'd do really well on any of those courses you mentioned.

If you want to specialise, Teeside is the place to go.
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Stephanie Nayoan
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#7
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#7
(Original post by insidedesigner)
There's a massive student interest in concept art and understandably, some Unis have created courses to satisfy that demand. Lots of the "concept art" i see in applicant portfolios is actually just badly drawn manga.

However, most Unis take the approach that it's too narrow a specialism to warrant being a degree course. There are so few jobs for concept artists, that (in my opinion) it's better to teach students how to do a variety of illustration skills and styles, then let them carry on with concept art as a hobby in their spare time, which may (hopefully) lead on to a career in that field at some point. You might be able to bring it in to some of your Uni projects too.

I know two professional concept artists, one of them studied fine art, the other architecture. Both of them can draw anything you want instantly without looking at source material, they just have fantastic vivid imaginations. Those are skills which you can't really teach. You're already a doing work as good as lots of graduate concept art students, so i'd encourage you to spread your wings and try something new. You'd do really well on any of those courses you mentioned.

If you want to specialise, Teeside is the place to go.
After asking some students, I've narrowed down my options to concept art at Teesside and illustration at Falmouth.

The illustration works in Falmouth seems amazing. Although one of the students told me that the course actually does not teach much about the artistic fundamentals needed. They focus more on conceptual strategies for visual problem solving, to put it simply: the way of thinking. In terms of industry connection, they do give out a full understanding on the editorial, publishing, and advertisement agencies.

While it is not impossible for me to do concept art/visual development works in that course, Teesside's concept art will cover that subject more. I feel like I'll get more fundamentals in this course, since concept art courses also provide 3D basics and some industry-specific techniques. In general, even if I have to adjust for work, I feel like I could go to illustration jobs even if I graduate from the concept art course, but would struggle more to go into concept art jobs after graduating from the illustration course, though it is not impossible. I know there are concept artists who did neither illustration nor concept art degree, but most of them struggled through years doing unrelated work while slowly getting into the concept art industry. That would be more possible had I lived somewhere with a good amount of concept art jobs.

About the badly drawn manga labeled as "concept art", I... sort of agree with that to an extent. I found some student works online, some are really good, while some others not-so-much, even though they were from MA graduates. I feel like there isn't an actual standard, students could make out the most of it but seems like a lot of effort put in are from hours outside schoolwork too imo.

Honestly a local online friend told me that a lot of courses in the UK sometimes don't really teach good art fundamental skills. He was one of the alumni from the illustration diploma program in a neighboring country in South East Asia that I plan to take as a backup. Some of his friends transferred to the UK to get their Bachelor's, since it is only a diploma here. Plus there are better job opportunities there that pay better. Though he does not see much of an improvement in those who transferred in terms of art skills. Maybe the thing that makes the difference is the ambitious asian peer pressure but I dunno haha. Good thing is it seems like students are encouraged to explore their own styles and preferences more in the UK, while the disadvantage would be that lack of standard. A lot of students in that certain SEA illustration diploma tend to end up developing a similar style.
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bonbonoj
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#8
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#8
I do concept art at LAU, and I think it's a pretty good standard for 'concept art'.
- It's also a comic course. So you'll have a range of people and have to do one or two comic things in the first year
- Generally low bar for student work. I wouldn't say it's hard to get first - without sounding rude.
- Looking at example work alone I'd have chosen t side lol, LAU doesn't show a lot of the best work (by like the top 5) because they focus on showing different students.
+ Nice teachers
+ LAU is a really nice uni, with a lot of different things you can try (laser cut, woodwork, bookbinding, print, etc)
+ Learn 3d in 2nd year but don't have to pursue it if you don't want to.
+ 1st term is all traditional and fundamentals. And there is a life drawing session every week all year round just for concept art (Then there's also a general uni life drawing session)
+ Galleries set up in uni and places in Leeds every year.
+ Can go into any style, pretty free course.

Looking at your work I think you're more suited to illustration tbh. You can easily divert into vis dev and concept art through illustration courses.
Also your portfolio is nice, but you should make it less of a hassle to go through all the tabs to see work. You should be able to see as much work as soon as possible. Just put all of your work under that section, you don't need multiple different media's and things.
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insidedesigner
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#9
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#9
(Original post by Stephanie Nayoan)
After asking some students, I've narrowed down my options to concept art at Teesside and illustration at Falmouth.

The illustration works in Falmouth seems amazing. Although one of the students told me that the course actually does not teach much about the artistic fundamentals needed. They focus more on conceptual strategies for visual problem solving, to put it simply: the way of thinking. In terms of industry connection, they do give out a full understanding on the editorial, publishing, and advertisement agencies.

While it is not impossible for me to do concept art/visual development works in that course, Teesside's concept art will cover that subject more. I feel like I'll get more fundamentals in this course, since concept art courses also provide 3D basics and some industry-specific techniques. In general, even if I have to adjust for work, I feel like I could go to illustration jobs even if I graduate from the concept art course, but would struggle more to go into concept art jobs after graduating from the illustration course, though it is not impossible. I know there are concept artists who did neither illustration nor concept art degree, but most of them struggled through years doing unrelated work while slowly getting into the concept art industry. That would be more possible had I lived somewhere with a good amount of concept art jobs.

About the badly drawn manga labeled as "concept art", I... sort of agree with that to an extent. I found some student works online, some are really good, while some others not-so-much, even though they were from MA graduates. I feel like there isn't an actual standard, students could make out the most of it but seems like a lot of effort put in are from hours outside schoolwork too imo.

Honestly a local online friend told me that a lot of courses in the UK sometimes don't really teach good art fundamental skills. He was one of the alumni from the illustration diploma program in a neighboring country in South East Asia that I plan to take as a backup. Some of his friends transferred to the UK to get their Bachelor's, since it is only a diploma here. Plus there are better job opportunities there that pay better. Though he does not see much of an improvement in those who transferred in terms of art skills. Maybe the thing that makes the difference is the ambitious asian peer pressure but I dunno haha. Good thing is it seems like students are encouraged to explore their own styles and preferences more in the UK, while the disadvantage would be that lack of standard. A lot of students in that certain SEA illustration diploma tend to end up developing a similar style.
You already know the fundamentals, so don't worry about that too much.

Any of the decent Illustration courses in the UK, like the ones you mention above, will prioritise ideas above pure technique. Falmouth produces very high quality graduates, but it is a very long way from major cities in a lovely seaside town. I would suggest that it would be easier to specialise as you go onwards through your education, perhaps doing an MA in concept art at a later stage. A broad degree will help you decide on a career but not define it.

You're analysing the options really well, so you'll succeed wherever you go. Good luck!
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